Taxonomy

endemique
protegee
UICN

Red List Status -

Critically Endangered (CR) , assessed in 26/01/2018

Protected species -

in Northern Province

Syzygium pendulinum is an endemic shrub of New Caledonia only known from Pointe Maa in the south west coast of Grande Terre. It is found in mesophilous and sclerophyllous forest on volcano sedimentary and calcareous rocks between 50 and 100 m asl. This species has suffered sclerophyllous forest reduction and fragmentationThis is particularly linked to agriculture on the west coast and urban development around Nouméa. Other threats come from habitat degradation due to rusa deer (Rusa timorensis), goats and uncontrolled fires. The total population size reduction cannot be assessed because of a lack of data but the population size in Pointe Maa is estimated to be less than 20 mature individuals. Its area of occupancy (AOO) and extent of occurrence (EOO) are estimated to be 8 and 8 km² and it only known from one location. A continuing decline has been observed or estimated in its quality of habitat and number of mature individuals. S. pendulinum is assigned a status of Critically Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+B2ab(iii,v);C2a(i,ii);D.

Geographical area


S. pendulinum is an endemic shrub of New Caledonia only known from Pointe Maa in the south west coast of Grande Terre.

Population


Population size is not precisely known but recent observations indicate a number of of mature individuals of less than 20 mature individuals.

Habitat


S. pendulinum occurs in sclerophyllous and mesophyllis forests on volcano sedimentary and calcareous rocks at low elevation (50-100 m). Sclerophyllous forests in New Caledonia are the most heavily impacted native vegetation type in New Caledonia, of which just 1–2% of the original cover remained as of the mid-1990s (Bouchet et al. 1995) and even less today. 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 have been extensively cleared for agricultural purposes for a century; what remains today are highly fragmented patches.

Threats


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 extensively cleared for agricultural purposes or urbanization for a century; what remains today are highly fragmented patches that have been estimated at 2% of the original area. Uncontrolled fires sweep across lowlands of New Caledonia each year, especially during the dry season (an average of 20,000 ha of land is burnt each year, with dramatic peaks of 70,000 ha). They have slowly transformed remnant patches of dry forest into shrubland dominated by Acacia spirorbis and Leucaena leucocephala, or Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) savannahs. Another main threat comes from Rusa Deer (Rusa timorensis) and goats. Rusa deer was introduced in the 1880s and adapted extremely well to Caledonian habitats. Its population may have reached over 100,000 individuals in the wild. This rusa deer (Rusa timorensis) consumes a wide variety of plant species and causes severe damage to trees and very little regeneration.

Conservation


This species is not protected by legislation in New Caledonia. None of the subpopulations occur within a protected area while dry forests benefit from a conservation programme managed by the Conservatoire des Espaces Naturels. Dry forests are a patrimonial ecosystem protected by the Code de l'Environnement of the Province Sud. This species should be included in the regional legislation for a better protection of the species and it would benefit from in situ and ex situ emergency conservation actions. And finally, it is recommended to inform the local authority responsible for the coordination of the firefighting effort about the presence of the species in the concerned areas.

Bibliography


Dawson J.W. 1999. Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie et dépendances. Volume 23 : Myrtaceae Myrtoideae 1 : Syzygium.

Endemia.nc 2016. Faune et Flore de Nouvelle-Calédonie.

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) , p.177-219.

Experts


Assessor(s): Héquet, V., Vandrot, H., Barrabé, L., Amice, R., Butin, J., Cazé, H., Fleurot, D., Suprin, B., Chambrey, C., Laudereau, C., Haverkamp, C., Fogliani, B.

Reviewer(s): Gâteblé, G.

Facilitator(s): Meyer, S., Warimavute, G., Tanguy, V.


Geographical distribution