Monitoring five-needle pine on Bureau of Land Management lands in Wyoming summary report for 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

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Abstract

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) grows at high elevations and in subalpine communities in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountains. Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) occurs in western North America across a broad elevational gradient from the Canadian Rocky Mountains into parts of New Mexico and Arizona and from southern California eastward to the few, isolated populations existing on the western boundary of the Dakotas and Nebraska (Steele 1990, Schoettle and Rochelle 2000). Both of these five-needle pine species play a variety of ecological roles and are considered key components in the their environments. Currently, whitebark pine and limber pine are being impacted by multiple ecological disturbances. White pine blister rust, caused by the introduced fungus Cronartium ribicola, mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae), dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium spp.), wildfires, and drought all pose significant threats to the persistence of healthy five-needle populations. An effort was initiated in 2013 by the National Park Service and the Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (WYBLM) to evaluate and monitor the long-term health trajectory of five-needle pines on WYBLM lands within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). With guidance from the Interagency Whitebark Pine Monitoring Program protocol, and employing a rapid assessment survey technique specifically designed for this endeavor, we monitored whitebark pine trees in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017. We estimated the proportion of live, five-needle pine trees (>1.4 m tall) infected with white pine blister rust, documented blister rust infection severity by the occurrence and location of persisting and new infections, determined mortality of five-needle pine trees and described potential factors contributing to the death of trees, and assessed the multiple components of recruitment of understory five-needle pine into the reproductive population. White pine blister rust was widespread throughout WYBLM lands within the GYE. Using a combined ratio estimator we found that the proportion of live, >1.4 m tall five-needle pine trees infected with white pine blister rust was 0.156 (±0.054 SE; this estimate combines all surveyed trees). Bole cankers were 25% more prevalent than branch cankers in all five-needle pines observed. Mortality of surveyed trees on WYBLM lands was predominantly attributed to mountain pine beetle. For seedlings and saplings, a total of 4003 live, ≤1.4 m tall five-needle pines were documented. Cones or cone scars were recorded on 745 of the live trees. Of these reproducing trees, 44 were recorded with white pine blister rust infection. Long-term monitoring on five-needle pines on WYBLM lands will continue into the future.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title Monitoring five-needle pine on Bureau of Land Management lands in Wyoming summary report for 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher National Park Service
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 102 p.
Country United States
State Wyoming