Aloe Conservation

According to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) Checklist, there are over 450 species in the genus Aloe.

These succulent plants contribute significantly to the plant life of many countries on the continent of Africa and although they almost never dominate their native landscapes, they are represented in nearly all the vegetation types with the exception of the wet tropical forests.

Aloe flexilifolia – critically endangered

Aloes are also found on the islands of Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Reunion and Comoros as well as the Middle Eastern countries of Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Aloes are faced with many of the same threats that affect biodiversity worldwide: agricultural and livestock activities, mining and hydroelectric projects (and their associated road building), urban expansion, competition from invasive and exotic plants, and harvesting and collecting for medicinal and economic uses (including as ornamentals).

When harvested responsibly, aloe species are not greatly endangered, but local populations can be adversely affected. Many African nations have plant conservation plans and protection laws for aloes and other plants, but they go largely unimplemented and unregulated.

All aloe species are included on CITES Appendices, with 5 species on Appendix I, which includes species threatened with extinction; trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.

All others are on Appendix II, which includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.

Fortunately, the genus is well represented in ex situ collections with 88% of all aloe taxa in three gardens in South Africa alone (at the Kirstenbosch, Karoo, and Pretoria National Botanical Gardens.)