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Abies homolepis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Abies homolepis
Species Authority: Siebold & Zucc.
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name(s):
English Nikko Fir

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-12-16
Assessor(s): Katsuki, T., Zhang, D, Rushforth, K. & Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Page, C.
Justification:
The assessment for Abies homolepis as a species is the same as that of its main variety: Near Threatened (it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion A2c).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Endemic to Japan occurring in central Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku.
Countries:
Native:
Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Abies homolepis occurs in mountain areas, and makes big populations especially in central Honshu on the eastern side facing the Pacific ocean.  However, peripheral populations are scattered by logging.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Abies homolepis is a species of high mountains in the central parts of the Japanese islands Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. In the south it occurs from 1,100 m to 1,800 m a.s.l., in Honshu between 700 m and 2,000 m. The soils are mesic, derived from volcanic rock and usually well drained. The climate is cool and humid. Near the tree limit it forms either pure stands, or mixtures with A. veitchii and/or Larix kaempferi, but at lower elevations it occurs in the mixed coniferous deciduous forests, with e.g. Fagus crenata, Quercus crispula, Betula grossa, Tsuga diversifolia, Thuja standishii, Pinus densiflora. A. firma replaces A. homolepis below 1,100 m.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Nikko Fir is not an important timber tree as its range is limited and it occurs at high altitudes. It is fairly widely planted as an ornamental tree in Japan as well as in Europe, where it appears to be one of the least demanding species in the genus. A few cultivars are known in Japan as well as in Europe (independently derived), mostly being dwarfed forms suitable for Japanese gardens or rockeries.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Because the value of timber is low, Nikko Fir has not been used as a timber tree to any significant extent. As a result, there are many relatively large subpopulations remaining in central Honshu. However, Japanese Deer are a serious problem, reducing regeneration and sometimes killing larger trees through ring-barking.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is no special protection system for this species. However, most localities are now at least protected from logging.

Citation: Katsuki, T., Zhang, D, Rushforth, K. & Farjon, A. 2013. Abies homolepis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 21 December 2014.
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