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Agathis dammara

Agathis dammara
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Product Information

Scientific name: Agathis dammara  (A. Lambert) L. Richard 1826

Synonyms: Agathis alba Jeffrey, Agathis celebica (Koord.) Warb., Agathis hamii Meijer Drees, Agathis loranthifolia Salisb., Agathis orientalis (Lamb.) Mottet, Agathis philippensis Warb., Agathis philippinensis Warb., Agathis pinus-dammara Poir., Agathis regia Warb., Dammara alba Rumph. ex Hassk., Dammara celebica Koord., Dammara loranthifolia Link, Dammara orientalis Lamb., Dammara rumphii C.Presl, Pinus dammara Lamb.

Common names: Amboina pitch tree, Amboyna pine, Celebes kauri, Indonesian kauri, Eastern dammar



Tree to 40(-70) m tall, much smaller on poor sites, with unbuttressed (or irregularly swollen, lobed, and distorted when subjected to tapping for resin), cylindrical, straight or less often crooked trunk to 1.5(-3) m in diameter. Bark smooth, with horizontal lines of resin pockets, and reddish brown to grayish brown at first, weathering gray and shedding thick scales or larger patches at varying rates to yield a scaly to densely and deeply pockmarked, mottled surface. Crown conical to narrowly cylindrical at first, opening up and becoming more irregular and dome- to vase-shaped at maturity, with relatively slender, scattered, upwardly angled branches bearing irregular, well-spaced tufts of branchlets. Branchlets not waxy, dark green to very yellowish green, densely to more sparsely clothed with foliage. Leaves shiny light green to dark green or yellowish green above, similar beneath or sometimes paler and with a thin film of wax, (2.5-)4-8(-10) cm long (to 15 cm in juveniles), (0.8-)1.5-3.5(-4) cm wide (to 5 cm in juveniles), widest near the middle (before the middle in juveniles), tapering fairly quickly to a rounded to roundly triangular tip, sometimes with a narrowed, prolonged point (especially in juveniles), and with a similar taper to the wedge-shaped or roundly wedge-shaped base narrowing to a short petiole 3-10 mm long. Pollen cones (1-)2.5-5(-6) cm long, (6-)8-15 mm thick, with four (or five) pairs of slightly larger, clasping, sterile scales (or the lowest pair sometimes somewhat spreading and leaflike) on a stalk (0.1-)3-5(-10) mm long. Each pollen scale with (3-)5-10(-12) pollen sacs and a rounded external face. Seed cones without a waxy film at maturity, round but generally a little longer than wide, (6-)6.5-8.5(-10.5 or perhaps 12) cm long, 6-7.5(-10) cm thick. Seed scales without a large, tonguelike projection. Seed body 9-14(-16) mm long and 6-8(-10) mm wide, the larger wing 14-25 mm by 8-17 mm, the smaller one triangular, projecting about 1-3 mm (rarely expanded up to about 10 mm).

Distributed more or less continuously from Calayan Island, north of Luzon through the Philippines, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas (both Indonesia) to Buru, Ambon, and Seram, and discontinuously westward on scattered mountains in northwestern Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak) and the Gunung Tahan massif of southern Malaya (both Malaysia). Scattered as an emergent above various wet-forest types, ranging from lowland rain forests to upper montane mossy forests; 0-2,200 m.


Conservation Status

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable

Deforestation and targeted logging have been ongoing for many years, have accelerated in recent decades, and are continuing to deplete the global population of this species. Despite some difficulties in interpreting historic distributions due to taxonomic problems, an estimate of 30% reduction between 1950 and 2025 is probably on the conservative side. This puts the species in the Vulnerable category.  Agathis borneensis Warb. was previously treated as a synonym of this species (Farjon 1998, 2001) but is now treated as a separate species (Farjon 2010). Similarly Agathis celebica (Koord.) Warb. and Agathis philippinensis Warb. were treated previously as being separate species (Farjon 1998, 2001) but are now treated as being conspecific with Agathis dammara (Farjon 2010). No figures are available on population size; this species occurs on many islands over a wide area and these island populations should be regarded as subpopulations in most cases. Due to continued logging and deforestation it is inferred that the global population is still decreasing. Agathis dammara occurs in lowland to upland tropical rainforest as scattered emergent trees. In lowland to lower montane rainforest it can be associated with Dipterocarpaceae and/or Fagaceae; however, Agathis often retreats to ridges with thin, rocky soils or to water-logged areas where these dominant angiosperms are less vigorous. This species has been over-exploited in many areas and as a result its total area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to have at least been reduced by 30% or more and this is still ongoing. The tapping of resin when exploited too intensively has killed large numbers of trees in the forests, especially in the Philippines. Habitat degradation has caused further reductions in recruitment of young trees to replace felled ones. There is now a total ban on cutting Agathis trees in the remaining forests in the Philippines, but there is still illegal logging going on in some areas. Large trees of this species are highly valuable timber trees, yielding large sizes of straight, knot-free, strong and light coloured sawn timber. The timber is traded internationally. Trees are also exploited for resin (Manila Copal). Agathis dammara is used in forestry plantations, mainly in Jawa, where the genus does not occur naturally. A logging ban for this species has been imposed in the Phillipines. The species is also present in several protected areas, but policing these areas against illegal logging is not always effective



  • Farjon, A. (2010). A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
  • Eckenwalder, J.E. (2009) Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland.
  • IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Cambridge, UK /Gland, Switzerland

Copyright © Aljos Farjon, James E. Eckenwalder, IUCN, Conifers Garden. All rights reserved.

Product CodeAGAI1JDW43

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