Afrocarpus mannii (Hook.) C.N.Page

Podocarpaceae

Endemic to the west central African country of São Tomé and Príncipe where it occurs on a single mountain on São Tomé. Here it is threatened by deforestation.

Associated Names:

Pinheiro da terra and Pinheiro de São Tomé

Distribution

West Central Africa (Gulf of Guinea Islands): São Tomé. The population is naturally small as it is confined to a single mountain. At lower altitudes larger trees have been felled and presumably the number of mature trees has therefore decreased.

Habitat and Ecology

Afrocarpus mannii is endemic to the volcano Pico de São Tomé from altitudes of ca. 1450m up to the summit area at 2142m. Nowhere is it a tall tree and at the summit it is reduced to dwarfed krummholz. It is common in the high montane cloud forest where this has remained undisturbed, which appears to be the largely case at least above ca. 1500m.

Human Uses

The timber of A. mannii is valuable in trees of good size and shape, which have become scarce. It is used for light construction. This species has been planted in rural areas in Cameroon and Ivory Coast and probably elsewhere in W Africa as a canopy tree or windbreak for coffee plantations and as an amenity tree in villages.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable D2

Global rationale

The current population of this species is confined to the Pico de Sao Tomé from above 1450 metres above sea-level to the summit. This area is less than 25km² within which the area of occupancy (AOO) of Afrocarpus mannii must be substantially smaller than this. It is certainly smaller than the threshold for Vulnerable under D2. As the only known population, it is vulnerable to stochastic events such as volcanic eruptions, fires or severe storms.

Gloabl threats

Deforestation at lower to middle altitudes on the mountain has been the main threat to this species, which is endemic to the island.

Conservation Actions

The population lies entirely within the Obo National Park. At higher altitudes above 1500m there still appears to be a good forest cover, so that under adequate protection trees of this species could grow to size replacing trees logged in the past.