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Overview

Brief Summary

Abies nordmanniana, the Caucasian or Nordmann Fir, is a large, evergreen, coniferous tree in the Pinaceae (pine family), native to the mountains south and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus, Azerbaijan, and northern Armenia. It occurs at altitudes of 900–2,200 meters (2,925–7,150 feet) on mountains with annual rainfall of over 100 cm (39 inches). It forms extensive forests in northwestern Turkey, extending eastward through the Caucasus mountains.

Caucasian fir typically grows to 60 m tall, with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. In the Western Caucasus Reserve, nominated as a World Heritage site, specimens with heights up to 85 meters (276 feet) have been reported—the tallest trees recorded in Europe. Caucasian fir has a narrow, dense, pyramidal crown, with branches all the way to the ground. It occurs in pure stands or mixed with deciduous species (primarily beech, Fagus sylvatica) or other conifers (spruce and pine species, including Picea orientalis, Pinus nigra, and P. sylvestris).

Some taxonomists include populations of A. bormuelleriana and A. equi-trojani from some regions of Turkey as subspecies, A. nordmanniana ssp. nordmanniana and A. nordmanniana ssp. equitrojani, respectively.

Caucasian fir wood is valued for timber, but timber harvests do not appear to have led to significant population declines. However, in some parts of its range of A. nordmanniana ssp. equitrojani is experiencing noticeable declines due to the effects of acid rain.

Caucasian fir has been planted as an ornamental in the United Kingdom since the 1800s, as an attractive but pollution-intolerant parkland tree, and finds use as a cemetery tree in France and northern Europe. Caucasian fir plantations have been used to anchor sand dune shorelines in Denmark. It is also valued and grown commercially as a Christmas tree for its fragrant, non-dropping needles. Various cultivars are planted in the U.S., including a dwarf variety with golden needles, A. nordmanniana ‘Golden Spreader,’ that grows to only 1 meter tall, but may spread to 3 meters across.

(Gymnosperm Database 2011, IUCN 1999, Kees and Gardner 2011, Landscape Architecture Blog 2011, PNW Plants Database 2011, Wikipedia 2011)

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
High montane zones of mountains on deep fertile soils derived from igneous and granite rocks. It forms both pure stands and mixed with Picea orientalis, Fagus sylvatica, Pinus sylvestris and Pinus nigra. In the Caucasus it occurs between 1,200-2,200 asl but on damper northern slopes it can grow between 600-800 m asl and in Turkey its altitudinal range is between 200-1,900 m (Browicz 1982).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Associations

Foodplant / sap sucker
Adelges nordmannianae sucks sap of live bud of Abies nordmanniana

Foodplant / parasite
stromatic, clustered pseudothecium of Curreya pityophila parasitises twig of poorly developed tree of Abies nordmanniana

Foodplant / gall
hypophyllous, either side of midrib aecium of Melampsorella caryophyllacearum causes gall of short, thick, spirally arranged needle of Abies nordmanniana
Remarks: season: 6-8

Foodplant / parasite
hypophyllous, two irregular rows aecium of Milesina kriegeriana parasitises locally yellowed needle of Abies nordmanniana
Remarks: season: 6-9

Foodplant / parasite
aecidium of Pucciniastrum goeppertianum parasitises live Abies nordmanniana

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Abies nordmanniana

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Abies nordmanniana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
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
2011

Assessor/s
Knees, S. & Gardner, M.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
As this species forms extensive forests which are largely intact and has a widespread distribution throughout the Black Sea Region of northwestern Turkey, eastwards to the western Caucasus, it has been assessed as being of Least Concern.

History
  • 1998
    Lower Risk/least concern
    (Oldfield et al. 1998)
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Population

Population
It occurs in three subpopulations. 1. West Caucasus and northeast Anatolia (Turkey); 2. Turkey - Northwest Anatolia, from Ulu Dag (Olympus) in the west to Kizil Irmak river valley in the east (sometimes referred to as A. bornmuelleriana); 3. Turkey - Kazdagi Mountains in west Anatolia (A. nordmanniana ssp. equi-trojani) (Browicz 1982)

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats

Even though the wood is highly prized, logging has not had a significant detrimental impact on the population. However, the habitat of A. nordmanniana ssp. equi-trojani is in decline due to a number of negative effects including acid rain, fire, local timber extraction and habitat degradation associated with large visitor numbers in Kazdagi National Park (Satil 2009).

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
This species is known from several protected areas.
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Wikipedia

Abies nordmanniana

Abies nordmanniana, the Nordmann fir or Caucasian fir,[2] is a fir native to the mountains west and east of the Black Sea, in Turkey, Georgia, Russian Caucasus and northern parts of Armenia. It occurs at altitudes of 900–2,200 m on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 mm.

Current distribution of the Nordmann fir is associated with the forest refugia that existed during the Ice Age at the eastern and southern Black Sea coast. The species is not found in currently suitable areas of the Eastern Greater Caucasus, which are separated from the Black Sea Coast by more than 400–500 km, in spite of currently suitable climate.[3]

It is a large evergreen coniferous tree growing to 60 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 2 m. In the Western Caucasus Reserve, some specimens have been reported to be 78 m and even 85 m tall,[4] the tallest trees in Europe.

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.8–3.5 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two blue-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is usually blunt, often slightly notched at the tip, but can be pointed, particularly on strong-growing shoots on young trees. The cones are 10–20 cm long and 4–5 cm broad, with about 150–200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.

There are two subspecies (treated as distinct species by some botanists), intergrading where they meet in northern Turkey at about 36°E longitude:

The species is named after Finnish zoologist Alexander von Nordmann (1803–1866), Professor of Botany at Odessa.

Uses[edit]

Nordmann firs grown for Christmas tree production

Nordmann fir is one of the most important species grown for Christmas trees, being favoured for its attractive foliage, with needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily when the tree dries out.

It is also a popular ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, and along with the cultivar 'Golden spreader'[5] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[6]

The wood is soft and white, and is used for general construction, paper, etc.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Knees, S. & Gardner, M. (2011). "Abies nordmanniana". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007" (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  3. ^ Tarkhnishvili D, Gavashelishvili A, Mumladze L. (2012). "Palaeoclimatic models help to understand current distribution of Caucasian forest species". Biol. J. Linn. Soc. (105): 231–248. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2011.01788.x. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  4. ^ "Western Caucasus WHA, IUCN Technical Evaluation". 
  5. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Abies nordmanniana 'Golden Spreader' AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plant Selector Abies nordmanniana AGM / RHS Gardening". Apps.rhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-05. 
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