Agathis dammara (Lam.) Rich. & A. Rich.

Araucariaceae

Native to Indonesia and the Philippines where it has been over-exploited for its valuable wood and resin.

Associated Names:

Amboina pitch tree

Distribution

Recorded from Indonesia (Maluku [Moluccas] and Sulawesi) and the Philippines. The extent of occurrence and area of occupancy have not been calculated but are thought to exceed the thresholds for a threatened listing. It is known from more than 10 locations.

No figures are available on population size; this species occurs on many islands over a wide area and these island populations should be regarded as subpopulations in most cases. Due to continued logging and deforestation it is inferred that the global population is still decreasing.

Habitat and Ecology

Agathis dammara occurs in lowland to upland tropical rainforest as scattered emergent trees. In lowland to lower montane rainforest it can be associated with Dipterocarpaceae and/or Fagaceae; however, Agathis often retreats to ridges with thin, rocky soils or to water-logged areas where these dominant angiosperms are less vigorous.

Human Uses

Large trees of this species are highly valuable timber trees, yielding large sizes of straight, knot-free, strong and light coloured sawn timber. The timber is traded internationally. Trees are also exploited for resin (Manila Copal). Agathis dammara is used in forestry plantations, mainly in Jawa, where the genus does not occur naturally.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable A4cd

Global rationale

Deforestation and targeted logging have been ongoing for many years, have accelerated in recent decades, and are continuing to deplete the global population of this species. Despite some difficulties in interpreting historic distributions due to taxonomic problems, an estimate of 30% reduction between 1950 and 2025 is probably on the conservative side. This puts the species in the Vulnerable category.

Global threats

This species has been over-exploited in many areas and as a result its total area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to have at least been reduced by 30% or more and this is still ongoing. The tapping of resin when exploited too intensively has killed large numbers of trees in the forests, especially in the Philippines. Habitat degradation has caused further reductions in recruitment of young trees to replace felled ones. There is now a total ban on cutting Agathis trees in the remaining forests in the Philippines, but there is still illegal logging going on in some areas.

Conservation Actions

A logging ban for this species has been imposed in the Phillipines. The species is also present in several protected areas, but policing these areas against illegal logging is not always effective