Agathis labillardieri Warb.

Agathis labillardieri has a wide distribution in New Guinea but is coming under increasing pressure due to logging and habitat conversion for palm oil plantations. Currently it is assessed as Near Threatened as the decline is suspected to be less than the required thresholds.


Mainly distributed in Papua (Irian Jaya) and islands off the Vogelkop Peninsula (to Indonesia). It also extends into Papua New Guinea as far east as the Sepik River. The extent of occurrence is estimated to be 360,000 km2 while the area of occupancy is estimated to be 3,200 km2. Both estimates are based on limited numbers of herbarium specimens and exclude occurrences recently noted during non-botanical surveys in areas such as the Kumawa and Fakfak Mountains along the south coast (Diamond and Bishop 2015) and the Fota mountains (Takeuchi 2010). There are more than 10 locations.

Habitat and Ecology

Occurs as an emergent tree up to 50 m tall, in a wide range of vegetation types from peat swamps near sea level to lower montane communities (recorded from 50 to 2,000 m). It has also been recorded from a range of substrates including serpentine and limestone areas.

Human Uses

New Guinea Kauri is one of the most valuable timber trees on the island. The resin also has a variety of uses.

Conservation Status

Global status & rationale

Near Threatened

The extent of occurrence (EOO=360,000 km²) is well beyond the threshold for a threatened category. The area of occupancy (AOO) based on the known distribution of herbarium specimen-based locality data is incomplete, for this reason a cell width of 10 km (instead of 2 km) has been applied giving an AOO of 3,200 km² which is beyond the threshold for Vulnerable but places the species, under inference of continuing decline due to widespread logging, as Near Threatened (almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criterion B2ab(ii,iii,v)).

Global threat

Logging, deforestation and clearance for palm oil plantations in lowland areas have reduced this species' area of occupancy to some extent. Although it is still widely distributed, an expansion of logging and habitat conversion could lead to a change in conservation status. Planned REDD initiatives may reduce the likelihood of this happening.

No data are available to allow an estimate of the size of the global population. The biology of the species, a long-living large forest emergent, makes logging a threat to the population of mature trees, especially where after felling the composition of the forest is permanently altered by imposition of different forestry practices. Agathis can only maintain itself if the forest is left undisturbed for at least 100 years, unless it is planted, which is unlikely in New Guinea and planting has not been a commercial success even in New Zealand. 

Conservation Actions

While logging continues, export of round logs of Agathis (and several other conifers) from Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been banned in an attempt to provide work for local sawmills and increase the value of timber (European Timber Trade Federation 2017). The effect of this ban on rates of decline in the smaller part of the global population that occurs in PNG is not known.

This species is recorded from several protected areas and is also known from uninhabited areas such as the Kumawa Mountains

References and further reading

  1. Diamond, J. & K.D. Bishop 2015. Avifaunas of the Kumawa and Fakfak Mountains, Indonesian New Guinea. Bulletin of the British Ornithologist's Club. 135(4) 292-336
  2. European Timber Trade Federation 2017. Papua New Guinea Legality Framework. Accessed 27 July 2017
  3. Farjon, A. 2013. Agathis labillardieri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42193A2960026. Downloaded on 26 July 2017.
  4. Takeuchi, W. 2010. A floristic reconnaissance of montane environments in the Foja Mts. of Papua Province, Indonesia. Harvard Papers in Botany 15(1) 11-25

External links