Recovery after fire
Many ecologically important high elevation five-needle white pine (HEFNP) forests that historically dominated upper subalpine landscapes of western North America are now being impacted by mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus spp.) outbreaks, the exotic disease white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), and altered fire regimes. And more recently, predicted changes in climate may reduce HEFNP habitat and exacerbate adverse impacts of fire, beetles and rust. Management intervention using specially designed tactics implemented at multiple scales (range-wide, landscape, stand, and tree levels) are needed to conserve these keystone tree species. A goal of this intervention is to promote self-sustaining HEFNP ecosystems that have both resilience to disturbances and genetic resistance to white pine blister rust in the face of climate change. Many tools and methods are available for land managers, and in this paper, we summarize possible multi-scaled actions that might be taken as steps toward restoration of these valuable HEFNP forests. Long-term programs, such as inventory, mapping, planning, seed collection, seedling production, education, and research provide the materials for effective restoration at finer scales. Stand- and landscape-level passive and active treatments, such as silvicultural cuttings and prescribed fires in both healthy and declining forests, are described in detail and grouped by objectives, methods, and tactics. And last, there are critical pro-active tree-level actions of planting and protection that may be used alone or together to enhance success of other restoration actions. Administrative, policy, legislative, and societal barriers to implementation of an effective restoration effort are also discussed.