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Libocedrus plumosa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES CUPRESSACEAE

Scientific Name: Libocedrus plumosa
Species Authority: (D.Don) Sarg.
Common Name(s):
English New Zealand Cedar
Synonym(s):
Dacrydium plumosum D.Don

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-01-27
Assessor(s): Farjon, A. & Carter, G.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Justification:
The area of occupancy is estimated to be 1,250 km2 which is within the threshold for vulnerable.  There has been an unquantified historical decline due to exploitation for timber and forest conversion for agriculture. This decline has ceased and many formerly logged-out forest parcels are now regenerating. However, this species requires large forested areas for its life cycle and persistence in the forest structure and succession. It seems therefore appropriate to flag it as Near Threatened, until an increase of mature individuals is apparent. At that stage it would most likely be assessed as Least Concern.
History:
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to New Zealand occurring on North Island, and on South Island where it is restricted to the Tasman district.
Countries:
Native:
New Zealand (North Is., South Is.)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population of this species has experienced a historical decline due to logging and forest clearing to make way for agriculture and other land uses. Since the protection of the remaining forest stands by law, this trend is now reversed in many localities. Due to the fragmentation of lowland forest, many subpopulations are now separated by unsuitable habitat; some may occur in “bush” fragments too small for this species (see below under Habitats and Ecology).Historic logging seems to have been of some benefit to this species, as due to its naturally sparse distribution, a lot of stands were left unaffected and it is now reasonably common in areas which were heavily logged. Regular land disturbance seems to benefit regeneration for this species.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in the lowland evergreen rainforests of the mixed angiosperm-conifer class, where it is a canopy tree with other conifers, e.g. Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, Dacrydium cupressinum, Halocarpus kirkii, Manoao colensoi, Phyllocladus trichomanoides, Podocarpus cunninghamii, P. totara, Prumnopitys ferruginea, P. taxifolia and in the far north of North Island Agathis australis. Undisturbed forest of this type can have as many as eight conifer genera (and species) on a single hectare (Ogden et al. 1993), but forest clearance as well as selective logging of 'pines' have drastically reduced these species-rich forests especially in the lowlands. Various angiosperms are mixed in, e.g. Beilschmiedia tarairi, Dysoxylum spectabile, and Leptospermum scoparium, but conifers (especially Agathis) can form groves with few angiosperms, forming a mozaic pattern rather than an evenly mixed forest. The altitudinal range is from near sea level to 600 m a.s.l. Especially in gaps tree ferns can become abundant. These forests receive abundant rainfall throughout the year and temperatures are mild in winter and warm in summer.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The wood of this species is dark reddish brown, fine-grained and often beautifully figured and therefore prized for furniture and wood panelling. Its rarity and at least in recent times protection from exploitation causes it to be of little economic value. As an ornamental tree it is uncommon, as it is less hardy than its congener Libocedrus bidwillii, but it should do well in California, southern Europe, and areas with a similar mild climate, provided there is no prolonged dry period.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lowland forests have been greatly reduced since European settlement in New Zealand began about two centuries ago. There is no quantitative record available to indicate the reduction rate for this species as a result of this wholesale removal of indigenous natural forest. Long term survival of this species in natural ecosystems requires large tracts of unmanaged old growth forest, where natural cyclic processes of disturbance and regeneration can span many centuries (see e.g. Ogden and Stewart in Enright and Hill 1995).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs within several protected areas, but also on private lands.

Citation: Farjon, A. & Carter, G. 2013. Libocedrus plumosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 October 2014.
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