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In situ and ex situ conservation of two critically endangered Acer species

Acer yangbiense Y. S. Chen & Q. E.Yang (status: IUCN: CR B1 + 2b, c, e) belong to Aceraceae, endemic to China. It was discovered in 2002 and it is a very distinct species. According to Li Jianhua (, both nuclear and cp DNA sequences suggest that Acer caesium and A. yangbiense form a new section in genus Acer. Acer yangbiense is one of the most endangered trees in the world. Field surveys in 2002 / 2007 in Cangshan? mountains found only four isolated trees from one populations near a small village. Acer yangbiense naturally endangered by small? and isolated populations, parthenocarpy, inbreeding? depression and poor reproduction, habitat degradation and human cutting.

Four individuals are scattered in a valley in the western slope of Mt. Cangshan, Yangbi, northwestern Yunnan. There are only four trees growing near to a small village. Not any young trees were found in this area. These trees are also threatened by cutting down as fuels by local farmers. Therefore, it is urgent to propagate this species by sexual reproduction, asexual reproduction to increase its populaton size.


Acer leipoense W. P. Fang & T. P. Soong (status: IUCN: CR A2c) was discovered in 1966 and is endemic to Sichuan, China. Up to now, there are only four specimen records from Leibo, Mabian Tianquan and Baoxing. But several students from China and Japan have failed to find any one tree in the wild. Recently Mikinori Ogisu from Japan sent a specimen from Ebian county from Sichuan to me for determination. I was happy to realized it is really the mysterious Acer leipoense. Acer leipoense is the most closest relatives of Acer yangbiense in the maple family. So Acer leipoense is most possibly suffered from similar endangered reasons, such as small and isolated populations, parthenocarpy, inbreeding? depression and poor reproduction, habitat degradation and human cutting. We will try to find several wild populations of Acer leipoense and investigate their population size. Acer yangbiense and Acer leipoense are excellent ornamental trees.

type specimen of Acer leioenspe

The major objectives of this project are to ex situ conserve the critically endangered species Acer yangbiense in Kunming Botanical Garden, Beijing Botanical Garden; to ?in situ conserve Acer yangbiense in Cangshan Yangbi County, Yunnan and Cangshan National Nature Reserve; to search for wild populations of critically endangered species Acer leipoense and ex situ conserve it ?in West China Subalpine Botanical Garden of China, Institute of Botany, CAS in Sichuan and Beijing Botanical Garden; to research techniques for successful propagation of the two species; and to propagate the individuals of two species for their recovery and restoration.


Partner: Institute of Botany, CAS