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Pinus ponderosa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Pinus ponderosa
Species Authority: Douglas ex C.Lawson
Common Name(s):
English Ponderosa Pine, Western Yellow Pine
Synonym(s):
Pinus washoensis Mason & Stockw.
Taxonomic Notes: Ttwo varieties are recognized (Farjon 2010): the typical variety from British Columbia to southern California and var. scopulorum Engelm. from inland Rockies as far south as Mexico. Neither are threatened and are hence not assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-04-11
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Stritch, L. & Thomas, P.
Justification:
Pinus ponderosa is one of the most common pines in the Rocky Mountains of the USA and is therefore assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Occurs in western North America, from southern British Columbia to just south of the Mexico-USA border.
Countries:
Native:
Canada (British Columbia); Mexico (Coahuila, Sonora); United States (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Very abundant throughout its range.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Pinus ponderosa is one of the most widely distributed pines, with a range spanning 20 degrees of latitude and from the lowlands to 3,300 m a.s.l. While in the north and east its limits are defined by temperature and rainfall respectively, in the south it is replaced by related species. The lower limit of average annual precipitation is around 300 mm, the upper limit 1750 mm. It grows on soils derived from many rock types, both acidic and basic varying from around pH 5 to pH 9, and usually with a capacity to retain moisture but well drained. Its great altitudinal range as well as geographic spread causes huge variations in temperature, both summer and winter, but to thrive and compete well it requires ample sunshine in the growing season. Pinus ponderosa is the first tall pine to appear above Pinyon-Juniper woodland  in the interior of the western USA, but it is a seral species in the mesic mixed conifer forests of the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, where other conifers will eventually dominate. It grows with numerous other conifers (for listings see under P. monticola and P. jeffreyi) in these mountain ranges. Its relatively high tolerance of fire assures it a place in the succession in natural forests, but selective logging as well as fire prevention have altered the forest composition to the disadvantage of P. ponderosa in many managed forests
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Ponderosa Pine is one of the most important timber trees in the USA. Its wood properties and potential size make it ideally suitable for sawn timber used in construction. It is used as roundwood for posts and sawn for crates as well as made into particle board and pulp. Timber of large sizes and high grade is sawn for light construction like window frames, doors, stairs, flooring, sidings, panelling, veneers and for furniture, cabinetwork, boxes, and woodware. In the National Forests of the USA the recreational and ecological functions of the open, sunny forests of Ponderosa Pine at relatively low altitudes are increasingly recognized and on public lands these trees are no longer exclusively regarded as a source of timber. The species and its variety scopulorum are common in horticulture in parts of Europe, but usually limited to large parks and arboreta. A few cultivars have been named, but they are uncommon. Introductions for forestry plantations have been less successful due to fungal diseases, e.g. in New Zealand.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Selective logging, as well as fire prevention, have altered the forest composition to the disadvantage of Pinus ponderosa in many managed forests.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species occurs within several protected areas, but the vast majority of trees are on public and private lands where forests are exploited.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus ponderosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 July 2014.
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