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Diospyros impolita

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA MAGNOLIOPSIDA EBENALES EBENACEAE

Scientific Name: Diospyros impolita
Species Authority: F.White

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2ce; B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-05-15
Assessor(s): Hequet, V.
Reviewer(s): Pollock, C.M. & Hilton-Taylor, C.
Justification:
Diospyros impolita is endemic to New Caledonia, where it has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 197 km² and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 52 km². The species is known from eight locations. It is threatened because it is restricted to dry forests, a habitat that is among the most threatened in New Caledonia. Dry forests have been reduced dramatically, both in size and quality. They have been severely cleared for agricultural purposes over the last century and what remains today are highly fragmented patches that suffer intense predation by introduced Rusa Deer (Cervus timorensis russa). The reduction of dry forest has been estimated at 95% over the last 150 years (Bouchet 1995) and this degradation continues today. From this it is suspected that a population reduction of at least 30% has occurred over this time period; the actual generation length is not known for this species, but with evidence of dramatic declines in dry forest habitat over the last 150 years, it is likely that there has been a population reduction of at least 30% over the last three generations.
History:
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to New Caledonia. It is only known from dry forests located between Bourail and Poya. Its total extent of occurrence is 197 km², and its estimated area of occupancy within this range is 52 km².
Countries:
Native:
New Caledonia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total population size is not known. When present, the species is never abundant and is typically observed as rare and scattered individuals.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Tropical dry forests are probably among the world’s most endangered of all lowland tropical forests. Because of their propensity to become pastures and their susceptibility to fire, dry forests have reduced dramatically, in size as well as in quality. In New Caledonia, they’ve been intensively cut for agricultural purposes for a century; what remains today are highly fragmented patches that have been estimated at 2% of the original area.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat is lowland clearing for cattle grazing and agriculture, which began in the 1850s and is ongoing. Another threat comes from the Rusa Deer (Cervus timorensis russa), which was introduced in the 1880s and adapted extremely well to the Caledonian habitats. Its population may have reached 105,000–110,000 individuals in the wild. This deer consumes a wide variety of plant species and also causes severe damage to trees by rubbing antlers against tree stems. The third major threat is uncontrolled fires that sweep across lowlands of New Caledonia each year during the dry season and have slowly transformed remnant patches of dry forest into shrubland dominated by Acacia spirorbis and Leucaena leucocephala, or Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) savannas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in two protected areas.

Citation: Hequet, V. 2010. Diospyros impolita. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 December 2014.
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