Saving an Endangered Palm: The Case of Carpoxylon

(page 4)

Even though the enterprise has not, to date, produced profits to finance conservation activities, there has been considerable impact on the conservation of Carpoxylon through the nature of business development alone:

  • Local sales promotions, such as participation in National Environment Week, articles in the local paper and talks with local organisations such as women’s clubs, Kiwanis, etc. have increased the awareness of the rarity of the palm and the importance of saving it in Vanuatu. Plantings by individuals in both rural and urban areas has been encouraging. The Port Vila Town Council purchased over 200 juveniles and planted them along roadsides and in front of the nation’s parliament house. Other local entrepreneurs have started nurseries to market the palm locally as a houseplant and garden plant. There is a definite notice of national pride in conserving and promoting a rare palm unique to Vanuatu.
  • IPP has donated to the Vanuatu Environment Unit extra Carpoxylon macrospermum seeds that cannot be sold so that the seeds can be planted in a conservation area.
  • Overseas collectors have become aware of the existence of Carpoxylon macrospermum and have requested seeds for their collections. Carpoxylon palms are now being grown in the USA, Thailand, New Caledonia, Australia, UK, Germany, Venezuela, South Africa and Fiji. With the quantity of seeds and seedlings sold and planted to date, the world population of this palm has already increased significantly to expand the chances for species survival.
  • The government of Vanuatu has included information about the palm in the education materials produced by the Environment Unit and the Education Department, and has become actively involved in its cultivation through germination trials at the Agriculture Department’s experimental station. They are active members of the Conservation Committee established by FSP/Vanuatu and will be partners in the design and implementation of the conservation strategy.
  • Interest and skills in seed collection and preservation and nursery development has developed in Vanuatu among resource owners and other entrepreneurs, not only for palms, but for other plants that may have an economic horticulture value as well.
  • Funding has recently been obtained from the New Zealand High Commission to undertake community education and seed collection on the islands of Tanna and Aneityum.

For more information about Carpoxylon palms, conservation efforts, or Island Palm Products, contact Cathy Clarkin, General Manager, Island Conservation Initiatives, PO Box 951, Port Vila, Vanuatu, South West Pacific, tel. +678-22915, fax +678-24510, e-mail homepage

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