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Amentotaxus formosana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES TAXACEAE

Scientific Name: Amentotaxus formosana
Species Authority: H.L.Li
Common Name(s):
English Taiwan Catkin Yew
Synonym(s):
Amentotaxus yunnanensis H.L.Li subspecies formosana (H.L.Li) Silba
Taxonomic Notes: This species was formerly not recognized as being distinct from A. argotaenia and many earlier accounts of the flora of Taiwan refer to it under this name.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D1+2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-13
Assessor(s): Thomas, P.
Reviewer(s): Gardner, M. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
This species has previously been evaluated as Endangered (EN) by the Taiwanese botanist S.Y. Lu in Rare and Endangered Plants in Taiwan 1 (1996) and as Critically Endangered (CR) by the Conifer Specialist Group in the Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan: Conifers (Farjon and Page, 1999), both under the now superseded 1994 version of the Red List Criteria. Under the current criteria, the extent of occurrence, area of occupancy and number of locations could indicate an assessment of Endangered under the B criteria. However, a recent or continuing decline has not been documented. The absence of such a decline also precludes the use of the C criterion even though the most recent population census indicates that there are only 300-500 mature individuals. An assessment of Vulnerable under the D1 and D2 criteria is warranted given its limited distribution, small population size and vulnerability to stochastic events.
History:
2000 Critically Endangered
1998 Critically Endangered (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Critically Endangered
1997 Endangered (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Populations are restricted to four localities in the most southern mountains of Taiwan, in the Hengchan Peninsula: Tawu, Kutzulunshan, Chachayalaishan and Lilungshan. The extent of occurrence is estimated to be between 100 and 200 km2 with an estimated area of occupancy of up to 20 km2. There are fewer than five locations.
Countries:
Native:
Taiwan, Province of China
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is very localized and scarce. Previous population estimates have been as high as 3,000 plants. However, more recent research indicate that many closely spaced 'individuals' are derived from a single tree that has resprouted following cyclone damage or landslides. In addition, many are immature and non-reproductive. A more conservative estimate indicates that there are 300-500 mature individuals (Shau Ting Chiu pers. comm. 2011).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a rare tree in montane evergreen tropical rainforest and broad-leaved subtropical forest. It is usually found on steep slopes, in ravines, or on cliffs in the sub-canopy under taller trees. Its altitudinal range is between 500 m and 1,300 m a.s.l. with most trees occurring above 900 m a.s.l. In these primary forests members of the Fagaceae (Castanopsis, Lithocarpus, Quercus) are often the dominant or emergent trees and there is an abundance of ferns, including tree ferns, and shrubs. Podocarpus nakaii is another conifer that occurs here.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The wood, though of small dimensions, is valued and used for the making of furniture, farm implements, tools and utensils, and wood turning for souvenirs. This species is in cultivation as an ornamental tree in China, Japan and Taiwan, but very rare and only seen in some botanic gardens elsewhere. Its broad, white bands of stomata are very striking, although normally hidden from view on the underside of leaves. Lack of commercially available cuttings or seed has prevented this species from being grown more widely; it is obviously not suitable for climates with winter frost.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Until recently, the greatest threat to it appears to have been be conversion of native mixed evergreen forest to plantations with primarily Cryptomeria japonica. The declaration of a specific conservation area for this species within a larger reserve has reduced this threat. Stochastic events such as cyclones and landslides are additional threats, especially considering the small population size and limited distribution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species is covered by Taiwan's Cultural Heritage Preservation Law. The 86 ha Tawu Amentotaxus Reserve was specifically established in 1988 to protect this species. It lies within the 470 km2 Tawu Mountain Nature Reserve.

Citation: Thomas, P. 2013. Amentotaxus formosana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 July 2014.
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