A tree thought to be extinct has been rediscovered in Brazil in an “incredible discovery”.
Scientists said they discovered the tree, which had not been seen for almost 200 years, in an urban area of Igarassu, in northeastern Brazil, according to the Belgian media outlet. Brussels weather reported.
The tree, called the Ilex sapiiforme also known as the Pernambuco holly, was first recorded in 1838 and, until recently, was the only confirmed sighting. However, scientists, part of a project supported by conservation group Re:wild, discovered it once again after a six-day expedition.
“Pernambuco holly is in our top 25 most wanted lost species. It is the 9th of our most wanted lost species to be rediscovered since our search for lost species launched in 2017,” said the conservation group in a post on Instagram.
Scientists have discovered a total of four Ilex sapiiforme growing on the banks of a river in the region. To find the tree, the team followed a trail of white flowers blooming from this particular species.
“It seemed like the world had stopped turning. Nature surprises us. Finding a species that we haven’t heard of for almost two centuries doesn’t happen every day. It was an incredible moment,” said Juliana Alencar, member of the project team. in a report.
This was an unexpected discovery, not only because of the rarity of the trees, but also because of the urban area in which they were found.
Christina Biggs, manager of Re:wild’s lost species program, said in a statement that discovering it in such an area was truly incredible.
Biggs added that, just like animals, trees are essential to surrounding ecosystems, meaning this discovery represents a real breakthrough. “This tree is a perfect example of why it’s important to keep looking,” she said.
“The place where the team discovered the tree was once dense Atlantic rainforest, but is now mostly urban areas surrounded and interspersed with sugar cane plantations. By the 1980s, less “5% of the Southeast Atlantic Forest remained intact and what remains is very fragmented,” Re:wild said on Instagram.
The next step will be for scientists to develop a breeding program for this tree, which will allow it to spread and expand its range. Brussels weather reported.
“The search for other Pernambuco hollies is not yet complete! The team hopes to organize additional searches with other local partners to find more individuals of the species. The goal is to collaborate with partners to better protect the forests where the Pernambuco holly is found. was found and established a captive breeding program for the tree,” Re:wild said.
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