New populations of highly threatened trees discovered in northern Vietnam

Posted on by David Gill
Surveys carried out by Center for Plant Conservation Vietnam (CPCV) have identified new populations of a number of threatened species including the Critically Endangered Magnolia grandis.

The new findings come after over two weeks of fieldwork in forests surrounding the villages of Phieng Luong and Phieng Phoc in northern Vietnam.

Among a number of new findings, a major highlight was the discovery of three Magnolia grandis trees and five small saplings of Magnolia coriacea in northern Vietnam. Until recently these species were thought to be restricted to small pockets of forest in southern China.

Magnolia grandis in flower. Credit: Hieu Nguyen/CPC Vietnam

Magnolia grandis in flower. Credit: Hieu Nguyen/CPC Vietnam

These individuals may yet play a vital role in the survival of these highly threatened species. Community conservation teams will be working in collaboration with CPCV to monitor the trees and collect seed to support tree planting in the future.

Other findings of note include the discovery of a new population of the Endangered Vietnamese Golden Cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis) – a species that was new to science in 1999. In total twenty magnolia and five conifer species were found in the latest round of surveys.

In the meantime the project, jointly implemented by CPCV, Fauna & Flora International’s Vietnam programme and the local Forestry Department, is making headway on a number of other conservation actions.

Seed collections were made for several species while 50 Vietnamese Golden Cypresses and 200 Magnolia citrata (a rare species yet to be assessed by the IUCN Red List) have been planted into nearby forest.

Hieu Nguyen, Vice Director of CPCV commended the recent progress made by the team, “Great results are a product of great collaboration and trust. This project definitely demonstrates those qualities.”

Moving forward the project will continue to work with community conservation teams and the Forestry Department to protect and restore these species. The ultimate aim is to ensure interventions for threatened trees are integrated into the on-going work of the Forestry Department.

Written by David Gill

Dave worked in Paraguay and Equatorial Guinea before joining Fauna & Flora International to work on the Global Trees Campaign. He provides support to several projects on the ground

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