1 Tahrcountry Musings: Cycads under Treat of Extinction

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cycads under Treat of Extinction

IUCN has warned that cycad, which is the world's oldest living seed plant is facing extinction. Cycads - evolved about 300 million years ago, even before the dinosaurs. The threat is from people who collect wild plants from their natural habitats and plant them in gardens. Collectors in America and the Far East are prepared to pay up to £6,000 for a large specimen of a rare species. The removal of cycads from the wild for private collections has resulted in two species becoming extinct in the wild.
Cycads are the most threatened group of organisms assessed by IUCN. The assessment of 308 cycad species shows that their status has declined from 53% threatened in 2003 to 62% threatened in 2010. More than 75% of cycad species are currently threatened with extinction.
Cycads grow slowly and to get a long stem it takes about 400 to 800 years. Some cycads grow up to 40 feet while some are miniscule. They need to be close to other cycads to pollinate.
Concerted international action is the need of the hour

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