Abies delavayi ssp. fansipanensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Abies delavayi ssp. fansipanensis
Species Authority: (Q.P.Xiang) Rushforth
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Fansipan Fir
Abies fansipanensis Q.P.Xiang
Taxonomic Notes: This tree has previously been known as Abies delavayi var. nukiangensis in major references such as Vietnam Red Data Book (Anon. 1996) and the Flore du Cambodge, du Laos et du Viet Nam (Hiêp and Vidal 1996). It was redescribed as a new species (Xiang 1997) on the basis of cone characters and then reduced to a subspecies by Rushforth (1999).More recent investigations suggests that the original separate specific status could be more appropriate.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,v)+2ab(i,ii,v); C1+2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-12-14
Assessor(s): Rushforth, K., Xiang, Q. & Carter, G.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
The assessment of Critically Endangered is based on its very limited distribution within a single location, its small population size, an absence of regeneration and decline in quality of habitat along with an estimated continuing decline of 25% over the next generation. The assessment is based on field investigations carried out by K. Rushforth between 1992 and 2001.
2004 Vulnerable

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is endemic to Viet Nam, where is is found in Lao Cai Province (Mt. Fan Si Pan). Restricted to the east flank of Fan Si Pan (Phan Si Pan) between circa 2,600-2,800 m in a forest composed of mature trees with few intermediate age classes and few seedlings. The lower forest band was destroyed by forest fire in late 1970s/early 1980s and there has been no subsequent regeneration.

Attempts to find it on high peaks further south in the Hoang Lien Son range have not yielded any other populations.
Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Circa 200-250 mature trees, few seedlings.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Abies delavayi ssp. fansipanensis is endemic on Mt. Fan Si Pan, the highest mountain in Viet Nam in the extreme NW of the country. It is an outlier of a widespread species group found where there are periods of high summer rainfall. It grows on the eastern flank of this granitic mountain at altitudes between c. 2,600 m and 2,800 m asl as an emergent tree in primary evergreen tropical high montane forest.  Rainfall is very high, to 3,500 mm or more per year with frequent clouds cover on  the summit. Snow is common for periods of the winter, with minima temperatures probably in the range of -15ºC.   Associated taxa are a Borinda species of bamboo, Acer, Sorbus, Daphne and Rhododendron spp.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Currently the main threats are forest fires caused by lightning and those associated with tourist activities and development. The main route to the summit of the Viet Nam’s highest mountain passes through the forest, with an increasing number of people visiting the summit. Currently there is no direct logging risk as the area is too inaccessible and the species occurs in a protected area.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Entire known population occurs within a national park. Small ex-situ cultivation.

Citation: Rushforth, K., Xiang, Q. & Carter, G. 2011. Abies delavayi ssp. fansipanensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 29 August 2015.
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