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Halocarpus kirkii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PODOCARPACEAE

Scientific Name: Halocarpus kirkii
Species Authority: (F.Muell. ex Parl.) Quinn
Synonym(s):
Dacrydium kirkii F.Muell. ex Parl

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-15
Assessor(s): Carter, G. & Luscombe, D
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
The historical reduction in area of occupancy (AOO) of this species has been large, but most of it has taken place more than a century ago (three generations is 90 years). Since then the AOO has gradually stabilized, while the extent of occurrence remains very much what it probably was before European settlement.  Succession of forests in the reserves could lead to dominance of Kauri (Agathis autralis) and, in theory, some decline of Halocarpus kirkii in future. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2ab(v).
History:
1998 Vulnerable
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to North Island, New Zealand where it occurs between Hokianga and Manukau Harbor and in the southern part of the Coromandel Peninsula.
Countries:
Native:
New Zealand (North Is.)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Usually only occurs in small groups.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Halocarpus kirkii is an uncommon forest tree occurring in lowland subtropical mixed evergreen forest to a maximum altitude of ca. 700 m. In the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland the Kauris (Agathis australis) form emergent trees, with Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, Dacrydium cupressinum, Podocarpus cunninghamii, Prumnopitys ferruginea and occasionally Halocarpus kirkii together with various angiosperms making up the main canopy below them. Tall tree ferns (Cyathea, Dicksonia) often are abundant and can reach the canopy as well. These are rainforests with abundant epiphytes in the larger trees and numerous smaller trees and shrubs in the understorey.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: H. kirkii is a podocarp with fine grained wood suitable for construction timber, a use to which it was put in former times when it was more common around Auckland and in Northland. It is now protected from logging and most trees occur in forest reserves. This species is not recorded in cultivation, but may be present in a few botanic gardens. According to Grimshaw and Bayton (2009: 388) there may be only one plant growing in the northern hemisphere: at Tregrehan in Cornwall, England.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This is the only species in the genus to attain large tree size and consequently it has been subject to past overexploitation, with many of the forests in which it occurred now gone. It has a limited natural distribution and populations are now fewer and more scattered than before logging began in the 19th century. The reduction that occurred is difficult to estimate, but is likely to have been in excess of 50% from its original area of occupancy (AOO), while podocarp wood was being logged preferentially where forests were not removed altogether. It is considered a relatively uncommon tree even in forest reserves that have not or only lightly been logged. Regeneration is probably dependent on episodic disturbance of the forest canopy and may seem poor over shorter time intervals. Since around 1920 the reduction due to logging has slowed down to come to a standstill at around 1990. In the last century therefore the reduction has been much less than in the previous century. Current threats are possibly arising from the lack of disturbance events in the often small forest reserves, so that succession of Kauri may outcompete this species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: As a native tree this species is now protected from logging under the laws of New Zealand. Several populations occur within protected areas, others are on private land. The distribution of protected forest areas more or less covers the EOO as formerly occupied by this species. Natural regeneration is good where mature trees occur and is also complemented by revegetation initiatives: these measures will lead in the near future to an increase in AOO and/or abundance.

Citation: Carter, G. & Luscombe, D 2013. Halocarpus kirkii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 October 2014.
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