NTBG was recently awarded a Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund Grant to help conserve the critically endangered, endemic Phyllostegia electra. Phyllostegia electra, or nehe kuhiwa in Hawaiian, is endemic to mesic and wet forests on the island of Kauaʻi, one of the eight major islands making up the Hawaiian archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
The species was assessed by NTBG staff in 2015, using the IUCN Red List criteria, as Critically Endangered. Among approximately 15 subpopulations, there are currently an estimated 40-50 individuals remaining, and these numbers continue to decline due to several imminent threats including direct competition from non-native plant species; damage to stems, fruits and seeds from non-native slugs and rodents; and habitat and direct destruction to plants by non-native ungulates, particularly feral pigs and feral goats.
For the project, a team of NTBG conservationists and researchers will focus on the conservation of this species by:
- Making robust conservation collections from wild populations
- Researching genetic diversity
- Outplanting into appropriately protected and managed habitat, and
- Investigating optimal seed storage protocols, which will directly contribute to the conservation of this species.
NTBG has made conservation of endangered and threatened flora its highest priority. Collecting and curating propagules from the rarest plants, including species on the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) list (which have 50 or fewer individuals remaining in the wild), provides material for the Garden’s expansive native plant nurseries. Our nursery operations produce large quantities of native plant seedlings for planting in ecological restoration projects not only in NTBG’s gardens and preserves, but also on large public or private land tracts suitable for restoration where owners have shown interest in collaboration.
About The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund is a significant philanthropic endowment established to provide targeted grants to individual species conservation initiatives, recognize leaders in the field of species conservation and elevate the importance of species in the broader conservation debate. To date the fund has awarded over 1500 grants to a diverse range of species across the world.