Oxford University conservation expedition to Mexico 1992
A study of the status and population ecology of some endangered Mexican cactus populations, including searching for new localities of the rarest species. Assessments of the major threats to the plants and of the general cactus conservation status in Mexico were produced and recommendations made. There is a particular need for controlled propagation of rare species, particularly within Mexico, for possible reintroduction and to further reduce pressure on wild populations. Likewise, detailed, long-term population ecology studies are needed to understand natural fluctuations of populations and reasons for their rareness. Part of this expedition involved detailed investigation of the cacti of the Cuatro Cienegas Bolson, a region with high levels of plant and animal endemicity, yet threatened by mining and population expansion. It was concluded that these threats applied mainly to gypsum and aquatic habitats, whilst cactus habitats were not threatened.
Project update: 21/8/96. This team researched the status and population ecology of some endangered Mexican cacti populations, including searching for new localities supporting the rarest species. Garner et al. (report - 199?) note that the second of the two projects outlined in the expedition proposal, which aimed to study the cacti of the Río Moctezuma valley, was not realised due to unforeseen factors, including an attempt to ‘rescue’ the plants before the expedition began. However, assessments of the major threats to the plants and of the general cactus conservation status in Mexico were produced and recommendations made. Long-term studies of plants were begun as part of a WWF-funded project. The leader worked on later projects on endangered cacti in Mexico, with WWF and IUCN. Mexican team botanists from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México are still involved in similar work. Some plant rescue operations were carried out (K. Gardner in litt.1998)