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Diospyros minimifolia 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Ebenales Ebenaceae

Scientific Name: Diospyros minimifolia F.White

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened 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 minimifolia has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 2,154 km² and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 84 km². It is endemic to dry forests in New Caledonia and its habitat is among the most threatened in that country. 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. This species has probably disappeared from many places after forest was replaced by Niaouli savannas. However, because the species has pioneer characteristics, it does not seem to be as affected by disturbances as other taxa are. It may even take advantage of intermediate disturbance in some sites. Nevertheless, D. minimifolia could very rapidly become threatened if threats such as forest clearance and fires continue to occur at its current rate.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to New Caledonia. It must once have been common all along west coast, however today it is restricted to remnant patches of dry forest. Its southestern locality is in Paita; it is then found from la Foa to Pouembout with gaps in its distribution as large as 46 and 86 km. Its total extent of occurrence is 2,154 km², and its estimated area of occupancy within this range is 84 km².
Countries occurrence:
Native:
New Caledonia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:84
Number of Locations:25
Lower elevation limit (metres):10
Upper elevation limit (metres):70
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size is unknown. The subpopulations located between Bourail and Pouembout are vigorous but the species becomes rare and scattered in the southern part of its distribution.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

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.

This species doesn't seem to be as affected by this habitat destruction as other Diospyros species can be. In fact, it shows pioneer characteristics and a good regeneration capacity in case of moderate disturbances. This species can be common along roads and on the edges of slightly disturbed dry forests where it probably plays an important role of cicatrization and recolonization.
Systems:Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

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. If D. minimifolia can show pioneer characteristics and a good regeneration capacity in case of moderate disturbance, it can't regenerate in the face of multiple disturbances (repeated fire and clearings).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in three protected areas. It has also been planted in one ex situ site.

Citation: Hequet, V. 2010. Diospyros minimifolia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T35021A9904323. . Downloaded on 21 November 2017.
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