Pinus edulis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pinus edulis
Species Authority: Engelm.
Common Name/s:
English Pinyon Pine, Colorado Pinyon, Two-needle Pinyon Pine

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.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Recorded from southwestern USA: Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, western Oklahoma, north-western Texas, Utah, and southern Wyoming.
United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wyoming)
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.
Population Trend: Stable

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.
Systems: Terrestrial

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. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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