Cycad Conservation

This page is dedicated to cycad-related conservation issues and activities. At the top of the page are the most urgent issues that we wish our members and others to be made aware of. Below that are separate sections providing some examples of conservation assessments and awareness efforts, as well as endangered species listings and management plans.

The Cycad Society, Inc., (TCS) has established a special conservation fund, and we actively provide grants to benefit cycad conservation-related projects (please visit our Grants page for more information). As a federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, TCS can accept tax-deductible donations of any amount, large or small. If you are interested in making a monetary donation to benefit cycad conservation, please visit our Donation page.

Click here to view a recent world map of global cycad conservation status.


Isla Bastimentos, located in Panama's Bocas del Toro province (on the Caribbean coast), is an ecologically and culturally diverse island rich with coral reefs, dense tropical rainforests and indigenous communities. Among the wildlife species of Bastimentos are night monkeys, three-toed sloths, numerous tropical bird and fish species, and two distinct color variants of the strawberry poison dart frog -- the namesake of the fabled Red Frog Beach. Also present on the island is a critically endangered cycad species, Zamia nesophila, that was recently described by three members of the Cycad Society (Taylor, Haynes & Holzman, in press in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society).

Below is a link to an article written in 2004 on the cycads of Isla Bastimentos. (Note: The use of the name Zamia neurophyllidia in reference to these plants in the article is incorrect; as indicated above, the island-dwelling cycads of Bastimentos have since been described as a new species -- Z. nesophila).

The Red Frog Beach Club has already built one resort on Bastimentos (on Red Frog Beach), and they are preparing to begin construction on a second resort further down the island. The first phase adversely impacted the endangered red frog and an entire subpopulation of critically endangered cycads, while the clearing activities of phase two have already nearly completely wiped out another subpopulation of 15,000+ cycads (the actual plants featured in the above-mentioned article).

The Cycad Society has teamed up with the Center for Biological Diversity to make people aware of this urgent environmental concern. Please join a growing international movement urging ANAM (the environmental agency in Panama) not to approve phase two of the Red Frog Beach Club resort on Panama's Isla Bastimentos.

Please visit the following link on the Center for Biological Diversity website to take action and make your voice heard:



The following report from NatureUganda documents the significant adverse impacts of the construction of a new World Bank-funded hydroelectric dam in the Mpanga Gorge, Uganda, on the threatened and endemic Encephalartos whitelockii. The Cycad Society is working with the IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group, the Center for Biological Diversity, and NatureUganda on an education and awareness campaign.

Below is an update written in August 2010 by Quentin & Trish Luke:

Conservation Assessments and Awareness Efforts

The following is a preliminary assessment of the impacts of harvest on the Indian endemic, Cycas circinalis, in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Western Ghats, South India. It was prepared in a collaborative effort by representatives of People and Plants International and Keystone Foundation:

And below is a Cycad Newsletter article written by the same authors and describing their continuing work on Cycas circinalis in India:

The following is an article highlighting the unique Encephalartos transvenosus of Modjadji, South Africa:

Endangered Species Listings and Management Plans

The most important publication of the IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group (CSG) released to date is the Cycad Action Plan. Published in 2003, this 86-page document brings together a collection of data and opinions on one of the world's most threatened plant groups and presents a series of action plans to promote their conservation. The Cycad Action Plan is available in PDF format from the IUCN/SSC website. The full citation for this document is as follows:

Donaldson, J.S. (ed.). 2003. Cycads: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cycad Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, and Cambridge, UK. ix + 86 pp.

Click the links below to download the entire document or parts thereof.

Below is an "endangered species" listing for a cycad species in Australia.

Below is the 2004 cycad management plan for the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Specific locality information has been removed. Thanks go to Ms. Brigitte Church of KZN Wildlife for submitting the plan for inclusion on this page.

Below is the 2005 cycad ordinance for the Transvaal region of South Africa.

Below is a draft recovery plan for Cycas megacarpa, C. ophiolitica, Macrozamia cranei, M. lomandroides, M. pauli-guilielmi, and M. platyrhachis in Queensland, Australia.

On 17-20 July 2006, a Workshop on Conservation of Cycads in India was held at Thiruvananthapuram. The report of the outcomes of this workshop is provided below.

On 17-21 July 2006, a population and habitat viability assessment (PHVA) workshop was held for Encephalartos latifrons in Bathurst, Eastern Cape, South Africa. The workshop was organized in association with the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Below is the report produced following this workshop:

(Note: The previous file may not open properly in older versions of Acrobat or Acrobat Reader. If this happens, please click the "Get Acrobat Reader" button below to download the most recent version of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

In June 2007, the government of Northern Territory, Australia, released a draft management plan document for public comment. It can be accessed using the link below.

IUCN Red List

All throughout 2010, the Red List is featuring a different threatened or endangered "Species of the Day". Below are the cycad species that have been highlighted to date:

Other Cycad Conservation Links

Below are links to other pages and websites pertaining to cycad conservation.

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This page was updated on Wednesday, 01 December 2010.