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Taxus floridana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES TAXACEAE

Scientific Name: Taxus floridana
Species Authority: Nutt. ex Chapman
Common Name(s):
English Florida Yew

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-07-30
Assessor(s): Spector, T., Thomas, P. & Determann, R.
Reviewer(s): Nicholson, R. & Gardner, M.
Justification:
Taxus floridana has a restricted extent of occurrence (EOO) of less than 100 km2. It occurs at a single location as the principal threats, a lack of regeneration and the impact of an increasing deer population, affect all known subpopulations and localities. There is a continued decline in the quality of habitat in some parts of its range. Adult mortality is greater than recruitment leading to an overall decline in the number of mature individuals. It is therefore listed as Critically Endangered.
History:
1998 Critically Endangered (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Critically Endangered
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Tauxs floridana is restricted to a 24 km section of ravines and bluffs along the Apalachicola River in Liberty and Gadsden counties in northern Florida. Its current EOO is estimated to be less than 100 km2.  Its area of occupancy is  estimated to be 24 km2
Countries:
Native:
United States (Florida)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Almost all subpopulations of T. floridana are comprised mainly of large multi-stemmed individuals. Although seed is produced, virtually no new recruitment has occurred during the past two decades. A study of four subpopulations over the last 27 years indicates that adult mortality is greater than recruitment (Redmond and Winn 2010). Individuals only persist through layering and sprouting. Stem densities may range from several hundred to several thousand per hectare. Small stems are particularly vulnerable to browsing and rubbing by deer.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Almost entirely restricted to the mid and lower slopes within a few ravines along the the Apalachicola River Bluffs area. Soils are generally moist and acidic. It occurs with a rich assemblage of evergreen and deciduous species including another threatened endemic conifer, Torreya taxifolia. Florida yew is generally shade tolerant and very fire sensitive.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Clear felling of Pinus palustris forests during the 19th century along with selective logging of the slope forests in the early 1900s may have resulted in range reduction and habitat fragmentation during the 19th and 20th centuries (Reinsmith and Foreman 1934, Kwit 1998).  The most immediate threat facing Florida yew is the lack of regeneration; a causal agent for this has not yet been identified. Rubbing and browsing by white tailed deer is also a problem as it may lead to the death of individual stems. As hunting within protected areas is prohibited, deer numbers within these areas increase during the hunting season (winter), resulting in increased pressure on the yew trees.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The state of Florida lists Florida yew as endangered while at a national level, The Nature Conservancy lists it as as imperiled. Florida yew occurs in several protected areas such as the Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola  Bluffs and Ravines Preserve and the Torreya State Park. Several populations are on private land without specific protection.

Citation: Spector, T., Thomas, P. & Determann, R. 2011. Taxus floridana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 July 2014.
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