Abies numidica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies numidica
Species Authority: de Lannoy ex Carrière
Common Name(s):
English Algerian Fir, Algerian Silver Fir
French Sapin d'Algerie, Sapin de babors, Sapin de numidie
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes:

The name Abies numidica is the most widely accepted name in use in  modern-day publications; Farjon (1990, 2001) and Farjon and Page (1999). Rarely is one of its older synonyms used although the name Abies pinsapo Boiss. var. numidica (de Lannoy ex Carriere) Solomon has recently been used by Eckenwalder (2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-06-30
Assessor(s): Yahi, N., Knees, S. & Gardner, M.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.

The total extent of occurrence (EOO) of forests containing Abies numidica is estimated to be less than 30 km2. The actual area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be less than 1 km² (8 km2 using standard IUCN methodology). Even though the area is protected by a National Park, there has been a continual loss in EOO, AOO and a decline in the quality of habitat as a result of forest fires, collection of firewood and grazing. This species is therefore listed as Critically Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

Located on Mt. Babor and Mt. Tababort, in the Djebel Babor Mountains which forms part of the Petite Kabylie Mountain range which runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Most reports give the EOO of the Babor forest as ca. 23.67 km² in which Abies numidica has an EOO of 2.5 km². However a specially commissioned study of the forests (Technoexportstroy 1970)) gives the overall forest as 27.3938 km² and the Abies component as low as 0.8188 km² . The actual AOO is not known but is assumed to be less than 1 km²

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:8Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:27.39
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Lower elevation limit (metres):1850
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


A single population with a very restricted range. Knowledge of the population is very poor due to the fact that access to the area is highly restricted because of security problems.

Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Occurs in humid montane mixed forests on north- and east-facing steep calcareous slopes. The climate is particularly humid and cold, with annual precipitation of 2,500 mm, much of which falls as snow during the winter. The summers are dry and typical of a Mediterranean climate with an average of 18°C and a winter minimum of -1°C, with extreme frosts of between -8 to -10°C (Gharzouli, 2007); however the northern slopes tend to be wetter due to their proximity to the coast. The annual rainfall is between 1,500-2,000 mm. Abies numidica has an altitudinal range of between 1,850-2,000 m. Typically they cover the mountain summits where they occur as pure stands (rare) or are co-dominant with Cedrus atlantica, Quercus faginea, Acer obtusatum, Populus tremula, Sorbus aria and S. torminalis with the occasional tree of Taxus baccata.

Shrubs include Adenocarpus complicatus ssp. commutatus, Daphne laureola, Lonicera kabylica, Ribes petraeum (rare) and Rosa sicula, There is a rich herbaceous flora which includes: Asperula odorata, Moehringia stellariodes, Paeonia corallina, Senecio perralderianus, Viola munbyana, Silene atlantica, Silene patula. Alyssum spinosum, Anthyllis montana var algrica, Catananche montana, Erinacea anthyllis, Ononis aragonensis, Pimpinella battandieri are more characteristic at the highest altitudes very close to the mountain summit (Gharzouli 2007).

These forests are not only an important habitat for many endemic plants species but also for birds and animals which have very narrow ranges  such as the Algerian Nuthatch (Sitta ledanti) and the Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Abies numidica is threatened by a combination of factors including fire, fuel-wood collection and grazing by herds of cattle and goats in the summer. It appears that the young saplings are unable to establish due to a combination of dense under-storey and deep winter snow. The threats to the forest and endemic species are presumed to be ongoing, although the difficulties of access to the site (especially in winter) afford some degree of protection.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The forests of A. numidica are within the Djebel Babor Nature Reserve (upgraded from a Natural Reserve in 1985). Entry to the Reserve is carefully controlled and the area is guarded by wardens to try and prevent timber extraction, hunting and grazing. A number of specific conservation proposals have been suggested and relevant authorities are said to be very supportive of action to protect the site, but no more recent information is available regarding its current status and management. The various actions proposed included a reduction in the levels of fuel-wood exploitation, habitat management including selective tree-felling, reforestation and supplementary planting in areas of cultivation, restrictions on grazing in certain habitat-types, surveillance, visitor management and prevention or control of forest-fires. In Djebel Babor, the number of Abies numidica trees has decreased by half since the 1950s (World Wildlife Fund, 2011). Although there are plans to make the area where Abies numidica occurs into a national park and a report has been produced, nothing has been implemented to date.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):100
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.1. Nomadic grazing
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.3. Indirect species effects -> 2.3.8. Other

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 7 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.1. Increase in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%) ♦ severity:Rapid Declines ⇒ Impact score:High Impact: 8 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Eckenwalder, J. 2009. Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

FAO Forestry Department. 1986. Databook on endangered tree and shrub species and their provenances. FAO, Rome.

Farjon, A. 2001. World Checklist and Bibliography of Conifers. 2nd edition. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Farjon, A. and Page, C.N. (compilers) 1999. Conifers. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Conifer Specialist Group. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Gharzouli, R. 2007. Flore et végétation de la Kabylie des Babors etude floristique et phyttosociologique des groupements forestiers et post-forestiers des djebels Takoucht, Adrar Ou-Mellal, Tababort et Babor. Faculté des Sciences, Département de Biollogie, Université Ferhat Abbas.

Gharzouli, R. and Djellouli, Y. 2005. Diversité floristique de la Kabylie des Babors (Algérie). Sécheresse 16(3): 217-223.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Maire, R. 1952. Flore de l'Afrique du Nord. Paris.

Technoexportstroy. 1970. Parc national du “Babor”. études préliminaires . rapport définitif. Sofia, Bulgaria.

World Wildlife Fund. 2011. Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). [First published in the Encyclopedia of Earth March 2, 2007; Last revised Date February 6, 2011; http://www.eoearth.org/article/Mediterranean_conifer_and_mixed_forests?topic=49597>. (Accessed: 15 May 2010).

Citation: Yahi, N., Knees, S. & Gardner, M. 2011. Abies numidica. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T30320A9534972. . Downloaded on 24 January 2017.
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