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Rapid Decline of Whitebark Pine in Western Montana: Evidence from 20-Year Remeasurements

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Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), an important producer of food for wildlife, is decreasing in abundance in western Montana due to attacks by the white pine blister rust fungus (Cronartium ribicola), epidemics of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) and successional replacement mainly by subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa). Plots established in 1971 were remeasured in 1991 and 1992 to determine the rate and causes of whitebark pine mortality. Mortality rates averaged 42% over the last 20 yr. indicating a rapid decline in whitebark pine populations of western Montana. This decline is most pronounced in northwestern Montana with the southward extension of heaviest mortality centered along the continental divide and Bitterroot Mountain range. Management treatments such as prescribed fire can serve to maintain whitebark pine in the landscape. West. J. Appl. For. 8(2):44-47.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Intermountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, P.O. Box 8089, Missoula, MT 59807

Publication date: 1993-04-01

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    Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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