Pittosporum brevispinum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Rosales Pittosporaceae

Scientific Name: Pittosporum brevispinum Veillon & Tirel
Taxonomic Source(s): Morat, P., Jaffré, T., Tronchet, F., Munzinger, J., Pillon, Y., Veillon, J.-M. and Chalopin, M. 2012. Le référentiel taxonomique Florical et les caractéristiques de la flore vasculaire indigène de la Nouvelle-Calédonie [The taxonomic database « FLORICAL » and characteristics of the indigenous flora of New Caledonia]. Adansonia sér 3 34(2): 177-219. DOI: 10.5252/a2012n2a1.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A3ce; B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2007-05-15
Assessor(s): Hequet, V.
Reviewer(s): Pollock, C.M. & Hilton-Taylor, C.
Pittosporum brevispinum is has an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 4 km2 and an area of occupancy (AOO) of 0.3 km2. The species is endemic to New Caledonian dry forest and only 40 of these plants are known, occurring in two different locations. Its habitat 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 the introduced Rusa Deer (Rusa timorensis) and uncontrolled fires. The reduction of the habitat has been estimated at 95% over the last 150 years (Bouchet 1995) and this degradation continues today. Since that most of the forest surrounding the reserve has already been cleared and the major part of the population is located outside the fenced area, it is suspected that a population reduction of at least 50% will occur within the next three generations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to New Caledonia. It is only known from two locations, 2 km apart, in the Pouembout region. Its total extent of occurrence is 4 km2, and its estimated area of occupancy within this range is 0.3 km2.
Countries occurrence:
New Caledonia
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:0.3
Number of Locations:2
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The exact population size of this rare and discreet species is not known but an estimate can be made. Forty individuals have been identified and are located immediately outside of a fenced reserve (Conservatoire Botanique de Tiéa); only one has been seen inside this reserve. Two more individuals have been found at a second location, 2 km away on private land. It is therefore estimated that there may be less than 100 living individuals of this species.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:40-100
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species is endemic to New Caledonian dry forests. 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.
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 (Rusa timorensis), 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.

Unfortunately, most of the known individuals from the largest subpopulation are located immediately outside a fenced reserve. That population was discovered after the limits of the reserve were drawn. A large part of the surrounding forest has already been cleared for agriculture and the remnant patches are highly degraded.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: One individual is present in a protected area and 10 individuals have been planted ex situ in restoration projects.

Citation: Hequet, V. 2010. Pittosporum brevispinum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T35262A9916764. . Downloaded on 21 November 2017.
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