Pinus sylvestris


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Pinus sylvestris
Species Authority: L.
Common Name/s:
English Scots Pine
French Pin sylvestre
Pinus sylvestris L. variety cretacea (Kalen.) Kom.
Pinus sylvestris L. variety nevadensis (Christ) Heyw.
Taxonomic Notes: More than 50 botanical varieties have been described for this species. Farjon (2010), only recognizes three of these. The typical variety is very widespread, from Scotland to Russian Far East. Pinus sylvestris var. hamata Steven is restricted to the Ukraine, Caucasus and Turkey. Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica Litv. is found in northern China, Mongolia and around Lake Baikal in Siberia. None of the varieties are considered to be threatened and are hence not assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-01-31
Assessor/s: Gardner, M.
Reviewer/s: Luscombe, D & Thomas, P.
This is the most widespread of all pines, occupying many millions of hectares across Eurasia. Its tremendous distribution and large population size leads to an assessment of Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Widespread across Eurasia: from N Spain and Scotland in the west to the Russian Far East, from Lapland in the north to Turkey in the south.
Albania; Armenia (Armenia); Austria; Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; China (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Nei Mongol); Czech Republic; Estonia; Finland; France; Georgia; Germany; Greece; Hungary; Italy; Kazakhstan; Latvia; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Norway; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia (Serbia); Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine (Krym); United Kingdom
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Locally abundant and dominant in many areas.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Across its enormous range Pinus sylvestris grows naturally in a variety of habitats, the common denominator of which is deficiency of nutrients in the soil. Thus on the Atlantic seaboard with high levels of precipitation it occupies ancient igneous or metamorphic rocks with little or no soil in Scotland and Norway up to 70º N, while south of the Baltic Sea it grows on podzolized glacial sands left after the Ice Age. In the central Alps it is restricted to the drier slopes and valleys below other conifers like Larix and Picea, while in the Caucasus it ascends to 2,600 m on rocky outcrops and scree. In much of Siberia it occupies the drier sites, but in Scandinavia and NE Europe it often borders acidic peat bogs. In the steppes of Russia and Mongolia it occurs only along stream courses. Pinus sylvestris most commonly forms open pine forests and woodlands but in many areas it is associated with conifers like Picea, Larix, Juniperus and with broad-leaved trees, especially Betula spp. and Populus tremula. In old growth stands there is often a well developed ground cover of Vaccinium spp. or Empetrum nigrum in Atlantic regions, and such pine forests are rich in mycorrhizal fungi.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Pinus sylvestris forests in countries such as the United Kingdom (Scotland) have historically been heavily exploited and in some areas have been considerably reduced. Throughout most of its range, however, logging and forest conversion for agriculture or for plantations have had a much less of an impact.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Such a widespread and locally dominant species occurs in many protected areas across its range.
Citation: Gardner, M. 2013. Pinus sylvestris. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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