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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Found in the inner valleys of the Alps Pinus cembra, together with Larix decidua, forms open conifer forest and woodland up to the tree line at between 2,200 and 2,600 m altitude. Arolla Pine may descend down to 1,200 m, where it is usually a rare component of conifer forest dominated by Picea abies. Centuries of intensive grazing mainly with cattle have brought the tree line in the Alps down and turned much of the ancient forest into pasture woodland. This vegetation is in places dominated by Ericaceae such as Vaccinium myrtillus and Rhododendron ferrugineum, grasses and herbs. However, more recently alpine grazing has been substantially reduced and the forest is making a come-back on many slopes. Arolla Pine is dependent on the European Nutcracker (Nucifraga caryocatactes, Corvidae) for its effective seed dispersal and the birds carry the seeds and therewith the pines up slope. Pinus cembra is most probably a Siberian element in the European flora and is resistant to -40º frost; unlike accompanying the larches, P. cembra has evergreen foliage and it reduces the water content in the needles during winter to a minimum. Pinus cembra is slow growing and can live to great age (>1000 years in the Swiss Aletschwald) having rot-resistant wood.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Associations

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Coleosporium cacaliae parasitises Pinus montana

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / saprobe
superficial, clustered, hypophyllous pycnidium of Rhizosphaera coelomycetous anamorph of Rhizosphaera kalkhoffii is saprobic on dead needle of Pinus montana
Remarks: season: late winter to early spring

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Foodplant / parasite
subcortical pycnium of Cronartium ribicola parasitises stem of Pinus cembra
Remarks: season: 3-6

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
Brunchorstia anamorph of Gremmeniella abietina infects and damages live twig of Pinus cembra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Monochamus sartor feeds within dead, fallen branch of Pinus cembra
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / saprobe
erumpent, shortly stalked apothecium of Tryblidiopsis pinastri is saprobic on dead, attached branch of Pinus cembra
Remarks: season: 5-7

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Pinus cembra

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Pinus cembra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 27
Specimens with Barcodes: 30
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Farjon, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Luscombe, D

Contributor/s

Justification
Pinus cembra is assessed as Least Concern as it is widespread in the Alps and Carpathians, well protected in many reserves, and in several regions in the Alps it is currently expanding its altitudinal extent.
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Population

Population
In many parts of the Alps the abandonment of high alpine pasture causes the tree line, brought down artificially for grazing over centuries, to creep up again. The Arolla Pine is particularly capable of expansion up slope, as its seeds are carried by the Eurasion Nutcracker, a bird that caches seeds. As a result the population is slowly increasing.

Population Trend
Increasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Threats come mainly from tourist development, in particular the massive infrastructure required for mass tourism skiing, e.g. pistes, lifts, accommodation, roads and parking lots. Forests of Arolla Pine have been fragmented and habitat has been altered thereby, making regeneration less likely.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is present in several national parks and some forests, like the Aletschwald in Switzerland, are specifically protected for this species.
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Wikipedia

Pinus cembra

Pinus cembra, also known as Swiss pine, Swiss stone pine or Arolla pine, is a species of pine tree that grows in the Alps and Carpathian Mountains of central Europe, in Poland (Tatra Mountains), Switzerland, France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia (Tatra Mountains), Ukraine and Romania. It typically grows at 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) to 2,300 metres (7,500 ft) altitude. It often reaches the alpine tree line in this area. The mature size is typically between 25 metres (82 ft) and 35 metres (115 ft) in height, and the trunk diameter can be up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) .

Seeds with and without their shell

It is a member of the white pine group, Pinus subgenus Strobus, and like all members of that group, the leaves ('needles') are in fascicles (bundles) of five, with a deciduous sheath. The needle-like leaves are 5 centimetres (2.0 in) to 9 centimetres (3.5 in) long. The cones, which contain the seeds (or nuts), of the Swiss pine are 4 centimetres (1.6 in) to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) long. The 8 millimetres (0.31 in) to 12 millimetres (0.47 in) long seeds have only a vestigial wing and are dispersed by spotted nutcrackers.

Cones of Pinus cembra

The very similar Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica) is treated as a variety or subspecies of Swiss pine by some botanists. It differs in having slightly larger cones, and needles with three resin canals instead of two as in the Swiss pine.

Like other European and Asian white pines, Swiss pine is very resistant to white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola). This fungal disease was accidentally introduced from Europe into North America, where it has caused severe mortality in the American native white pines in many areas, notably the closely related whitebark pine. Swiss pine is of great value for research into hybridisation to develop rust resistance in these species.

Uses[edit]

The Swiss pine is a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, giving steady though not fast growth on a wide range of sites where the climate is cold. It is very tolerant of severe winter cold, hardy down to at least −50 °C (−58 °F), and also of wind exposure. The seeds are also harvested and sold as pine nuts and can be used to flavor schnapps (see Ref. 2).

The wood is the most used for carvings in Val Gardena since the 17th century.

The cone of the Swiss pine was the field sign of the Roman legion stationed in Rhaetia in 15 BC, and hence it is used as the heraldic charge (known as Zirbelnuss in German) in the coat of arms of the city of Augsburg, the site of the Roman fort Augusta Vindelicorum.

It is also a species that is often used in bonsai.

References[edit]

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