Widely distributed in the Himalaya region and adjoining China where widespread logging has much depleted the population
China: S Gansu, NW Hubei, S Shaanxi, W Sichuan, NW Yunnan, SE Xizang [Tibet]; NE India: Arunachal Pradesh (Assam Himalaya); N Myanmar [Burma]; Bhutan (?).
Habitat and Ecology
Picea brachytyla is a high mountain species, occurring between 1300 and 3800 metres above sea-level. The soils are grey brown mountain podzols. The climate is cold and wet, with annual precipitation from 1000 mm (N) to more than 2500 mm (S), where the monsoon influence is stronger. It is a constituent of the montane coniferous forest of the eastern parts of the Himalaya and the mountains of the SW Plateau of China (Wang, 1961), with Abies densa, A. forrestii, Picea likiangensis, Pinus wallichiana, Tsuga dumosa and Larix potaninii as major species. Taxus wallichiana is commonly found as an understorey tree in the Himalayan part of its range.
Based on the assessment of its varieties (var. brachytyla and var. complanata), the species as a whole is considered Vulnerable due to extensive past (at least in some parts of its range) exploitation resulting in a population reduction of more than 30% over the past 90 years (three generations).
Extensive logging in much of its range has reduced the area of occupancy of this species substantially, especially in China. The situation in other parts of its range is uncertain.
The Government of China has recently imposed a ban on logging in western China.