Saxegothaea conspicua Lindl.

A monospecific genus endemic to Chile and Argentina. Logging and deeforestation has reduced its area of occupancy and population almost to the level that it qualifies for a threatened category.


In Chile it occurs in Región VII [Maule]; Región VIII [Biobío]; Región IX [Araucania]; Región X [Los Lagos]; Región XI [Aisén]. In these regions it has a relatively continuous distribution from Región VII to Región IX although it is more fragmented in the Coastal Cordillera and in the northern part of its range in the Mediterranean area.

In Argentina it is restricted to the Provinces of Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén.

Over 90% of the population is within Chile. Its current extent of occurrence is in excess of 20,000 km2.

Habitat and Ecology

A monoecious tree up to 25(-30?) m tall with an altitudinal range from sea-level to 1,000 m. It is an extremely shade tolerant species and capable of root-suckering. It is most abundant in the wetter Valdivian rainforest where it is commonly associated with Laureliopsis philippiana, Nothofagus dombeyi and N. nervosa. In the coastal Cordillera it occurs at low altitudes on poorly-drained marine and fluvio-glacial deposits or between 400-950 m above sea-level on shallow soils developed from micaschists (Lusk 1996). In these sites it is commonly associated with Drimys winteri, Ammomyrtus luma, Dasyphyllum diacanthoides, Eucryphia cordifolia and Weinmannia trichosperma (Lusk 1996). Where ranges overlap it is associated with Podocarpus nubigenus

Human Uses

In Argentina there is no commercial use of its wood, although it may be used locally. In Chile it is highly prized for its uniform, yellow-rose colour, durable wood which is easily worked and is used for making fine furniture. It is also used for construction

Conservation Status

Global Status

Near Threatened

Global Rationale

Currently Saxegothaea conspicua has a relatively continuous distribution, particularly in the Andes. However, in Chile logging and fire wood extraction still occurs within its habitat and if this continues then there is the possibility of the population becoming severely fragmented, particularly in the Coastal Cordillera where most forest destruction occurs. However, presently the loss of habitat has not been sufficient for it to qualify for listing under criterion B and the population of mature individuals is too large to qualify for criteria C or D. There is a possibility that it could be listed as Vulnerable (VU) under criteria A2, A3 or A4, but more information concerning rates of deforestation and past population sizes is required. Argentinian populations are reported to be too small to affect the global listing. Presently it should be listed as Near Threatened (NT) but this species requires continued monitoring, especially in terms of selective felling and range reduction due to fire or changes in land use. Future reassessments could find that it would qualify for VU under criterion B or even criterion A if information on reduction rates are obtained.

Conservation Actions

It is afforded good protection throughout its range in National Parks, particularly in the large tracts of protected areas that are contiguous between Chile and Argentina in the Andes,where there are some important old-growth forests. There is less protection in the northern part of its distribution, particularly in the Coastal Cordillera of Chile.

References and further reading

  1. Donoso, Z.C. (ed.). 2006. Las especies arbóreas de los bosques templados de Chile y Argentina. Autoecología. pp. 678. Marisia Cuneo Ediciones, Valdivia, Chile
  2. Gardner, M. 2013. Saxegothaea conspicua. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T32053A2809854. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T32053A2809854.en. Downloaded on 04 August 2017
  3. Hechenleitner, P., Gardner, M., Thomas, P., Echeverría, C., Escobar, B., Brownless, P. and Martínez, C. 2005. Plantas amenazadas del Centro-Sur de Chile. Distribución, Conservación y Propagación. Universidad Austral de Chile y Real Jardín Botánico de Edimburgo, Santiago
  4. Lusk, C.H. 1996. Stand dynamics of the shade-tolerant conifers Podocarpus nubigena and Saxegothaea conspicua in Chilean temperate rain forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 7(4): 549-558
  5. Rodríguez, R.R., Matthei, O. and Quezada, M. 1983. Flora Arbórea de Chile. Universidad de Concepción, Concepción (Chile)
  6. Stoll, A. and Hahn, S. 2007. Nuevos registros extienden el limite Septentrional de once especies Valdivianas al norte del Rio Maule, Chile. [New records extend the distribution of eleven Valdivian species to the north of the Maule River, Chile]. Gayana 64(1): 110-116

External links

Entry information:

Entry author:

P.Thomas ·

Entry last edited:

12 Nov 2019

Recommended Citation:

P.Thomas, 2019, Saxegothaea conspicua, from the website: ‘Threatened Conifers of The World’ (https://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/conifers/saxegothaea-conspicua). Downloaded on 24 January 2020.

Categorised in:

Near Threatened, Direct exploitation, Temperate southern America and Podocarpaceae