Palma manaca making steady progress
Palma manaca, (Calyptronoma rivalis) is a threatened species listed in 1990 primarily due to habitat destruction and modification and natural factors. This palm is native to the northern karst of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Since 2009, the USFWS, PR Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and Envirosurvey Inc. joined forces in a cooperative agreement to promote the recovery of this threatened palm. As of December 2012, we have two signed agreements with private landowners to protect natural populations of this palm as well as manage, restore and enhance it’s habitat with a commitment of at least 10 years. At the moment we have identified over two hundred palma manacas and counted more than 5,000 seedlings in natural populations located in San Sebastian, Camuy and Hatillo.
Some of the management practices implemented as part of this project include installing fences to keep livestock at least 5 meters away from both sides of the river; removing non-natural debris like scrap metal and solid waste deposited near the steams; planting other native trees to restore and enhance the natural habitat and adjacent forests, and installing signs to give information about the palma manaca and warn about the penalties of harming this listed palm.
USFWS biologists collected some overflow of palma manaca seeds to propagate and enhance the existing populations as well as introduce them to protected areas as commonwealth forests. We planted over 135 individuals in Rio Abajo Commonwealth Forest on October, 2012.In the past three years, we have gathered information that gives us a current population estimate, a current status of the palma manaca population and a baseline to continue long term monitoring. All these efforts combined, places us forward in the recovery of the species and our ability to enhance its habitat with the help of our partners.