Field Survey of Dracaena Cinnabari Populations in Firmihin, Socotra Island: Methodology and Preliminary Results

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Between 2010 and 2011 a field survey dedicated to Dracaena cinnabari (DC) population was conducted in Firmihin, Socotra Island (Yemen). It’s main goal was to collect data that would make it possible to unbiasedly estimate main characteristics of the local DC population. Our motivation was to provide reliable information to support decision-making processes as well as other research activities. At the same time we were not aware of a survey which could provide this kind of statistical-sound estimates for the whole population covering an area of almost 700 ha.

This article describes how the survey has been planned and carried out in practice. In addition, we also provide a set of preliminary estimates of the main DC population figures - totals and per hectare densities of stems, overall and partitioned according to predicted crown age. Among estimated parameters there are also mean crown age and proportions of predefined age classes on the total number of living DC stems. These estimates provide an explicit information on age structure of the whole DC population in Firmihin.

Although we collected data on more than one hundred randomly located plots, the reported accuracy of our estimates is still rather limiting. We discuss several possibilities to obtain more accurate results or at least to approach the supposedly lower true variance that can’t be calculated by approximate techniques applied here.

The design and concept of our survey makes it possible to evaluate changes over time on stem by stem bases and to generalize these stem-level details to the whole population. Mortality, regeneration and even change of population’s mean crown age can be estimated from a future repeated survey, which would be extremely useful to draw firm conclusions about the dynamic of the whole DC population in Firmihin.

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