CARRERO, GLORYVEE1* and DUANE KOLTERMAN2. 1PO Box 3210, Lajas, PR 00667; 2University of PR, Mayaguez Campus, Dept. of Biology, PO Box 5000, Mayaguez, PR 00681. - Population ecology of the endangered Buxus vahlii Baillon (Buxaceae).
Buxus vahlii Baillon is an endangered plant species endemic to
Puerto Rico and St. Croix (USVI). There are five known populations,
three in Puerto Rico (Rincón, Isabela and Bayamón) and two in St.
Croix (Frederiksted and Christiansted). The populations status was
studied in order to provide information on the ecology of the species.
Data regarding associated vegetation and habitat was obtained at all
populations. Height, diameter and reproductive status were only
measured in Puerto Rico. The species showed the ability to adapt to
different environmental conditions. Such adaptations include
shrub-like growth in dry areas where it forms part of the understory
(Rincón, Frederiksted and Christiansted), but can also grow in a
tree-like form in high precipitation areas (Isabela and Bayamón).
Identified human impacts on the studied populations were: development
(Frederiksted), illegal immigrants and fires (Rincón), and rock
climbing and introduced species (Bayamón). The Isabela and
Christiansted populations were not human impacted since both
populations are located in places with poor accessibility. Hurricanes
impact was minimal for B. vahlii in the two studied populations
(Rincón and Isabela); therefore, this event should not be considered
as an imminent threat for the species. An actualization of the
management plan is suggested for reversing the decline of this species
and restore the populations to a stable, secure, and self-sustaining
Key words: Buxus vahlii, Puerto Rico, St. Croix