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Araucaria cunninghamii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES ARAUCARIACEAE

Scientific Name: Araucaria cunninghamii
Species Authority: Aiton ex A.Cunn.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Hoop Pine, Colonial Pine, Dorrigo Pine, Moreton Bay Pine, Richmond River Pine
Taxonomic Notes: Two varieties are recognised: the typical variety on mainland Australia and var. papuana in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-11-08
Assessor(s): Thomas, P.
Reviewer(s): Farjon, A., Pye, M. & Mill, R.
Justification:
Despite intense historic exploitation in Australia and ongoing exploitation in Papua and New Guinea and Indonesia, Araucaria cunninghamii and its two varieties are still sufficiently widespread and abundant to be assessed as Least Concern.
History:
1998 Not Evaluated (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Not Evaluated

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Araucaria cunninghamii is found in Australia and the island of New Guinea (both Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya).

Araucaria cunninghamii var. cunninghamii occurs from near Cape York in northern Queensland, south to the Dorrigo Plateau in northern New South Wales. Its altitudinal range is from near sea level up to 600 m inland.

Araucaria cunninghamii var. papuana occurs in the highlands of New Guinea from the Owen Stanley Range to the Vogelkop (Bird’s Head) Peninsula, but is especially abundant in the central highlands. It also occurs on Ferguson and Japen Islands. It has a wide altitudinal range, from 500 m up to 3,355 m although most stands occur between 1,000 and 2,500 m.

The overall extent of occurrence is well in excess of 20,000 km2 and the area of occupancy would be greater than 2,000 km2 calculated using the standard IUCN method of presence within a 4 km2 grid cell.
Countries:
Native:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland); Indonesia (Papua); Papua New Guinea (Papua New Guinea (main island group))
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In northern Queensland stands are usually relatively small and sporadic. In southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales there were extensive forests prior to the arrival of Europeans and the advent of intensive exploitation in the 19th Century. In Papua and New Guinea it is relatively abundant in the Central Highlands. It is less frequent in Indonesia.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: In Australia, Araucaria cunninghamii var. cunninghamii mainly occurs in the ‘dry vine forest’ and thickets that occur on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range at moderate elevations. It also occurs on some of the larger islands off the Queensland coast. Its range partially overlaps with that of Araucaria bidwillii, and in such localities the species are frequently co-dominant emergents. The two species have different periods of seed ripening and dispersal; A. cunninghamii is wind dispersed and the seeds ripen in the period overlapping the two monsoons whereas A. bidwillii produces ripe seed between December and April which is both the hottest and the wettest period in the Bunya Mountains. Argyrodendron is the commonest angiosperm dominant; numerous other trees and lianas are found in these forests where they are left undisturbed.

In New Guinea, Araucaria cunninghamii var. papuana occurs most commonly in montane and high montane forests above 1,000 m altitude as an emergent (up to 70 m) rising well above a closed canopy of angiosperm trees. Commonly associated tree genera include Castanopsis, Lithocarpus, Cinnamomum, Calophyllum and Schizomeria (Enright and Hill 1995). It often occurs with Araucaria hunsteinii.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In Australia natural subpopulations have historically been heavily exploited for the strong and finely textured timber that was used for a variety of applications from flooring, framing, cladding, panelling, plywood, veneers and furniture. Over-exploitation led to the establishment of plantations in Queensland and New South Wales; natural stands on government lands are no longer exploited.

In Papua and New Guinea and Indonesia natural stands are still exploited to some extent although plantations have also been established.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The intense historic exploitation of this species in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales has resulted in considerable fragmentation of the original forests. This has been amplified by the extensive conversion of forests for agriculure and pastoralism. In some areas, these fragments are at greater risk from inappropriate fire regimes, invasion by exotic weeds such as Lantana camara and disturbance from domestic and feral animals. Fragmented stands are also more at risk from localised climate events such as cyclones. Some of the remaining natural subpopulations are surrounded by Hoop pine plantations that are of uncertain provenance raising the possibility of future outbreeding depression in populations that genetic studies indicate are strongly differentiated (Pye et al. 2009).

In Papua and New Guinea wildfires associated with El Niño droughts have decimated major stands of A. cunninghamiivar. papuana in McAdam National Park and surrounding areas (Orsak and Balun 1999). Logging and deforestation associated with agricultural expansion and plantation establishment has also reduced the area occupied by this variety in both Papua and New Guinea and in Indonesia. This is ongoing.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In Australia many of the remaining stands are now within national parks or other protected areas. Logging on state owned land is prohibited and clearance of native vegetation outside of protected areas is greatly reduced. Weed and feral animal control programmes have been initiated in some areas.  In Papua and New Guinea and Indonesia few stands are within effectively protected areas. However, many stands are in remote areas and are not currently exploited.

Citation: Thomas, P. 2011. Araucaria cunninghamii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 November 2014.
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