This species is only known from one forested limestone massif in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia. This massif has been subjected to cement quarrying since the 1960s and the northern end has been almost completely destroyed.
This species was discovered just seven years ago and fewer than 50 adult trees remain. Natural regeneration at the site is limited, with no seedlings or saplings being observed since the species was discovered.
Without conservation action, quarrying threatens to expand into the remaining range of this species and could result in the extinction of the species.
Seeds of Dipterocarps are mostly produced during “mast” bumper years. However, an important conservation challenge is that most Dipterocarp species produce recalcitrant seeds, which are not suitable for long-term storage in seed banks.
In-country partners collected 1,000 seeds of Vatica kanthanensis during a mast year in 2019. Saplings grown from these seeds are now being grown in a threatened tree nursery and are a lifeline for the species.
Funding will enable these saplings to be used in restoration activities. Restoration of this unique habitat will also benefit seven other endemic species that are only found at the site.