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Rapid decline of whitebark pine in western Montana: evidence from 20-year re-measurements

Author(s): Robert E. Keane, Stephen F. Arno
Year Published: 1993
Description:

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), an important producer of food for wildlife, is decreasing in abundance in western Montana due to attacks by the white pine blister rust fungus (Cronartium ribicola), epidemics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and successional replacement mainly by subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa). Plots established in 1971 were remeasured in 1991 and 1992 to determine the rate and causes of whitebark pine mortality. Mortality rates averaged 42% over the last 20 yr. indicating a rapid decline in whitebark pine populations of western Montana. This decline is most pronounced in northwestern Montana with the southward extension of heaviest mortality centered along the continental divide and Bitterroot Mountain range. Management treatments such as prescribed fire can serve to maintain whitebark pine in the landscape. 

Citation: Keane, R.E.; Arno, S.F. 1993. Rapid decline of whitebark pine in western Montana: evidence from 20-year re-measurements. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 8: 44-47.
Topic(s): Fire Ecology, Insects & Disease, Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Fire & Wildlife, Birds, Clark’s Nutcracker, Management Approaches
Ecosystem(s): Alpine forest/krummholz, Subalpine wet spruce-fir forest, Subalpine dry spruce-fir forest
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 12916
Record updated: Mar 20, 2018