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Larix mastersiana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Larix mastersiana
Species Authority: Rehd. & E.H.Wilson
Common Name(s):
English Masters' Larch

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd; B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-13
Assessor(s): Thomas, P. & Zhang, D
Reviewer(s): Farjon, A.
Justification:
Larix mastersiana currently has a very restricted area of occupancy (12 km2 using a standard 2x2km grid; actual area of occupancy (AOO) of 2.96 km2) and is known from three locations. There has been a recent decline in both AOO and number of mature individuals due to recent logging and natural disasters. Additionally there has been an estimated decline of more than 70% within the last three generations as a result of logging between the 1950s and 1970s. Some regeneration within remaining locations has recently been recorded. On this basis, it is assessed as Endangered.
History:
2000 Vulnerable
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

China, endemic to W Sichuan (Motian Ling, Min River drainage, Jiajin Shan). Some localities based on collections made in the early decades of the twentieth century may no longer have any trees left; a recent survey found only the following three localities: Minjiang watershed, Daduhe watershed and upstream of Qingyijiang.

Countries:
Native:
China (Guangxi, Sichuan)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Once occurring in large stands, the species has been reduced to isolated and sparse populations. The State Forestry Bureau (2009) reported 78,539 individuals of all ages, distributed across 296 ha (2.96km2).  The timing of the surveys that resulted in these data is unknown.  The number of mature individuals was not specified.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Larix mastersiana is a high mountain species of rare occurrence, its altitudinal range is between 2,000 m and 3,500 m a.s.l. It grows in podzolic mountain soils, usually on steep slopes with good drainage. The climate is cold-temperate and moist
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A timber tree used for construction, pit props, railway sleepers and furniture; the bark yields tannins. It has been over-exploited in its natural range, especially in more accessible localities. Outside China, where it is used in afforestation, this species is not in cultivation as an ornamental except for a few specimens in living tree collections (arboreta).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Exploitation beyond sustainability has led to serious decline of this species in the more accessible parts of its limited natural range. It is now largely confined to the steeper and higher localities where forest road building has not advanced.Logging from the 1950s to the 1980s seriously depleted natural populations of this species.  Previously pure stands were quite common, however, it is now very rare to find these. An earthquake in 2008 resulted in the destruction of some trees of this species.

Extraordinarily heavy snow in winter 2007-2008 also resulted in the destruction/damage of a number of trees. Natural regeneration is very poor (State Forestry Bureau 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Recent Chinese policies (since 1998) to discontinue or at least restrict logging of the natural forests of Sichuan and other western regions may, if effective, halt or even reverse the decline. Afforestation using this species outside its natural range is not a true substitute for conservation of wild populations. The species remains extremely rare in cultivation both within China and in botanic gardens in other countries.


Citation: Thomas, P. & Zhang, D 2013. Larix mastersiana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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