Abies nebrodensis

Abies nebrodensis, the Sicilian fir, is a fir native to the Madonie mountains in northern Sicily.

Sicilian fir
Abies nebrodensis Castellana Sicula1.jpg
Abies nebrodensis
Scientific classification edit
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Pinales
Family: Pinaceae
Genus: Abies
Species:
A. nebrodensis
Binomial name
Abies nebrodensis
(Lojac.) Mattei
Abies nebrodensis range.png
Natural range

TaxonomyEdit

It is closely related to silver fir, Abies alba, which replaces it in the Apennine Mountains of Italy and elsewhere further north in Europe; some botanists treat Sicilian fir as a variety of silver fir, as Abies alba var. nebrodensis.

DescriptionEdit

It is a medium-size evergreen coniferous tree growing to 15–25 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m.[1]

The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.5–2.5 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two greenish-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is blunt with a notched tip, but sometimes with a pointed tip, particularly on shoots high on older trees. The cones are 10–16 cm long and 4 cm broad, with about 150 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.

DistributionEdit

Despite its scientific name, the species is of Mt. Scalone in the Madonie Mountains in the north-central part of Sicily.[2]

EcologyEdit

It occurs at altitudes of 1400–1,600 metres.[1] It is limited to the steep, dry slopes.

ConservationEdit

As a result of deforestation, it is now extremely rare, with only 25 mature trees surviving; replanting programmes are meeting with limited success due to heavy grazing pressure by livestock belonging to local farmers. It was classified as 'critically endangered' in the IUCN Red List in 2017.[1] In the European Union it has been designated as a 'priority species' under Annex II of the Habitats Directive, which means areas in which it occurs can be declared Special Areas of Conservation, if these areas belong to one of the number of habitats listed in Annex I of the directive.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Thomas, P. (2017). "Abies nebrodensis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2020.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link) - Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is critically endangered and the criteria used.
  2. ^ Abies nebrodensis. - distribution map, genetic conservation units and related resources. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN)
  3. ^ "Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora". Eur-Lex. Retrieved 22 September 2020.