Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This variety is endemic to Morocco in the Region of Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz and the Province of Marrakech. The precise area is located in the Oued n'Fiss Valley 60 km south of Marakech, between Tizi-n-Test road, south of Asni. In total there are 8 sites (Bellefontaine 1979) which together represent a single location. The current actual area of occupancy is estimated to be 14.58 km² (Achhal 1986) while the extent of occurrence, based on recent herbarium specimens from across its known range, is 40 km2.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Forms a monoecious, slow-growing tree 16-20 m tall and most trees are in excess of 100 years old. Grows in a temperate semi-arid to dry Mediterranean climate with periods of drought and snow. All stands occur on steep-sided mountain slopes in an altitudinal range of between 1,000 and 2,200 m. Three of the four stands studied grow on south-east facing slopes, the stand at Targa-n-Ait Iratene is on a north-facing slope (Griffiths 1998). The substrate is shale or schist and crystalline soils of granites and occasionally of calcareous soils which are unstable and constantly eroding (Bellefontaine 1979, Achhal 1986). Associated woody species include: Juniperus phoenicea and Tetraclinis articulata with the shrubs: Lavandula dentata. var. dentata, L. maroccana, Launaea arborescens and Waronia saharae and the herbs include: Carlina brachylepis Cymbopogon schoenanthus, Eryngium ilicfolium, Globularia alypum, Linaria ventricosa, Ononis natrix L. subsp. prostrata and Polygala balansae.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Cupressus atlantica

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cupressus atlantica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Gardner, M. & Griffiths, A.

Reviewer/s
Thomas, P. & Farjon, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
Cupressus dupreziana var atlantica has undergone a recent decline of 73% over a 36 year period (1950-1986: Achhal 1986) in the area of occupancy. This decline is sufficient for an assessment of Endangered under A2 criteria. However, the estimated current extent of occurrence is 40 km2 which is within the 100 km2 threshold for Critically Endangered under the B1 criteria. It is known from a single location where the primary threat across that range comes from overgrazing and an associated lack of regeneration. Secondary threats include over-collection of seed. In addition, there is a continuing decline in the quality of habitat and the number of mature individuals. According to IUCN guidelines, the highest category of threat should be used and therefore an assessment of Critically Endangered is warranted.

History
  • 2000
    Endangered
  • 1998
    Endangered
    (Oldfield et al. 1998)
  • 1998
    Endangered
  • 1997
    Endangered
    (Walter and Gillett 1998)
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Population

Population

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 km² (Boudy, 1950) to only 14.58 km² (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).


Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats

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 Forêts State the climate has changed noticeably over recent years and as a result there is less rainfall and higher summer temperatures (Griffiths 1998).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Some conservation strategies have been implemented by the Direction des Eaux et Forêts including fencing off the sub-populations of Rikt and Achachi and at the former some replanting has been carried but due to lack of after care the survival rate has been low (Griffiths 1998). It is cultivated in botanic gardens and arboreta in Europe and the USA.
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Wikipedia

Cupressus atlantica

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Anonymous (2000). "Cupressus dupreziana var. atlantica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved February 1, 2010. 
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