Abies recurvata 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies recurvata Mast.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Min Fir
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2d ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-13
Assessor(s): Xiang, Q. & Rushforth, K.
Reviewer(s): Farjon, A. & Thomas, P.
Both of the varieties of this species have been assessed as Vulnerable following declines associated with past logging of more than 30% but less than 50%. As a result the species is also assessed as Vulnerable.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Occurs in SW Gansu, Sichuan, NW Yunnan (possibly) and SE Tibet [Xizang] provinces of China.
Countries occurrence:
China (Gansu, Sichuan, Tibet [or Xizang])
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):2200
Upper elevation limit (metres):3200
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population trend is thought to be decreasing.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Min Fir is a high mountain species of SW China, occurring between 2,300 m and 3,600 m a.s.l. or even higher. It grows usually on grey-brown mountain podzols. The climate is cold, moist, with annual precipitation between 700 mm and 1,000 mm. Both varieties are usually constituents of a mixed coniferous forest type, with among other species A. squamata, Picea likiangensis var. rubescens, P. asperata, and Larix potaninii; Picea purpurea and Abies fargesii var. faxoniana are mainly found with the 'typical' variety, and A. fabri with var. ernestii. Betula albosinensis is the only common broad-leaved tree at higher elevations, but lower down the slopes other genera, e.g. Acer, Populus, but also different conifer species, e.g. Tsuga chinensis, Picea brachytyla var. complanata and Pinus armandii become more abundant.
Generation Length (years):50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A timber tree in western China, heavily exploited until recently when the Chinese government finally decided to preserve its remaining old growth forests in the western provinces. Its timber was used mainly for construction and carpentry work. The type collection (of var. recurvata) was collected by Ernest H. Wilson on his first expedition to western China in 1903; the species was introduced to horticulture in the USA and UK from seed collected by him on subsequent journeys to the Min River drainage. As with most Chinese species in Abies, it remains a dendrological collector's item and has not entered the common gardening trade. A main reason for this is undoubtedly the unavailability of seed from its country of origin for a long period after the efforts of the early twentieth century's plant collectors came to an end. Renewed collecting, made possible in the last few decades in partnership with Chinese botanists, has been undertaken under more restricting conditions and the results have largely remained within the confines of major botanic gardens. Even if trees in cultivation produce viable seed, unless they are grown in complete isolation from other species of Abies, that seed is likely to produce plants with a mixture of genes from almost any of those other species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A timber tree in western China, heavily exploited until recently when the Chinese government finally decided to preserve its remaining old growth forests in the western provinces. Future threats include acid rain and possibly climate change, but given the uncertainty around these they are not coded here

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The Government of China has recently imposed a logging ban in western China. The species is in protected areas.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

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) [harvest]
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Construction or structural materials
 Local : ✓ 

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

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.

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

Citation: Xiang, Q. & Rushforth, K. 2013. Abies recurvata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T42297A2970503. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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