Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Widdringtonia cedarbergensis
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Widdringtonia cedarbergensis
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 1998Endangered (EN)
- 1998Endangered (E)
Historical reports indicate that the species was formerly abundant within the Cedarberg Mountains, and that the first and most severe population decline occurred after European colonizers settled in the area in the late 18th century. The vegetation of the Cedarberg is very poor in tree species, and the Clanwilliam Cedar was heavily exploited for timber. In 1879 alone more than 7,000 trees were cut down for use as telephone poles (Andrag 1977). This overexploitation caused a significant population reduction, which is corroborated by the pollen record (Meadows and Sugden 1991). By 1883 no accessible trees of commercial value remained (Mustart 2008). Although it is not possible to quantify exactly the population reduction as a result of timber harvesting, it is suspected that harvesting caused an 80-90% reduction in the population.
Although timber harvesting has ceased, the population has never recovered: it would be impossible to find even a hundred telephone pole-sized trees in the Cedarberg today (Mustart 2008). Attempts to increase the population through seeding and introduction of ex situ grown plants have been largely unsuccessful.A synthesis of long-term monitoring data of trees in four permanent plots records a 94% population decline between 1977 and 2003 (Fox 2003). This decline has been attributed to too frequent and intense fires.
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