A tropical tree discovered in the Ebo forest in Cameroon, He was baptized with the name of actor Leonardo DiCaprio, as a tribute to his fiery commitment to preserving the jungle and ecology. The announcement was formally made on Thursday by scientists at Kew British Botanic Garden.
Researchers at Kew, a huge facility in west London, and their collaborators from around the world officially named more than 200 new species of plants and fungi.
Among these species, ranging from a tobacco plant with deadly characteristics to a beautiful orchid that grows in total darkness, is the picturesque Uvariopsis Dicaprio.
Tall and flowery
This tree about four meters high with a trunk adorned with large greenish-yellow flowers It was discovered in the Ebo forest, located north of Douala, considered the economic capital of Cameroon.
The botanical species was named after the actor, who in 2020 joined the conservation organization Re: wild to avoid felling more than 68,000 hectares of forest that were to be used for timber production.
After the protest led by the committed Hollywood actor, the Cameroonian government eventually overturned this decision. The debate took place in August 2020 and the decision was a huge satisfaction for environmentalists who had argued their protest in the presence of endangered primates of extinction in this virgin forest.
A unique species
“We greatly appreciate the support that Leo gave us in the campaign to protect Ebo last year, so it seemed appropriate to honor him in this way, giving his name to a truly unique species of this forest,” explained Dr. Martin Cheek., Principal Investigator for Kew’s Africa team.
“If the logging concession had gone ahead, we probably would have lost this species because of the logging and slash-and-burn agriculture that often follows logging concessions, “he added.
But Uvariopsis Dicaprio, in his unique condition, already is considered critically endangered because the forest where it is located continues to be threatened not only by logging, but by open-pit mining and the conversion of the land into plantations.
In “Don’t Look Up,” DiCaprio plays a scientist who warns of the danger of a meteorite that would destroy life on earth. Photo Niko Tavernise / Netflix via AP
Of African stock
Uvariopsis is a genus of plants belonging to the Annonaceae family. It has 17 species and they are exclusively native to tropical Africa.
The Ebo forest area is a highly threatened center of diversity in the littoral region of Cameroon. Its global importance lies in the existence of 68 endangered plant species.
“Until a species has a scientific name, assessing its risk of extinction is almost impossible, making it incredibly difficult to protect against extinction and research its properties,” the British Botanic Garden said in a statement.
Several species on the 2021 list are already considered endangered due to threats to their natural habitat and it is believed that three may have already become extinct.
Source AP Agency
Reference from clarin