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Extremely rare plant region left unprotected in the Yucatan Peninsula

For the first time, scientists have identified the areas of the Yucatan Peninsula that hold the highest concentrations of endangered woody plants, which includes trees, shrubs, and lianas. In doing so they uncovered four key regions, but also noted that the region with the highest concentration of extremely rare plants was left unprotected, according to a new paper in’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science.

“This study represents the first effort for identifying the rare woody plant species of the Peninsula, estimating patterns of distribution of rare species richness and evaluating the current protection status of such species,” the researchers write.

Using records of 195 rare woody species, including 11 species found only in the Yucatan, the researchers were able to locate four geographical areas and lump them into three categories of rarity—low, medium, and high. Regions of low-to-medium rarity (Calakmul, Escárcega-Champotón, Quintana Roo-Oeste) were currently protected, but the region with the greatest concentration of the rarest woody plants, Panabá-Tizimín, has been left unprotected.

The authors urge that the Panabá-Tizimín requires swift conservation efforts.

CITATION: Tetetla-Rangel, E., Durán, R., Hernández-Stefanoni, J. L. and Dupuy, J. M. 2012. Distribución espacial de la riqueza de especies leñosas raras de la Península de Yucatán y su relación con las áreas naturales protegidas. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 5(3):320-339.

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