Agathis atropurpurea B.Hyland

Endemic to Australia where as a result of past logging it has a very restricted distribution in Queensland


Restricted to the Cook District in the Wet Tropics Region of northeastern Queensland. The extent of occurrence is 2528km² based on recent herbarium specimens. The area of occupancy is unknown although the extent of the vegetation type (Simple microphyll vine-fern forest - Regional ecosystem 7.12.19) in which it occurs is estimated to be more than 10,000ha (Queensland Herbarium 2009).

Habitat and Ecology

A large emergent tree restricted to simple microphyll vine-fern forest in cloudy wet highlands (700–1600m) with an annual rainfall of 2000–3000mm. The dominant families are Cunoniaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Lauraceae, Monimiaceae, Myrtaceae and Proteaceae; conspicuous tree species include Balanops australiana, Ceratopetalum succirubrum, C, virchowii, Doryphora aromatics, Elaeocarpus ferruginiflorus, Flindersia bourjotiana,Syzygium cryptophlebia, Sundacarpus amarus and Xanthostemon pubescens (Williams & Tracey, 1984).

Human Uses

Previously exploited for its valuable timber. Its longevity and large size may make it useful for dendroclimatology

Conservation Status

Global status and rationale

Near Threatened

The estimated current extent of occurrence is well within the threshold for Endangered under criterion B1. Logging has ceased to be a problem but recent reports of Phytophthora cinnamomi related dieback in some parts of its range indicate that continued monitoring of this species is required. On the basis of current information an assessment of Near Threatened is precautionary (almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criterion B1ab(v)).

Global threats

Selective logging in the past has reduced the size of the population and limited its distribution. A dieback that may be caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi has been noted in a limited part of its range (Worboys 2006).  Invasive species are a potential problem where they suppress regeneration or encourage more  frequent fires. The Wet Tropics have been identified as an area that is potentially highly vulnerable to climate change (Steffen et al. 2009) but no assessment of this species' vulnerability to such impacts have been undertaken to date.

Conservation Actions

The majority of the remaining stands are within National Parks and other protected areas.

References and further reading

  1. Briggs, J.D. & Leigh, J.H. (1988). Rare or threatened Australian plants. CSIRO Publications, Melbourne, Australia.
  2. Graham, A.W. (ed.). (2006). The CSIRO Rainforest Permanent Plots of North Queensland – Site, Structural, Floristic and Edaphic Descriptions. CSIRO and the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management. Rainforest CRC, Cairns.
  3. Queensland Herbarium. (2009). Regional Ecosystem Description Database (REDD). Version 6.0b Updated November 2009, (November 2009). Available at: (Accessed: 2 November 2010).
  4. Steffen, W., Burbidge, A.A., Hughes, L., Kitching, R., Lindenmayer, D., Musgrave, W., Stafford Smith, M. & Werner, P.A. (2009). Australia’s Biodiversity and Climate Change: a strategic assessment of the vulnerability of Australia’s biodiversity to climate change. CSIRO Publishing, Australia.
  5. Thomas, P. (2013). Agathis atropurpurea. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Downloaded on 05 July 2013.
  6. Williams, W.T. and Tracey, J.G. (1984). Network Analysis of Northern Queensland Tropical Rainforests. Australian Journal of Botany 32: 109-116.
  7. Worboys, S.J. (2006). Rainforest Dieback Mapping and Assessment. 2004 Monitoring Report Including an Assessment of Dieback in High Altitude Rainforests. Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management. Rainforest CRC,, Cairns.

Entry information:

Entry author:

P.Thomas ·

Entry last edited:

25 Jun 2019

Recommended Citation:

P.Thomas, 2019, Agathis atropurpurea, from the website: ‘Threatened Conifers of The World’ ( Downloaded on 2 July 2020.

Categorised in:

Araucariaceae, Near Threatened, Direct exploitation and Australasia