Locals are helping to save the coco de mer, a much-loved cultural and botanical icon of Seychelles, in a new planting scheme.
The coco de mer, also known as the sea coconut or double coconut, is endemic to the Seychelles islands and is known to produce the largest and heaviest seeds in the world. It only grows wild on two islands, making it a rare palm.
The coco de mer palm can take up to 50 years to reach sexual maturity and has an extremely slow growth rate. Those conditions coupled with a pre-COVID-19 thriving black market for its shells contribute to its endangered status.
Conservationists have turned to the islanders to help secure the palm’s future through a planting scheme launched last summer. Residents were invited to apply for permission to plant up to five coco de mer seeds each on their property.
“Having a coco de mer plant growing on their property gives Seychellois shared ownership of the species,” said Dr Frauke Fleischer-Dogley, chief executive of the non-profit organisation Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF), which launched the scheme in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment (MACCE) to the Guardian.
“We reasoned that if we give away viable nuts in a planned manner, then the incentive for stealing them is not there.”
To read the original story, click here.