Catalina Island mountain-mahogany

1982 CECatalina Island

"Catalina Island mountain-mahogany is an evergreen tree or shrub in the rose family (Rosaceae) that grows up to 15 feet tall and has dark green, leathery leaves that are hairy on the bottom . . . Catalina Island mountain-mahogany was once abundant on Catalina Island, but grazing pressures from introduced herbivores resulted in a decline of seedling survivorship and adult reproductive success. Grazers such as goats, mule deer, and pigs contributed to the decrease in population numbers and led Catalina Island mountain-mahogany to be named one of the rarest shrubs in North America. At the time it was listed in 1982, less than ten pure individuals of Catalina Island mountain-mahogany were known to exist. A population this small is vulnerable to natural catastrophes such as fire and landslides. Fencing installed in 1999 by the Catalina Island Conservancy greatly reduced grazing pressures of introduced herbivores and allowed some successful seedling establishment." Though still considered endangered, the Catalina Island mountain-mahogany has been given a chance to rebound from the brink of extinction, offering hope for the preservation of this rare species.

"Catalina Island Mountain-Mahogany, Cercocarpus traskiae," California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Image: John Rusk via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 DEED Attribution 2.0 Generic