Haiti: Conservationists rediscover magnolia tree in forest. It was lost for 97 years

Haiti: Conservationists rediscover magnolia tree in forest. It was lost for 97 years

Spread across the island of Hispaniola, they hope to use their experience to help local communities contribute to restoration efforts.

Conservationists have found a native magnolia in Haiti. This species of plant was lost to science for over nine decades. It is after 97 years that the magnolia species has been discovered, the original habitat of which was destroyed due to deforestation.

This species is known for its pure white flowers and uniquely shaped leaves. Originally found in the forest of Morne Colombo and also known as magnolia emarginata, this tree was considered endangered and featured on the International Union for conservation of nature’s red list of threatened species.

With this recent discovery, a new ray of hope has sparked for the conservation of forests in Haiti. Haiti is a Caribbean country and due to a decline in forest space, only 1 % of the country’s original forest remained. In fact, the indigenous plants in the country are now limited to inaccessible mountains or ravines. In such a situation, this rediscovery could help in saving the habitat of the country.

A team from the Haiti National Trust travelled to Massif du Nord, Haiti’s longest mountain range, in search of this plant species. The primary reason behind this search was that this particular species could survive in an elevated environment. It was after three days of the expedition that the team spotted one tree and has discovered sixteen flowering trees at various stages of development. In fact, there are plants that are in the very early phase of their growth.

This discovery has instilled hope among scientists that more species can be found and conserved in the area. In fact, the Haiti National Trust has cultivated four other native magnolia types.

Haiti: Conservationists rediscover magnolia tree in forest. It was lost for 97 years
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Spread across the island of Hispaniola, they hope to use their experience to help local communities contribute to restoration efforts. Further, they aim to start a nursery.

Such discoveries are crucial for environment conservation and Eladio Fernández, leader of the expedition for the Haiti National Trust shared that the discovery of this once-lost species has instilled hope and optimism for the future.

He said: "Despite the bleak state of the country’s degraded forests, it still harbours species like this that are found nowhere else in the world, giving us the opportunity to save them."

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