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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Individual Highlight

Whitebark Pine Management Guide Published

Snapshot : Don't expect the Clark's nutcracker, a jay-size bird named for the Lewis and Clark expedition's William Clark, to save the declining whitebark pine. That is the conclusion of Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists after they analyzed results of experimental ecosystem restoration projects at five sites in Idaho and Montana.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Hardy, Colin C.  
Research Location : Idaho and Montana
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 275

Summary

Don't expect the Clark's nutcracker, a jay-size bird named for the Lewis and Clark expedition's William Clark, to save the declining whitebark pine. That is the conclusion of Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists after they analyzed results of experimental ecosystem restoration projects at five sites in Idaho and Montana. Experiments using silviculture and prescribed burning created seed cone caching habitat for the nutcracker. But low cone crops led the bird to cache only small quantities of whitebark pine seed, and the nutcracker retrieved nearly all of the cache, leaving little for tree regeneration. Scientists who had studied the nutcracker in years when caching was plentiful found it did not claim about 40 percent of stored seed, which then became part of the whitebark pine regeneration seed bank. Decline of whitebark across its range in North America is attributed primarily to mountain pine beetle epidemics and white pine blister rust. The decline can negatively affect more than 110 animal species that eat seeds from the cones of whitebark pine. This research, spanning about 15 years, led to recent publication of a whitebark pine-focused management guide for ecosystem restoration.

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Resource Management and Use
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