Whitebark pines are in trouble. That means our water supply is, too

By K.C. Mehaffey, Columbia Insight
The Columbian
April 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Diana Tomback

Dorena Genetic Resource Center near Cottage Grove, Ore., scientists are collecting whitebark pine cones, growing seedlings, examining them for resilience to disease and then gathering cones from the strongest survivors. Those select seeds are then used to grow hundreds of thousands of baby trees in nurseries and plant them across the West. …Whitebark pine trees …stretches across 80 million acres in seven western states and two Canadian provinces. Now, one of the West’s few tree species able to survive on cold, windy ridgetops and steep slopes at alpine and subalpine elevations is in serious trouble. A blister rust, a nonnative fungus has become an existential threat to the pines, says Diana Tomback, one of the foremost researchers of the unique relationship between whitebark pines and Clark’s nutcracker. …Tomback says work on the National Whitebark Pine Restoration Plan started in 2016 — six years before the tree was listed as threatened.

Read More