"One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the Earth abideth forever."
-- Ecclesiastes 1:4

Are there Endangered Pine Species ?

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P. pinceana

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P. nelsonii

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P. maximartinezi

Zonal denial failures at the Pearson Creek Unit

The official listings of "endangered" species began with the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Endangered Species List. This list currently has about 600 species of plants and animals in the US and about 500 species from other parts of the world. It includes no pine species and only four gymnosperms. Two are in the US : Cupressus abramsiana (Santa Cruz cypress) and Torreya taxifolia (Florida torreya) and two are foreign: Abies guatemalensis (Pinabete or Guatemalan fir) and Fitzroya cupressoides (Alere or Chilean larch).

However, this list is not thorough for non-US species (as one would suspect by the 6:5 ratio of US to foreign species on this list). There are in fact endangered Pinus species in Mexico and in Asia.

There are more species and subspecies of pines (about 70) in Mexico than in the rest of the world combined. The most comprehensive single source on Mexican pines is a book entitled "The Pines of Mexico and Central America" written by Jesse Parker Perry, a member of the Rockefeller Foundation's Agricultural Sciences Program. The last two chapters of this excellent book (more information under the " books" section) are devoted to the rapid disappearance of Mexico's and other Central American pine forests due to disease, insects and, especially, human activity. The population explosion in Mexico alone adds over a million people per year, always requiring more firewood and agricultural land.

Jesse Perry lists 9 Mexican pines which are endangered &/or rare. They are:

  1. Potosi pinyon (P. culminicola)
  2. large cone Martinez pine (P. maximartinezii)
  3. Rzedowski pine (P. rzedowskii)
  4. weeping pinyon (P. pinceana)
  5. Johannis pinyon (P. johannis)
  6. Monterey pine (P. radiata var. binata)
  7. Laguna pinyon (P. lagunae)
  8. Jalisco pine (P. jaliscana)
  9. Nelson pine (P. nelsoni).
The first four on this list are classified by Perry as "very rare and very endangered": the next two (johannis and radiata) as "rare and endangered" and the last three as "rare."

Four endangered pine species were planted in the most protected area of the Lovett Pinetum in the Springs of 1997 and 98, despite the unlikihood of survival during its (zone 6a) winters. All four P. maximartinezii died in the first (unusually mild) winter. Two Pinus bungeana did not survive their first summer. None of two P.nelsonii of three P.pinceana has survived beyond two years. Currently there are Pinus maximartinezi, Pinus pinceana, Pinus nelsonii and Fitzroya cupressoides at the Angelina Unit, all about one year or less.

According to the Internaional Union's Species Survival Commission Conifer Specialist Group Asian pines that are in the greatest danger are P. dalatensis ( found in South Vietnam) , P. massoniana var. hainanensis, and P. wangii (found in small area in Yunnan Province, China). Endangered Asian species on this list are P. bungeana (in N. Central China) and P. dabeshanensis (in the Dabie shan Mountains of E. Central China).

The complete IUCN Endangered list includes: P.culminicola, P.maximartinezii, P.rzedowski , P.torreyana subsp. torreyana, P. torreyana subsp. insularis, P.radiata var. bipinata and P. bungeana.

The IUCN Critically Endangered List includes: P. dalatensis, P. massoniana var. hainanensis and P. wangii.

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