Picea asperata var. asperata

Pinaceae

Native to China where logging is a major threat and has caused an estimated 30% decline in the population

Associated Names:

Distribution

China: Gansu, Ningxia (Helan Shan), E Qinghai, SW Shaanxi, Sichuan. Populations have declined within the last three generations. The current trend is uncertain.

Habitat and Ecology

Picea asperata occurs in the high mountains of W central China, at elevations between 1500 m and 3800 m a.s.l., usually above 2400 m in Sichuan. The soils are grey-brown mountain podzols. The climate is continental, subalpine, with cold winters and dry summers (annual precipitation less than 500 mm). It forms mostly pure forests on N-facing slopes, or mixtures with other species of Picea, in the south of Gansu it may be mixed with Abies nephrolepis. Betula albo-sinensis is the most common broad-leaved associate.

Human Uses

Picea asperata and its varieties are important timber trees in China. The wood is mainly used for pulpwood and to a lesser extent for construction. Old growth stands of this potentially large spruce have been reduced to less accessible mountain slopes and valleys and plantation forestry has begun to replace the natural stands as a resource for spruce timber, but as yet on a scale that is incapable of meeting growing demands in China's rapidly growing economy.

Conservation Status

Global status

Vulnerable A2cd

There has been an estimated decline of >30 % in the last three generations (75-90 years) due to logging. Ongoing decline is suspected but not quantified.