Iconic Alberta tree needs some help from cattle producers

Alberta Farmer Express
December 29, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada West

Cattle producers in foothill country in southwestern Alberta are being asked to look out for — and help protect — the iconic but endangered limber pine. “The rugged, twisted trees usually grow on dry, rocky ridges and are thought to be some of the oldest trees in Canada,” the Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada said in a release. “They grow very slowly, taking about 50 years to begin reproducing. Sadly, we are at risk of losing two-thirds of all limber pine trees in the next 100 years, including nearly 90 per cent of healthy limber pines here in Alberta.” The organization says white pine blister rust is the greatest threat, which is caused by a fungus, and is “fatal to all except rare naturally resistant trees.” Mountain pine beetles have also taken their toll, as have fire suppression measures that have caused fuel loads to build up and produce more intense wildfires that kill trees “that might have survived light surface fires.”

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