Conservation Status of the First Known Population of Polygala balansae in Europe


We studied the natural history as well as the conservation status of the first-known population of Polygala balansae in Europe (Granada, SE Spain). In the study area, we located only one population occupying a small patch of 1920 m2, between 120 and 160 m a.s.l., with 246 mature individuals. The species is classified as Critically Endangered (CR), under the following criteria: severely fragmented, inferred continuous decline, small population size, and continuing decline inferred from the number mature individuals. The main threats over the population are: spreading subtropical tree-crops and encroachment of human settlements for tourist purposes, plus natural causes (drought, wild or human-mediated fire, limited dispersal, poor recruitment/ reproduction/regeneration, high juvenile mortality, low densities and restricted range). Finally, passive and active conservation measures are proposed in order to guarantee the survival of the species.

Annales Botanici Fennici
Blas M. Benito
Blas M. Benito
Staff Researcher