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Mimusops sechellarum

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA EBENALES SAPOTACEAE

Scientific Name: Mimusops sechellarum
Species Authority: (Oliv.) Hemsl.
Synonym(s):
Imbricaria decipiens Hemsl. ex Diels
Imbricaria sechellarum Oliv.
Mimusops decipiens Hemsl.
Mimusops thomassettii Hemsl.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2007-02-01
Assessor(s): Ismail, S., Huber, M.J. & Mougal, J.
Reviewer(s): Gibbs, D. & Lutz, M.L.
Justification:
Mimusops sechellarum is endemic to the Seychelles, where it has a restricted geographic range. The extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) are less than 217 km² and less than 500 km² respectively. However, there is no evidence of a continuing decline in the habitat, range or population. The total population is estimated to be between 2,500 and 10,000 mature individuals. The tree was appreciated as valuable timber wood. The massive population reduction was more than 100 years ago because of its valuable timber, however no exact information is available on the extent of the past population reduction. The main threat is its restricted range. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened.
History:
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The species is endemic to the Seychelles. It occurs on Mahé, Praslin, Silhouette, Marianne, Curieuse, Conception, and Thérèse (Robertson 1989, Hill 2002). It was introduced to North Island (J. Mougal pers. comm. 2006) and Frégate (R. Gerlach quoted in Wise 1998). The occurrence on Félicité is uncertain as the species was not found in a recent survey (Hill 2002). The EOO is less than 217 km² (National Statistics Bureau 2005). The AOO was not determined, but is thought to be less than 500 km².
Countries:
Native:
Seychelles (Seychelles (main island group))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Between 2,500 and 10,000 mature individuals in total population. The largest subpopulation might consist of more than 250 individuals, however this is just a rough estimate (RDLP workshop 2006).
It was recorded on Félicité in 1974 (Procter 1974), however it was not found there in a more recent survey (Hill 2002). The species was introduced to Frégate (R. Gerlach quoted in Wise 1998) and is planted on North Island in an ongoing rehabilitation program (J. Mougal pers. comm. 2006).

Procter (1974) wrote that extensive stands of M. sechellarum were felled on Marianne in the 1920s. In 1940, Mimusops was one of the canopy forming species in the Agati forest at Point Civine on Silhouette Island (20 m height and at 300 m altitude) (Bailey 1940). Presently, M. sechellarum is mostly found in small groups of stunted relict trees on exposed rocky outcrops from sea level to 600 m (Carlström 1996). It is quite obvious that the present habitat is the boundary of its former habitat, where it was not cut down because of its stunted growth.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tree up to 15 m tall with a milky sap in all parts. Confined to exposed rocky outcrops from sea level to c. 600 m (Carlström 1996). This present habitat is probably the edge of the species former distribution. It was once common throughout the islands and was probably one of the canopy-forming trees in the low altitude forests.

The regeneration on the rocky surface seems to be difficult. Although the fruits are eaten by fruit bats, M. sechellarum seems to be unable to spread naturally into its former habitats (Carlström 1996, Kronauer 2005). As the species is reproducing successfully in the wild a continuing decline is not suspected (RDLP workshop 2006). From early records, there is evidence that M. sechellarum was one of the dominant species with Calophyllum inophyllum and Terminalia catappa at least near sea level, reaching sizes of 30 m and with more than 1.5 m in diameter (Rosnevet 1786, Brayer du Barre 1772, quoted in Vesey Fitzgerald 1940).
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Mimusops sechellarum was an important timber tree in the past with a hard, dark-coloured wood, much appreciated for boats and buildings. As a result of the extensive cuttings Baker (1877) recorded this species “in the thick woods of the interior” and Schimper recorded it in 1899 but it was not worth to be mentioned in a detailed description of the vegetation (Diels 1922). Also extensively used for furniture and for planking floors. It is not used any more.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat to this species is its restricted geographic range. Another threat mentioned by Carlström (1996) are rats feeding on the fruits of this tree.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is present in the Morne Seychellois National Park, the Praslin National Park and the Curieuse Marine National Park.

Citation: Ismail, S., Huber, M.J. & Mougal, J. 2011. Mimusops sechellarum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 July 2014.
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