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Pinus halepensis
Aleppo pine

Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis) is a fast-growing conifer often associated with the Brutia pine (Pinus brutia), and mainly found in the coastal areas of the western Mediterranean region. It is the most important forest species in North Africa, and is of great ecological significance in southern France and Italy. Due to its irregular shape and poor wood quality, the species is not particularly useful in the forestry industry; however, it is used in the pulp and paper industry, as well as for firewood.

Within its distribution area, the tree also provides certain ecosystem services, such as improving water infiltration, preventing soil erosion on dry slopes and serving as a windbreak. For these reasons, the tree has been key to several afforestation programmes.

The Aleppo pine grows on all substrates and within most bioclimates of the Mediterranean region. It is a drought-resistant species, growing well in hot areas exposed to frequent forest fires. In such locations, the tree is mainly scattered in lower altitudes, though it also grows in mountainous areas.

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Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use

Pinus halepensis and Pinus brutia - Technical guidelines for genetic conservation and use for Aleppo and Brutia pine

Publication Year: 2003
Author: Fady, B.; Semerci, H.; Vendramin, G.G.

Current conservation measures undertaken at national levels most commonly include in situ gene conservation networks specifically designed for the target species (e.g. in Turkey, 52 P. brutia conservation units) and forest reserves or national parks which include the target species. Ex situ measures include clonal archives, cold storage seed banks and DNA banks.

To increase the efficiency of in situ genetic resource conservation, a concerted management effort should be carried out range-wide. Although transfer of seed material is often legally possible, it should be avoided across zones and countries with different ecological requirements, notably because of cold, drought and insect damage risks.

Locally, some populations require specific attention and appropriate forestry practice.

Marginal populations.
As populations at high altitudes, in desert margins and mixed forests may contain valuable genes (resistance to drought, cold, pests) for adaptation under global warming, efforts such as gene reserves should be made to conserve them.

Population under recurrent forest fires. Because they are adapted to forest fires, both pines usually regenerate well after fire, using the seed bank released from serotinous cones. If regeneration happens to be poor in the first 2 years after fire, and if only a few isolated seed trees remain in the burnt area, artificial regeneration should be used to counteract the risk of genetic erosion in the juveniles. In this case, seed lots collected from large genepools should be used (e.g. at least 30 trees per population from at least three populations from a single seed zone).

Populations where hybridization may occur. Planting Aleppo pine where Brutia pine is present should be avoided in areas where frost and potential pest damage are limiting factors, or strictly monitored in areas where drought is the limiting factor. Owing to the anisotropy of between-species gene flow, the impact should be reduced when planting Brutia pine in the vicinity of Aleppo pine forests.


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