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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Torreya californica Torr.

Endemic to California, USA where historically it was heavily logged and today it forms small, localised subpopulations Read full species entry >

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Torreya fargesii Franch.

Endemic to southern and central China where deforestation is the mian cause of threat Read full species entry >

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Torreya fargesii var. fargesii

Endemic to south and central China where the mian cause of threat is deforestation Read full species entry >

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Torreya fargesii var. yunnanensis (C.Y.Cheng & L.K. Fu) N.Kang

Endemic to southern China in NW Yunnan where it is overexploited for his highly prized wood Read full species entry >

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Torreya jackii Chun

Endemic to eastern China where it is has been in steep decline due to deforestation Read full species entry >

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Torreya taxifolia Arn.

Restricted to a very small area in Florida and Georgia, USA where its dwindling population faces a number of threats, the most serious of which is a canker disease caused by Fusarium torreyae.  Read full species entry >

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Widdringtonia cedarbergensis J.A.Marsh

Endemic to South Africa where historical exploitation for its valuable timber and more recently fire have greatly reduced the population Read full species entry >

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Widdringtonia schwarzii (Marloth) Mast.

Endemic to the eastern Cape Province of South Africa where past over-exploitation has greatly reduced the population; today the major threats include wildfires Read full species entry >

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