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Pritchardia thurstonii 

Scope: Global
Language: English
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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Arecales Arecaceae

Scientific Name: Pritchardia thurstonii F.Muell. & Drude

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2017-03-21
Assessor(s): Tikoca, S. & Rivers, M.C.
Reviewer(s): Hodel, D.R.
Contributor(s): Watling, D. & Hodel, D.R.
Justification:
This palm species is found in Fiji and Tonga. The species is restricted to lagoonal islets of uplifted coralline limestone. The current subpopulations on Tonga and Fiji are not severely affected by rat predation, but rats are likely to prevent the establishment of the species on the main island. A total of 250 (including juveniles) individuals was recorded in the two larger populations on Tonga. It is listed here as Vulnerable, as the species has a highly restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy is 16 km2, and found in four locations). There is also a plausible threat from hurricanes and cyclones that could cause significant loss to the populations in the near future causing it to become Critically Endangered or even extinct.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:An important ornamental palm which used to be known only from the Lau Group in eastern Fiji. This species now includes subpopulations on Eua, Tonga (Hodel 2007, Bacon 2011). The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 38,160 km2, as the four locations islets are distributed far apart, but the area of occupancy is 16 km2.
Countries occurrence:
Native:
Fiji; Tonga
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:16
Number of Locations:4
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Where found, it can grow in profusion, with nearly complete absence of other plants (Watling 2005), however, the habitat is very restricted and fragmented and the species has a small population size. A total of 250 (including juveniles) individuals was recorded in the two larger subpopulations in Tonga. The southern most subpopulation is estimated to be approximately 85 individuals (Bacon 2011). In the southern Lau group in Fiji in Fulaga Lagoon the subpopulation size is roughly estimated at 300+ mature plants (Hodel per. obse. 2017) while that on adjacent Ogea Driki was not assessed.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species is restricted on limestone soils on coralline islets and is absent from nearby mainland or larger Islands (Watling 2005). Subpopulations on Tonga and Fiji are not severely affected by rat predation.
Systems:Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The long inflorescences are used for snaring birds (Watling 2005).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The populations are mainly at threat from being restricted to small coralline islands. Here they are highly susceptible to stochastic events such as hurricanes and cyclones, which could wipe out an entire subpopulation if hit directly. It is thought that rats are also restricting the population to these isolated lagoonal islets and preventing establishment on the main islands (Watling 2005).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is widely cultivated and is recorded in 23 ex situ collections. Its seed propagation and cultivation methods are documented.

Citation: Tikoca, S. & Rivers, M.C. 2017. Pritchardia thurstonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T38654A2881612. . Downloaded on 18 December 2017.
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