Podocarpus henkelii Stapf ex Dallim. & A.B.Jacks.

Podocarpaceae

Occurs in South Africa, Malawi,Tanzania and Zimbabwe where logging for its valuable wood and deforestation threaten it.

Associated Names:

Distribution

Recorded from South Africa: Eastern Cape Province, KwaZulu-Natal; Malawi; Tanzania; and Zimbabwe.The estimated area of occupancy (256 km²) is derived from mapping herbarium records and is likely to be an underestimate.

The global population of this species is extremely fragmented (disjunct) according to the known and verified herbarium collections and occurs in five widely separated locations. One of these is in the eastern part of Tanzania where podocarps are intensively logged (see assessment of Afrocarpus usambarensis). In South Africa the subpopulation is more stable but the species is reported to be rare. The largest concentrations of P. henkelii in South Africa are found in the areas between Mt. Ayliff, Kokstad and Harding. Information about trends in the two known locations in Malawi and Zimbabwe is lacking.

Habitat and Ecology

Podocarpus henkelii is a tree that occurs in montane evergreen rainforest, often on steep, rocky slopes, at altitudes between 1,300 m and 2,000 m a.s.l.; it is also present in coastal forests near sea level in Eastern Cape Province (where it is rare) and KwaZulu-Natal. Here it may be associated with Afrocarpus falcatus; both are in these forests as emergents above a canopy of angiosperm trees. In Tanzania it occurs as a codominant in Ocotea-Podocarpus forest with a canopy 30-40 m tall and both Afrocarpus usambarensis and P. milanjianus are often also present as canopy trees

Human Uses

This species is a valuable timber tree but not common enough to be of major economic importance. The wood is used for construction, carpentry and joinery, as well as furniture making. In South Africa and Zimbabwe it is commonly planted as an ornamental tree; outside the indigenous region of the species it is often planted in southern California. It is also in cultivation in England and Wales

Conservation Status

Global status

Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)

In the previous assessment (1998) this species was presumably assessed as Least Concern on the grounds of its wide distribution. Evaluation of available herbarium collections (many were misidentified and belong to other taxa) has made it clear that Podocarpus henkelii is rare and occurs in a few widely disjunct locations; the area of occupancy is estimated to be about 256 km² and the population is severely fragmented. Outside South Africa, and especially in Tanzania, it is inferred to be in decline due to over-exploitation and deforestation, both of which are ongoing in the area where it has been collected. This species appears to meet the B2 criterion for Endangered. In South Africa this species is treated as endemic to South Africa and is not listed as threatened

Unsustainable logging poses the major threat to this species, especially in Tanzania. Deforestation is also an issue in parts of its range, especially where it occurs in montane rainforest.

Information for this species will be completed shortly

Conservation Actions

In South Africa this species occurs in a few small protected areas; in Malawi it occurs in Mount Mulanje National Park. It is a protected species in South Africa.