Each of the high elevation white pines has unique characteristics and ecologies. In some cases, even the most basic ecological information has not been quantified for these species throughout their ranges.
Generally speaking, the high elevation white pines are long - lived species that regenerate well after fires. They are among the only trees adapted to the arid and inhospitable environment that exists near mountain tops and on exposed ridges. On some sites, they are the only tree species that will grow. On less harsh sites, the high elevation white pines are the first trees to become established after disturbance and break the wind pioneering the way for other tree species to grow.
Many animals depend on these trees for food and shelter. For example, seeds of whitebark and limber pine are critical food source for the Clark 's nutcracker, pine squirrels, black bears, and grizzly bears as well as other animals.