Abies cephalonica Loudon, 1838
Common names: Greek fir [En], Sapin de Céphalonie, Sapin de Grèce [Fr], Griekse zilverspar [Nl], Griechische Tanne [De], Abete Greco [It], Abeto griego, Abeto de Cefalonia [Es], Κεφαλληνιακή ελάτη [Gr].
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Kalavryta (Καλάβρυτα), Achaea ● Greece
Description: It is a medium-size evergreen coniferous tree growing to 25–35 metres – rarely 40 m – tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1 m.
The leaves are needle-like, flattened, 1.5–3.0 cm long and 2 mm wide by 0.5 mm thick, glossy dark green above, and with two blue-white bands of stomata below. The tip of the leaf is pointed, usually fairly sharply but sometimes with a blunt tip, particularly on slow-growing shoots on older trees.
The cones are 10–20 cm long and 4 cm broad, with about 150–200 scales, each scale with an exserted bract and two winged seeds; they disintegrate when mature to release the seeds.
It is intergrading with the closely related Bulgarian fir further north in the Pindus mountains of northern Greece. It is also closely related to Nordmann fir to the east in northern Turkey.
Habitat: It occurs at altitudes of 900–1,700 m, on mountains with a rainfall of over 1,000 millimetres. It grows in pure stands, or occasionally with Juniperus oxycedrus, usually at higher elevations, while at lower elevations can be found in association with Fagus orientalis, Quercus spp, Castanea sativa and Pinus nigra. The Greek fir grows on soils derived from a variety of parent materials such as limestone, dolomites, shale, serpentine, sandstone, mica-schist and argillic-schist with pH ranging from 5 to 8.
Distribution: It is native to the mountains of Greece, primarily in the Peloponnesos and the island of Kefallonia.
Threats: Abies cephalonica has a widespread distribution and is abundant where it occurs. Historically it has been subject to human pressures for thousands of years, the impacts of which are visible in the condition of some of Greek fir forests today. Grazing, woodcutting, agriculture, hunting and fires are the main factors causing the degradation of natural ecosystems and including drought-related extreme periods, infestation of mistletoe, pathogens or insects.
The greatest current-day threat is from fire to which the species is not adapted and in recent years several fires have destroyed important stands. For example, in 2007 the fire in the Mt. Parnitha National Park caused the loss of 2,080 ha and the loss of 4,500 ha in Mount Taygetos. The firs at this location also show signs of stress and dieback which is thought to be caused by air pollution. In 2000 the first of Greece's 'megafires' destroyed a large area of A. cephalonica on Mt. Mainalon which contained one of the most extensive and developed forest of the the Greek Fir. Post-fire observations of these forest fires has noted little or no regeneration of A. cephalonica.
Wikipedia, Abies cephalonica
Gardner M. & Knees S., 2016. Abies cephalonica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016.