Podocarpus laubenfelsii Tiong

Podocarpaceae

Restricted to Borneo where it occurs in Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan where logging has caused a decline in the population

Distribution

Malaysia: Sabah (Mt. Kinabalu, Mt. Trusmadi), Sarawak (Lawas); Indonesia: Kalimantan Timur (Gunung Palimasan). The EOO is estimated to be 38,800km² but with a very small estimated AOO of 32km².

This species is only known from four locations constituting 3–4 subpopulations. In each location individual mature trees are uncommon and do not form a substantial proportion of tree cover in any site. The total number of individual trees is unknown.

Habitat and Ecology

Podocarpus laubenfelsii occurs scattered in 'keranga' forest with Agathis borneensis, Nageia wallichiana, Sundacarpus amarus, Dacrydium gracile and Falcatifolium falciforme, often on nutrient-poor and/or water-logged, acidic soils. The species is also scattered in primary rainforest and mossy forest; growing as a large emergent tree on rocky ridges; it may be more common in 'heath forests' at higher elevations. Altitude of P. laubenfelsii ranges from (600) 920 to 1650 metres aboce sea-level.

Human Uses

This species attains large sizes in primary lower montane rainforest and is consequently a valuable timber tree logged and traded as other 'podocarp' trees, without distinction to species or even genus. The excellent wood of Podocarps is used for house construction and carpentry and for making oars, spars and masts of sailing vessels. More specialized uses requiring high grade timber are veneer, furniture making, cabinet making, interior trim, household utensils, and wood carving. It is not known to be in cultivation.

Conservation Status

Global status

Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v)

Global rationale

Podocarpus laubenfelsii is only known from fewer than 15 herbarium collections made in four locations, among which just one, Mt. Kinabalu, is protected as a National Park. Logging of this valuable timber tree is ongoing but unsustainable due to its slow growth. It may also be affected by deforestation, especially at its lower altitude limits. Podocarpus laubenfelsii meets the criteria for Endangered under B2. It was similarly assessed in 2006 in a project to assess the DD conifers (Farjon et al., 2006). A problem with the assessment of this and some other podocarps in the region is that few field workers seem to recognize the taxon in the field. If it gets collected for a herbarium, it requires a specialist to go through the material to identify it, as it will either be filed as “sp.” or under one of the common and widespread species of the genus.

Global threats

Logging in forests outside strictly protected areas where this species occurs has been the main cause of decline in recent decades. In some cases logging has led to deforestation but it is not clear whether this too has affected this species.

Conservation Actions

This species is protected in Mt. Kinabalu National Park. None of the other locations are presently within a protected area.