IUCN Red List assessment of the Cape Verde endemic flora: towards a global strategy for plant conservation in Macaronesia.
We review the conservation status and threats to the endemic vascular flora of the Cape Verde islands, mostly based on the past two decades of collecting, literature review and herbarium specimens. The application of IUCN Red List criteria and categories using RAMAS software reveals that 78% of the endemic plants are threatened (29.3% Critically Endangered, 41.3% Endangered, 7.6% Vulnerable). Most of these endemics have a limited geographical range, and half of them have Areas of Occupancy and Extents of Occurrence of <20 and 200 km2, respectively. Our data show that, over the last two decades, the Cape Verde vascular plants have become more threatened and their conservation status has declined, mostly as a consequence of the increase in exotic species, habitat degradation and human disturbance. This paper presents the first comprehensive IUCN Red List data review for the plants endemic to Cape Verde, thus providing an important step towards the recognition and conservation of its threatened endemic flora at the national and global level. It also fills a knowledge gap, as it represents the first thorough assessment of the conservation status of the entire endemic flora of a Macaronesian archipelago.