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Haiti - Environment : A species of magnolia disappeared for 97 years rediscovered in Haiti
30/08/2022 11:12:03

Haiti - Environment : A species of magnolia disappeared for 97 years rediscovered in Haiti
Due to the rapid decline of the original forest area in Haiti (only 1% of the original forest remains), many native plants now grow only in inaccessible mountains or ravines. Suspecting that the magnolia could survive in high habitats, a conservation team from the international NGO Haiti National Trust traveled to Haiti's Northern Massif in search of the elusive plant.

After several days of searching in the mountains, in a hard-to-access site the team discovered a native magnolia tree that had been lost to science since 1925. They soon discovered 16 flowering trees in various stages of development, as well as juvenile plants in the early stages of growth. After identifying the trees, the NGO collected samples for DNA analysis and plan to return in late fall to collect seeds.

Note that the NGO's researchers have already successfully cultivated four other types of native magnolia on the island of Hispaniola, which includes the Dominican Republic, and they hope to use their experiences to help local communities contribute to restoration efforts and eventually start a nursery.

Boasting pure white flowers and uniquely shaped leaves, the Northern Haiti magnolia (Magnolia emarginata) was originally found in the forest of Morne Colombo, which has since been destroyed by deforestation. It was considered endangered and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, and its discovery sparked new hope for the rewilding potential of Haiti's forests.

Eladio Fernández, Expedition Leader, of the "Haiti National Trust" shared the optimism aroused by the discovery of this species lost for nearly 100 years "Despite the grim state of Haiti's degraded forests, they still harbor species like this that are found nowhere else in the world, giving us the opportunity to save them."

HL/ HaitiLibre

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