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Title: Towards sustainable management of Lodoicea maldivica (Gmelin) persoon
Author: Fleischer-Dogley, Frauke
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 7746
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2006
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The islands of the Seychelles, lying in the Indian Ocean 1 800 km south of Sri Lanka and ca. 1500 km east of Africa, are of exceptional biological interest. ~o of the granitic islands, namely Praslin and Curieuse, are home to the plant producing the biggest seed in the plant kingdom, the Lodoicea maldivica (Gmelin) Persoon (Arecaceae). Not only is the seed harvested for sale to tourists, but the sites where it grows are important visitor destinations. The long life cycle and lack of demographic data are major impediments in the present management of the species. Historical information is scattered and to establish baseline information is one key challenge. The few scientific studies undertaken in the past were limited to one population which was automatically identified to be representative without testing this hypothesis. The collation of historical information demanded an in depth research in two archives in Seychelles. All available Annual Reports of the Department of Agriculture from 1884 to 1971 were reviewed and analysed for information related to Lodoicea. In addition reports of visiting scientists and foresters were also reviewed, as much as all locally available historical unpublished reports. Besides the analysis of historical documents, several interviews with retired forestry personnel were carried out. It can be stated that historical information on the size, structure, productivity and health of Lodoicea populations is scattered and incomplete. The historical information collated can not be used to answer the two main questions: have the size and structure of populations been stable or increasing and did the rate of harvesting allow adequate recruitment or not? Also the success of past efforts in restoring and rehabilitating populations can not be evaluated for the same reasons. As a result clear baseline information could not be established. To evaluate the demography and health of the three main populations (vallee de Mai and Fond Ferdinand on Praslin and one population on Curieuse) two survey methods were applied permanent sample plots and trail transects. The combination of the two methods proved to be an effective sampling compromise. The data collected indicate that there is a considerable difference in the growth and appearance of Lodoicea growing on Praslin and Curieuse. The significance of the difference observed in this study needs further research. In addition the data suggest that the population structure of the Lodoicea population on Curieuse is much more natural than in the other two sites. Since the Lodoicea forests on Curieuse differs in structure and appearance ~om the more intensively studied site, the Vallee de Mai, it is concluded that low stature forests represent a part of the natural variation of Lodoicea forest that has been neglected. It is recommended to extend the existing monitoring scheme and include the Curieuse and Fond Ferdinand forests. Besides the survey work eight data collection protocols were developed. There are several agencies involved in the management of the three main populations. The capacity of the management teams in conservation management differs greatly. These protocols are intended to ensure that the data collected by different surveyors as well as collected in the three different populations are comparable in future. The first legal protection considering the Lodoicea was announced by the government in 1979. The Coco de Mer (Management) Decree, was developed as management tool and the nut was declared as a licensable product. A review of the decree was initiated and the findings and recommendation are presented. In the past all main populations were under the direct management of the state. This has changed and the three organisations involved differ in missions and objectives. Consequently the different management practices are analysed and gaps identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available