Conservation status

In general, it remains difficult to estimate population size and area of dispersal for rare plant species of the Caribbean Islands. Gaps in the flora coverage and the limited number of people with specialised knowledge have restricted the availability of data on the conservation status of West Indian plants. Very preliminary and incomplete assessments of the cacti and other succulents have been made. Taxonomic uncertainties add to the difficulties of applying conservation categories. WCMC has records of over 100 Caribbean cacti in its Plants Database. Of these, about 40 are threatened on a world scale.

It has not been until now that a more realistic evaluation of the conservation status of the West Indian cacti has been attempted, and it provides the basis of a preparation of a systematic treatment of the Cactaceae for the New York Botanical Garden's Flora of the Greater Antilles project. Based primarily on my field knowledge of the West Indian islands I have prepared the list of 243 succulent plant species in 16 families endemic to the West Indies (Table 3 of Annex 14). As noted above Aruba, Bonaire, CuraƧao, Trinidad, Tobago, Margarita, and other small islands adjacent to Venezuela were excluded from the survey due to the fact that these territories are phytogeographically part of northern South America, and their flora predominantly continental. An appreciation of the current conservation status of each is given by classifying them within four categories.

For some Haitian rare succulent species with very limited distribution data and doubtful assessment information on which to base current conservation status, it is necesary to carry out field surveys for more accurate field-based assessments of their conservation condition.

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