Phytotherapy and Polycyclic Logging: Implication on Genetic Multiplicity and Diversity of African Mahogany in Tropical Rainforest
There are over 8,000 globally threatened tree species. For each species, there is a different story behind why they are threatened and what values we stand to lose if we do not find the means to save them. Mahogany, a member of Meliaceae, is a small genus with six species. Its straight, fine and even grain, consistency in density and hardness makes it a high valued wood for construction purposes. The bitter bark is widely used in traditional medicine in Africa. The high demand for bark has also led to the total stripping of some trees, complete felling of larger trees to get the bark from the entire length of the tree and bark removal from juvenile trees. These species are now threatened with extinction due to selective and polycyclic logging, and also excessive bark removal. The natural regeneration of mahogany is poor, and mahogany shoot borer Hypsipyla robusta (Moore) attacks prevent the success of plantations within the native area in West Africa. In developing countries, most of the Khaya species exists in the wild state; therefore, the regeneration and long-term conservation are at the mercy of the vagaries of nature and the profit driven herb collectors and timber merchants. It becomes urgently necessary by government of developing countries to place ban on further harvesting of mahogany species to allow the remaining few trees of mahogany in the forest to recuperate and produce substantial seeds for regeneration.
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