This forest giant, also called the great tiger-nut tree (Duatadwe kese in the Akan language of Ghana), is only known from moist semi-deciduous forests of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
This tree is very rare, with only around 20 fragmented populations across both of its native countries, although its complete distribution is still not fully known. In 2019, nine previously unidentified individuals were discovered in Wurobong Forest Reserve in Ghana. Recent satellite image assessment revealed massive land-use changes in the areas where Aubregrinia taiensis had previously been recorded. A survey in 2019, recorded only 12 individuals in Ghana.
It is extremely rare and only known from a few localities. Although it is found within protected forest reserves they are still vulnerable from illegal logging and wildfires.
It has multiple important uses. Its leaves are used medicinally to treat skin infections. Its seeds are edible and are a valuable source of vitamin E. Local mountainous communities also plant the species to provide slope stability and to prevent landslides.
This species is faced with the threat of extinction if no urgent conservation actions are taken. The population is declining rapidly with no in-situ or ex-situ conservation measures being taken to secure its future. There is also need for further research on the phenology and seed propagation of this species, as A. taiensis is often mistaken with a close relative species, frustrating local conservation actions.
Saving this tree will also protect other threatened non-target fauna and flora within its habitat, such as the critically endangered Togo slippery frog and the endangered African teak tree. Furthermore, this species has the potential for high atmospheric carbon sequestration.
Funding will enable survey expeditions to ensure that any unknown populations are discovered. Work will continue with protected area managers to ensure that their protection is prioritised.
Research will be conducted to improve propagation success and seed storage longevity. Conservation collections will also be developed as an urgent security measure against future extinction.