Pinus cembra 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus cembra L.
Common Name(s):
English Arolla Pine, Swiss Stone Pine
French Auvier, Pin arole
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-05-03
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Allen, D.J.
Global and European regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)
EU 28 regional assessment: Least Concern (LC)

Pinus cembra
is assessed as Least Concern as it is widespread in the Alps and Carpathians, is well protected in many reserves, and in several regions in the Alps it is currently expanding its altitudinal extent. The species is also assessed as Least Concern for the EU28 member states.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is natively endemic to the European region in the Alps and Carpathian mountains (Vidacović 1991, Farjon 2010 a,b). Country records are from Austria, Liechtenstein, Czech Republic, southern Germany, southern Poland, Switzerland, eastern France, northern Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Moldova and western Ukraine.

The species has been widely introduced through cultivation in Europe and elsewhere.
Countries occurrence:
Austria; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Liechtenstein; Moldova; Poland; Romania; Slovakia; Switzerland; Ukraine (Ukraine (main part))
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):1200
Upper elevation limit (metres):2500
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In many parts of the Alps the abandonment of high alpine pasture causes the tree line, brought down in altitude artificially for grazing over centuries, to creep up again. The Arolla Pine is particularly capable of expansion upwards, as its seeds are carried by the Eurasian Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes), a bird that caches seeds. As a result the population is slowly increasing.
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Found in the inner valleys of the Alps Pinus cembra, together with Larix decidua, forms open conifer forest and woodland up to the tree line at between 2,200 and 2,600 m altitude. Arolla Pine may descend down to 1,200 m, where it is usually a rare component of conifer forest dominated by Picea abies. Centuries of intensive grazing mainly with cattle have brought the tree line in the Alps down and turned much of the ancient forest into pasture woodland. This vegetation is in places dominated by Ericaceae such as Vaccinium myrtillus and Rhododendron ferrugineum, grasses and herbs. However, more recently alpine grazing has been substantially reduced and the forest is making a come-back on many slopes.

Arolla Pine is dependent on the European Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes, Corvidae) for its effective seed dispersal and the birds carry the seeds and therewith the pines up slope. Pinus cembra is most probably a Siberian element in the European flora and is resistant to -40º frost; unlike accompanying the larches, P. cembra has evergreen foliage and it reduces the water content in the needles during winter to a minimum. Pinus cembra is slow-growing and can live to great age (>1,000 years in the Swiss Aletschwald) having rot-resistant wood.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):80

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The Arolla Pine is not a significant timber tree due to its slow growth and commonly curved or contorted shape, although the tree can grow quite straight and to considerable size in protected localities. As it grows with European larch and the latter is much more valued for timber, forestry practises tend to favour the latter, which in successional terms is the pioneer species. The wood has been used for the building of traditional houses and is valued for special uses such as joinery, panelling, cabinet making, tools, and woodturning. The seeds, though edible, are difficult to harvest due to the soft, resinous and closed cone scales and are consequently mostly left to the birds. As an ornamental tree it is quite valuable, but it is vulnerable to 'late frosts' as are other conifers from very cold regions where spring means spring and is not interrupted by a brief return to winter. Despite this, a number of cultivars are known, both with distinct habit and with divergent needle colours; they are particularly well grown in northern and eastern Europe.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats come mainly from tourist development, in particular the massive infrastructure required for mass tourism skiing, e.g. pistes, lifts, accommodation, roads and parking lots. Forests of Arolla Pine have been fragmented and habitat has been altered thereby, making regeneration less likely.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in several national parks and some forests, like the Aletschwald in Switzerland, are specifically protected for this species.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2017. Pinus cembra. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T42349A95684563. . Downloaded on 18 July 2018.
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