Shorea is a genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 of about 196 species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of mainly rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

 trees in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

Dipterocarpaceae is a family of 17 genera and approximately 500 species of mainly tropical lowland rainforest trees. The family name, from the type genus Dipterocarpus, is derived from Greek and refers to the two-winged fruit...

. The genus is named after Sir John Shore, the Governor-General of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

, 1793-1798. They are native to southeast Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

, from Northern India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 to Malaysia, Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 and the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. In west Malesia
Malesia is a biogeographical region straddling the boundaries of the Indomalaya ecozone and Australasia ecozone, and also a phytogeographical floristic region in the Paleotropical Kingdom.-Floristic province:...

 and the Philippines this genus dominates the skyline of the tropical forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s. The tallest documented tropical angiosperm is a 88.3-metre-tall Shorea faguetiana
Shorea faguetiana
Shorea faguetiana is a species of plant in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The tallest documented tropical angiosperm is a 88.3 m tall Shorea faguetiana in the Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.-Source:* Ashton, P. 1998. . ...

in the Tawau Hills National Park
Tawau Hills National Park
Tawau Hills National Park, also Tawau Hills Park, was established in 1979, primarily as a protection for the water catchment area of Tawau town, in Sabah, east Malaysia on the island of Borneo. It is located 24 kilometers from Tawau, and comprises 279.72 km² of lowland dipterocarp rainforest,...

, in Sabah
Sabah is one of 13 member states of Malaysia. It is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak, which it borders on its southwest. It also shares a border with the province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south...

 on the island of Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, and in that park at least five other species of the genus have been measured to be over 80 m tall: S. argentifolia
Shorea argentifolia
Shorea argentifolia is an emergent rainforest tree species in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is found on the island of Borneo. It is threatened by habitat loss. The tallest recorded specimen is 84.9 m tall in the Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah.-Sources:* Ashton, P. 1998. . Downloaded on...

, S. gibbosa
Shorea gibbosa
Shorea gibbosa is a large emergent rainforest tree species in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is native to Sumatra, Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore . The tallest measured specimen is 81,1 metres tall, in the Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.-Source:* Ashton, P....

, S. johorensis
Shorea johorensis
Shorea johorensis is a species of plant in the Dipterocarpaceae family.-Description:...

, S. smithiana
Shorea smithiana
Shorea smithiana is a large emergent rainforest tree species in the Dipterocarpaceae family. It is found on the island of Borneo . It is threatened by habitat loss. The tallest measured specimen is 82.3 m tall in the Tawau Hills National Park, in Sabah on the island of Borneo.-Sources:* Ashton, P....

and S. superba
Shorea superba
Shorea superba is a species of plant in the Dipterocarpaceae family. The species name is derived from Latin and refers to the stature and elegance of the tree.-Description:...

. Borneo is also the hotspot of Shorea diversity with 138 species, of which 91 are endemic to the island.

Reproductive biology

The majority of Shorea are general flowering species. General flowering is an event that occurs at irregular intervals of 3–10 yr, in which nearly all dipterocarp species together with species of other families bloom heavily. It is thought that general flowering evolved to satiate seed predators and/or to facilitate pollination. It appears that both explanations hold merit. Flowering is thought to be triggered by droughts that occur during transition periods from La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 to El Niño. It is suggested that the magnitude of a flowering event is dependent on the timing of the droughts associated with the El Niño southern oscillation (ENSO) cycle, with the largest events occurring after an interval of several years with no flowering.

Shorea are insect pollinated and a variety of insects have been implicated, with species within the sections of Shorea sharing the same insect pollinators. Flowering within a section is sequential within one habitat and species association to prevent competition for pollinators.

Economic uses

Many economically important timber
Timber may refer to:* Timber, a term common in the United Kingdom and Australia for wood materials * Timber, Oregon, an unincorporated community in the U.S...

 trees belong to Shorea. They are sold under various trade names including "Meranti", "Lauan" (or "Luan"), "Lawaan", "Seraya", "Balau", and "Bangkirai". (For a list of species associated with each name, see the article on Dipterocarp timber classification
Dipterocarp timber classification
The following table associates tree species, wood name and wood colour....

). Other products from Shorea spp. include Dammar and Illepe. Dammar is a resin collected from a variety of species. It varies in colour among the different taxonomic groups. Shorea wiesneri is listed in many websites as an important source of dammar; however, this appears to be either a trade name or a synonym.

The alluringly-named "Philippine Mahogany
Philippine mahogany
Philippine mahogany is a common name for several different species of trees and their wood.*Botanically, the name refers to the species Toona calantas in the mahogany family Meliaceae....

" sold in North America is not a mahogany
The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

 at all, but actually a mixture of woods from the genus Shorea. More properly, the name 'Philippine Mahogany' is applied to Toona calantas
Toona calantas
Toona calantas is a species of plant in the Meliaceae family. It is found in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. It is threatened by habitat loss.-Source:...

and not to wood from the genus Shorea.

Conservation status

One hundred and forty eight species of Shorea are currently listed on the IUCN Redlist. The majority of which are listed as being critically endangered. There are some concerns regarding the IUCN's listing of Dipterocarps, as the criteria used to assess the level of threat are based mainly on animal population characteristics. This is thought to overstate the threat assessment, when applied to long-lived habitat-specific organisms such as trees. Furthermore one species reportedly extinct, on the IUCN Red list, Shorea cuspidata is reported to be common in the Bako National Park
Bako National Park
Bako National Park, established in 1957, is the oldest national park in Sarawak, eastern Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. It covers an area of at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula at the mouth of the Bako and Kuching Rivers. It is approximately by road from Kuching...

 and also present in the Lambir National Park. The Shorea species page gives threat classifications.
Conservation Status of Shorea spp.
IUCN red list
IUCN Red List
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species , founded in 1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature is the world's main authority on the conservation status of species...

Number of species
Extinct 1
Critically Endangered
Critically Endangered
Critically Endangered is the highest risk category assigned by the IUCN Red List for wild species. Critically Endangered means that a species' numbers have decreased, or will decrease, by 80% within three generations....

Endangered 34
Vulnerable species
On 30 January 2010, the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species identified 9694 Vulnerable species, subspecies and varieties, stocks and sub-populations.-References:...

Least concern
Least Concern
Least Concern is an IUCN category assigned to extant taxon or lower taxa which have been evaluated but do not qualify for any other category. As such they do not qualify as threatened, Near Threatened, or Conservation Dependent...

Data deficient
Data Deficient
Data Deficient is a category applied by the IUCN, other agencies, and individuals to a species when the available information is not sufficient for a proper assessment of conservation status to be made...

Not evaluated ~48
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