Picea alcoquiana (Veitch ex Lindl.) Carrière

Pinaceae

Endemic to Japan where logging has caused a considerable reduction in the population

Associated Names:

shirane-matsu-hada

Distribution

Endemic to the main island of Honshu in Japan

Habitat and Ecology

This taxon is a scattered mountain species, occurring at elevations from 700 to 2180m above sea-level. The soils are of volcanic origin and podzolic. The climate is cool, with cold, snowy winters, and wet (annual precipitation 1000 to 2500mm), while typhoons are frequent. The forests on these mountains are mixed coniferous, with Picea jezoensis subsp. hondoensis as the most common of the spruces, Tsuga diversifolia and Larix kaempferi, both also common, Pinus parviflora and Abies veitchii in some areas, A. mariesii usually at higher elevations, and broad-leaved trees, e.g. Betula ermanii, B. grossa, Sorbus commixta, Quercus mongolica var. grosseserrata, Alnus hirsuta var. sibirica, and Prunus maximowiczii.

Human Uses

This is a timber tree of minor importance due to its scarcity, but it has undoubtedly been logged with other spruces (P. jezoensis subsp. hondoensis) and conifers. Much of its wood is processed to pulp for the paper industry, but more specialized uses are furniture making and (in Japan) musical instruments. This species has been introduced to Europe and the U.S.A. but remains uncommon there and mostly restricted to arboreta and some large parks of private estates, where it may still be known under the later name Picea bicolor.

Conservation Status

Global status

Near Threatened

Global rationale

The species as a whole, like its most common and widespread nominate variety, does not meet the criteria for a threatened category, but may come to fall into one if the decline due to logging continues.

Global threats

The main threat to the species, past and present, is logging. This has particularly affected the rarer varieties with their very limited EOO and AOO.

Conservation Actions

Some sub-populations occur in protected areas.