Long-term conservation planning for endemic plant species in Egypt

Karim Abdelhai Omar

Silene leucophylla, Micromeria serbaliana, Ballota kaiseri, Euphorbia obovate, and Hyoscyamus boveanus are endemic plants to the St Catherine Protected Area (SCPA) in southern Sinai, Egypt. The wild populations of S. leucophylla growing in SCPA are scattered over seven locations. The population size ranges between 1 and 12 individuals while its total count is only 50 individuals. M. serbaliana has not been recorded within the SCPA since 1998. Ballota kaiseri is a very rare species distributed only within 3 locations with EOO about 6 km2. The population size of Euphorbia obovate, and H. boveanus deteriorated in the last 5 years as a result of extensive human activities and the absence of management plans to conserve such species. These species have a high medical and economical importance for the local community. These species are severely threatened by both natural (aridity of the area and climate change) and human factors (over-collection, scientific research, and over-grazing). All these factors are pushing them to the brink of extinction. Through a community based management approach we will assess the conservation status of these species to generate long-term conservation plans and actions through a multidisciplinary approach that integrates demography and ecology.

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