Austrocedrus chilensis is a long-lived conifer species capable of living for up to 1,500 years. It has many present-day threats including harmful pathogens, grazing, habitat loss through natural or human-set fires, invasive non-native tree species, establishment of plantation trees and hydroelectric schemes. Even though it has an estimated area of occupancy (AOO) of 1,860 km2 which is within the 2,000 km2 threshold for listing as Vulnerable, for the majority of its global distribution, of which 75% of its AOO occurs in Argentina, there is no net loss of individuals due to good regeneration after disturbance. It has therefore been assessed as Near Threatened as it almost qualifies for listing under criterion B2ab(i,ii,iii,v).
Endemic to Argentina and Chile where it is mainly confined to the Andes.
In Argentina it occurs in the Andes between Prov. Neuquén and Prov. Chubut. It has a scattered natural distribution from 36° 30' and 39° 30'S and more continuously between 39° 30'S and 43° 35'S, along a 60-80 km wide strip (Seibert 1982).
In Chile it occurs in both the Andes and in the Coastal Cordillera. In the Andes it is found in a series of disjunct populations from Region V (Province Los Andes 32° 29'S), to Region X (Province Palena, 34º 38'S) in an altitudinal range of between 250-2,200 m. In the Coastal Cordillera it occurs infrequently in a few scattered locations between Region VIII (Province Arauco 37º 30'S) and Region X (Province Valdivia 40º 20'S) where its altitudinal range is between 100-500 m (Hechenleitner et al. 2005).
It has an estimated total area of occupancy (AOO) of 1,860 km2 (Chile is 449 km2 (Catastro dataset, 1999)); Argentina 1,411 km2 (Rusch et al. 2002).
Towards the western end of the range of Austrocedrus in Argentina, particularly in peri-urban areas there has been decrease over in the past 50-60 years due to illegal cutting. However, in the east of its range, towards the steppe vegetation, there has been a noticeable expansion in its range and this trend represents an overall net gain for Austrocedrus in Argentina. In contrast, in Chile there is a net loss (Le Quesne pers. comm.).