Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies cilicica ssp. cilicica
Parent Species:
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-05-05
Assessor(s): Knees, S. & Gardner, M.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P.
Abies cilicica subsp. cilicica has a relatively wide distribution in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria with an estimated area of occupancy of 2,547 km2. The small subpopulations in Lebanon and Syria are both heavily degraded and should be considered Critically Endangered. The Mediterranean vegetation of southern Turkey, especially the montane areas, is considered to be at high risk from climate change (Ozturk 2010). Records clearly show that summer temperatures are rising and in the last five decades the annual rainfall has decreased significantly. These trends are creating an increased risk of fire, and are also contributing to a decrease in the general health of the trees which in turn makes them more vulnerable to pathogen attack. The Taurus Mountains are also seeing a big increase in the number of tourist which also increases the risk of forest fire (Ozturk 2010). If these negative trends continue then this species could qualify for Vulnerable under the subcriteria for B2. However, at this stage an assessment of Near Threatened better reflects its relatively limited area of occupancy and the current extent of decline.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

This subspecies occurs in the mountains adjacent to the northeastern Mediterranean coast in Turkey, Syria and Lebanon.

Turkey Eastern Taurus Mountains. The total Area of occupancy (AOO) for the species is estimated to be 3,374 km2. The typical subspecies occupies an estimated 75% of this range, giving an estimated AOO of 2,524 km2.

Syria  A small subpopulation at Slenfch (Lattakia) with an AOO of 13.5 km2 (Government of Syria 1995).

Lebanon restricted to the northern part of the Mount Lebanon range, reaching its southernmost limit in the forest of Horshe Ehden. It has a limited and fragmented distribution in three locations (Ehden forest, Qammoua mountain, Ain Toffaha NE of Seer Eddeniyea) with an AOO of 10 km² (Talhouk et al. 2001). 

Countries occurrence:
Lebanon; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 2547
Lower elevation limit (metres): 1000
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2100
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Although there are no accurate figures, historically Abies cilicica (along with its commonly associated species Cedrus libani) has suffered a massive decrease it is area of occupancy in Lebanon and Syria. In Lebanon much of the forest destruction occurred in the 16th century (when logging became an alternative form of tax payments, and as a result increased uncontrollably) and further felling occurred during World War I. (Talhouk 2001). In Turkey, although there has been a decrease in the forest cover, this has been on a much lesser scale.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Abies cilicica ssp cilicica has an altitudinal range of 1,000- 2,000 m.s.l. (Davis 1965). In Turkey it can form pure forests (640 km2; Bozkus 1988)), but throughout its  range it mainly occurs in mixed forests (1,733 km2; Bozkus 1988)), mostly with Cedrus libani. In Turkey it can be associated with Juniperus excelsa, J. oxycedrus, Populus tremula and Quercus libani, while in Syria it grows with Ostrya carpinifolia, Carpinus orientalis, Sorbus torminalis, Fraxinus ornus and Cerasus mahleb (Browicz 1982). It favours calcareous substrates which are shallow, rocky and well drained..
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There is local trade in timber from this subspecies. The wood is used for indoor construction mainly as plywood.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Lebanon -  Very fragmented and degraded due to present-day pressures from urbanization and associated development and historically due to the wood being used for building railways. The forest of Qammoua is one of many examples of ongoing over-exploitation of forests in marginalized rural areas with villagers cutting large quantities of wood for fuel and grazing their livestock in the forest for most of the year. (Beals 1965, Talhouk et al. 2001). This forest contains a large and degraded Cilician Fir subpopulation that covers an area of over 10 km2 (Talhouk et al. 2001). Abies cilicica is considered to having a low natural adaptive capacity to current and future trends as far as Climate Change is concerned (Ministry of Environment 2011). Illegal logging and poor forest management are further threats to the forest (Ministry of Environment 2011).

Syria - This small coastal forest is very degraded due to urbanization, fires, small-scale logging and grazing by goats and because of all these negative factors the forest is in urgent need of protection (Government of Syria 1995).

Turkey - These forests are under less threat than those in Lebanon and Syria, however, large areas of forest are in a state of degradation with 44% of the pure stand forests and 86% of the mixed stand forests degraded (Bozkus 1988). Much of this has been caused by over-grazing of feral goats. They are particularly destructive as they damage seedlings and young shoots and areas where they have grazed cannot easily regenerate (McGinley 2008). Other threats include fire (partially as a result of an increase in tourism in the Taurus Mountains) and pathogen attack.  There have also been reports of sudden mortality (Carus 2010) and a decrease in the health of forests due to increased summer temperatures and reduced precipitation that have been attributed to global warming (Ozturk 2010).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is protected in National Parks throughout its range. Examples of protected areas are: Lebanon: Horsh Ehden Nature Reserve; Turkey: Kovada Lake National Park; Olimpos-Beydağları National Park. Syria: Latakia Reserve.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level
6. Livelihood, economic & other incentives -> 6.1. Linked enterprises & livelihood alternatives

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):10
  Area based regional management plan:No
  Invasive species control or prevention: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
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 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    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.2. Droughts
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Construction or structural materials
 Local : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Atalay, I. and Efe R. 2010. Structural and distributional evaluation of forest ecosystems in Turkey. Journal of Environmental Biology 31: 61-70.

Beals, E.W. 1965. The remnant cedar forests of Lebanon. Journal of Ecology 53: 679–694.

Bozkus, F. 1988. The Natural Distribution and Silvicultural Characteristics of Abies cilicica Carr. in Turkey. PhD Thesis. Istanbul University.

Browicz, K. 1982. Chorology of trees and shrubs in south-west Asia and adjacent regions. Polish Scientific Publishers, Warsawa.

Davis, P.H., Cullen, J., Coode, M.J.E. and Hedge, I.C. 1965. Materials for the Flora of Turkey: X. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 26(2): 165-167.

Davis, P.H. (ed). 1965-1985. Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

Government of Syria. 1995. Syria: Country Report to the FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources. Damascus.

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

Kaya, Z. and Raynal, D.J. 2001. Biodiversity and conservation of Turkish forests. Biological Conservation 97: 131-141.

Ministry of Environment. 2011. Vulnerability and Adaptation - Forestry Sector. Second National Communication (SNC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),. Ministry of Environment, Beiruit.

Ozturk, M., Gucel, S., Kucuk, M. and Sakcali, S. 2010. Forest diversity, climate change and forest fires in the Mediterranean region of Turkey. Journal of Environmental Biology 31: 1-9.

Rolley, J. 1948. Forest conditions in Syria and Lebanon. Unasylva 2(2): 77-80.

Talhouk, S.N., Zurayk, R. and Khuri S. 2001. Conservation of the coniferous forests of Lebanon: past, present and future prospects. Oryx 35(3): 206-215.

Citation: Knees, S. & Gardner, M. 2013. Abies cilicica ssp. cilicica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T195504A2382755. . Downloaded on 14 October 2015.
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