Podocarpus confertus de Laub.

Podocarpaceae

Endemic to Borneo in Sabah and Sarawak, here it is in decline due to large-scale conversion of its habitat to oil palm and rubber plantations.

Associated Names:

Distribution

Malaysia: Sabah (Bukit Ampuan, Mt. Silam), Sarawak.

Still poorly collected, this species appears to occur scattered over a large area of northern and northwestern Borneo. Subpopulations are small and may have been depleted in coastal areas

Habitat and Ecology

Podocarpus confertus occurs in 'kerangas' forest on poor, sandy soils and in stunted forest on ultrabasic rocks, commonly at altitudes between 100 and 1200 metres above sea-level. It can locally form dense populations, but commonly it is associated with various shrubs and trees, conifers as well as angiosperms.

Human Uses

Where it grows to a large tree this species will be valued and exploited for its timber; however, most trees do not attain a large size as they occur on very poor soils or on exposed sites with ultrabasic rock. Its wood may be used for house construction, flooring, furniture making and cabinet work, carpentry and joinery, household utensils, matches, and toothpicks. This species is not known to be in cultivation.

Conservation Status

This species occurs on Gunung Silam (type locality) in Sabah, a protected area.

Conservation Actions

Global status

Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,iv,v)

Global rationale

The rapid and wide expansion of oil palm plantations in the flat coastal lowlands and of rubber tree plantations in the hills is threatening the (remnants of) types of natural forest in which this species occurs sporadically as far as is known. Difficulty with field identification makes quantification of the decline problematic and a continuing decline is here inferred from the distribution data. The AOO is probably larger than here calculated (if more localities were found), but is most likely below the threshold for Endangered, so it is this category of threat this species must be placed under. This species was previously assessed as Least Concern. Its change in status to Endangered reflects the availability of better information as well as a decline since the last assessment.

Global threats

Those subpopulations that occur in ‘kerangas’ forest on lowland plains near the coast, or in low hills, are threatened by the large scale conversion to oil palm and rubber tree plantations. It is likely that several sites have been destroyed even before this species was recognized and published in 1985. On summits of low mountains on ultrabasic soil the species is safer, unless there are mining activities. Logging is also a potential threat, but loggers will not distinguish this from other species of Podocarpus which are more common.