Taxonomy

endemique
protegee
UICN

Synonyms

Iteiluma rheophytopsis (P.Royen) Aubrév.Pouteria rheophytopsis (P.Royen) Govaerts, ined.

Red List Status -

Critically Endangered (CR) , assessed in 19/02/2016

Protected species -

in Southern Province , in Northern Province

Planchonella rheophytopsis is an endemic tree restricted to the east coast of Grande Terre in New Caledonia. This species is known of a single population in Poro. It is found in shrubland on ultramafic substrate at an altitudinal range 10-50 m asl. On-going and past mining activities have contributed to the degradation of the habitat, especially to erosion. The habitat of Planchonella rheophytopsis is moreover degraded by bushfires. Experts estimate a population size fewer than 250 mature individuals. Its extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) are both estimated to be of 28 km² with an estimation of a single location. Planchonella rheophytopsis is therefore assessed as Critically Endangered (CR) with criteria B1ab(iii,v) and C2a(ii) with a continuing decline of habitat quality and mature individuals.

Geographical area


Planchonella rheophytopsis is an endemic tree restricted to the east coast of Grande Terre in New Caledonia. This species is known of a single population in Poro.

Population


Experts estimate a population size fewer than 250 mature individuals.

Habitat


This species is found in shrubland on ultramafic substrate at an altitudinal range 10-50 m asl.

Threats


On-going and past mining activities have contributed to the degradation of the habitat, especially to erosion. The habitat of Planchonella rheophytopsis is moreover degraded by bushfires. New Caledonia contains 20-30% of the world’s nickel resources. Intense mining activities since the late 19th century have generated soil erosion (1.2% of bare ground mapped by SPOT5 in 2007). Based on the distribution of metal-rich soils and site accessibility, these threats are predictable and planned (rise in nickel production from 60,000 to 200,000 tonnes per year between 2013 and 2015). 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).

Conservation


Planchonella rheophytopsis is protected by the code de l'environnement of province Nord. It does not occur in any protected area. Taxonomic doubts have been raised. It is urgent to clarify them. This species would benefit from ex-situ and in-situ emergency conservation actions. It is proposed to include this species in the list of priority species of SLN (Société le Nickel). Anti-erosive works should be programmed to protect the habitat of this species. Finally, prospection on the other bank of river Kua could be pertinent.

Bibliography


L'Huillier L.; Jaffré T. and Wulff A. 2010. Mines et Environnement en Nouvelle-Calédonie : les milieux sur substrats ultramafiques et leur restauration.

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.

Wulff AS, Hollingsworth PM, Ahrends A, Jaffré T, Veillon J-M, L’Huillier L, et al. 2013. Conservation Priorities in a Biodiversity Hotspot: Analysis of Narrow Endemic Plant Species in New Caledonia.

Experts


Assessor(s): Tanguy, V., Veillon, J., Bruy, D., Dubreuil, M., Dumontet, V., Fleurot, D., Garnier, D., Lagrange, A., Lannuzel, G.

Reviewer(s): Amice, R.

Contributor(s): Wulff, A.

Facilitator(s): Chanfreau, S., Tanguy, V.


Geographical distribution