Podocarpus matudae Lundell

Podocarpaceae

A widespread species in Central America, however, most forests are under pressure from logging, deforestation, habitat degradation.

Distribution

Distributed in Central America in Mexico, (States of: Chiapas, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas, Veracruz) El Salvador; Guatemala (Huehuetenango) and Honduras

Subpopulations are scattered, disjunct, usually small in numbers of individuals, severely fragmented and decreasing due to deforestation and logging.

Habitat and Ecology

Podocarpus matudae is found in mixed pine forest, pine-oak forest, montane rain forest, and evergreen cloud forest, with an altitudinal range from (800–)1100 to 2370 metres above sea-level. Most trees in the broad-leaved forests are oaks (Quercus spp.) but also abundant are other deciduous trees such as Liquidambar, Magnolia, Ostrea, Clethra, and, especially in Chiapas, Puebla and Veracruz, species of northern genera like Fagus, Carpinus and Platanus. It grows often in ravines near streams. Precipitation is high, with annual rainfall of 1500–3000mm and frequent fog at high altitudes.

In Jalisco and Nayarit it is associated with Clusia salbrinii, Pinus herrerae, P. douglasiana, Abies guatemalensis and Acer. In Hidalgo it occurs with Alnus jorullensis, Clethra macrophylla, Cleyera theaeoides, Liquidambar macrophylla, Magnolia schideana, Quercus affinis, Q. eugeniifolia, Q. sartorii, Q. xalapensis and Ternstroemia huasteca (Contreras et al., 2006).

Human Uses

The wood of this tree is fine grained, yellow, and of high quality for building and construction purposes. Podocarpus matudae is slow growing and can only be harvested sustainably at very long rotations, while successful regeneration requires a forest habitat with a mixture of other trees (microclimate) as well as the animal vector for its dispersal. It is therefore not suitable for plantation forestry. In warm temperate to subtropical countries it would be a suitable amenity tree for streets and parks. It is occasionally seen in cultivation, mainly restricted to arboreta and other living plant collections, and in the western USA usually under its synonym P. reichei.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable B2ab(ii,iii,v)

Global rationale

This species is very widespread, but occurs in scattered localities (47 were identified from herbarium records) and 11–12 subpopulations. As an occasional to common tree in the right type of forest, it does not form extensive stands. Calculating the area of occupancy on this basis is difficult, as on the one hand it is sure to occur in many uncollected localities yet within these few trees exist. There is no doubt that the species is declining, mainly due to habitat loss. Using a slightly larger grid size than IUCN recommends (4km, not 2km) to compensate for uncollected sites leads to a status of Vulnerable.

Global threats

The range of this species is extensive, based on the mapping of herbarium collections the extent of occurrence (EOO) exceeds 600,000km², but its distribution is apparently disjunct and scattered. It has been found in a variety of forest types, most of which are under pressure from logging, deforestation, habitat degradation etc., but to what extent this affects P. matudae is not known.

Conservation Actions

This species occurs in the following protected areas: Sierra de Manantlán (Jalisco), El Trunfo Reserve, Reserva de la Biósfera El Cielo, Cuenca Hidrografica del Rio Necaxa and the Pico Pijol Reserves in Mexico and Honduras. This species is listed on the Mexican National Redlist (Diario Oficial de la Federación 2010) as needing special protection and as Critically Endangered in Guatemala (Vivero, 2006).