Habitat and Ecology
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Cupressus atlantica
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cupressus atlantica
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2000Endangered (EN)
- 1998Endangered (EN)
- 1998Endangered (E)
The taxon consists of a single population within a single location. A ground survey (using binoculars) of four of the eight known locations estimated that the number of individuals is at least 6,650 trees (Tigouramine: 100; Targa-n-Ait Iratene: 200; Rikt: 1,350; Achachi: 5,000+) (Griffiths 1998). Estimates of the actual AOO indicates a reduction from c.55 km (Boudy, 1950) to only 14.58 km (Achhal 1986) which over a 36 year period gives a reduction of some 73% (Griffiths 1998). Most trees are semi-mature to mature and in excess of 100 years old (Boudy 1950, Bellefontaine 1969, Griffiths 1998).
Threats include seed collecting, grazing and climate change. During a survey undertaken by Griffiths (1998) it was found that much damage was caused to the trees by local Berbers who were collecting seed unsustainably for commercial horticultural use in Marrakech. The survey found that 84% of the trees were either severely or moderately damaged, 14% had little damage and only 2% of the trees had no damage. Grazing by goats and donkeys in all four stands studied is also a problem and is on a large scale involving large numbers of animals. Such grazing pressures has a detrimental effect on regeneration (Bellefontaine 1979, Achhal 1986), this is also substantiated by local Berbers (Griffiths 1998). Germination tests concluded that the seeds are viable in all four locations but it is not just the pressures of excessive grazing that prevent regeneration but also the steep, constantly eroding slopes.According to the Direction des Eaux et Forts State the climate has changed noticeably over recent years and as a result there is less rainfall and higher summer temperatures (Griffiths 1998).
Cupressus atlantica, the Moroccan Cypress, is a rare coniferous tree endemic to the valley of the Oued n'Fiss river in the High Atlas Mountains south of Marrakech in western Morocco. The majority are old, with very little regeneration due to overgrazing by goats.
This species is distinct from the allied Cupressus sempervirens (Mediterranean Cypress) in its much bluer foliage with a white resin spot on each leaf, the smaller shoots often being flattened in a single plane. It also has smaller, globose cones, only 1.5-2.5 cm long. Cupressus dupreziana (Saharan Cypress) is more similar, and C. atlantica is treated as a variety of it (C. dupreziana var. atlantica) by some authors. Moroccan Cypress does not however share the unique reproductive system of male apomixis found in Saharan Cypress.
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