Abies spectabilis (D.Don) Spach

One of the dominant trees in conifer forests distributed from Nepal to Afghanistan. Despite this, ongoing logging and deforestation have resulted in an assessment of Near Threatened.

Associated Names:

wang shin (Arunachal Pradesh)


This species is found in Afghanistan (Hindu Kush), Pakistan (Karakoram Range), China (W Xizang [Tibet]), India (Kashmir Himalaya) and Nepal (from the Milke Danda ridge westwards).

Habitat and Ecology

Abies spectabilis is the dominant tree in the forests of the central and western Himalaya, especially from c. 3,000 m to 4,050 m, with occasional occurrences on ridges below this height. It needs cool moist conditions at the roots, thus growing better on north facing slopes and often giving way to grass or shrubs on south facing ones

Human Uses

Abies spectabilis provides a useful timber which is available in large sizes.

Conservation Status

Global status and rationale

(Near Threatened - VUA2(cd))

Abies spectabilis has a wide distribution from East Nepal into eastern Afghanistan and is usually the dominant tree in the stands although it may occur with other conifers or broadleafed trees. The forest has suffered severe depletion, especially at the lower elevations, from logging and deforestation. A population decline of approximately 25% over the past three generation has occurred. This tree is therefore listed as Near Threatened approaching Vulnerable A2.

Global Threats

Logging is the principal threat with declines of up to 30% reported from some areas. The development of toursit infrastructure to support trekking and climbing industries has been, and still is one of the drivers for the decline.

Conservation Actions

It is included in some nature reserves in Nepal and India. Greater regulation of infratructure development is also require and has been initiated in some areas where tourism is increasing (Byers 2014).