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A range-wide restoration strategy for whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)

Author(s): Robert E. Keane, Diana F. Tomback, C. A. Aubry, A. D. Bower, Elizabeth M. Campbell, Cathy L. Cripps, M. B. Jenkins, M. F. Mahalovich, Mary Manning, Shawn T. McKinney, Michael P. Murray, Dana L. Perkins, C. A. Ryan, Anna W. Schoettle, Cyndi M. Smith
Year Published: 2012

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), an important component of western high-elevation forests, has been declining in both the United States and Canada since the early Twentieth Century from the combined effects of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks, fire exclusion policies, and the spread of the exotic disease white pine blister rust (caused by the pathogen Cronartium ribicola). The pine is now a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Within the last decade, with major surges of pine beetle and increasing damage and mortality from blister rust, the cumulative whitebark pine losses have altered high-elevation community composition and ecosystem processes in many regions. Whitebark pine is a keystone species because of its various roles in supporting community diversity and a foundation species for its roles in promoting community development and stability. Since more than 90 percent of whitebark pine forests occur on public lands in the United States and Canada, maintaining whitebark pine communities requires a coordinated and trans-boundary effort across Federal and provincial land management agencies to develop a comprehensive strategy for restoration of this declining ecosystem. We outline a range-wide strategy for maintaining whitebark pine populations in high mountain areas based on the most current knowledge of the efficacy of techniques and differences in their application across communities. The strategy is written as a general guide for planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating fine-scale restoration activities for whitebark pine by public land management agencies, and to encourage agency and inter-agency coordination for greater efficiency. The strategy is organized into six scales of implementation, and each scale is described by assessment factors, restoration techniques, management concerns, and examples.

Citation: Keane, Robert E.; Tomback, D.F.; Aubry, C.A.; Bower, A.D.; Campbell, E.M.; Cripps, C.L.; Jenkins, M.B.; Mahalovich, M.F.; Manning, M.; McKinney, S.T.; Murray, M.P.; Perkins, D.L.; Reinhart, D.P.; Ryan, C.; Schoettle, A.W.; Smith, C.M. 2017. A range-wide restoration strategy for whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis). Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-279. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 108 p.
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Management Approaches, Recovery after fire
Ecosystem(s): Alpine forest/krummholz, Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest, Montane wet mixed-conifer forest
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 12690
Record updated: Oct 3, 2019