Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Cupressaceae

Scientific Name: Athrotaxis cupressoides
Species Authority: D.Don
Common Name(s):
English Pencil Pine
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: This genus was formerly included under the family Taxodiaceae. That family is now merged with Cupressaceae (see Farjon 2005).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(ii,iii,v)+2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-06-07
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Calculations of extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) for Athrotaxis cupressoides are based on herbarium specimen distribution data. While EOO appears roughly in accordance with a map published by Brown and Hill in Farjon and Page (1999), the AOO could be too small if a grid size of 2-4 km were used. This is because there are many stands known that were not sampled for the herbaria consulted. Using a 5 km grid the species qualifies for a Vulnerable listing under the observation of slowed but still ongoing decline because of various threats. The population is also considered to be severely fragmented.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1998 Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to Tasmania (Australia), occurring mainly on the Central Plateau, the Great Western Tier and westward mountains, more scattered in the south of the island. The extent of occurrence and area of occupancy, based on herbarium specimens and standard IUCN mapping techniques, is estimated to be 12,818 km2 and 650 km2 respectively. Estimates of the area of occupancy for the main vegetation types that A. cupressoides occurs in, are considerably less: 24,279 ha (Balmer et al. 2004). Occurs between 700 and 1,300 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Australia (Tasmania)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 650
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 12818
Lower elevation limit (metres): 700
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1300
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The population has declined significantly in the recent past but the actual size of this reduction is unknown. The current decline is slower but it has not ceased.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A relatively small slow growing, long-lived tree of the subalpine zone where it occasionally forms dense stands. Often found in fire protected sites such as bogs, around lake shores or alongside streams. Usually associated with conifers such as Diselma archeri and Pherosphaera hookeriana and angiosperms such as Eucalyptus coccifera, Orites acicularis, Richea scoparia, R. pandanifolia and Nothofagus gunnii.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 100

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: No current uses have been recorded for this species. It's gnarled trunks do not make good timber, but the species may occasionally be traded and grown as an ornamental.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is extremely fire sensitive and much of the total population was fire-killed mainly in widespread fires on the Central Plateau in 1960/61. Regeneration of the species is limited by grazing, mainly by introduced sheep and rabbits, of which the latter remain a problem. Dieback in which a species of the oomycete genus Phytophthora may be implicated occurs at some high altitude sites.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Over 90% of the remaining areas of the species are now within IUCN Category I-IV reserves, especially within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Athrotaxis cupressoides. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T32054A2810019. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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