Conifer conservation in Vietnam: three potential flagship species

Aljos Farjon a1c1, Philip Thomas a2 and Nguyen Duc To Luu a3
a1 Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK
a2 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh, EH3 5LR, UK
a3 Central Forest Seed Company, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, 62 Cau Dien Township, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Vietnam

Article author query
farjon a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
thomas p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
luu nd   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Discoveries of new species and new records of species are the order of the day in Vietnam, a country with a high level of biodiversity and many areas still largely unexplored. In recent years many conifers have been discovered for the first time in the country, and this paper focuses on three of these. The Vulnerable Pinus krempfii is an endemic of exceptional scientific interest. The globally Vulnerable Taiwania cryptomerioides, a conifer of ancient lineage in the Cupressaceae previously only known to occur with certainty in Taiwan and the border region between Myanmar and China, is a new discovery for Vietnam, where it is Critically Endangered. The Critically Endangered Xanthocyparis vietnamensis, a new genus and species in the Cupressaceae, was described in 2001 and is restricted to limestone outcrops on the border with China. All three species are of high conservation concern due to their rarity and because of threats to their survival from expanding cultivation, felling and fires. We discuss the suitability of these three conifers as flagship species to promote forest conservation in Vietnam. We also discuss the problems involved in the protection of these species, and the efforts that are currently being undertaken to conserve them.

(Received August 13 2003)
(Revised February 4 2004)
(Accepted May 4 2004)

Key Words: Conifers; endemism; extinction; flagship species; Pinus krempfii; Taiwania cryptomerioides; Vietnam; Xanthocyparis vietnamensis.

c1 Correspondence: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB, UK. E-mail a.farjon@rbgkew.org.uk