Chloraea is a diverse orchid genus with many endemic Chilean species. Many of those species have conservation problems, and the status of their populations is unknown. Chloraea disoides Lindl. is a Critically Endangered species endemic to Chile with a narrow distribution, and many of its registered populations are located in highly disturbed sites. The restricted distribution, the increasing anthropic disturbances, and global change could lead to the rapid extinction of C. disoides. Our work aims to characterize actual populations (in Valparaíso and one in Angol), design an index to determine the conservation status of these populations, and study the potential impact that the reduction in precipitations could have on the distribution of this species, as predicted by climate change models. Using herbarium data and field collections, we registered the populations of C. disoides present in Chile and modeled the potential distribution of the species using computer models based on climatic variables. We also characterized two populations at the two ends of its distribution (Valparaíso in the north and Angol in the south). The predictive model resulted in a very narrow potential distribution for the species, superposing known populations. Some of the historical populations are now urbanized areas. Valparaíso (northern) populations presented a very low density of C. disoides individuals. Both studied populations were highly disturbed with evidence of cattle damage and human influence. Chloraea disoides is seriously threatened by anthropogenic disturbances, especially since its distribution is very narrow and the species is not well represented in protected areas. Conservation initiatives should include protection of some of the natural populations and ex situ reproduction/propagation using fungal isolates.
- Chilean orchids
- Conservation status
- Critically endangered species
- Modeled distribution