Towards the conservation of bishop bonnet: Astrophytum

Towards the conservation of bishop bonnet: Astrophytum myriostigma
Donají López Flores*, María del Carmen Mandujano, Jordan
Institución u organización de procedencia:
Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana - Unidad Xochimilco, (UAM-X). Instituto de
Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Mainly due to its ornamental value, the Cactaceae family has undergone massive
collection and illegal trade, especially those species that occur in the Chihuahuan
Desert (Robbins 2003). Astrophytum myriostigma, who inhabits this desert and is
endemic to Mexico, besides the overcollection, has faced disturbance of its habitat,
which has affected the size of its populations. The species is classified as "threatened"
under the Mexican Legislation (NOM-059-SEMARNAT-2010), and listed on Appendix II
of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES). In order to assess the current status of two populations of A. myriostigma in
San Luis Potosi, and its implications for conservation, demography through population
projection matrices was analyzed, the degree of habitat disturbance was assessed,
and were conducted numerical simulations on the matrices, to evaluate possible
means of conserving. The rate of population growth (λ) at Rioverde is in numerical
equilibrium (λ=0.989, CI=0.975-1.014), while Pozas de Santa Ana is declining
(λ=0.886, CI=0.870-942), in addition to having a higher degree of habitat disturbance
than Rioverde. The numerical simulations showed that the establishment is the most
important demographic process for conservation of this species. In addition, the values
of λ increased, provided that the mortality of individuals decreases almost 100%, when
simulating a protection of adults of larger size, which are affected by external factors
such as goats and illegal collection. Additionally, a population management through
use of seeds appears to be a viable conservation strategy, carrying out ex situ
propagation and reintroductions to the wild.