Araucaria scopulorum de Laub.

Araucariaceae

One of 13 species of Araucaria endemic to New Caledonia. Its five locations are threatened by nickel mining and fire.

Description

Habit

A monoecious tree varying from 6–20m tall, d.b.h. up to 70cm when mature. Older trees have an open, candelabriform crown with an overall columnar shape with branches along most of the length of the trunk. Bark thick, peeling horizontally in small, curled strips, outer bark light grey or yellowish grey.

Foliage

Adult leaves short and broadly ovate, 3.8–6.5 × 1.5–2.5 (–3)mm, appressed, densely overlapping, with a blunt rounded apex; stomata on lower surface of adult leaves proximal only

Cones

Female seed-cones terminal on very short branches, ovoid, 3 × 2.5cm, densely covered with recurved, acute bracts, tips up to 6mm long, maturing from January. Male pollen-cones up to 5.5cm long, terminal, borne in the upper part of the tree, appear mid July to August.

Key Characters

Leaves on the penultimate branches shorter than the foliage leaves and so reduced that they are shorter than or only just exceed the diameter of their attachment bases; this is also found in A. bernieri and A. biramulata. From both these species, and from A. humboldtensis, A. scopulorum can be distinguished by its 4-faced (not 3-faced) adult and juvenile leaves, and the male cones always orientated in line with the subtending branch (not initially erect, then pendulous).

Distribution

Endemic to New Caledonia on the main island of Grande Terre. Here it is restricted to two main areas on the northwest (Mt. Poum and Dôme de Tiébaghi) and central northeast coast (Canala and Poro). The most southern occurrence is near Thio in the south and the most northern is on the Poum massif. The largest is on the Cap Bocage Peninsula near Houaïlou.

Habitat and Ecology

Rocky slopes and ridges, often wind-swept, on serpentine or peridotite, in degraded forest and in maquis minier; coastal. Especially typical of steep rocky slopes facing the sea in maquis or on nearly bare eroded rock and exclusively on ultramafic substrates. It is sometimes associated with A. rulei. The species occurs at altitudes ranging from 5 to 600m.

Conservation Status

Global status and rationale

B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)

The calculated extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are within the thresholds for Endangered. There are five locations, as determined by the proximity of subpopulations to each other and common threatening processes. The ecological, edaphic and geographic isolation of the subpopulations also mean that they can be regarded as severely fragmented. A continuing decline in the quality of habitat due to the effects of mining has been observed, and is projected to continue in all subpopulations and locations.

Global threats

Main threats are nickel mining and fire

Conservation Actions

This species is not recorded from any protected area