Pinus torreyana 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Pinus torreyana Parry ex Carrière
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Torrey Pine, Del Mare Pine, Soledad Pine
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B2ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-04-13
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Urbanization is encroaching on the mainland population (ssp. torreyana) with the effect that trees outside the Torrey Pines State Park are still disappearing. There is also an acute risk of a major fire wiping out a large part of the population, a risk that is known to increase for various reasons where housing developments are near the population in a potentially fire-prone area. The present decline is probably slow, but ongoing in one of the two subspecies (mainland population). The actual area of occupancy is very small for the two subspecies combined, less than 1 km² and definitely less than 10 km². The population is severely fragmented  (two subpopulations on an island and two on the mainland) and there is continuing decline. So although the island subspecies is listed as Vulnerable, the species as a whole qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered. If, the species in future is completely confined to the protected areas i.e. all plants outside of those areas have been lost, then the species status might well change to Vulnerable under criterion D2.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Endemic to southern California (San Diego and Santa Barbara Co.), USA. Two subspecies are recognized, subsp. torreyana north of San Diego; and the second as subsp. insularis on Santa Rosa Island.
Countries occurrence:
United States (California)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1-8
Number of Locations:2
Upper elevation limit (metres):180
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There are an estimated 4,000-4,500 mature trees in four subpopulations.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:4500Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Pinus torreyana is a relict species now confined to littoral habitat on the coast (up to 1.6 km inland) and on a small island off the coast of southern California. It grows from immediately above the high tide mark to about 180 m a.s.l. on rocky or sandy slopes. On these sites it seems dependent on the daily fog that comes in from the ocean in the afternoon, mitigating the heat of the sun and the resulting excessive evapo-transpiration. It grows with a sparse chaparral and few other trees; in ravines sometimes accompanied by a few oaks (Quercus sp.) and Arbutus menziesii
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):30

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Torrey Pine is not used as a timber tree; at present the two disjunct populations are protected by law. It is in cultivation in California in gardens and some arboreta, but rare elsewhere. In the better growing conditions of gardens it can grow to a large tree; a specimen in New Zealand was 45 m tall with a d.b.h. of 1.5 m in 1982 (Grimshaw and Bayton 2009: 626).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The small population on the mainland that constitutes this subspecies is in part (southern subpopulation) legally protected in the Torrey Pines State Park. However, the small overall size, fewer than 3,500 mature trees covering ca. 320 ha in two subpopulations, and close proximity to major urban development, put the subspecies highly at risk of destructive events such as fires, pest epidemics and diseases. Trees outside the reserve are often not protected from development; they are sometimes incorporated in urban landscaping and sometimes felled (personal obs. 1992). Urbanization outside the reserve is ongoing, with expanding housing projects encroaching on the population of Torrey Pines. It is expected that this will result in continuous, slow loss of mature trees unless all are incorporated in a protected area.

The even smaller population on Santa Rosa Island, with ca. 1,000 mature trees, is not under pressure from encroaching urbanization and is not declining. It is at high potential risk from destructive fires or the incidence of pests or disease.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: One of two subpopulations on the mainland is protected within a specially created reserve (Torrey Pines State Park), where collecting and other activities detrimental to the pines are strictly prohibited and enforced. It is strongly recommended to create a reserve for as many trees as possible in the second subpopulation. The population of subsp. insularis is legally protected. Growing this taxon more widely as an ex situ backup is strongly recommended; it is also an interesting taxon to grow and requires a mild climate with warm, sunny summers and (near) absence of frost in winter.

Classifications [top]

3. Shrubland -> 3.8. Shrubland - Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Percentage of population protected by PAs (0-100):71-80
  Area based regional management plan:Yes
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:Yes
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Medium Impact: 6 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.1. Increase in fire frequency/intensity
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Future    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

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.

Griffin, J.R. and Critchfield, W.B. 1972. The distribution of forest trees in California. USDA Forest Service, Research Paper PSW-82 (reprinted with supplement, 1976). Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Berkeley, CA.

Grimshaw, J. and Bayton, R. 2009. New Trees: Recent Introductions to Cultivation. Kew Publishing, Kew.

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

Lanner, R.M. 1999. Conifers of California. Cachuma Press, Los Olivos, California.

Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Pinus torreyana. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42424A2979186. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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