Whitebark pine survival may require modern technology

Whitebark Pine Closeup, 2016 - W. K. Walker
Whitebark Pine Closeup, 2016 – W. K. Walker

Here’s a very interesting article about the diminishing whitebark pine population . . .

Even the living whitebark pine trees look tragic.

Each living tree points gnarled limbs at 10 dead fellows on this mountain pass in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. They bend and twist the way the wind shrieks along the Continental Divide, implying a mix of pain and defiance. They adapted to grow on the most hostile ground in Montana. But they’re failing.

Diana Six calls them “ghost forests.” At the edge of the tree line, beyond where the Ponderosa pine and spruce and alpine fir can survive, the whitebark pine used to rule. The University of Montana forest entomologist seeks them out on the slopes of Ch-paa-qn Mountain west of Missoula, in the Beaverhead Mountains above the Big Hole Valley, and the high ridges of the Bob Marshall. Her search gets harder every year.

Read more . . .