Although widely distributed in southern China, Lao PDR and Việt Nam, natural populations have undergone a significant decline mainly due to the conversion of its habitat for agriculture and logging.
Yunnan youshan, Du sam and Mai hinh
In China this species is mainly found in Yunnan and Sichuan. Subpopulations in Hainan (Yajia Daling - not shown on the map) have been identified as a separate species (K. hainanensis Chun and Tsiang) or as a variety of K. evelyniana.
Keteleeria evelyniana is also widely distributed in montane areas of Lao PDR and Việt Nam. These are sometimes referred to as K. roulletii (A.Chev.) Flous
Habitat and Ecology
This species has a broad latitudinal distribution that spans more than 20 degrees. It is principally found in subtropical montane environments, mainly at altitudes ranging from 500 to 2000 metres above sea-level. Historical records indicate that it may have reached as high as 3000m in the early 20th century. In general climates are humid with rainfall in excess of 2000mm. In the southern parts of its range climates are very monsoonal. It occurs on a variety of soils and in a range of vegetation types. It is occasionally found as remnant, very large, emergent tree in evergreen forests dominated by Lauraceae and Fagaceae. It is also commonly associated with Pinus latteri and Pinus kesiya in Lao PDR and Việt Nam.
The timber of this species is used locally for construction purposes and firewood. Oil in the seed may be used for incense and soap manufacture. In Lao PDR wooden drums were carved from the trunks.
Vulnerable A2cd; B2ab(iii)
National assessments of this species in China and Việt Nam have indicated a decline of more than 30% within the last three generations. Although no formal assessment has been undertaken for Lao PDR it is estimated that a similar decline has occurred. The total area of occupancy is estimated to be between 500 and 2000km² , the population is severely fragmented due to habitat conversion and an ongoing decline is expected as deforestation continues.
In Vietnam, this species has been assessed as Vulnerable (VU, criteria A2cd), because large parts of its natural habitat have been converted to agriculture. In Sichuan and Yunnan most of the subtropical forest where this species occurred has been cleared for agriculture. The China Plant Specialist Group also assessed it as nationally Vulnerable. In China, Keteleeria does occur in secondary forests and is widely used for afforestation. In the near future it may become difficult to distinguish natural from artifical populations. In Lao PDR it has been heavily exploited for its timber: in some parts of its range hydro-electric developments have flooded some forests (e.g. Nakai Plateau).
Some stands of this tree are protected within protected areas such as the Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area in Lao PDR. In China, officially at least, exploitation is now limited by government forest policy.