What future for balsamine sauvage ?


29-August-2011

Balsamine sauvageFew people, however, will have seen or tried to grow the endemic balsamine sauvage.  It has been the subject of various scientific studies into its propagation, especially through research by the Eden Project in UK.

It is a plant that appears to have always been rare on Mahé, growing in a very few isolated places in the Morne Seychellois National Park.  In 1995, some 200 plants were found growing in an isolated valley on Silhouette. 

This population of balsamine sauvage was studied by members of Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles (NPTS) in partnership with the Eden Project and other researchers.  Over the study period, the NPTS invested some R150,000 in the project, which has unfortunately been abruptly terminated before the problems for this endemic plant have been solved.

A recent paper by Dr Justin Gerlach, published in the open access journal “Conservation Evidence”, describes the research carried out and the difficulties of establishing the plant in other areas.  The future of this endemic plant probably lies in establishing other populations to protect it from insect and human predation. On Silhouette, the leaves have been removed, presumably for medicinal use.  The biggest threat however might be the encroachment into the forests of introduced dense shade trees like cinnamon, calice du pape and santol.
 
Contributed by Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles
 

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