Taxonomy

Plerandra veitchii (Carrière) Lowry, G.M.Plunkett & Frodin
endemique
protegee
UICN

Synonyms

Schefflera parvifolia (Pancher & Sebert) Baill.Aralia veitchii Carrière

Red List Status -

Vulnerable (VU) , assessed in 11/02/2015

Protected species -

in Northern Province

Plerandra veitchii is an endemic tree of New Caledonia occurring in sclerophyllous dry forest. This species has suffered from sclerophyllous dry forest reduction and fragmentation. This is particularly linked to urban development around Nouméa. Other threats come from habitat degradation due to Rusa Deer (Rusa timorensis) and uncontrolled fires. Population size reduction cannot be assessed because of a lack of data. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 1,400 km² and area of occupancy (AOO) is 60 km². The number of locations, based on urban development as the main threat is estimated to be ten. A continuing decline has been observed or inferred in its extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, quality of habitat, number of subpopulations, and number of mature individuals. Using criteria B, P. veitchii qualifies for VU B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v). Population size is unknown.

Geographical area


Plerandra veitchii is an endemic tree of New Caledonia restricted to the west coast of Grande Terre from Nouméa to Poya (it was known in Koumac in the past).

Population


Population size is unknown.

Habitat


Plerandra veitchii is found in sclerophyllous dry forest at an altitudinal range of 0-250 m, on black clay or schist substrate. 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 have been extensively cleared for agricultural purposes for a century; what remains today are highly fragmented patches that have been estimated at 2% of the original area.

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 both size as well as in quality. In New Caledonia, they have 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 into Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) savannahs. Another main threat comes from Rusa Deer (Rusa timorensis), which 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, which results in very little regeneration.

Conservation


This species is protected by local legislation (as a synonym) in Province Sud (Code de l'Environnement). It occurs in two protected areas (Parc du Ouen Toro, Parc Zoologique et Forestier Michel Corbasson) and it is cultivated in plant nurseries. Dry forests are a patrimonial ecosystem protected by the Code de l'Environnement of Province Sud.

Bibliography


Morat, P.; Jaffré, T.; Tronchet, F.; Munzinger, J.; Pillon, Y.; Veillon, J.-M. and Chalopin, M. 2012. The taxonomic database « FLORICAL » and characteristics of the indigenous flora of New Caledonia. Adansonia(334) , p.177-219.

Munzinger J., Morat Ph., Jaffré T., Gâteblé G., Pillon Y., Tronchet F., Veillon J.-M., & M. Chalopin 2016. FLORICAL: Checklist of the vascular indigenous flora of New Caledonia. vers. 22.IV.2016.

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

Lowry, P. P. II; G. M. Plunkett and D. G. Frodin 2013. Revision of Plerandra A. Gray (Araliaceae). I. A synopsis of the genus with an expanded circumscription and a new infrageneric classification. Brittonia(65) , p.42-61.

Experts


Assessor(s): Tanguy, V.

Reviewer(s): Schatz, G.

Contributor(s): Birnbaum, P., Villegente, J., Garnier, D., Gailhbaud, P., Lowry, P., Cazé, H.

Facilitator(s): Schatz, G.


Geographical distribution