Cedrela fissilis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Sapindales Meliaceae

Scientific Name: Cedrela fissilis Vell.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Cedro, Cedro Batata, Cedro Blanco, Cedro Branco, Cedro Colorado, Cedro Misionero, Cedro Rosdao, Cedro Vermelho
Surenus fissilis (Vell.) Kuntze
Taxonomic Notes: The Plant List (2017) cites around 20 synonyms for this species, three varieties and two subspecies.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2018
Date Assessed: 2017-11-28
Assessor(s): Barstow, M.
Reviewer(s): Altamirano, S., Araujo-Murakami, A., Arrázola, S., Beck, S., Fuentes, A., Guillén , R., Moraes, M., Mostacedo, B., Poma, A., Toledo, M., Zenteno Ruiz, F. S. & Moraes, L.
Cedrela fissilis is a large tree species native to much of South America and Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. The species is very widespread but despite this the population is experiencing significant decline as a result of large scale forest clearance across its range. The species is also exploited for its valuable and desirable timber which has also contributed to the population decline of the species over the last three generations. It is estimated that across its range these threats have contributed to a population and habitat loss of at least 30% over the last three generations. It is further predicted that this population decline will continue into the future, leading to 30% population decline over the next century.  The species is globally assessed as Vulnerable. Cedrela fissilis is found on CITES Appendix III and it is recommended that where necessary international and national legislation is expanded to protect the species. Further information on the species ecology and harvest management would be beneficial.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is native to Central and South America (Stefano et al. 2015, Bernal et al. 2015, Missouri Botanical Garden 2017). The species is widespread within Brazil (Stefano et al. 2015) but is uncommon within Amazonia (Pennington and Muellner 2010). The species generally occurs at lower elevations.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina (Jujuy, Misiones, Salta, Tucumán); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil (Acre, Alagoas, Amazonas, Bahia, Brasília Distrito Federal, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondônia, Santa Catarina, São Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins); Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Historically the species was abundant across its wide range but due to habitat conversion and logging the overall population of Cedrela fissilis is in decline. Overexploitation has resulted in the species becoming threatened in Colombia and Amazonian Peru. Most natural subpopulations in Ecuador have been destroyed. Some large trees remain in Cuyabeno but they are being felled for export to Colombia. Much of its range within southeast Brazil has been cleared for agro-industry (Pennington and Muellner 2010).

The species has become rare in Bolivia and has been lost from some sectors despite being widespread in the country (
Arrázola et al. 2018). Here it is mostly harvested opportunistically whilst mahogany,  Amburana and Machaerium are being sought-after. Though, also in Bolivia, the species is considered to have high germination and good success in populating new places (Arrázola et al. 2018).

It is apparently still abundant in the Región Oriental in Paraguay, especially along the Paraná valley. Subpopulations in Argentina are restricted to the north, where they are partly contained within sub-andean piedmont forest, a habitat which is under severe threat. In Central America, there are very few individuals in Costa Rica, if any at all, and few in Panama. The timber is considered inferior to
 C. odorata, but is sold with the latter in mixed batches. In Suriname, the species is still reasonably common (P. Teunissen pers. comm. 2006).

In Brazil, C. fissilis subpopulations are predicted to have declined by 30% as a result of logging and habitat loss. This has led to the extinction of some of the subpopulations across time (CNCFlora 2012). Within Brazil the population no longer forms dense stands although individual trees may be frequent across the fragmented landscape (CNCFlora 2012).

The species occurs in threatened Atlantic forest which, has been subject to great decline over recent decades and now occurs in only small fragments, often under 100 ha in size. Also, estimates of the remaining forest size varies from 11 to 16% suggesting a decline of Atlantic forest subpopulations of over 80% (The Nature Conservancy 2017).

Although not explicitly known the species is likely to be adversely affected by deforestation and logging of the tree for timber across its range. Therefore, it is here assumed that across the species range there has been at least a 30% population decline over the last three generations (150–300 years). The continued illegal logging of the species and forest clearance also suggests a continuing decline of at least 30% over the coming century.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This large tree species can grow to between 10 and 45 m in height (CNCFlora 2012). It can be a common upper canopy tree in semi-deciduous forest (CNCFlora 2012) and also grows in Atlantic Forest (Nunes et al. 2007). The species grows on deep soils on slopes and in valleys (CNCFlora 2012). It can establish in secondary forest or primary forest gaps (CNCFlora 2012). 
The species habitat is in decline across its range. This is due to the conversion of lowland forest to agricultural space and also, due to the decline in forest quality caused by extensive logging pressure.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):50-100

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The predominant use of C. fissilis is for timber. This is an important timber species that is internationally traded due to its high quality. Timber can be used to make plywood, sculptures, models, frames, doors and be used for turnery and construction (CNCFlora 2012). The species timber is not easily distinguished from C. odorata, another heavily exploited Meliaceae (CoP14, Prop 33 2007). Timber from C. fissilis is thought to be inferior to C. odorata but despite this the timber can be sold interchangeably.

From Mato Grosso, Brazil 3,950 m3 of timber was traded from 2006 to 2011 and from this state on average 52-523 trees are extracted annually (CNCFlora 2012). From the state of Pará, trade between 2006-2011 was 11,643 m3 or 15 to 154 individuals. CITES trade database (2017) reports that 7,916 m3 of timber was imported by various countries between 2008 and 2015.

The species may also be used for medicinal purposes. It is shown to have antimalarial, bacterial and diuretic properties. An aromatic oil can also be obtained from the bark of the species (Nunes et al. 2007).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is threatened by over extraction for timber. In recognition of this threat the species is found on CITES Appendix III, for Bolivia and Brazil. Logging has led to many subpopulations of the species becoming extinct (CNCFlora 2012) and has caused a decline in the genetic resources for the species (Nunes et al. 2007).

The species is also at risk due to widespread forest loss and decline in habitat extent and quality. This is due to  the removal of forest for the expansion of agriculture (such as soybean plantations) and human settlement. This has left the landscape fragmented too (The Nature Conservancy 2017).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is reported from 19 gardens (BCGI 2017). The species will also be found under in situ conservation across its range. In Brazil, the species is assessed as Vulnerable (CNCFlora 2012). The species is also assessed as Vulnerable in Bolivia due to historical and projected population decline (Arrázola et al. 2018).
It is recommended that further national and international policy is ratified to protect the tree and to better manage its harvest and trade. More information should be gathered on the species ecology and life history to better inform sustainable use of this species and its potential to be grown in plantations.

Citation: Barstow, M. 2018. Cedrela fissilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T33928A68080477. . Downloaded on 17 July 2018.
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