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Pinus contorta

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Pinus contorta
Species Authority: Douglas ex Loudon
Common Name(s):
English Lodgepole Pine, Bolander Beach Pine, Bolander's Beach Pine, Shore Pine, Tamarack Pine
Taxonomic Notes: Three varieties are recognized. The typical variety occurs on the NW coast of North America, from southern Alaska to northern California. Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. tends to be more inland and occurs from the Yukon south to Colorado. Pinus contorta var. murrayana (Balf.) Engelm. occurs in California, Nevada, Oregon, S Washington and in Baja California Norte in Mexico. None of these varieties are considered threatened and are hence not assessed separately..

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-23
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Justification:
Pinus contorta is widespread and abundant in many parts of its range and is therefore assessed as Least Concern. All of its constituent varieties are also assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Recorded from Western North America, from Yukon to Baja California and southern Colorado.
Countries:
Native:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon); Mexico (Baja California); United States (Alaska, South Dakota)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is thought to be stable.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Pinus contorta occupies a large part of the North American West with a vast latitudinal range. It consequently has a wide ecological amplitude and grows form near sea level to 3,350 m or perhaps higher and from the relatively mild but cool and rainy Pacific coast to the cold and continental interior of the northern Rocky Mountains. Precipitation consequently ranges from only 250 mm at low elevations in the interior to 5,000 mm along the northern coast. In the interior, Lodgepole Pine forms pioneer stands of great density after forest fires and can form monotypic stands of great extent, especially on infertile soils. In other sites it is associated with many western conifers, most commonly in the north with Picea glauca and mixed with Betula papyrifera or Populus tremula; at higher altitudes with Tsuga mertensiana, Picea engelmannii and Abies lasiocarpa. Further south, the species diversity increases and in California it is a component of the mixed conifer forest as well as subalpine conifer woodland and meadows with numerous conifer species. Here soils are more nutrient rich and fires are less frequent, so Pinus contorta does not attain dominance. As a component of the mixed conifer forest it can attain 50 m in height, with one metre d.b.h., and live to a considerable age. In other areas, such as large tracts of Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, Lodgepole Pine appears to be self-perpetuating as the only tree species capable of growing in a more dynamic environment characterized by frequent fires.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Lodgepole Pine is a major timber tree in western North America. Its geographical varieties differ apart from minor botanical characters also in growth performance and maximum size, which is at least in part due to environmental factors. As with other conifers, it attains greatest size in Oregon and California (var. murrayana) with trees over 50 m tall and 2 m diam. In the interior, the tall, thin stems of densely grown pines provided the 'lodgepoles', i.e. tent poles for the bison-hide covered conical tents of the Plains Indians with such famous tribes or 'nations' as the Dakota ('Sioux') and Blackfeet. Today Lodgepole Pine is put to all traditional (European) uses common to pine wood, but mass production is for the pulp industry or increasingly the manufacture of so-called structural particleboard, where chips are glued into boards for interior construction. Pinus contorta is sometimes planted as a shelter tree on barren sites, but is otherwise uncommon in cultivation; only a limited number of cultivars are known. Hybrids between P. contorta and P. banksiana have been generated by foresters in the USA in attempts to produce trees suitable for plantations

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No range wide threats have been identified. Bark beetles and changes in fire frequencies may be locally problematic.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in many protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus contorta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 August 2014.
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