Taxonomy

Pichonia munzingeri Gâteblé & Swenson
endemique
UICN

Red List Status -

Critically Endangered (CR) , assessed in 02/05/2019

Pichonia munzingeri is an endemic shrub from New Caledonia, where it is only known from Oumbéa Creek, in the south of Grande Terre. It has been observed in degraded maquis and rainforest remnants on ultramafic substrate around 150 m asl. The main threat to this species is posed by anthropogenic fires, which are quite frequent in that area. In 2005, an anthropogenic fire must have severely impacted both of its subpopulations, and in late 2019, another one swept across the two only known stations and impacted them entirely. Hopes, though slim, remain for regeneration of the burnt individuals or the existence of other subpopulations elsewhere in the vicinity. Therefore, P. munzingeri is listed as Critically Endangered, possibly extinct (CR PE) under criteria B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i);D.

Geographical area


Pichonia munzingeri is endemic to New Caledonia. So far, it is only known from the Oumbéa Creek, one of the tributaries of La Coulée River within the Mont-Dore municipality.

Population


It has been found in only one location with two very small subpopulations on both sides of Oumbéa Creek separated by less than 600 m. The upper subpopulation has some 30 individuals, while only three have been located in the lower one. After the late 2019 fire near La Coulée river, presumably all known individuals have been burnt, but there is some hope of regeneration for 5-7 of them (Gâteblé, comm. pers.).

Habitat


It grows in degraded maquis (shrubland) and rainforest remnants, on the lower and wettest parts of the slopes, though it is not a riparian species. It occurs on ultramafic substrate with peridotite rocks at around 150 m asl.

Threats


The main threat to this species is posed by anthoropogenic fires, which are quite frequent in this area. The Oumbéa Creek, Coulée River, and Montagne des Sources natural reserve were all severely damaged by an anthropogenic fire in 2005, which probably had severe impacts on both subpopulations (Gâteblé & Swenson, 2019). Fourteen years later, in December of 2019, another large anthropogenic fire was set near La Coulée River and swept across the station at Oumbéa Creek. Although there is slim hope for regeneration at this station, the assumption is that both subpopulations and all individuals were burnt. (Gâteblé, comm. pers).

Conservation


Pichonia munzingeri is unprotected by legislation in New Caledonia and does not occur in any protected areas. Monitoring of the few remaining individuals should be done at Oumbéa Creek to check for regeneration. Emergency conservation actions are strongly recommended if regeneration is observed: the species should be tested for ex-situ cultivation for possible reintroduction, it should be a priority to protect its area of occurrence against future fires, and the Mont-Dore municipality should not destroy any more individuals to maintain its water catchment. Furthermore, prospection is suggested in the vicinity to try and locate other subpopulations.

Bibliography


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.

Gâteblé, G. & Swenson, U. 2019. Pichonia munzingeri (Sapotaceae), a new and rare micro-endemic species from New Caledonia. Candollea(74(1)) , p.1-7.

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

Gâteblé, G. & Swenson, U. 2019. Pichonia munzingeri (Sapotaceae), a new and rare micro-endemic species from New Caledonia. Candollea(74(1)) , p.1-7.

Experts


Assessor(s): Amice, R., Butin, J., Cazé, H., Garnier, D., McCoy, S., Veillon, J., Gâteblé, G., Fleurot, D., Laudereau, C., Suprin, B., Héquet, V., Bruy, D., Vandrot, H.

Reviewer(s): Lannuzel, G.

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


Geographical distribution