We studied the natural history as well as the conservation status of the first-known population of Polygala balansae in Europe (Granada, SE Spain). In the study area, we located only one population occupying a small patch of 1920 m2, between 120 and 160 m a.s.l., with 246 mature individuals. The species is classified as Critically Endangered (CR), under the following criteria: severely fragmented, inferred continuous decline, small population size, and continuing decline inferred from the number mature individuals. The main threats over the population are: spreading subtropical tree-crops and encroachment of human settlements for tourist purposes, plus natural causes (drought, wild or human-mediated fire, limited dispersal, poor recruitment/ reproduction/regeneration, high juvenile mortality, low densities and restricted range). Finally, passive and active conservation measures are proposed in order to guarantee the survival of the species.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1