Direct exploitation

Direct exploitation occurs through general logging (deforestation), selective logging or the use of forest non-timber products (FNTP’s). General logging is the biggest threat to conifer species whereby forest habitats are often replaced by plantations, settlements or agricultural land. Selective logging involves the removal of individual tree species for their valuable timber, for charcoal production or fire wood. This practise is often considered to be a sustainable alternative to clear-cutting however, for every tree removed 30 more will become severely damaged because the practise of selective logging is inherently destructive. Conifers play an important role in the production of non-timber products, one example is the use of the foliage and bark of Taxus species for the production of the anti-cancer drug taxol. Although over-exploitation can lead to local extinction, the sustainable commercial and domestic use have the potential of increased incentives for forest conservation.

Fitzroya cupressoides

Fitzroya cupressoides© M.Gardner, RBGE

Taxa in the category - Direct exploitation:

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Taxus contorta Griff.

Taxus contorta is distributed from Afghanistan through the Himalayas to central Nepal where it is declining due to logging, agricultural expansion and especially exploitation for traditional and modern medicines.  Read full species entry >

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Taxus floridana Nutt. ex Chapm.

Endemic to a very small area in northern Florida, USA where historically the population was much depleted due to selective logging which has led to fragmentation and poor regeneration Read full species entry >

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Taxus florinii Spjut

This recently described species is restricted to northwest Yunnan and southwest Sichuan. Like other Taxus species in the Himalayas and China it has been heavily exploited. No official IUCN assessment has been undertaken yet but it is likely to meet the criteria for Endangered on the basis of recent and past exploitation. Read full species entry >

Multi-stemmed tree, Yulongshan, Yunnan
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Taxus mairei (Lemée & H. Lév.) S.Y.Hu

Scattered throughout southern China, Taiwan and parts of the eastern Himalayas as well as southern Vietnam. Subpopulations are severely fragmented and threatened due to overexploitation for medicinal use, deforestation for agricultural purposes and urbanisation. Read full species entry >

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Taxus wallichiana Zucc.

Throughout its range in the eastern Himalayas this species is threatened by exploitation for traditional and modern medicines as well as the conversion of its habitat for agriculture and harvesting for fodder and firewood.  Read full species entry >

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Tetraclinis articulata Mast.

A genus with a single species endemic to the western Mediterranean where, although not globally threatened, it is Critically Endangered in Spain and Malta due to fire  and grazing. Read full species entry >

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Thuja koraiensis Nakai

Distributed in NE China, North and South Korea where it has mainly become threatened through deforestation. Read full species entry >

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Thuja sutchuenensis Franchet

Represented by a single population in Southwest China where up until 1990 it was thought to be extinct; mainly as a result of  selective logging. Read full species entry >

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