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Pinus merkusii 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus merkusii
Species Authority: Jungh. & de Vriese
Common Name(s):
English Merkus's Pine, Mindoro Pine, Sumatran Pine
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: Pinus merkusii is in this assessment treated in the narrow sense, i.e. excluding populations in Indochina, which are assigned to Pinus latteri Mason.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-01-11
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Luscombe, D
Although the rate of decline past and present is unknown, continued exploitation of natural stands and deforestation in the Philippines and Indonesia are putting this species at risk. It is unknown to what extent natural stands are being replaced by pine plantations, if this occurs even with the same species it cannot substitute for natural pine forest. The extent of occurrence (EOO) is beyond a threatened category mainly due to the disparate distribution. However the area of occupancy is estimated to be less than 2,000 km2. Subpopulations are severely fragmented and there is an ongoing decline due to deforestation and logging. On this basis, Pinus merksuii is assessed as Vulnerable under the B2 criterion.
Previously published Red List assessments:
  • 2000 – Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1998 – Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1997 – Rare (R)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Found in Indonesia and Philippines. In Indonesia it is restricted to Sumatera where there are three subpopulations: Aceh, Tapanuli and Kerinici. The largest is in Aceh in the north. In the 1960s it was estimated to cover an area of about 200,000 ha: this has since declined due to logging and forest conversion (Hardayanto 2001, Siregar and Hattemer 1999). The Tapanuli subpopulation covered about 3,500 ha in the early 1990s. It too has significantly declined due to logging. The Kerinici subpopulation is estimated to cover less than 500 ha. Each subpopulation is now severely fragmented (Hardayanto 2001). The total current area of occupancy is less than 130,000 ha (Siregar and Hattemer 1999). In the Philippines it is restricted to Paragpagan/Kabilayan Barangay Pinagturilan, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro and Sta Cruz, Masinloc, Candelaria, Zambales. Both localities are small and degraded (Razal 2005).
Countries occurrence:
Indonesia (Sumatera); Philippines
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:500-1600
Number of Locations:3-10
Lower elevation limit (metres):300
Upper elevation limit (metres):1300
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population of wild occurring trees of Pinus merkusii is naturally fragmented in two widely separated subpopulations; in the Philippines in particular, one of these is again fragmented in small, isolated subpopulations, in part due to overexploitation and deforestation. Natural stands of this species are declining throughout its range.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Pinus merkusii occurs in mountainous regions and forms more or less open pine woods or pine savannas influenced by periodic grass fires. This ecosystem is much influenced by man and may even have been created by people over thousands of years of occupation. In Sumatera, this is the only pine that crosses the equator into the southern hemisphere.The altitude range given here (300 to 1,300 m) is from herbarium specimen labels and may be incomplete. It should be considered indicative only.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):30

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Merkus's Pine has been extensively planted throughout Indonesia (where it is only indigenous in northern Sumatera) by the Dutch in colonial times. Indonesian foresters have continued this practice as it is the country's most important producer of pine resin. Young planted trees are better for tapping than 'old growth' trees in natural stands. Indonesia is a major producer of turpentines distilled from this resin. In the Philippines, this species is tapped together with P. kesiya, which is indigenous on these islands, but not in Indonesia. When trees have grown beyond good yield of resin, their wood is harvested for the pulp industry to manufacture paper, a process which allows final extraction of the resin in the wood. If well managed, these plantations are a renewable resource and can assist in the preservation of the natural stands of P. merkusii. The wood of higher grade is also used in house construction, panelling and furniture making.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Throughout its range, Pinus merkusii is threatened by over-exploitation, habitat degradation and an increase in the frequency of fires. On Mindoro in the Philippines, mining is an additional threat (Razal 2005). Around Lake Toba in northern Sumatera historical decline has fragmented the population and exploitation has progressed to the NE from there. In the Philippines the much smaller subpopulations are now also fragmented.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: In the Philippines this species is recorded from at least one protected area (Mt Paragpagan Forest Reserve) while in Sumatera it is recorded from several protected areas such as Dolok Saut Nature Reserve and Kerinci National Park. Ex situ collections have been established that represent the Sumateran provenances.

Classifications [top]

2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.4. Scale Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.1. Increase in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity: Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score: Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

♦  Manufacturing chemicals
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Fibre
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Construction or structural materials
 National : ✓  International : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Cooling, E.N.G. 1968. Pinus merkusii - fast growing timber trees of the tropics.

Cooling, E.N.G. and Gaussen, H. 1970. In Indochina: Pinus merkusiana sp.nov. et non P. merkusii Jungh. & de Vriese. Trav. Lab. Forest, Toulouse (tome 1) 8(7): 1-5.

Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK Available at:

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Hardiyanto, E.B. and Danarto, S. 2001. Ex situ Conservation of Pinus merkusii in Java, Indonesia. In: B. Thielges, S.S. Sastrapradja and A. Rimbawanto (eds), Proceedings of the International Conference on Ex Situ and In Situ Conservation of Commercial Tropical Trees, held on 11-13 June 2001, pp. 263-271. Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Razal, R.A., Tolentino, E.L.T., Carandang, W.M., Nghia, N.H., Hao, N.H. and Luoma-Aho, T. 2005. Status of Genetic Resources of Pinus merkusii (Jungh et De Vriese) and Pinus kesiya (Royle ex Gordon) in Southeast Asia. UPLBCFNR, Los Baños, Philippines & IPGRI-APO, Malaysia, Los Banos, Philippines.

Siregar, I.Z. and Hattemer, H.H. 2004. Patterns of genetic structure and variation of Merkus pine (Pinus merkusii) in Indonesia. Journal of Tropical Forest Science 16: 160-172.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus merkusii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T32624A2822050. . Downloaded on 30 June 2016.
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