One of the five Agathis species native to New Caledonia. Synonymy (Farjon 1998):
"A shrub or small tree 1-8 m tall, often branching from the base, or to 25 m tall with a clear bole for 12 m high. Crown somewhat flattened. Bark with prominent fissures, whitish or tan, interior-bark red-brown. Branches alternate, opposite, or in whorls of 3-4, yellowish-brown. Buds round, with 4 densely imbricate scales. Leaves ovate to ovate-elliptic, dark green, pale or glaucous below, 4-8 cm long by 1-5 cm wide, apex broadly obtuse, petiole flattened, margins slightly recurved. Male strobili cylindrical, glaucous, 3-5 cm long by 1-1.5 cm wide, on a short robust peduncle 4-6 mm long; microsporophylls imbricate, triangular. Female cone globular, to 12 cm long by 10 cm wide, scales brown with a short-pointed umbo. Seeds 9-11 mm long by 8 mm wide, with a broad nut and an oblique wing on one side" (Silba 1986).
"S New Caledonia: Mt Humboldt to Mt. des Sources, 150-1000 m" (Silba 1986). Grows in small stands, generally very open, or sometimes in forest (Schmid 1981). Stand structure is described in more detail in the abstract for Enright and Goldblum 1998, reproduced here.
The IUCN Red List states that Agathis ovata is scattered in maquis shrubland in a few localities on ultramafic soils in the south, and that it is vulnerable to mining activities, fires and logging. The species is slow growing but regenerates well where there is no burning. However, it is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild due to a limited and severely fragmented range that is experiencing continuing declines in extent of habitat, number of subpopulations, and number of mature individuals.
"Preliminary evidence from tree-ring studies indicates that rings may be annual. Estimated diameter growth rate is about 2 mm/yr for trees >10 cm dbh, and ring counts suggest tree ages of up to 400 years in maquis and 500 years in forest" (Enright and Goldblum 1998).
The account at the IUCN Red List states that the trees "in Rivière Bleue Provincial Park are effectively protected," so that is likely a good place to try to see it.
Association Endemia, a site devoted to New Caledonian species. Has excellent photos, a range map, and other information. In French.
Last Modified 2012-11-23