Conserving Threatened Plants

Topics: Plant, IUCN Red List, Endangered species Pages: 15 (4731 words) Published: June 25, 2013
Bangladesh J. Plant Taxon. 18(1): 81-91, 2011 (June) © 2011 Bangladesh Association of Plant Taxonomists

- Review paper

CONSERVING THREATENED PLANTS OF BANGLADESH: MILES TO GO BEFORE WE START? HASEEB MD. IRFANULLAH1 Practical Action, Bangladesh Country Office, House 12/B, Road 4, Dhanmondi R/A, Dhaka 1205, Bangladesh Keywords: Angiosperm; Biodiversity; Convention on Biological Diversity; Red Data Book; Red List; Vascular plants.

Abstract
In the light of important developments in biodiversity conservation in the global and national arenas over the last decade (2001-2010), this paper appraises the progress in identifying threatened vascular plant species of Bangladesh as a primary step of species diversity conservation. It is argued that, as per the IUCN Red List categories and the Volume 1 of ‘Red Data Book of Vascular Plants of Bangladesh’ published in 2001, only four angiosperm species are threatened (1 Critically Endangered (CR), 1 Endangered (EN), 2 Vulnerable (VU)) in Bangladesh, not 106 vascular species. This account also records that, accordingly to the ‘Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh’ (20072009; Volumes 5-12), 36 pteridophyte species (all VU; 18.46% of 195 recorded species), 1 gymnosperm species (EN; 14.29% of 7 species), and 449 angiosperm species (30 CR, 126 EN, 293 VU; 12.43% of 3,611 recorded species) are threatened in the country. The paper discusses and explores the importance, limitations and opportunities for red listing of threatened plants of Bangladesh. This account further advocates for a well-planned initiative to effectively complete the Red List of threatened plant species of the country by considering appropriate, established, updated assessment methods; following collaborative approach; and capitalizing on the progress made so far. Such steps may subsequently contribute to the species diversity conservation endeavours in Bangladesh.

Introduction The year 2001 is a significant year for plant conservation in Bangladesh. This year saw the first-ever Red Data Book on threatened plant species of the country, listing out 106 vascular plant species, published by the Bangladesh National Herbarium (Khan et al., 2001). The purpose of this book was to initiate appropriate identification of threatened vascular plants of the country (pteridophytes, gymnosperms and angiosperms), so that their conservation status (IUCN Red List categories) is understood with existing conservation measures and future conservation measures can be suggested. Since the publication of this milestone book, a number of significant events happened – globally and nationally – in the field of biodiversity conservation. Internationally, in 2002, the ‘2010 Biodiversity Target’ was set out in the 6th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD COP 6) in Hague, Netherlands (CBD, 2007). 1

E-mail: hmirfanullah@yahoo.co.uk

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In the same year, the Target was endorsed by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in 2005 by the UN World Summit (Countdown 2010). The year 2010 has been the ‘International Year of Biodiversity’ – declared by the United Nations. In October of this year, the CBD COP 10 was held in Nagoya, Japan where some important decisions were taken by the Country Parties on conserving biodiversity. One of these is a revised Strategic Plan with 20 targets under five strategic goals to significantly reduce the current biodiversity loss by 2020 (CBD, 2010). The Target 12 is directly related to threatened species: “By 2020 the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained”. Nationally, the Government of Bangladesh prepared the ‘National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)’ (MoEF, 2006) as its commitment to the CBD. The Asiatic Society of Bangladesh published 28 volumes of ‘Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of...

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(Manuscript received on 27 November 2010; revised on 4 April 2011)
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