Abies beshanzuensis M.H.Wu

Pinaceae

Endemic to eastern China in Zhejiang Province where only a handful of mature individuals survive

Associated Names:

Baishan fir

Distribution

Endemic to China where it occurs in Zhejiang Province on Mt. Baishan-zu northeast of Qingyuan in the Tung-Kung Range at 27°45'N; 119°11'E.

Known from only a few mature individuals in the wild, without natural regeneration, in degraded angiosperm woodland. According to an account by Dudley (1988), in 1987 only three individual trees were left (after two plants had been removed to Beijing Botanic Gardens and subsequently died there and to Hang Zhou Botanic Garden which also died) of a population at discovery in 1963 of only seven individuals, of which four were flowering and coning at that time. The population had been greatly reduced in size following flooding and subsequent landslides in the area.

Habitat and Ecology

On a medium high mountain in the maritime southeastern part of China, with warm summers and cool, moist winters (annual precipitation ca. 1250mm), where it is found between 1500 to 1700 metres above sea-leel. It grows there with other conifers, such as Tsuga chinensis, Cephalotaxus sinensis and Taxus chinensis, and broad-leaved trees, e.g. Castanopsis spp., Fagus lucida, Quercus spp., Acer spp., Magnolia cylindrica and Lithocarpus hancei. The angiosperm trees are dominating the present site of Abies beshanzuensis.

Conservation Status

Global status

Critcally Endangered D

Global rationale

Abies beshanzuensis is assessed as Critically Endangered under Criterion D due to its extremely small population size.

Global threats

Deforestation (for agriculture) has in the past reduced the population to a few trees. Regeneration of the forest mainly causes angiosperms and bamboos to dominate at present on the site where Abies occurred before.Climate change is a potential future threat as this species has such a small population size and limited distribution. The population has been impacted by flooding in the past and this remains a future threat.

Conservation Actions

This species was taken into cultivation from cuttings at a forestry station in Qingyuan, south Zhejiang, China, as a graft on Abies firma rootstock. The remaining plants in the wild are under protection. There is an ex situ programme under-way and they are now reintroducing seedlings grown in cultivation back into the original habitat.