Laelia lobata (Lindl.) H.J. Veitch is among the 24 endangered orchid species of Rio de Janeiro city. This species, endemic to Rio de Janeiro state mountains, was known to occur only at the top of the most-visited mountains in town, on Pão de Açucar rock and Pedra da Gávea rock. Today the Pão de Açucar rock population may well be extinct because of over-collecting practices, but some plants can still be found at Pedra da Gávea rock, in spite of past over-collecting at the site. Currently the CORES (Coastal Orchid Restoration) Project has adopted a conservation strategy that covers both ex-situ and in-situ conservation of the species. Following the action plan for conservation, developed by the IUCN Orchid Specialist Group, the project has three objectives: (1) Determine the conservation status of Laelia lobata, analyzing population demography, floral biology, and population genetics of three samples (Pão de Açucar rock, Pedra da Gávea rock, and ex-situ propagates); (2) Micro-propagate this species using symbiotic and asymbiotic germination of seeds; and (3) Educate climbers on the need to preserve the orchid's native habitat on the two hills. Reintroduction will be attempted only if necessary. By pursuing these objectives, we attempt to achieve the main purpose of the project, which is to remove Laelia lobata from the Red List of endangered orchids.
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