Pinus mugo


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pinus mugo
Species Authority: Turra
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name/s:
English Dwarf Mountain Pine, Mugo Pine, Mountain Pine
French Pin de montagne
Taxonomic Notes: This species has received more names than any other conifer, some of these are still in use especially in eastern Europe. For a comprehensive list of synonyms see Farjon (2001). Here, only two subspecies are recognized in the species: the typical subspecies, subsp. mugo and subsp. rotundata. The closely related species P. uncinata is treated as distinct at that rank. The typical subspecies (subsp. mugo) is relatively widespread and is not regarded as threatened. However, subsp. rotundata has a more restricted distribution and is confined to mid-elevation peat bogs. Draining and afforestation have reduced its area of occupancy to such an extent that it has been assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-08-10
Assessor/s: Farjon, A.
Reviewer/s: Thomas, P. & Luscombe, D
As Pinus mugo is widespread and in most cases occurs in areas where it is not threatened by human activities, it is assessed as Least Concern. Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata has a much more limited distribution and is restricted to mid-elevation peat bogs. Habitat loss due to afforestation and draining has resulted in a reduction in its area of occupancy and this subspecies has been assessed as Endangered. However, as this subspecies represents a relatively small part of the global population of Pinus mugo, the overall assessment for the species does not change.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: A Pan-European species recorded from the Pyrenees in western Spain and eastern France to Bulgaria and Romania.
Albania; Andorra; Austria; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; France; Germany; Italy; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Serbia (Serbia); Spain; Switzerland; Ukraine
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Very common at and above the treeline in montane areas.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: There are two principal growth forms of Pinus mugo, commonly recognized as distinct taxa: a shrub-like, sometimes nearly decumbent form (subsp. mugo) and an erect tree (subsp. rotundata), which occupy different habitats. The shrubby form grows on mountain slopes and ridges from about 1,000 m to 2,300 m a.s.l. in the mountain ranges of Europe most exposed to storms associated with depression systems in the North Atlantic. Especially in the Carpathians, it forms dense mat-like thickets above montane forests dominated by Fagus or Picea; in the western Alps and the Pyrenees the upright form (subspecies) dominates on nutrient poor slopes. Pinus mugo in the eastern Alps may have replaced original Larch-Arolla pine woods which were disturbed by human activities and grazing of their animals. The species often occurs on dolomite limestone, but is in fact indifferent to soil type; this prevalence probably has historical reasons. While upright stands of P. mugo subsp. rotundata can be fairly rich plant communities, the associated species with the decumbent subsp. mugo are much fewer due to harsh environmental conditions, such as exposure and long-lasting snow cover.
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No significant, range wide threats have been identified for this species or for P. mugo subsp. mugo. Tourist and recreation-related developments (e.g. ski resorts and ski runs) could have some effect at a very localized level and acid rain in the eastern parts of its range may also be a problem (Boratynsky et al. 2009). Pinus mugo subsp. rotundata has a more limited distribution than the typical subspecies and is also restricted to peat bogs. Many of these have been drained and afforested with Picea abies. As a result this subspecies has been assessed as Endangered (see assessment for further details).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in numerous protected areas throughout its range.
Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus mugo. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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