Abies guatemalensis var. jaliscana Martínez

Formerly known under Abies flinckii, this fir is native to southern Mexico where it is has a long history of exploitation as a valuable timber tree and for charcoal production.


Endemic to Mexico where it mainly occurs in the State of Jalisco; Talpa de Allende. A single locality in the adjoining state of Michoacán has also been recorded. There are 11-12 localities and the area of occupancy is estimated to be about 48 km2, based on herbarium specimens and a 2 km grid. The extent of occurrence is about 15,000 km2.

Habitat and Ecology

It occurs in mountains at an altitudinal range of between 1,800–4,010 m where it is relatively cool and moist, and the climate is ‘oceanic', with most precipitation occurring as rain in summer or as fog all year round (Andersen et al., 2006). Abies guatemalensis is usually associated with several highland conifers, such as Abies religiosa, Cupressus lusitanica, Pinus ayacahuite, P. hartwegii, P. michoacana, P. montezumae and P. pseudostrobus. At lower elevations Arbutus spp., Juniperus spp. and Quercus spp. co-occur and open forest stands are dominated by Arbutus xalapensis, Baccharis vaccinioides, Cestrum guatemalense, Litsea glaucescens, Rubus trilobus, Salvia cinnabarina and Sambucus mexicana. Abies guatemalensis is usually sparsely distributed and monospecific stands occur rarely.

Human Uses

The straight stems and the relatively soft wood make the species highly valued by local woodcutters for various construction purposes but it is also used for making shakes, shingles, tools, traditional woodcarvings and for charcoal production (Standley and Steyermark 1958). A more recent utilization is the harvest of Christmas trees and greenery, i.e. branches for decorative purposes.

Conservation Status

Global assessment

Near Threatened

Global rationale

This variety has a very limited distribution in Jalisco and adjoining parts of Michoacan. Eleven to twelve localities are known with an area of occupancy (AOO) estimated to be about 48 km2. The extent of occurrence is about 15,000 km2. While there is likely to have been some exploitation it has not been quantified. In the absence of such information an assessment of Near Threatened reflects a precautionary approach (almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criteria B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii)).

Global threats

As it is found at lower altitudes than the other varieties it may be more vulnerable to exploitation. Abies guatemalensis has a long history of exploitation as a valuable timber tree and for charcoal production, thus the remaining populations are restricted to a few remote mountain ranges with some protection in national parks or nature reserves (Andersen et al. 2006). However, illegal logging still takes place and a recent trend of using the species for Christmas decorations has become a market-driven incentive for poaching (Andersen et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions

The species is listed in CITES Appendix I.

References and further reading

  1. Andersen, U.S., Cordova, J.P., Sorensen, M. and Kollmann, J. 2006. Conservation and utilisation of Abies guatemalensis Rehder (Pinaceae) - an endangered endemic conifer in Central America. Biodiversity & Conservation 15(10): 3131-3151.
  2. Dvorak, W.S. and Donahue, J.K. 1992. CAMCORE Cooperative Research Review 1980-1992. Forestry Department, North Carolina State University, CAMCORE (La Cooperativa de Recursos de Coníferas de Centroamérica y México), USA.
  3. Farjon, A. 2010. Conifer Database (June 2008) In Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2010 Annual Checklist (Bisby F.A., Roskov Y.R., Orrell T.M., Nicolson D., Paglinawan L.E., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., Baillargeon G., eds). Reading, UK. Available at:
  4. Farjon, A. 2010. A Handbook of the World's Conifers. Koninklijke Brill, Leiden.IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).
  5. Strandby, U., Cristensen, K. and Sørensen, M. 2009. A morphometric study of the Abies religiosa–hickelii–guatemalensis complex (Pinaceae) in Guatemala and Mexico. Plant Systematics and Evolution 260: 59-76.
  6. Thomas, P. 2013. Abies guatemalensis var. jaliscana. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T34121A2846895.

External links

Entry information:

Entry author:

Philip Thomas ·

Entry last edited:

3 Nov 2019

Recommended Citation:

Philip Thomas, 2019, Abies guatemalensis var. jaliscana, from the website: ‘Threatened Conifers of The World’ ( Downloaded on 22 April 2024.

Categorised in:

Near Threatened, Direct exploitation, Southern Mesoamerica and Pinaceae