Climatic correlates of white pine blister rust infection in whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Forests
By: , and 

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Abstract

Whitebark pine, a foundation species at tree line in the Western U.S. and Canada, has declined due to native mountain pine beetle epidemics, wildfire, and white pine blister rust. These declines are concerning for the multitude of ecosystem and human benefits provided by this species. Understanding climatic correlates associated with spread is needed to successfully manage impacts from forest pathogens. In the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem since 2000 mountain pine beetles have killed 75 percent of the mature cone-bearing trees, and 40.9 percent of monitored trees have been infected with white pine blister rust. We identified models of white pine blister rust infection that indicate an August and September interaction between relative humidity and temperature were better predictors of white pine blister rust infection in whitebark pine than location and site characteristics in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The climate conditions conducive to white pine blister rust occur throughout the ecosystem, but larger trees in relatively warm and humid conditions were more likely to be infected between 2000 and 2018. We mapped the infection probability over the past two decades to identify coarse-scale patterns of climate conditions conducive to white pine blister rust infection in whitebark pine.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Climatic correlates of white pine blister rust infection in whitebark pine in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
Series title Forests
DOI 10.3390/f10080666
Volume 10
Issue 8
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 16 p.
Country United States
State Wyoming
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park