Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies magnifica
Species Authority: A.Murray bis
Common Name(s):
English Red Fir, California Red Fir
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.
Taxonomic Notes: Two varieties are recognized: the nominate variety (var. magnifica) and var. shastensis Lemmon. The second variety has a more restricted distribution from Lassen Peak in California to Crater Lake in Oregon. These varieties are not assessed separately here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-03
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Abies magnifica and its two varieties (var. magnifica and var. shastensis) are all assessed as Least Concern due to their large extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, large population sizes and absence of any overall decline.
Previously published Red List assessments:
1998 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The typical variety is distributed in California, W Nevada and Oregon, while var. shastensis is restricted to an area from Lassen Peak in California to Crater Lake in Oregon (USA).
Countries occurrence:
United States (California, Nevada, Oregon)
Lower elevation limit (metres):1400
Upper elevation limit (metres):2700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:In parts of northern California, subpopulations of var. shastanensis are more scattered than elsewhere, and have a smaller area of occupancy as a result. Despite this, the population is large, but difficult to quantify in any certain way, as the identity of trees can be problematic where intermediates occur on both ends of the range between this taxon and its putative parent species
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Abies magnifica occurs in the Canadian Life Zone of high mountains, between 1,400 m and 2,700 m a.s.l. (to 3,000 m in the south of its range); commonly on soils of granitic (Sierra Nevada) or basaltic (Cascade Range) origin, which have been altered by glaciation and are usually slightly acid. The climate is characterized by short, warm and dry summers and long, cold winters with much snow. Annual precipitation varies between 750 mm and 1,500 mm (80 % as snow). This species forms pure stands in some places, but more often it is a constituent of the mixed coniferous forest type with e.g. Pinus spp., Abies concolor, A. procera, Pseudotsuga menziesii, Calocedrus decurrens, Juniperus occidentalis, and at higher elevations Abies lasiocarpa and Tsuga mertensiana subsp. grandicona. Common shrubs are e.g. Ceanothus cordulatus, Chrysolepis sempervirens and Arctostaphylos nevadensis.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No
Generation Length (years):50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: California Red Fir grows to large dimensions with extremely straight boles and has a high wood production per ha even in natural, unmanaged stands. It is therefore increasingly valuable as a timber tree used for general construction and plywood. This species is also valued as a Christmas tree, both grown in natural stands and in plantations. It is relatively rare in amenity plantings with few cultivars known; most existing planted trees date from the heydays of landscape conifer plantings in the nineteenth century

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Historically, logging has affected this species, leading to an unknown reduction in area of occupancy in cases where the natural forest was replaced by other forms of land use, including managed or planted forest favouring other conifer species.  More recently, forests are either protected from logging or are better managed, allowing regeneration of this species in many areas.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is present in a number of protected areas, including famous national parks, scattered throughout its natural range.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management

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
  Area based regional management plan:No
In-Place Species Management
  Harvest management plan:No
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.2. Intentional use: (large scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score: Low Impact: 4 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Construction or structural materials
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Establishing ex-situ production *

Bibliography [top]

Burns, R.M. and Honkala, B.H. 1990. Silvics of North America. USDA, Forest Service, Washington, DC.

Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008) In Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK. Available at:

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Abies magnifica. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42290A2970154. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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