Araucaria heterophylla

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES ARAUCARIACEAE

Scientific Name: Araucaria heterophylla
Species Authority: (Salisb.) Franco
Common Name(s):
English Norfolk Island Pine, Star Pine
Synonym(s):
Eutassa heterophylla Salisb.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2011-01-13
Assessor(s): Thomas, P.
Reviewer(s): Mill, R. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
Araucaria heterophylla has a naturally limited extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO). While there has been a significant past reduction in population size, the extent of this reduction is very difficult to quantify. Despite ongoing problems with invasive species and relatively recent problems with dieback, there is insufficient evidence of current decline. However, its restricted distribution and dependence on continued conservation programmes to limit the impacts of invasive species indicate that an assessment of Vulnerable  is warranted.
History:
1998 Vulnerable (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1998 Vulnerable
1997 Vulnerable (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to Norfolk Island (Australia) and two nearby islands. On Norfolk Island itself, natural forests are largely restricted to the Mt Pitt (316 m) area of the Norfolk Island National Park. It also occurs on Phillip Island, a 4 kmĀ² small island 6 km south of Norfolk Island. The natural vegetation on this island was largely destroyed by rabbits and other introduced animals by the 1970s and almost all Araucarias were lost. There are also historical records of its presence on the tiny limestone islet of Nepean (10.5 ha) off the south coast of Norfolk Island. In the early 1790s, about 200 mature trees grew there but by 1840 these had been reduced to one live and one dead tree; these appear to have persisted in some state until the late 1930s (Norfolk Island Parks and Forestry Service 2003). Currently there are no Araucarias on this islet.

The total EOO is less than 100 km2. The main natural stands on Mt Pitt cover an area of less than 400 hectares giving a minimum AOO (using standard IUCN 4 km2 grid cells) of 4 km2. Fragments of natural stands also occur in other parts of the island so that the total AOO would be more than 10km2. However, it cannot be more than 38 km2 as this is the combined total area of both Norfolk Island and Phillip Island.
Countries:
Native:
Norfolk Island
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Prior to the arrival of European settlers in 1788, Araucaria dominated forests occurred in almost all parts of Norfolk, Nepean and Phillip Islands. Over the last two centuries the vast majority of the native vegetation has been cleared or degraded so that less than 10% remains. However, this does not equate to a similar reduction in the size of the Araucaria population as during this period, sporadic natural regeneration has occurred in areas not subject to grazing. Additionally many trees and groves have been planted and some of these have become self maintaining (e.g. Hundred Acres Reserve).
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The original vegetation on Norfolk Island was an evergreen subtropical forest with angiosperm trees and tree ferns 10-20 m high, over which A. heterophylla emerged at least 30 m and occasionally taller. The really large trees have all been felled, but evidence of trees with a diameter at breast height (d.b.h.) of around 3 m still existed in the 1920s and large trees have now again reached in excess of 1 m d.b.h. and 35-40 m height. Common angiosperm trees are (were) Olea apetala Vahl (Oleaceae), Elaeodendron curtipendulum Endl. (Celastraceae), Celtis paniculata (Endl.) Planch. (Ulmaceae), Streblus pendulinus (Endl.) F.Muell. (Moraceae), Lagunaria patersonia (Andrews) G.Don (Malvaceae), Acronychia simplicifolia (Endl.) Steud. and Zanthoxylum blackburnia Benth.  (Rutaceae), Rhopalostylis baueri H.Wendl. & Drude (Arecaceae), Meryta angustifolia (Araliaceae), Baloghia inophylla (G.Forst.) P.S.Green (Euphorbiaceae) and Dysoxylum patersoni F.Muell. (Meliaceae) as well as the tree ferns Cyathea australis (R.Br.) Domin and C. brownii Domin (Cyatheaceae). This type of forest is now fragmented and very restricted in its distribution on Norfolk Island. Araucaria heterophylla also persists as solitary trees on coastal headlands or in groves with a low undergrowth of mostly grasses or of open scrub, with many introduced species.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Historically heavily exploited at a local level for construction. Natural populations are no longer exploited. Widely cultivated in many parts of the world, particularly coastal areas.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Logging has been a threat in the past. Land clearance and grazing have also been significant threats in the past but are now less problematic. The impact of introduced invasive species has been significant: rabbits, goats and pigs were responsible for the loss of almost all vegetation on Phillip Island while exotic trees such as Psidium cattleianum and Olea europaea ssp. cuspidata have colonised many areas on Norfolk Island itself to form dense impenetrable thickets. In the 1970s many Araucarias suffered from a dieback that was associated with habitat degradation and adverse environmental conditions. Improvements in land management practices, the introduction of a biological control and the removal of invasive species have led to a lessening of this problem although invasive species are still a major and ongoing threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The majority of the remaining natural stands are within the Norfolk Island National Park. A range of public and private restoration activities is being undertaken that is aimed at increasing the extent of the natural vegetation through replanting and invasive species control and removal. The natural vegetation of Phillip Island is slowly recovering following the elimination of goats and pigs in the 1920s and the more recent removal of rabbits.

Bibliography [top]

Benson, M.L. 1980. Dieback of Norfolk Island pine in its natural environment. Australian Forestry 43(4): 245-252.

Director of National Parks. 2010. Norfolk Island Region Threatened Species Recovery Plan. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Lennon, J. 2005. 'Spendid spars': a Norfolk Island forest history. Australia and New Zealand Forest Histories 2: 51-59.

Mill, R.R. and Farjon, A. In prep. A Monograph of Araucaria. Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Norfolk Island Parks and Forestry Service. 2003. Nepean Island Reserve Plan of Management Part B. Section 8. Norfolk Island Parks and Forestry Service, Kingston.

Orchard, A.E. (ed.) 1994. Flora of Australia. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.


Citation: Thomas, P. 2011. Araucaria heterophylla. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 October 2014.
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