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Madagascar's Palms in 'red list of threatened species'

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on October 17, 2012

Madagascar, the island nation in the Indian Ocean is home to some of the exotic and rate flora and fauna. However, there is bad news for its palms.

Nearly 83 per cent of the nation’s palms are threatened with extinction, says the latest update of the IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature). This puts the livelihood of people at risk, said a report released at the ongoing global summit on Biodiversity here today.

The IUCN unveiled its latest Red List of Threatened Species. The update says of the total number of species listed — 65,518, as many as 20,219 face threat of extinction.     

Tahina Palm, also known as the suicide palm, which was recently discovered for the first time in Madagascar, also finds itself classified as critically endangered, with much of its habitat converted by agricultural land, the report said.

Palms are an integral part of Madagascar’s biodiversity and all the 192 species assessed are unique to the island, said Jane Smart, Global Director, IUCN biodiversity conservation group.

Populations of palm species are at risk as land is being cleared for agriculture and logging. Through the IUCN Red List, the world becomes aware of pending ecological catastrophes—like the case of Madagascar’s Palms, said Lucas Joppa, Conservation Scientist at Microsoft Research.

somasekhar.m@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 17, 2012

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