Pinus lambertiana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus lambertiana Douglas
Common Name(s):
English Sugar 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: 2011-03-25
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Stritch, L. & Thomas, P.
Pinus lambertiana's large extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are well beyond any threshold for a threatened category, and the great number of mature trees inside and outside protected areas, and the absence of white pine blister rust in large subpopulations plus the development of resistant variants support an assessment of Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recorded from the USA: California, Oregon, Nevada (extreme western part); and NW Mexico: Baja California Norte (Sierra San Pedro Martír). This species extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are well beyond any threatened thresholds.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Baja California); United States (California, Nevada, Oregon)
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):600
Upper elevation limit (metres):3200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The overall population trend is thought to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This majestic pine is common in the mixed and varied conifer forests of the Transition Zone in the high mountains of Oregon and California commonly between 600 m and 2,400 m a.s.l., but reaching 2,800-3,200 m in the south of its range. In the Sierra Nevada of California it is restricted to the western slopes at middle elevation, between the warmer Upper Sonoran Zone and the colder Canadian Zone. Here one of the most impressive conifer forests in the world occurs, dominated by gigantic trees; indeed the largest tree species in the world, Sequoiadendron giganteum, is restricted to this zone and this mountain range. Other species are Pinus monticola, P. ponderosa, P. jeffreyi, P. contorta var. murrayana, Abies magnifica, A. procera, Calocedrus decurrens, and in the north of the range Pseudotsuga menziesii. A hospitable climate with warm, sunny summers moistened by rain showers and snowy but not extremely cold winters marks this zone. In Oregon Pseudotsuga menziesii, Abies grandis, Tsuga heterophylla, Thuja plicata, and Calocedrus decurrens are its most common associate conifers. Broad-leaved trees are rare and much smaller, Arbutus menziesii and Quercus kelloggii are perhaps the most common. The ground is open, littered with conifer needles, interspersed with small, flowery meadows and lush stream-sides full of flowering shrubs. The bright yellow lichen Letharia vulpina festoons trunks and branches everywhere. This type of forest becomes restricted to the highest mountain summits further south and the diversity of conifers diminishes as does their size.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Sugar Pine is the most valuable of the pines due to its enormous size and its light, soft, even-grained, knot-free wood of which very large, straight pieces can be sawn. Consequently, old growth stands of this species command very high prices; fortunately many are now protected in National Parks and other reserves. This species is used for high quality construction timber and the finished milled wood of this 'king of pines' as John Muir called it, makes it ideal for high standard windows and doors as well as foundry casting and even musical instruments such as organ pipes and piano keys. Plantation forestry has not been very successful and in Europe few trees have survived for long in arboreta and parks due to white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola, Basidiomycota) to which it is exceptionally sensitive. The vernacular name refers to the sugar content of the resin; in the past native tribes used it as a chewing gum. This use was first noted by David Douglas, who thought the native people were eating it.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The pathogen Cronartium ribicola (Basidiomycota), or White Pine Blister Rust, is considered a threat serious enough to severely limit natural regeneration in areas of high risk, and thereby alter successional trends favouring other conifers. It is not known if this is leading to an overall reduction of the population. The pathogen is alien to North America and was introduced via Vancouver Island at the beginning of the 20th century. By 1990 it had reached the southern parts of the Sierra Nevada in California. Infection decreases southward with drier and hotter summers, so it is possible that the more southern subpopulations will escape this disease. There are also widely varying local conditions of microclimate and moisture levels causing damage in some localities while in others the trees remain unaffected. This species is among the more tolerant conifers to oxidant (ozone) air pollution, which affects parts of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Pinus lambertiana is present in many protected sites, including several famous national parks. Monitoring White Pine Blister Rust progress and its ecological limits is an important research programme that has being undertaken since the 1970s by the USDA Forest Service, among other agents. There is also research into resistant genetic variants, which is showing some positive results.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus lambertiana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42374A2976106. . Downloaded on 15 August 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided