Malus komarovii 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Rosaceae

Scientific Name: Malus komarovii
Species Authority: (Sarg.) Rehder
Crataegus komarovii Sarg.
Taxonomic Source(s): Park, C.-W. 2007. The Genera of Vascular Plants of Korea. Academy Publishing Company, Seoul.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-11-10
Assessor(s): Rhodes, L., Maxted, N., Kim, H., Son, S.-W. & Kim, Y.-S.
Reviewer(s): Chang, C.-S.
Malus komarovii has a small distribution in South Korea and a very limited range in northern China. The majority of its distribution is within North Korea. Previous this species was assessed as Vulnerable (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 2013). There is no evidence that the threats documented in previous assessments have ceased, and fragmentation and habitat degradation are documented both in the Korean DMZ and the Changbai Shan Nature Reserve. Furthermore minimal ex-situ conservation is in place for this species, with no evidence found for active in-situ conservation (e.g., management and monitoring). Taking this into account, this species is globally assessed as Endangered as it has an estimated area of occupancy (AOO) of 84 km², and an estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) around 52,000 km², a severely fragmented population, and there is continuing decline in quality of habitat. Recommendations for this species include management and monitoring of subpopulations in where applicable, and collection of germ plasm material for ex-situ conservation.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Malus komarovii is near-endemic to the Korean peninsula. This species is native to China (Henan and Jilin) and Korea (USDA, ARS, National Germplasm Resource Program 2013).
Countries occurrence:
China (Jilin); Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:84
Number of Locations:13
Lower elevation limit (metres):1100
Upper elevation limit (metres):1300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Subpopulations of this species are documented to be restricted to the Changbai Mountains in China, where it is threatened by habitat loss (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998, Wu et al. 2006, Zhou 1999). On the Korean peninsular this species is reported from the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a strip of land that serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea, where natural isolation has created an involuntary park (Greer 2012). The forest habitat of the DMZ is said to be mildly fragmented and of poor distribution in some areas (Healy 2007). Habitat fragmentation also occurs in the Changbai Shan Mountain Nature Reserve caused by road construction and expansion along with other factors (see the Threats section for details). In South Korea, Mt. Seolak is the southern limit of this species, which contains more than several individuals at the peak of Keutcheong. Based on a recent herbarium database research, Chang and Kim (2015) confirmed 26 occurrence data points in North Korea.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:UnknownPopulation severely fragmented:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:UnknownAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species grows as shrubs or small trees up to 3 m tall, in thickets and among other shrub species from 1,100 to 1,300 m asl (Wu et al. 2006).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is a secondary genetic relative of, and potential gene donor to, the cultivated apple (M. domestica) (Wiersema and Leon 2013). The genus Malus is included in Annex 1 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), which aims to guarantee sustainable agriculture and food security through the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out  of their use (FAO 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): According to previous assessments for this species, "clearing and altering of the habitat are believed to have affected regeneration and caused population declines" (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1998). In the Changbai Shan Mountain Nature Reserve this includes habitat fragmentation and degradation from large scale road construction and expansion within the reserve, urbanisation around the borders of the nature reserve, pressures from tourism development, and illegal logging activities (Shao-Xian et al. 2011). Air and water pollution are also having a detrimental effect on China's forests in general (USDA Forest Service 2013).

The main threats to the DMZ in Korea are development and pollution. Proposed developmental activities such as reopening of rail links, increased road building, building of ports and dams, and expansion of Incheon airport may be destructive depending on how they are implemented. Also encroachment and other growing pressures from highly populated areas (for example over 20 million people in the Seoul metropolitan area) are considered a potential threat to habitats in the DMZ. The biodiversity here may also suffer from the many forms of pollution and contamination that are already present in the DMZ (landmines, ordinance from military operations, air emissions from Incheon airport and the metropolitan of Seoul, use of agricultural chemicals and run off, extensive erosion and flooding from deforestation in North Korea). Other threats to the DMZ include: legal and political claims to land, balance among stakeholders, unsustainable farming practices, intentional and natural fires, and introduction of exotic species (Healy 2007).
Although the major part of this species' distribution is in North Korea, it is difficult to confirm the threats to this species there. However, habitat loss and degradation may be major threats in North Korea as a result of expanding agriculture and deforestation (Chang and Seok 1997, Kim and Park 2001, Bae 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: According to Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI 2013) this species has living collections in two botanical gardens worldwide, although the size, state, origin and location of these collections are not detailed (garden locations are undisclosed to protect rare and valuable plant species). No other evidence of ex-situ conservation was found for this species, but it was reported as present in Changbai Mountain Nature Reserve where, although species-specific monitoring is not reported, long-term research and monitoring of temperate forests by the Chinese Ecological Research Network (CERN) is reported (Information Center for the Environment (University of California, Davis) and Collaborators 2013).

It is also reported as present in the proposed Korean DMZ UNESCO -MAB Biosphere Reserve which, despite the proposal being deferred at the 24th MAB ICC Meeting, has seen many efforts from the Republic of Korea to apply the biosphere reserve concept for conservation and sustainable development through collaboration with the local residents in the sensitive areas close to the border between North and South Korea (UNESCO-MAB Programme, International Advisory Committee for Biosphere Reserves 2013).

The Korean Ministry of Environment (2012) assessed Crataegus komarovii as Endangered (EN B2ab(iii,iv)), but without providing justification. Lee (2009) categorized C. komarovii as Critically Endangered (CR) at national (south Korea) level, also without providing justification.

Citation: Rhodes, L., Maxted, N., Kim, H., Son, S.-W. & Kim, Y.-S. 2016. Malus komarovii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T32362A13189514. . Downloaded on 21 October 2016.
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