Salzmann pine

The Salzmann pine (Pinus nigra Salzmannii) is a subspecies of Austrian pine. Formerly, the Salzmann pines were very common in the Mediterranean Basin; now, they are in decline and in danger of extinction. There are several residual populations in France: the biggest is the forest of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert.

This pine, whose shape is often crooked, grows in a landscape of ruiniform chaos. Its original habitat is in fact composed of rocky areas where the other tree species can’t compete with it in the long run. There the Salzmann pine grows: it is stunted, but it grows and subsists, and is the only tree that can live in this type of environment in the long run. And from this primary habitat, where it has no competition, the Salzmann pine colonizes other “vacant” surrounding lands, where the forest vegetation is missing or scarce.

This conifer may live for up to 500 years. It is an undemanding tree, which requires a minimum amount of water and nutrients: this species is therefore well adapted to the Mediterranean area.

Forêt de pins de Salzmann, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Salzmann pine forest, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Crédit photo: Fritz Geller-Grimm. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_nigra_salzmannii_fg02.jpg

Photo credit: Fritz Geller-Grimm. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pinus_nigra_salzmannii_fg02.jpg