Journal of
Ecology and The Natural Environment

  • Abbreviation: J. Ecol. Nat. Environ.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9847
  • DOI: 10.5897/JENE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 408


Threats and conservation strategies for the African cherry (Prunus africana) in its natural range- A review

Luke Jimu
Department of Environmental Science, Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), P. Bag 1020, Bindura, Zimbabwe
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 31 January 2011
  •  Published: 30 April 2011


The world’s Prunus africana bark demand used to be satisfied by exports, approximately 4000 tonnes per year from a few African countries, led by Cameroon exporting 62%, Madagascar, 20% and Uganda and Equatorial Guinea, 7% each. This coupled with unsustainable bark harvesting methods created pressure on the natural resource which suffered population decline and resulted in the species listing in Appendix II of CITES and EU’s bark export ban. In other range countries where no commercial harvesting has taken place, the species is under threat from other anthropogenic threats which include local use, deforestation and habitat fragmentation which is affecting populations in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as Cameroon, Uganda and Equatorial Guinea. Wildfires burn P. africana seedlings, saplings and mature trees throughout the species’ range every year. Invasive alien species have mainly affected P. africanapopulations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Climate change is projected to affect populations in southern Africa and Madagascar than those in East and West Africa. The fact that the threats vary or are common among countries calls for different or similar P. africana conservation strategies respectively. Strategies may vary from country to country or region to region depending on the type and magnitude of threats. These strategies include in situ, circa situ and ex situ conservation. In this paper, the various threats to P. africana populations across the species’ natural range are investigated together with the conservation strategies which can be put in place to ensure sustainability.


Key words: Threat, climate change, habitat fragmentation, endangered species, conservation strategies, commercial harvesting, forest management, international regulation.