Abies pinsapo var. marocana

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Abies pinsapo var. marocana
Species Authority: (Trab.) Ceballos & Bolaño
Parent Species:
Common Name(s):
English Moroccan Fir
Synonym(s):
Abies marocana Trab.
Abies pinsapo Boiss. subspecies tazaotana (Cozar ex Hug. del Vill.) Pourtet
Taxonomic Notes:

In many modern floristic works relating to Morocco, Abies pinsapo Boiss var. marocana (Tab.) Ceballos & Bolaño is recognized as a distinct species - Abies marocana Trab. Some older works also recognize the Mt Tazaot population either as a distinct variety (Abies pinsapo Boiss. var.tazaotana (Cozar ex Villar) Pourtet) or as a distinct species (Abies tazaotana Cozar ex Villar). Recent genetic research indicates that the Mt Tazaot population is not distinct from other Moroccan populations (Terrab et al. 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acd; B1ab(i,ii,iii,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-05-12
Assessor(s): Alaoui, M.L., Knees, S. & Gardner, M.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.
Justification:
Abies pinsapo var. marocana currently has a very limited distribution and is threatened by fires, forest clearance and habitat degradation. It has also undergone a significant decline in the recent past. While the extent of occurrence (EOO) is less than the 100 km² threshold for Critically Endangered, there are two locations and the remaining subpopulations are not severely fragmented within the context of the most recent IUCN guidelines (IUCN 2010). The estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 28 km2.  The population declined by approximately 70% between 1938 and 1994 due to logging, fires and forest clearance. This species is therefore listed as Endangered.
History:
1998 Lower Risk/near threatened (Oldfield et al. 1998)
1997 Rare (Walter and Gillett 1998)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This variety is restricted to a small part of the Rif  mountains in northern Morocco. The main stands are almost contiguous on the mountains of Sfiha Tell, Tissouka, Lakraa, Talassemtane, Bouslimane, Taloussisse, Fahs and Kharbouch. There is also an isolated subpopulation on Mt Tazaot. The estimated EOO is 75 km² with an estimated AOO of 28 km².
Countries:
Native:
Morocco
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There are no accurate figures for the number of mature individuals or the overall size of the population.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Abies pinsapo var. marocana occurs in the Mediterranean humid bioclimatic zone. The average annual rainfall is 1,500 mm (Benabid 1983), increasing to 1,900 mm at an altitude of 1,700 m. Stands are typically found on north facing dolomitic limestone slopes of mountain ridges. The optimal altitudinal range is between 1,400 and 1,800 m, where the main tree associates are Acer granatense, Quercus faginea, Q. ilex, Q. rotundifolia, Ilex aquifolium and Taxus baccata. Associated ground flora include Hedera maroccana, Euphorbia characias, Digitalis purpurea var. maurtanica and Paeonia coriacea. Between 1,800 and 2,000 m Abies occurs with Cedrus atlantica, Pinus nigra and Pinus pinaster.  Above 2,000 m the mountain summits are typically dominated by xerophytic species including Berberis hispanica, Bupleurum spinosum and Rosa micrantha,  other species include Crataegus laciniata, Rosa micrantha, Rubus ulmifolius and Viburnum tinus.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The timber of the Moroccan fir has been used in house construction. Essential oils obtained from the seeds of this species are used in Moroccan folk medicine to treat respiratory complaints (Hmamouchi 1999). The high proportion of limonene recently discovered in the oil means that there is potential interest for the perfumes industry (Based 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Moroccan Fir underwent a 70% decline between 1938 and 1994 due to logging, fires and forest clearance associated with an increasing rural population, an expansion of agriculture and the cultivation of cannabis (Emberger 1938, Boudy 1951 and DPA 1994 in Moore et al. 1998). In 1977 most of the forests on Jebel Tazaot was destroyed by fire. A second fire in 2002 damaged part of the remaining forest and there has been little regeneration since then (Esteban 2010). Although the remaining stands are within a National Park, deforestation associated with cannabis cultivation  in the areas surrounding the fir stands remains a problem. 


Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: A study conducted by the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture through the Administration des Eaux et Forêts et Conservation des Sols (AEFCS, 1996) and funded by the Banque Africaine du Développement resulted in the creation of the 60,000 ha Talassemtane Natural Park to protect the remaining areas of Moroccan fir (Haut Commmissariat aux Eaux et Forêt et á la Lutte contre la Désertification 2004). In 2006 Talassemtane Natural Park was included within the first UNESCO Intercontinental Mediterranean Biosphere Reserve.

Bibliography [top]

Based, B., Oller-López, J.L., Cuerva, J.M., Oltra, J.E. and Mansour, A.I. 2006. Composition of the essential oil from the seeds of Abies marocana. Journal of Essential Oil Research 18(2): 160-161.

Boudy, P. 1931. Economie forestière nord-africaine. Description forestière du Maroc. 3. Rabat.

Direction Provinciale de l'Agriculture (DPA). 1994. Potentialités et développement agricole dans la Province de Chefchaouen. Unpublished internal report. Direction Provinciale de l'Agriculture, Chefchaouen.

Emberger, L. 1939. Aperçu général sur la végétation du Maroc. Veröffentlichungen des Geobotanischen Instituts, Eidgenössische technische Hochschule Rübel in Zürich 14: 40-157.

Esteban, L.G., De Palacios, P. and Rodriguez-Losada Aguado, L. 2010. Abies pinsapo forests in Spain and Morocco: threats and conservation. Oryx 44(2): 276-284.

Fennane, M. and Ibn Tattou, M. 2005. Flore vasculaire du Maroc : inventaire et chorologie. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique, Rabat.

Fennane, M., Ibn Tattou, M., Mathez, J., Ouyahya, A. and El Oualidi, J. 1999. Pteridophyta Gymnospermae, Angiospermae (Lauraceae-Neuradaceae), Flore pratique du Maroc: manuel de détermination des plantes vasculaires, Vol. 1. Rabat Institut Scientifique, Rabat.

Génova Fuster, M. 2007. El crecimiento de Abies pinsapo y el clima de Grazalema: aportaciones dendroecológicas. Investigación Agraria: Sistemas y Recursos Forestales 16(2): 145-157.

Hmamouchi, M. 1999. Les Plantes Medicinales et Aromatiques Marocaines. Imprimerie de Fedala, Mohammedia, Morocco.

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

IUCN Standards and Petitions Subcommittee. 2010. Guidelines for Using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 8.1. Available at: http://intranet.iucn.org/webfiles/doc/SSC/RedList/RedListGuidelines.pdf..

Moore, H.M., Fox, H.R., Harrouni, M.C. and El Alami, A. 1998. Environmental challenges in the Rif mountains, northern Morocco. Environmental Conservation 25(4): 354-365.

Terrab, A., Talavera, S., Arista, M., Paun, O., Stuessy, T.F. and Tremetsberger, K. 2007. Genetic diversity at chloroplast microsatellites (cpSSRs) and geographic structure in endangered West Mediterranean firs (Abies spp., Pinaceae). Taxon 56(2): 409-416.

Valdés, B., Rejdali, M., Achhal El Kadmiri, A., Jury, S.L. and Montserrat, J.M. 2002. Catalogue des plantes vasculaires du nord du Maroc, incluant des clés d?identification, vol. 1. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid.


Citation: Alaoui, M.L., Knees, S. & Gardner, M. 2011. Abies pinsapo var. marocana. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 September 2014.
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