Direct exploitation

Direct exploitation occurs through general logging (deforestation), selective logging or the use of forest non-timber products (FNTP’s). General logging is the biggest threat to conifer species whereby forest habitats are often replaced by plantations, settlements or agricultural land. Selective logging involves the removal of individual tree species for their valuable timber, for charcoal production or fire wood. This practise is often considered to be a sustainable alternative to clear-cutting however, for every tree removed 30 more will become severely damaged because the practise of selective logging is inherently destructive. Conifers play an important role in the production of non-timber products, one example is the use of the foliage and bark of Taxus species for the production of the anti-cancer drug taxol. Although over-exploitation can lead to local extinction, the sustainable commercial and domestic use have the potential of increased incentives for forest conservation.

Fitzroya cupressoides

Fitzroya cupressoides© M.Gardner, RBGE

Taxa in the category - Direct exploitation:

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Abies hickelii var. hickelii

Endemic to southeastern Mexico where the population is severely fragmented as a result of deforestation Read full species entry >

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Abies hickelii var. oaxacana (Martínez) Farjon & Silba

Endemic to southwestern Mexico where deforestation is a major threat Read full species entry >

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Abies kawakamii (Hayata) T.Itô

A subtropical alpine fir restricted to a few areas in Taiwan. Climate change is likely to have a significant impact on this species. Currently it is assessed as Near Threatened Read full species entry >

Mature cones
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Abies pinsapo Boiss.

The Spanish fir has two subspecies distributed in southern Spain and northern Morocco where threats include fire, grazing and climate change. Read full species entry >

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Abies pinsapo var. marocana (Trabut) Ceballos & Bolanos

The Moroccan fir is restricted to two small forests in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco where over a period of 60 years it has suffered a 70% decline. Read full species entry >

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Abies recurvata Mast.

A timber tree in western China, which has been heavily exploited until recently when it was decided to preserve the remaining old growth forests Read full species entry >

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Abies recurvata var. ernestii (Rehder) C.T.Kuan

Distributed in several province in China where it has suffered a decline due to logging Read full species entry >

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Abies recurvata var. recurvata

Distributed in two provinces in China where logging has reduced the size of its population Read full species entry >

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