Fire & Wildlife
Recovery after fire
Whitebark pine (Pinusa albicaulis)s found at timberline and in subalpine forests from central California and western Wyoming north to British Columbia and Alberta. This speciesh as been of little interest for commercial timber, but in recent years its large seeds( average2 ,600/1bh) aveb eenr ecognized as an important food source for black and grizzly bears, squirrels, and Clark's nutcracker (Tomback 1978, Kendall 1983). Several other bird and mammal species feed to a lesser degree on whitebark pine seeds, and various predators probably benefit indirectlyf rom the substantiapl ine seed crop (Forcella and Weaver 1977). In some areas the welfare of the grizzly bear (which has been designated "threatened" south of Canada under the EndangeredS peciesA ct of 1973), appears to be partially dependent on the availability of whitebark pine seedsi n large conec achesm ade by red squirrels. These nutritious seeds become available shortly before the onset of the denning season for black and grizzly bears (Mealey 1980, Kendall 1981). Ironically, attention to this high-mountain conifer has revealed that in many areas whitebark pine cone production appears to be threatened, and cone crop maintenance may require active management.