Abies lasiocarpa

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
PLANTAE TRACHEOPHYTA PINOPSIDA PINALES PINACEAE

Scientific Name: Abies lasiocarpa
Species Authority: (Hook.) Nutt.
Common Name(s):
English Subalpine Fir, Alpine Fur
Synonym(s):
Pinus lasiocarpa Hook.
Taxonomic Notes: Two varieties are recognized for Abies lasiocarpa: the widespread nominate variety (var. lasiocarpa) and var. arizonica (Merriam) Lemmon from Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Flora of North America Vol. 2 (1993) treated the Pacific coast mountains population as A. lasiocarpa and the Rocky Mountain population, including A. lasiocarpa var. arizonica, as Abies bifolia A.Murray bis. The author of the genus Abies in FNA, unlike most taxonomists, assigned taxonomic significance to different chemical compounds, or their proportional presence, in the resin. Eckenwalder (2009) upheld the two taxa as varieties, but even this is disputable and is not recognized here.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-03
Assessor(s): Farjon, A.
Reviewer(s): Thomas, P. & Stritch, L.
Justification:
This is the most widespread fir, after Abies balsamea, in North America. It is largely confined to high altitudes at the temperate latitudes and of little use as a timber tree. The very large extent of occurrence and large population mean that it is assessed as Least Concern. The variety arizonica is also assessed as Least Concern although it occurs in scattered subpopulations of limited area of occupancy in the southernmost part of the range of the species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Recorded from western North America: from Yukon to New Mexico, Arizona and N California. Both the extent of occurrence and the area of occupancy are well beyond the thresholds for any threatened category.
Countries:
Native:
Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon); United States (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Locally common.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This is a species of the subalpine zone in the high mountains of W North America, occurring from 5 m to 1,500 m a.s.l. in the north of its range and between 600 m and 3,500 m in the Cascade Range and Rocky Mountains. It grows on a variety of high mountain lithosols, wet or dry. The climate is everywhere cold, but humid in the NW and dry in the S of its range, precipitation varies between 500 mm and 3,000 mm annually. It forms usually very open stands with solitary or clustered trees, often mixed with Tsuga mertensiana in the NW and with Picea engelmannii in most of the Rocky Mountains. Other conifers are mainly Pinus spp., and also Abies spp. in the Pacific Northwest. Alpine meadows typically occur between the clumps of conifers.
Var. arizonica is most commonly mixed with Picea engelmannii, Pinus aristata and P. flexilis, or it occurs in pure stands, at elevations between 2,400 and 3,650 m a.s.l.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Subalpine Fir has little or no importance as a timber tree even though its wood properties are generally similar to other species of fir. To a large extent this is of course due to the rich heritage of conifers western North America enjoys above many other parts of the world; there is no need to use them as timber trees. Subalpine Fir also tends to grow slowly, remains relatively small and grows in inaccessible places. It may be used locally for construction timber, doors, window frames, boxes and other such products, but the wood tends to be knotty due to the retention of branches. Although it naturally grows into the perfect Christmas tree shape, it is rarely used as such, because it grows slowly and cutting it from its habitat is environmentally destructive. It is also little used in horticulture (except perhaps cultivars derived from var. arizonica) for taking it into the lowlands of temperate regions usually exposes it to damage from 'late' frosts.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No specific threats have been identified for this species: increased fire frequencies and overgrazing by livestock are potential threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Many subpopulations occur in protected areas.

Bibliography [top]

Burns, R.M. and Honkala, B.H. 1990. Silvics of North America. USDA, Forest Service, Washington, DC.

Eckenwalder, J. 2009. Conifers of the World: The Complete Reference. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

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: http://www.catalogueoflife.org/.

Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.

Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). 1994. Flora of North America Volume 2: Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press, USA.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 12 June 2013).


Citation: Farjon, A. 2013. Abies lasiocarpa. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 August 2014.
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