Restoring Whitebark Pine Ecosystems in the Face of Climate Change
Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests have been declining throughout their range in western North America from the combined effects of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreaks, fire exclusion policies, and the exotic disease white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola).
Projected warming and drying trends in climate may exacerbate this decline; however, whitebark pine has a wide climatic tolerance because of its broad distribution coupled with high genetic diversity. A rangewide whitebark pine restoration strategy was developed recently to inform restoration efforts for whitebark pine across Federal, State, and Provincial land management agencies. This strategy, however, did not address the effects of climate change on existing whitebark pine populations and restoration efforts. In this report, we present guidelines for restoring whitebark pine under future climates using the rangewide restoration strategy structure.
The information to create the guidelines came from two sources: (1) a comprehensive review of the literature and (2) a modeling experiment that simulated various climate change, management, and fire exclusion scenarios.
The general guidelines presented here are to be used with the rangewide strategy to address climate change impacts for planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating fine-scale restoration activities for whitebark pine by public land management agencies.