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The widespread cycad Cycas pectinata was first discovered in the Bengal region by William Griffith in Baroiyadhala forest of Chattogram in 1838. In Bangladesh, this species is confined to a few hills at Baroiyadhala, Sitakunda upazila of Chattogram district. Though the Baroiyadhala forests were declared a national park in 2010, the loss of this native gymnosperm from this forest is alarming. The present study aimed to assess the status of C. pectinata populations in its native range, identify the drivers responsible for ongoing losses, and identify locations of C. pectinata occurrence in Baroiyadhala National Park suitable for in situ conservation. A random quadrat survey with 21 sample plots of 100 × 100 m was conducted during April–June 2018 in Baroiyadhala National Park. Population and growth data for C. pectinata were collected from each sample plot, along with observations of disturbances. Four focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with adjacent local people. The study revealed presence of 12 C. pectinata individuals per hectare and five seedlings per hectare in the study area, and significant numbers of dead and burned Cycas were also found in some sites. Based on density, five C. pectinata hotspots were identified for in situ conservation programs. Habitat destruction, indiscriminate fire, and unsustainable harvesting of leaves and male and female cones are responsible for rapid declines in C. pectinata populations in its wild habitat. Measures for protection and restoration of the species are creating awareness among the local people about ecological importance of this species; enhancing protection; banning trade of Cycas; creating opportunities of sustainable livelihood for local people to reduce dependency on forests.
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