Pinus krempfii Lecomte

Pinaceae

One of the most unusual pine species with broad flattened needles. It is endemic to a small area of the southern highlands of Việt Nam and has undergone an historic decline as a consequence of war, fire and the conversion of forests to pine plantations. Although the majority of stands  are now within a major national park, infrastructure developments within the park have led to further habitat fragmentation.

Associated Names:

Thông lá det

Distribution

Currently Pinus krempfii is restricted to the higher elevations of a few massifs such as the Hon Vong Phu, Chu Yang Sinh and Bi Doup in the southern Truong Son Range within the provinces of Đắk Lắk, Lâm Đồng, Khánh Hòa and Ninh Thuận. It was also recorded from the Mere et l'Enfant region close to the coast before World War II and it was thought that stands in this area no longer exist. In 2014, a very small stand was located in the Mere et l'Enfant region.

Habitat and Ecology

Pinus krempfii occurs as a large emergent tree at altitudes between 1200–2000m: it is always at the top or on the upper slopes of flattened ridges. The surrounding forests are dominated by evergreen members of the Fagaceae and Lauraceae. It is often associated with Fokienia hodginsii, Pinus dalatensis and Podocarpus neriifolius. Pinus krempfii is unusual amongst the pines as young trees can persist under an evergreen canopy and compete with angiosperms trees (Brodribb & Field, 2008). Tree ring analyses have indicated that it may reach ages in excess of 1000 years (B. Buckley, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, unpubl. data., 2009).

Human Uses

The rarity of this species has prevented its direct exploitation in the past. Its presence within one of Việt Nam's flagship protected area and its legally protected status within Việt Nam makes it unlikely to be exploited in the future.

Conservation Status

Global status and rationale

Vulnerable A2c; B1ab(iii)

Since the 1930s, Pinus krempfii's distribution has decreased and become fragmented as forests were destroyed during conflicts, cleared for agriculture or converted to pine plantation. Logging of associated species such as Fokienia hodginsii in the 1980s and 1990s also impacted some stands. Illegal logging of Fokienia in areas such as the Chu Yang Sin continues to have an impact. The recent construction of a new national highway through the protected area where this species occurs has increased the degree of fragmentation, directly disturbed some stands and may also lead to an increase in illegal logging of Fokienia with a consequent decline in the quality of P. krempfii's habitat. Its restricted distribution coupled with a recent decline of between 30 and 50% warrant an assessment of Vulnerable under IUCN criteria.

Conservation Actions

Almost all stands are within the BiDoup Nui Ba National Park where stands are closely monitored by regular ranger patrols. It also has official legal protection under Appendix IIa of Decree No. 3212006lnd-Cp of March 30, 2006, on Management of Endangered, Precious and Rare Forest Plants and Animals.