Name: Mulanje Cedar (Widdringtonia whytei)
Status: At the brink of extinction, this species of cypress is confined to Mount Mulanje, a 9,852-foot-tall massif in southern Malawi, where only a small stand of the trees survives.
Threats: Mulanje Cedars are known for their sweet- smelling and, more important , termite-resistant timber, which has been used in the construction of door and window frames, as well as local arts and crafts. In 2007, it became illegal to fell the cedars, which typically grow to a height of about 150 feet at altitudes upwards of 6,500 feet. Yet a black market for the wood persists.
Impact: The decline of the species—Malawi’s national tree—is a tough financial blow to Malawi, one of the world’s least-developed countries.
Learn more about Mulanje Cedars at the Encyclopedia of Life.