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Pinus culminicola

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Pinus culminicola
Species Authority: Andresen & Beaman
Common Name(s):
English Potosi Pinyon Pine
Spanish Pino Piñonero Enano, Piñón Amarillo, Potosí Piñon

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-06-08
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Perez de la Rosa, J.
Justification:

Pinus culminicola is only known from a few mountain tops. The largest and best known subpopulation on Cerro Potosí covered several km² but they have been substantially reduced by fires in recent years. Most other subpopulations (9-10) are much smaller in extent. The area of occupancy, derived from mapping herbarium specimens, is between 10 and 20 km². The actual area of occupancy is much less. The population is severely fragmented as it is restricted to mountain summits and does not occur in the intervening valleys. There has been a recent decline due to fire and a decline is predicted to continue in future unless adequate counter measures are taken. Consequently, this species is assessed as Endangered under criterion B1+2.

History:
1998 Endangered
1997 Endangered (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to Mexico occurring in Coahuila, and Nuevo León.
Countries:
Native:
Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: May be locally common but in very restricted areas. The overall population has undergone a recent decline due to fires.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The altitudinal range of P. culminicola is 3,000-3,700 m a.s.l., which includes the highest ridges of these mountains. Its habit is very similar to other mountain 'dwarf pines', e.g. P. mugo in Europe and P. pumila in NE Asia. Adaptation to blasting, ice- or sand-laden winds and a short growing season is responsible for this habit. Soils are mostly rocky and calcareous. Climatic conditions are not well known due to a lack of weather stations at these summits, but precipitation, some of it as snow, is probably abundant. On Cerro Potosí, the species forms extensive monocultures of close-packed individuals. It occurs there with scattered, stunted P. hartwegii, which indicates that the climatic tree line is not reached there at around 3,700 m. Somewhat lower, on the Sierra La Marta, Coahuila, P. culminicola has been found in a scrub-community with Quercus spp., Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Agave and grasses; on the Cerro La Viega and the Sierra de Arteaga, Coahuila, a similar vegetation, but also with Abies and Pseudotsuga, are reported growing scattered with P. culminicula. Pollen dispersal has been reported on Cerro Potosí to occur in late July, at 3,690 m, which indicates a late fertilization and short growing season.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not used commercially, although locally it may be used for firewood. It should be suitable as a low bushy pine for large rockeries, has attractive foliage, and deserves to be taken into cultivation for horticulture.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species is vulnerable to fire during long dry periods (Perry 1991). In recent years, devastating fires have destroyed large parts of the population on Cerro Potosí and regeneration is very slow. Grazing and trampling also inhibit regeneration (Jimenez 2005). Fires may increase in other localities when they become more frequently visited by campers, etc., being in the vicinity of two major population centres. As this species has a very narrow ecological niche within the summit area it may be vulnerable to the potential effects of climate change.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Protection against man-made fires and the management of grazing is essential especially within protected areas such as on Cerro Potosí, a national park. Tourism and outdoor camping, picnicking, etc. need to carefully managed. Restoration programmes at the Cerro Potosi site have been initiated (Jimenez 2005). On a recent visit to the summit of Cerro El Potosi (April 2012), a slow recovery of populations devastated by fires was apparent (J. Perez de la Rossa unpubl. data).


Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus culminicola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 25 October 2014.
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