Saving the Calendula maritima
Calendula maritima Guss. is endemic to Sicily. It it is a beautiful plant with bright yellow flowers. It is found in the west of the island in the area around Trapani, just off the beaches, which are rich in the nitrogen produced during the decomposition of seaweed.
But it is now in grave danger of extinction!
It is in fact listed in the "Top 50 endangered plants in the Mediterranean islands", published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Urbanisation (car pollution), waste dumping and the presence of an invasive exotic plant (Carpobrotus edulis) are the main causes for the extinction of Calendula maritima.
In order to continue its mission to protect botanical heritage, the Klorane Botanical Foundation went to Sicily in February 2012 to take part in the programme to save this plant, in partnership with the IUCN, the National Botanical Conservatoire of Brest and local players (National Research Centre, University of Palermo, and local authorities).
During this meeting, a partnership agreement between the Klorane Botanical Foundation and the National Research Centre was signed.
What is the programme about?
- Population study on their sites: phytosociological and demographic studies, scientific follow-up, etc.
- Conservation of existing populations of Calendula maritima via ecological and pastoral rehabilitation in the form of micro-reserves.
- Seed collection from protected sites with a view to studying them.
- Multiplication of the species in botanical gardens to reinforce existing populations.
Finally, in order to take action in its objective to educate, the Klorane Botanical Foundation, in association with the Italian affiliate, is developing a learning component to raise awareness among the general public and in schools about the sustainable protection of plants in their ecosystem.
For selected schools in the region, a full programme is planned for 2012/2013: Class presentations by a botanist to explain the importance of biodiversity and the threat of extinction which weighs on the Calendula maritima, ground cleaning campaigns, seed planting in classrooms and the reintroduction of plants in their natural habitats.