Picea asperata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Picea asperata
Species Authority: Mast.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Dragon Spruce
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: Picea asperata is a variable Chinese spruce, not unlike Picea abies in Europe. Population based studies in the field on P. abies have revealed regional forms or 'races', some related to environmental factors, as well as much introgression. If such detailed studies were available for P. asperata, similar patterns would be likely. As some of the varieties have been traditionally recognized and since the above suggested studies are not available, they are tentatively retained on the IUCN Red List.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-17
Assessor(s): Carter, G. & Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Christian, T.

The assessment of the entire species is driven by that of its most common and widespread nominate variety, which meets criterion A for Vulnerable due to past logging. The logging ban, though imposed since more than a decade, should at least have slowed the reduction substantially, but we suspect it has not stopped it entirely. The species as a whole is therefore considered to be Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: China: Gansu, Ningxia (Helan Shan), E Qinghai, SW Shaanxi, Sichuan
Countries occurrence:
China (Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Sichuan)
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1500
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population decreased due to logging. Some decline is suspected to be ongoing.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Picea asperata occurs in the high mountains of W central China, at elevations between 1500 m and 3800 m a.s.l., usually above 2400 m in Sichuan. The soils are grey-brown mountain podzols. The climate is continental, subalpine, with cold winters and dry summers (annual precipitation less than 500 mm). It forms mostly pure forests on N-facing slopes, or mixtures with other species of Picea, in the south of Gansu it may be mixed with Abies nephrolepis. Betula albo-sinensis is the most common broad-leaved associate.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 25-30

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Picea asperata is an important timber tree in China. The wood is mainly used for pulpwood and to a lesser extent for construction. Old growth stands of this potentially large spruce have been reduced to less accessible mountain slopes and valleys and plantation forestry has begun to replace the natural stands as a resource for spruce timber, but as yet on a scale that is incapable of meeting growing demands in China's rapidly growing economy. The species and its varieties are in cultivation as amenity trees and in arboreta and pineta in Europe and the USA, mostly still based on seed collections by Ernest Wilson, Joseph Rock and some other early 20th century plant hunters who travelled widely in southern Gansu and western Sichuan.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Logging.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The government of China has imposed a logging ban since 1998 on the conifer forests of western China.

Citation: Carter, G. & Farjon, A. 2013. Picea asperata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42320A2972242. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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