Callitris sulcata (Parl.) Schltr.

Cupressaceae

One of two Callitris species endemic to New Caledonia; it is restricted to a few locations in the south of the main island of Grande Terre where its threatened by fire and logging

Associated Names:

gnié, nié and 'sapin' de la Comboui

Description

Habit

Shrub or small tree, 6–10m, monoecious; trunk often forked, branching low, up to 40cm d.b.h. Bark thick, fissured, exfoliating in long strips, light brown.

Foliage

Mature and juvenile leaves occur on the same shoots, borne in tufts at ends of main branches, rising up or erect, branchlets strongly articulate with scale-like leaves. Mature scale-like leaves, 3–7 x 0.7–1mm, alternate, green, borne in whorls of 3, closely appressed or free on some whip-like leading shoots.

Cones

Male pollen-cones, solitary, terminal on ultimate branchlets, 3–5 x 1.5–2.5mm, ovoid, yellowish-green maturing light brown. Female seed-cones solitary, terminal, borne on short, leay shoots, 8–11 x 7–10mm, ovoid to almost globe-shaped when closed, with concave lower parts when open, finely rugose, greenish maturing dull brown.

Distribution

Callitris sulcata is restricted to three river valleys in the Southern Massif in the Provinces of Tontouta, Dumbéa and Kombwi. The total population is estimated to be less than 2,500 mature individuals with no subpopulation containing more than 250 mature plants.

Habitat and Ecology

Occurs in dense forest at low and mid-elevation at 40–200m on ultramfic soils, often near rivers. It is often associated with other conifers species including Dacrydium araucarioides, D. balansae, Neocallitropsis pancheri and Podocarpus novaecaledoniae.

Human Uses

The wood is traditionally used for building local houses

Conservation Status

Global assessment

Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v);C2a(i)

Global rationale

Callitris sulcata has an estimated extent of occurrence of 226km² and an estimated area of occupancy of 20km². It is known from three locations (Tontouta, Dumbéa and Kombwi) and is undergoing a continuing decline in terms of the quality of habitat and number of mature individuals due to over exploitation and repeated burning. The total population is estimated to be less than 2,500 mature individuals with no subpopulation containing more than 250. On the basis of this information it meets the criteria for Endangered. It may become Critically Endangered in the near future

Global threats

The habitats are prone to wild fires and disturbance. One site in the Comboui valley has been logged. Regeneration has also been noted as poor. No subpopulations are within protected areas.