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Whitebark Pine Restoration and Management

Whitebark pinePopulations of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) are declining throughout most of the species range because of high levels of mortality from the exotic fungal pathogen (Cronartium ribicola) that causes the disease white pine blister rust in five-needle pines, and periodic upsurges of the endemic mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae). The absence of fire in some forests has also led to advanced succession of shade-tolerant species and subsequent reductions in whitebark pine. Finally, increased atmospheric warming and associated effects from altered precipitation patterns further threaten to reduce the geographic distribution of the species.

Precipitous declines in whitebark pine have cascading effects throughout the ecosystem primarily because of the subalpine and treeline positions the species occupies. When forest stands succumb to mortality, few if any other species exist to fill the structural and functional roles of whitebark pine. Notably, whitebark pine presence dampens snow melt, stabilizes soils, provides cover and birthing habitat, and its seeds are highly nutritious and consumed by a wide array of vertebrate species.

For over thirty years researchers and managers have sought to understand whitebark pine ecology, and to devise and implement procedures to reduce population decline and restore these valuable high-elevation ecosystems. The documents presented in this Hot Topic are a collection of the key contributions from this effort.

This hot topic was developed in partnership with the Fire Effects Information System.

Podcasts

Aug 12, 2020 Podcast Episode 3: Whitebark Pine Encroachment
Sarah Flanary, Robert E. Keane

Publications/Reports

2020 A burning paradox: Whitebark is easy to kill but also dependent on fire
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Robert E. Keane et al.
2020 Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) growth and defense in response to mountain pine beetle outbreaks
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Nickolas E. Kichas et al.
2019 Special Issue "Ecology and Restoration of Whitebark Pine"
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
2016 Conservation and management of whitebark pine ecosystems
Synthesis, Technical Report or White Paper
Dana L. Perkins et al.
2015 Fire enhances whitebark pine seedling establishment, survival, and growth
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Judy L. Perkins
2015 Whitebark pine workshop: science, management, and community
Technical Report or White Paper
Corey L. Gucker
2012 A range-wide restoration strategy for whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)
Technical Report or White Paper
Robert E. Keane et al.
2010 Restoring whitebark pine ecosystems in the Northern Rocky Mountains, USA
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Robert E. Keane et al.
2010 Blister rust and western forest biodiversity: ecology, values and outlook for white pines
Book or Chapter or Journal Article, Synthesis
Diana F. Tomback et al.
2009 Tree squirrel habitat selection and predispersal seed predation in a declining subalpine conifer
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Shawn T. McKinney et al.
2007 Whitebark pine diameter growth response to removal of competition
Technical Report or White Paper
Robert E. Keane et al.
2007 The influence of white pine blister rust on seed dispersal in whitebark pine
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Shawn T. McKinney et al.
2006 Whitebark pine in peril: a case for restoration
Technical Report or White Paper
John W. Schwandt
2006 Whitebark pine guidelines for planting prescriptions
Conference Proceedings
Joe H. Scott et al.
2005 Distribution of bark beetle attacks after whitebark pine restoration treatments: a case study
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Kristen M. Waring et al.
2001 Whitebark pine communities: ecology and restoration
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
2000 Comparing historic and modern forests on the Bitterroot Front
Conference Proceedings
Michael G. Hartwell et al.
1996 Whitebark pine ecosystem restoration in western Montana
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Robert E. Keane et al.
1993 Rapid decline of whitebark pine in western Montana: evidence from 20-year re-measurements
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Robert E. Keane et al.
1986 Whitebark pine cone crops - a diminishing source of wildlife food
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Stephen F. Arno
1982 Dispersal of whitebark pine seeds by Clark's nutcracker: A mutualism hypothesis
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
Diana F. Tomback
1982 The central role of Clark's nutcracker in the dispersal and establishment of whitebark pine
Book or Chapter or Journal Article
H.E. Hutchins et al.

Webinars