Invasive species wreak havoc with natural ecosystems. One of the first invasives that affected forests in the northern Rockies was white pine blister rust. This fungus attacks and kills five-needle or soft pines. Massive efforts took place in the early and mid-twentieth century to suppress this disease by controlling Ribes (gooseberries and currants).
At its peak, over 10,000 workers came from all over the country to be part of the ultimately ineffective effort. Today, more than 120,000 acres of National Forest System lands in the Northern Region have been planted with rust resistant western white pines to aid in landscape restoration.