Prumnopitys ladei (F.M.Bailey) de Laub.

Podocarpaceae

Endemic to Queensland, Australia where it occupies a very restricted area; mature individuals are estimated to number less than 1000.

Associated Names:

Mount Spurgeon black pine and Mount Spurgeon brown pine

Distribution

Endemic to NE Queensland inAustralia where it is restricted to Mt. Lewis, Mt. Spurgeon and a few other localities nearby.

This species is a rare tree occurring in localized and small sub-populations in remnants of evergreen rainforest. The population has declined in the past (but no rates or quantities are known) but this decline has recently ceased as remaining rainforest is coming under legal protection with the increase in and expansion of conservation areas in Queensland. The rarity of this tree was apparent on a recent visit by the author of this assessment to Mt. Lewis when at this locality not more than 5 mature trees were found in one hour of searching with three people. In addition, some seedlings and saplings were present. It is unlikely that the global population exceeds 1000 trees.

Habitat and Ecology

This rare species is restricted to (remnants of) montane rainforest habitat on granitic outcrops in the Atherton Tableland. The altitudinal range of the species is between 930 to1400m above sea-level. The rainforest is dominated by angiosperms with scattered podocarps: Podocarpus smithii, Prumnopitys ladei and Sundacarpus amarus. Prumnopitys ladei is the rarer of these species. The seeds are eaten by native rats (Cooper & Cooper, 1994).

Human Uses

The wood of this species is used for construction and carpentry, but it is too rare to be of much economic importance. It is said to have potential as an ornamental tree but is rarely used in that capacity and may not be present outside botanical collections.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable D1

Global rationale

Prumnopitys ladei occurs in remnants of primary rainforest within an extent of occupancy (EOO) of 161km². The area of occupancy (AOO) when calculated on the basis of known (collected) localities using a 2km wide grid would be 28km² but it is here considered smaller because the tree is very rare and scattered. Its total population would not exceed 1000 mature trees. It therefore meets the criteria under D1 for Vulnerable.

Global threats

The surviving rainforests on both mountains are now partly within protected areas. Logging has almost certainly reduced the area of occupancy (AOO) of Prumnopitys ladei on Mt. Lewis, presently the smaller of the two sub-populations. In 1974 a herbarium collection was made within the "North Mary Logging Area" of State Forest Reserve 143 (Hyland 7882); this implies that logging of primary forest was then still undertaken and it would not have spared this species. Several of these logging areas existed there between 1960–1980 according to data on herbarium labels.

Conservation Actions

This species is present in two protected areas on Mts. Lewis and Spurgeon. Protected areas of primary rainforest are being expanded, but it is not known at present whether this will eventually include all known individual trees of this species. It is listed as Near Threatened under the Queensland Governments Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Amendment Regulation (No.1) 2010 (Bostock & Holland, 2010)