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Twig with pollen cones (de Laubenfels 1988).

line drawing

Seed cone (de Laubenfels 1988).

 

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Conservation status 2010: protocol 2.3, needs updating

Agathis labillardieri

Warburg 1900

Common names

Western New Guinea kauri (Silba 1986).

Taxonomic notes

No described synonyms and, as noted in the Agathis description, relations between species within the genus are very poorly understood.

Description

"A tree to 60 m tall, to 2 m in girth. Bark dark brown. Crown with branches diagonally upwards. Branchlets cylindrical, secondary branches striated. Leaves oblong-lanceolate or elliptic, 7.5-10 cm long by 1.8-3 cm wide, shiny below, apex obtuse or bluntly acute, petiole 5-7 mm long by 2-3 mm wide. Male strobili broadly cylindrical, on a stout short peduncle 1-2 mm long, 1.8-3 cm long by 1-1.5 cm wide; microsporophylls umbonate, head with a rugulose 1 mm rectangular umbo. Female cone globular, 7.5-8.5 cm long by 6 cm wide, greenish; scales imbricate, angular. Seeds 1 cm long by 8 mm wide, with a small distinct wing" (Silba 1986).

Distribution and Ecology

New Guinea: both Indonesia (Irian Jaya) and NW Papua New Guinea (Silba 1986). There are two New Guinea species of Agathis, this and A. spathulata; A. labillardieri occurs west (and north) of Mount Hagen (about 144.2°E), while A. spathulata occurs east of there (de Laubenfels 1988).

Agathis in New Guinea was described by Whitmore (1977) as occurring "in scattered stands as giant emergent trees, sometimes reaching 60 m tall." The distribution of the species was evaluated in detail in a series of aerial surveys performed between 1946 and 1962 and excepting very small stands or isolated trees, the inventory is complete. It occurs in areas with a perhumid tropical climate. Most stands occur in mountainous areas, at elevations of 200 to 1700 m on sandy, poorly to well drained oligotrophic, somewhat podzolized soils. One account associates the species with blackwater streams; another describes a healthy stand near sea level (at Sjoega S of the MacCluer Gulf in the Wagura Range, Zieck 1960 cited by Whitmore 1977). It is also reported on ultramafic rocks on Biak and Japen Islands in Irian Jaya and on southern tributaries of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, and on limestone at various other locations. A review of known stand locations on Google Earth reveals another aspect of climate: almost all locations are covered by clouds.

Rated "Lower Risk/Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List, but status not assessed since 1998.

Big tree

Oldest

Dendrochronology

Ethnobotany

Observations

Remarks

"The Hunstein Mountains in East Sepik Province [Papua New Guinea] represent a biologically very diverse area which requires protection as a Reserve. No collection has been made here since the the German expedition in 1912, but botanical diversity is evident. The area is the type locality for Araucaria hunsteinii. It includes extensive stands of the endemic Kauri species (Agathis labillardieri) which deserve protection. There is fear that the area might be logged to extract the Kauri, hence it is an important area for protection as soon as possible" (Filer 1991).

Citations

Zieck, J. F. U. 1960. Verslag van een orientatietournee naar het Agathis -- Araucaria boscomplex nabij Sjoega (Distrikt Babo) 28 Nov.-5 Dec. 1959. Afd. Boswegen Onderafd. Bosplanologie & Exploratie (sect. 3.2).

See also

Last Modified 2012-11-23