|Scientific Name:||Abies balsamea|
|Species Authority:||(L.) Mill.|
|Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:|
Pinus balsamea L.
|Taxonomic Notes:||Two varieties are recognized for this species: the typical variety and var. phanerolepis. This second taxon has been considered to be of hybrid origin, with putative parents Abies balsamea and Abies fraseri, mainly because of some intermediacy observed in the characters of the seed cone (bracts). Several sources mention the occurrence of trees of A. balsamea bearing seed cones with exserted bracts from maritime parts of eastern Canada and New England (USA). Whether these belong to the var. phanerolepis is unclear; the only areas where such forms are predominant, forming consistent populations, are in the Appalachian Mountains in the southernmost parts of the range of the species, i.e. in Virginia and West Virginia. Its distribution and the size of its populations are uncertain.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.|
This is the most wide-spread species of Abies in North America. It is a component of the great boreal forest of Canada, a dynamic ecosystem that is destroyed locally by natural causes but regenerates continuously. The species, and its typical variety, are assessed as Least Concern.
Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. var. phanerolepis Fernald is assessed as Data Deficient. The subpopulations of this variety are undoubtedly relatively small and scattered (fragmented) but there is insufficient information about their number, extent of occurrence (EOO) and area of occupancy (AOO) for a credible assessment to be made. Another problem is identity and several reports and specimen databases of herbaria list occurrences in Canada (e.g. Nova Scotia at the Harvard Herbaria) which are likely to be just forms of A. balsamea var. balsamea with (slightly) exserted bracts.
|Range Description:||Recorded from Canada, North Central and E USA: south to Virginia. The extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are well beyond 20,000 km2 and 2,000 km2 respectively.|
Native:Canada (Alberta, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan); United States (Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Abies balsamea occurs from lowland plains to upland hills and mountains in the vast Boreal forest of North America, from sea level to 1,200 m a.s.l. in West Virginia, with an isolated station on Mt. Washington (NH) at ca. 1,900 m. It is most common on usually podzolized moderately acid soils in silt or sand. In some areas it may also grow on wet, peaty soil. The climate is cold continental in the interior, cool maritime in the eastern part of the range, with precipitation between 250 and 1,250 mm and very cold winters. The growing season ranges from 80 days in the interior of Canada to 180 days in the Appalachian Mountains. It is a constituent of coniferous forests with Picea spp., Pinus strobus, Tsuga canadensis and sometimes Pinus banksiana, or it grows mixed with broad-leaved trees such as Populus tremuloides, Betula spp. and, further south, Acer spp., Fagus grandifolia and Betula alleghaniensis. Taxus canadensis is the most common conifer shrub in these mixed forests.|
|Major Threat(s):||No specific threats have been identified for this species.|
|Conservation Actions:||This species occurs in many protected areas.|
|Citation:||Farjon, A. 2013. Abies balsamea. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 05 December 2013.|
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