Abies pinsapo var. marocana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies pinsapo Boiss. var. marocana (Trab.) Ceballos & Bolaño
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Moroccan Fir
Abies marocana Trab.
Abies pinsapo Boiss. ssp. tazaotana (Cozar ex Hug. del Vill.) Pourtet
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes:

In many modern floristic works relating to Morocco, Abies pinsapo Boiss var. marocana (Tab.) Ceballos & Bolaño is recognized as a distinct species - Abies marocana Trab. Some older works also recognize the Mt Tazaot population either as a distinct variety (Abies pinsapo Boiss. var.tazaotana (Cozar ex Villar) Pourtet) or as a distinct species (Abies tazaotana Cozar ex Villar). Recent genetic research indicates that the Mt Tazaot population is not distinct from other Moroccan populations (Terrab et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acd; B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-05-12
Assessor(s): Alaoui, M.L., Knees, S. & Gardner, M.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
Abies pinsapo var. marocana currently has a very limited distribution and is threatened by fires, forest clearance and habitat degradation. It has also undergone a significant decline in the recent past. While the extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than the 100 km² threshold for Critically Endangered, there are two locations and the remaining subpopulations are not severely fragmented within the context of the most recent IUCN guidelines (IUCN 2010). The estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 28 km2.  The population declined by approximately 70% between 1938 and 1994 due to logging, fires and forest clearance. This species is therefore listed as Endangered.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This variety is restricted to a small part of the Rif  mountains in northern Morocco. The main stands are almost contiguous on the mountains of Sfiha Tell, Tissouka, Lakraa, Talassemtane, Bouslimane, Taloussisse, Fahs and Kharbouch. There is also an isolated subpopulation on Mt Tazaot. The estimated EOO is 75 km² with an estimated AOO of 28 km².
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:28Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:75
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:2
Lower elevation limit (metres):1400
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are no accurate figures for the number of mature individuals or the overall size of the population.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Abies pinsapo var. marocana occurs in the Mediterranean humid bioclimatic zone. The average annual rainfall is 1,500 mm (Benabid 1983), increasing to 1,900 mm at an altitude of 1,700 m. Stands are typically found on north facing dolomitic limestone slopes of mountain ridges. The optimal altitudinal range is between 1,400 and 1,800 m, where the main tree associates are Acer granatense, Quercus faginea, Q. ilex, Q. rotundifolia, Ilex aquifolium and Taxus baccata. Associated ground flora include Hedera maroccana, Euphorbia characias, Digitalis purpurea var. maurtanica and Paeonia coriacea. Between 1,800 and 2,000 m Abies occurs with Cedrus atlantica, Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster.  Above 2,000 m the mountain summits are typically dominated by xerophytic species including Berberis hispanica, Bupleurum spinosum and Rosa micrantha,  other species include Crataegus laciniata, Rosa micrantha, Rubus ulmifolius and Viburnum tinus.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The timber of the Moroccan fir has been used in house construction. Essential oils obtained from the seeds of this species are used in Moroccan folk medicine to treat respiratory complaints (Hmamouchi 1999). The high proportion of limonene recently discovered in the oil means that there is potential interest for the perfumes industry (Based 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Moroccan Fir underwent a 70% decline between 1938 and 1994 due to logging, fires and forest clearance associated with an increasing rural population, an expansion of agriculture and the cultivation of cannabis (Emberger 1938, Boudy 1951 and DPA 1994 in Moore et al. 1998). In 1977 most of the forests on Jebel Tazaot was destroyed by fire. A second fire in 2002 damaged part of the remaining forest and there has been little regeneration since then (Esteban 2010). Although the remaining stands are within a National Park, deforestation associated with cannabis cultivation  in the areas surrounding the fir stands remains a problem. 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A study conducted by the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture through the Administration des Eaux et Forêts et Conservation des Sols (AEFCS, 1996) and funded by the Banque Africaine du Développement resulted in the creation of the 60,000 ha Talassemtane Natural Park to protect the remaining areas of Moroccan fir (Haut Commmissariat aux Eaux et Forêt et á la Lutte contre la Désertification 2004). In 2006 Talassemtane Natural Park was included within the first UNESCO Intercontinental Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve.

Citation: Alaoui, M.L., Knees, S. & Gardner, M. 2011. Abies pinsapo var. marocana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T34126A9841418. . Downloaded on 23 May 2018.
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