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Predictive modelling for conservation prioritization of Androcymbium hierrense, an endangered species on a Biosphere Reserve (La Palma, Canary Islands)

Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera LA PALMA


Flix Manuel Medina1, Ral Fernndez2 & Juan Antonio Bermejo3 3 rea de Planificacin, Sanidad e Innovacin Tecnolgica Excmo. Cabildo Insular de La Palma Avda. Martima 34, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Email:

Unidad de Medio Ambiente, Cabildo Insular de La Palma, Avenida Los Indianos n 20 2 piso, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. E-mail: 2 Reserva Mundial de la Biosfera La Palma, Avenida Martima, 3, 38700 Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain. Email:

1) To study actual status and distribution of Androcymbium hierrensis on La Palma Island, an endangered species on a Biosphere Reserve. 2) To develop a predictive model to locate an appropriate zone on the island to introduce a new population for conservation programmes prioritization.

1) Distribution of species was carried out on the basis of previous information of its distribution (Mesa-Coello, 2002) and visiting the contiguous areas that presented potential habitats for the species. 2) Due to the high cover and height of vegetation (over 95% and 125 cm), the small size of the species (reached 15 cm height) and its cumpled distribution, census was performed following located transects of contiguous quadrats (Keith, 2000). 3) For the predictive modelling, we choose two analytical methods: a Geographic Information System (GIS) analytical method, to diagnose the ecological requirements of species; and a Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP), to provide an accurate assessment of the spatial distribution.

Figure 1. Androcymbium hierrense ssp. hierrense.

Figure 2. Detail of the habitat of Androcymbium hierrense.

Figure 3. Habitat and population of Androcymbium hierrensis destroyed by human activities.

Androcymbium hierrense (Santos 1983) is an endangered species of the Canarian archipelago. It is an herbaceous plant, a geophytes species with an annual vegetative cycle that spend the unfavourable period buried like tunicate corms; emerge in November and flower in February (Santos, 1997) (Fig. 1).

A. hierrense live in habits of basaltic soils, rocky places and soil with sandy texture in the open communities of xerophytic shrubs (Kleinio Euphorbietae canariensis, del Arco et al. 1999) found in the lowest parts of the island (Fig. 2).

The species is currently endangered by their habitat destruction and, for this reason, it is included in the Canary Endangered Species List. One of the best population of Androcymbium hierrensis on La Palma Island was affected by the construction of an rubbish dump (Fig 3).

PISOS BIOCLIMTICOS (Bioclimatic Belts)

Inframediterrneo Pluviestacional Seco Inframediterrneo Xrico Semirido inferior Inframediterrneo Xrico Semirido superior

9,9 31 59,1

USOS (Land use)

Erial (uncultivated) Cultivo (cultivation)

90,5 9,5

Five new localities of A. hierrense were found, being an increase in occupancy area for species of 200%, approximately (see maps on Figures 5 to 7). A total of 13773 plants were counted (mature = 4895, not reproductive = 4682, juvenile = 4110, and herbivory = 86). Species present a mean density of 0.22 0.02 (n = 1555) given a 95% confidence intervals of 7603-357126 mature plant for the entire population. In GIS analysis, layers of Androcymbium distribution, bioclimatic belts, vegetation, agriculture, geology and soil we used. Their intersection permit us to made a statistical analysis of Androcymbium distribution respect to the other thematic layers (Fig 4). This analysis gave us a specific values of habitat characteristics for this species (Table 1), which were use to calculate its potential distribution on La Palma Island based in the percentage of occupancy of species by thematic layer. Furthermore the analysis was developed using a simple algorithms, overlay (Fig.6) and sumarize (Fig.5), the data obtained in both maps were classified using Standard deviation method. The map of GARP analysis does not appear in this poster because we continue studying the adjustments of the algorithm


Cambisoles flvicos, leptosoles lticos y afloramientos Leptosoles y afloramientos rocosos Cambisoles esquelticos y leptosoles Regosoles Afloramientos rocosos

8,7 18,1 62,5 10,6 0,2

VEGETACIN (Vegetation)

Aeonietum palmensis Artemisio thusculae-Rumicetum lunariae Cenchro ciliaris-Hyparrhenietum sinaicae Complejo (Stereocauletum vesuviani, Cheilanthion, Echio breviramis-Euphorbietum balsamiferae Echio breviramis-Euphorbietum canariensis Euphorbio regis-jubae-Retametum rhodorhizoidis Euphorbio regis-jubae-Schizogynetum sericeae facies de Schizogyne Rhamno crenulatae-Hypericetum canariensis Rhamno crenulatae-Juniperetum canariensis

5,6 10,9 1,4 0,3 6,7 0,1 70,4 0,8 0,01 3,8

GEOLOGIA (Geology)

Aluvial (relleno de barrancos) Coladas baslticas Coladas baslticas (predominantes) Coluviones y depsitos de ladera Conos de piroclastos baslticos Parcelas sur (South area) Parcelas norte (Nort area)

3,4 81,4 4,2 2,1 8,9

Initially this analysis has been used to select an area where a population affected by the construction of an rubbish dump was transplanted. The results of the predictive maps obtained will be useful to looking for a new possible locations of distribution of A. hierrense on La Palma Island. In a future these predictive models will help us to propose areas for the introduction of new populations in the frame of the Recovery Plan of the A. hierrense


Entre 75 y 140 (Este-Sureste-Sur)

Entre 0 y 360


Entre 20 y 30

Entre 20 a 50

Table 1. Percentage of occupancy of species by thematic layer

Figure 4. Intersect method for the predictive modelling with GIS.

Figure 7. GARP Method for the predictive modelling

del Arco, M., Acebes, J. R., Prez de Paz, P. L., Marrero, M. C. 1999. Bioclimatology and climatophilus vegetation of Hierro (part 2) and La Palma (Canary Islands). Phytocoenologia 29, 253-290. Keith, D. A. 2000. Sampling designs, field techniques and analytical methods for systematic plant population surveys. Ecological Management and Restoration 1(2): 125-139. Mesa-Coello, R. 2002. Seguimiento de poblaciones de especies amenazadas 2002: Androcymbium hierrense A. Santos ssp. hierrense La Palma. Consejera de Poltica Territorial y Medio Ambiente del Gobierno de Canarias. Unpublished report. Santos, A. 1977. Androcymbium hierrensis spec. nova para la flora canaria. II Congresso Internacional pro Flora pp. 53-59. (Funchal).

Figure 5. GIS Predictive Modelling (by Sumarize)

Figure 6. GIS Predictive Modelling (by Overlay)

3rd Biennial Conference of IBS: 9-13 January 2007