5. Honduras Rosewood
You can find the Honduras rosewood in Belize, Southern Mexico, and Guatemala. They are on the endangered list due to the heavy use of its lumber for various products. The timber produced with this wood is said to be some of the best but surprisingly, there isn’t too much information known about the tree. The wood that is taken from the tree is often of very high quality and the color is what really attracts people. The wood is usually a red purple color with streaks of black. The wood is so unique that people from all over vie to own some of it.
What’s the cause?
The timber made from the Honduras rosewood is highly valuable. A lot of this wood is used to create musical instruments such as guitars and various other stringed instruments. It is most used to create claves and xylophones due to the fact that the timber is said to be heavy and very durable which allows it to provide a very loud but clear note. Also, the wood is often used for carving. Sometimes you’ll even find that the wood is used as a covering for cabinets, knife handles, and even furniture. Sadly, a lot of these trees are being used, but there isn’t nearly as many of them being planted, so the population continues to decline. It’s said to be the worst in Belize where slash-and-burn agriculture is widely used.
To help build up the population again, the Ya’axché Conservation Trust (YCT), the Global Trees Campaign, and the Government of Belize’s Forest Department are all working together to plant Honduras rosewood in private forest reserves so that they can grow and begin to flourish again. The group hopes to plant about 7 tree seedlings per hectare.
4. Clanwilliam Cedar
Often characterized as a majestic tree, the clanwilliam cedar can be found throughout the Western Cape Province of South Africa, especially in the Cederberg Mountains. The trees are extremely tall, growing up to 82 feet in height and they like to take things slow: some of these trees can live to be up to 1,000 years old, and it takes almost 30 years for a tree to produce seeds. The tree has foliage that is needle-shaped and is close together. The foliage often produces small cones at the end of each small twig during the autumn months.
What’s the cause?
Like many other trees on this list, the Clanwilliam cedar is on the endangered list of trees because of the wide need for its timber. The timber that the tree provides is often used for building because it is rot-resistant, as well as for telegraph poles and even for furniture. The tree has been widely used since the 18th century, if not longer, especially by the Europeans. The trees have also slowly been taken over by fine bush vegetation, which often clogs up the habitat needed for a new tree to grow. Besides being used for timber, the tree is also prone to being in areas that are prone to wildfires. Many of these fires destroy the already existing trees and ruin those that have yet to even fully grow. In 2000, 200 hectares of the Clanwilliam cedar trees were burned because of a fire.
In the 20th century, logging of this tree was banned but the trees have not been able to make a strong recovery due to fires. A Cedar Reserve has been created to provide land that will allow the trees to thrive. The reserve also collects and plants seeds to encourage new growth. Photo: UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
3. African Baobab Tree
If you’ve ever seen The Lion King, you’ve seen a Baobab Tree. It’s the one Rafiki makes his home. The African Baobab tree is another on the list that has a long history. It is said that some of the trees in existence today have been around for at least 1,000 years. You will find these massive trees, often growing up to 82 feet in height, in the Blue Nile as well as Kordofan and Darfur. Not only is the African Baobab tall, its trunk is also pretty large, measuring in at an average of 32ft. in diameter but others can be as wide as 91 feet. The tree also has fruit, which is also seen in The Lion King, ranging from 3-17 inches that has a dry powdery pulp inside of it. The tree’s fruit is used for various things such as medicine and food.
What’s the cause?
The Baobab tree is on the endangered list for many reasons. For one, droughts within the tree’s habitat have caused them to not have enough water to grow properly. Also, these trees are often cut down so that people can use the trunks to store water in, which can hold about 2376 gallons of water. The fruit is also used for making porridge as well as the leaves, which can be used to make a salad. Some of these seeds are even eaten by elephants, but the elephants would be able to break the seed dormancy which will cause regeneration; however, the population of the elephant is also endangered. Because of all of this, many Baobab trees are used for multiple purposes which then cause the trees population to decline because no one is taking the time to replace the trees that were used.
To help regenerate the Baobab Tree, a group known as Practical Action has come about, which aims to save this species of tree before it’s too late. They collect and plant seeds, raise awareness, and encourage others to plant Baobab trees as well.
2. Dragon Tree
This tree probably has the coolest history on the list, but you’ll only find the Dragon Tree in Morocco, Madeira, the Cape Verde Islands, and on five of the seven Canary Islands. Tall and slender, the tree has prickly leaves with white-green flowers as well as brown berries that are recovered in a red sweet substance. The history behind this tree goes back for centuries. It is said that in Ancient Rome, the tree was used as a colorant that would cover iron tools. Many times the colorant was used as a varnish. The Dragon Tree also has history in various Greek myths. The most well known is one that tells the story of Hercules and the Apples of Hesperides. Landon, the hundred-headed dragon is killed, who was said to be the guardian of Hesperides so that Hercules could bring back the three golden apples. When the dragon was killed, it is said that various Dragon Trees sprung up from Landon’s blood, which then flowed across the land, causing more trees to grow. Though the tree has so much history, that history may soon be cut short due to the declining number in population.
What’s the cause?
In Cape Verde the Dragon Tree is considered endangered. However, Brava and Santiago, two places in Cape Verde, consider the tree to be extinct. Due to animals that eat the seedlings of the tree, such as goats, rats, and rabbits, it’s extremely hard for the tree to regenerate. Fires have also been a problem for these trees.
Sadly, there is no conservation of any sort for the Dragon Tree. Instead, various universities and scientists are attempting to cultivate the tree on their own. However, this doesn’t do much help for those trees that are living in the wild.
1. Bois Dentelle
The Bois Dentelle is a truly beautiful tree; sadly there are only two of these trees in existence today (both in Mauritius). This tree is not huge like others on this list; instead, the Bois Dentelle is pretty small, but the flowers that it provides are one of a kind. The flowers are in the shapes of a bell but the petals are lacy. Imagine a piece of cloth that is frayed at the end and you’ll see what these flowers look like. They are extremely distinct and only blossom between January and March. The white flowers hang off of long branches and are often in clusters.
What’s the cause?
No one is exactly sure why the Bois Dentelle has ended up on the endangered tree list. Research is ongoing to determine the tree’s decline to such a low number. Many believe that an alien invasive species, namely Litsea monopetala and Psidium cattleianum, are slowly taking over the Bois Dentelle’s habitat.
Thankfully the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Ministry of Agriculture Division of Horticulture have been able to graft the tree, keeping it from becoming totally extinct.