The Canaries and Azores Threatened Conifer Region comprise a group of subtropical oceanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean which form part of Macronesia. These islands are volcanic and have never been connected to the continents; therefore the floras are products of long distance dispersal by wind, animals and sea, hence the high levels of endemism. Conifers often form an important forest component on most of the islands, for example, Pinus canariensis, the only native pine, is endemic to four of the Canary Islands, where it forms extensive forests. Fire plays an important non-detrimental role in the ecology of the pine forests and this important timber species is well adapted to post-fire regeneration. The only other conifer species native to Macaronesia are Taxus baccata, which is locally threatened in the Azores and three juniper species. Juniperus brevifolia and J. cedrus are both highly threatened but J. phoenicea var. turbinata is of Least Concern and has a broad distribution through the Mediterranean Region and North Africa. Current threats are numerous but perhaps the most serious for conifers are fire and loss of habitat due to invasive non-native species.
The only species of Juniperus occurring in the Azores where it is endemic and threatened by competition from invasive alien species and by the expansion of agricultural land. Read full species entry >
Endemic to the Canary Islands and Madeira, where it often occurs at high altitude clinging on to exposed rock outcrops. Threats include grazing and fire. Read full species entry >