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Ecology and conservation of the endangered quillwort Isoetes sinensis in China

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:J. - Y. Wang, Gituru, R. W., Wang, Q. - F.
Journal:Journal of Natural History
Pagination:4069 - 4079
Date Published:2006///
Keywords:China, Conservation, Ecology, Isoetes sinensis, Rare fern

Isoetes sinensis Palmer is an East Asia endemic fern that faces impending extirpation from the expansive area of Mainland China. Presently, only two natural populations are known to exist in this vast region. Both populations have decreased by about 50% within the last 4 years. This reduction is most probably related to the decline in the size of the wetlands since reproductive activity, spore production, and recruitment were noticeably lower at the microsites occurring in smaller ponds. The decline in population size seems to be associated with succession from marsh to dry land at the habitats of both populations. The study revealed that individuals in both populations produced copious numbers of spores suggesting adequate fecundity, furthermore high levels of spore germination were obtained in laboratory experiments. However, inefficient spore dispersal appears to have contributed to the limited spread of the species. The sex ratio in both populations was male-biased. Several factors are identified here as posing a threat to Isoetes sinensis populations in China, chiefly the loss of habitat due to infrastructure construction and competition with adventive weed species for establishment on available sites. Disturbance by introduced mammals during browsing and trampling by livestock farm workers, as well as tourists, further contribute to the diminishing numbers of Isoetes sinensis at the study sites. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.

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