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Native to the Atlas mountains of Algeria and Morocco and also used as a plantation species for forest restoration in southern France.
No provenance testing has been carried out and there are few forest plots, so seed should be sourced from the native range or from French stands.
The species appears to be hardy to at least -20°C in Britain, but growth and survival is poor in high rainfall areas, so planting should be confined to warmer areas with <1500 mm rainfall. It grows best on soils of poor to medium nutrient status and of dry to fresh soil moisture. It is not suited to peats or other wet soils but it will grow on alkaline soils. It does not withstand exposure but is not sensitive to late frost, and it is capable of withstanding periods of drought.
Suffers from a similar range of diseases to Lawson cypress and Leyland cypress. These include cypress canker Seirium cardinale) as well as Cypress aphid (Cinara cupressivora). Root rot and even mortality caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi is also reported, but mainly in nurseries.
This is a species which could increase in importance with climate change particularly on drier sites in southern and eastern Britain.
Atlas cedar is categorised as a Plot-stage species. These are species that have not been planted on any significant scale but have demonstrated silvicultural characteristics in trial plots and have qualities suitable for forestry objectives to justify further testing and development.
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