Pinus edulis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus edulis Engelm.
Common Name(s):
English Pinyon Pine, Colorado Pinyon, Two-needle Pinyon Pine
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: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-23
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Despite evidence of some decline due to clearance of pinyon-juniper woodland in favour of pastureland, and extensive recent dieback associated with repeated droughts and pine bark beetle infestations, the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy of Pinus edulis are still well beyond any thresholds for a threatened category and it is therefore assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recorded from southwestern USA: Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, north-western Texas, Utah, and southern Wyoming.
Countries occurrence:
United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):910
Upper elevation limit (metres):3200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The global population is very large, as its area of occupancy is in excess of 20,000 km² covering much of the so-called "Four Corner States" in the western USA.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Pinus edulis is widely distributed in the interior basins, plateaus, mesas and mountains of the 'Four Corner' States of the USA. It forms extensive, open stands commonly with one or more species of Juniperus known as Pinyon-Juniper woodland, which is one of the most widespread semi-arid vegetation types in North America. Summers are hot and winters cold, but climatic conditions are varying with altitude and latitude. Soils are commonly thin to sceletal or may be absent altogether, with the trees growing from fissures in the sandstone, limestone, or shale. Recent sedimentation accumulates in the basins and valley bottoms, where grasses and 'sagebrush' (Seriphidium tridentatum) dominate, while at higher elevations in the mountains the Pinyon-Juniper woodland  gives way to open pine forest with Pinus ponderosa and Pseudotsuga menziesii. Juniperus monosperma and J. osteosperma are the most commonly associated junipers with P. edulis. The appearance is of a stunted forest as the free standing trees branch low and form wide spreading crowns while only attaining modest height. Depending on openess, there is an understorey dominated by shrubs of which Seriphidium (Artimisia) is most common and widespread, supplemented by scrubby oaks (Quercus spp.), Chrysothamus, Cercocarpus, Ephedra, Yucca, and several others depending on geographical area, as well as grasses and other herbs.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):40

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Firewood from the Pinyon-Juniper woodland  is the most common use both past and present. Pinyon Pine wood has a higher than average heat value and burns with a distinctive aroma. Large quantities were logged and its rough timbers used as props in the mining boom of the late 19th century. Poor growth form from the forester's perspective renders the wood unsuitable for sawn timber, even though its quality matches that of Ponderosa Pine. The edible seeds are easy to harvest and in great demand as a delicacy; they may constitute the economically most valuable product of the species. Crops can vary greatly from one year to the next and the slow growing pines do not perform well in plantations. Horticultural value is limited, although locally young trees are harvested as Christmas trees.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Although the species is too widespread and abundant to be threatened with extinction, the Pinyon-Juniper woodland  as an ecosystem has been under threat in many places due to 'range improvement' for the grazing of cattle and sheep, causing the removal or degradation of the woodland over large areas. Over the last decade repeated droughts, combined with outbreaks of pine bark beetles have led to the death of many thousands of hectares of pinyon woodland (Breshears et al. 2005, Hiang et al. 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs in several protected areas, among which are famous national parks. Protection of Pinyon-Juniper woodland outside these areas is required to prevent eventual decline of this species.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus edulis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42360A2975133. . Downloaded on 22 June 2018.
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