Abies cephalonica 

Scope: Global & Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Pinopsida Pinales Pinaceae

Scientific Name: Abies cephalonica Loudon
Common Name(s):
English Greek Fir, Grecian Fir
Taxonomic Source(s): Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2015-09-17
Assessor(s): Gardner, M. & Knees, S.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P., Farjon, A. & Allen, D.J.
Although a decrease in the population of the Greek Fir (Abies cephalonica) has been reported during the last five decades (Politi et al. 2009, 2011), latterly mainly due to summer wild-fires, nevertheless the species has a widespread distribution in Greece. It is recorded from 11 main locations and typically most of these contain extensive stands. For example, in Mt. Ainos National Park it covers an area of 28,620 km2 (Politi 2007) and this size of forest is quite typical for many other locations. Even though it is highly likely that there will be further loss of forest, especially as a result of summer wild-fires, it is thought that this will not be sufficient to warrant the species to be assessed against a category of threat in the foreseeable future. It has therefore been assessed as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is endemic to Greece where it has a very widespread distribution in the Regions of: Epiros (five locations), Macedonia (Mt. Olympus and Mt. Athos), Peloponnisos (11 locations), Sterea Ellas (10 locations), Ionian Islands (Kefallinia) (Strid 1986, Strid and Tan 1997). There are no published figures for the extent of occurrence and area of occupancy but there is no doubt that these will exceed the thresholds for any of the threatened categories.
Countries occurrence:
Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland))
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):600
Upper elevation limit (metres):2100
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Although there have been recent reductions in some locations, for example fires in 2007 resulted in the loss of 2,180 ha on Mt. Parnitha and 4,500 ha on Mount Taygetos (Arianoutsou et al. 2010), the overall extensive population is relatively stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Abies cephalonica is found between 400 and 1,800 m and rarely up to 2,000 m or more. It grows in pure stands, or occasionally with Juniperus oxycedrus, usually at higher elevations, while at lower elevations can be found in association with Fagus orientalis, Quercus spp, Castanea sativa and Pinus nigra (Papanikolaou 2006). The Greek fir grows on soils derived from a variety of parent materials such as limestone, dolomites, shale, serpentine, sandstone, mica-schist and argillic-schist with pH ranging from 5 to 8 (Panetsos 1975).

Generation Length (years):50

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Current local use is probably limited, the timber of this tree was used in the past for construction. Alizoti et al. (2011) report the use of the species as an ornamental tree and cultivation in plantations for use as Christmas trees, and note its potential as an alternative to Silver fir (A. alba) for reforestation in other parts of Europe as it is less water demanding.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Abies cepahlonica has a widespread distribution and is abundant where it occurs. Historically it has been subject to human pressures for thousands of years, the impacts of which are visible in the condition of some of Greek fir forests today. Grazing, woodcutting, agriculture, hunting and fires are the main factors causing the degradation of natural ecosystems (Knees 2011) and including drought-related extreme periods, infestation of mistletoe, pathogens or insects (Kailidis and Georgevits 1968). 

The greatest current-day threat is from fire to which the species is not adapted and in recent years several fires have destroyed important stands. For example, in 2007 the fire in the Mt. Parnitha National Park caused the loss of 2,080 ha and the loss of  4,500 ha in Mount Taygetos (Arianoutsou et al. 2010). The firs at this location also show signs of stress and dieback which is thought to be caused by air pollution (Heliotis et al. 1988). In 2000 the first of Greece's 'megafires' destroyed a large area of A. cephalonica on Mt. Mainalon which contained one of the most extensive and developed forest of the the Greek Fir. Post-fire observations of these forest fires has noted little or no regeneration of A. cephalonica.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is afforded protection in a number of national parks including; Cephalonia N.P., Mt. Parnassos N.P. and Mt. Oeti N.P. (Duffey 1982). In all of these National Parks it forms extensive forests and the sub-populations are considered to be stable. However, the population in the Mt. Parnitha National Park was reduced by 2,180 ha in 2007 due to fire (Arianoutsou et al. 2010).

Errata [top]

Errata reason: An errata assessment was produced to correct some errors with the references (primarily to cite assessments that had been attached but not cited in the original assessment), and to expand the limited Trade and Use text.

Citation: Gardner, M. & Knees, S. 2011. Abies cephalonica (errata version published in 2016). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T38320A101026687. . Downloaded on 16 October 2018.
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