Alnus acuminata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Fagales Betulaceae

Scientific Name: Alnus acuminata Kunth
Common Name(s):
English Alder
Alnus acuminata Kunth var. genuina Regel
Alnus ferruginea Kunth var. aliso Griseb.
Alnus jorullensis Benth. var. acuminata (Kunth) Kuntze
Taxonomic Source(s): Govaerts, R. 2013. World Checklist of Betulaceae. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Available at:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2014-08-01
Assessor(s): Roy, S., Shaw, K., Wilson, B. & Rivers, M.C.
Reviewer(s): Oldfield, S.
Alnus acuminata is a tree species widespread in Central and South America. This species has a wide distribution. There are some known pests and pathogens in parts of its range and some wild harvesting occurs, but these factors do not currently present a significant threat to the species. The species is fast growing and populations regenerate naturally in open, disturbed areas. It is therefore evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has a wide distribution in South and Central America, occurring from Mexico to northern Argentina. This species is not reported to occur in Brazil. 

It is most commonly found between 1,100-3,500 m above sea level, however, it has been recorded growing at a minimum altitude of 1,000 m and a maximum of 3,800 m. In Argentina the species is found from 1,000 m to 2,800 m, in Costa Rica it grows from 1,500 m to 3,100 m and in Peru it is found between 2,500 m and 3,300 m.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina (Catamarca, Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán); Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Colombia (Colombia (mainland)); Costa Rica (Costa Rica (mainland)); Ecuador (Ecuador (mainland)); El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras (Honduras (mainland)); Mexico (Chiapas, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, México Distrito Federal, México State, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tlaxcala, Veracruz); Panama; Peru; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of (Venezuela (mainland))
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1000
Upper elevation limit (metres):3800
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Alnus acuminata is a widespread montane species. It is more common in the higher elevations of Guatemala and Costa Rica than lower elevations of other Central American countries. However, no estimates on population size or trends are available.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species occurs as a small to large tree, usually 6-15 m but occasionally up to 30 m, often with several erect trunks. It is a fast-growing pioneer species that regenerates naturally in open, disturbed areas. This species grows in a wide range of climates and soil types, with a preference for deep, well-drained soils with high organic matter content. The species occurs where mean annual temperature ranges between 4o and 27o C; however, it can withstand temperatures dipping briefly below 0C. It usually grows in moist soil environments, usually along the banks of streams, rivers, ponds and swamps, where it typically forms dense, pure stands. This species can also be associated with floodplains or moist mountain slopes, and it may be adapted to somewhat drier conditions. However, it is usually restricted to zones with extra soil moisture such as cool, tropical highlands, and cool, high-latitude regions with abundant rainfall. This species is often accompanied by species of Quercus, Pinus and Abies.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is cultivated extensively in plantations across its native range due to its wide uses. The material burns evenly and traditionally has been used for firewood. The wood is also used in sawmilling, construction, joinery and for making musical instruments, shoe heels, coffins and for packaging. In Guatemala the material is also used for artisanal purposes including jewellery. It is also used for producing lower quality goods, such as posts, poles, broom handles, household items and plywood. The wood is also very good for matches and is suitable for pulp. The species is nitrogen fixing and the leaves are used as organic material in agricultural applications (as green manure) and as fodder material. The leaves have medicinal applications, including the treatment of joint and muscular pains, rheumatism and skin conditions. The abundant wind-borne pollen is a valuable bee food supplement, coming as it does in winter when there are few other sources available. The bark is rich in tannin which can be extracted to tan leather. It has agroforestry potential. Useful for reforestation, soil reclamation on slopes and reclamation of unstable soils, as it grows well on slopes and the roots are lateral and extend outwards rather than being deep and confined.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although a number of pests and pathogens are reported to affect this species, no significant threats are currently documented that would threaten this species across its whole range, neither are large threats predicted in the foreseeable future. 

A stem borer (Scolytodes alni) has been reported to affect populations of Alnus acuminata in Costa Rica during the dry season which can cause serious damage to trees, but outbreaks are sporadic, mainly within plantations, and can be eliminated by burning infected material. The species is also susceptible to attack by defoliators (Nodonota irazuensis and Nodonota ca. parvula). Vertebrates such as Sciurus sp. may cause debarking and Sylvilagus brasiliensis may destroy seedlings. Fungi such as Fusarium sp. and Trichoderma sp. may damage seeds; Colletotrichum sp. and Phomopsis sp. may affect leaves; and Rosellinia sp. may affect stems and roots in mature trees. Harvesting from wild populations also occurs.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known conservation measures in place or currently required for A. acuminata. The species is known in cultivation. As with any widely used forest product, the harvest and use of this species needs to be carried out in a sustainable manner to ensure it does not negatively impact the survival of this species.

Citation: Roy, S., Shaw, K., Wilson, B. & Rivers, M.C. 2016. Alnus acuminata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T32025A2808218. . Downloaded on 19 June 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided