National Park Service

Greater Yellowstone Network (GRYN)

Whitebark Pine Monitoring

Sampling a whitebark pine stand in the rain
Sampling a whitebark pine stand in the rain.

Resource Briefs

Monitoring Reports

Protocol Documents

Monitoring Data

Related Information

For more information contact: Erin Shanahan


Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a high-elevation tree of the northern Rocky Mountains and in the Pacific Northwest, where it grows in nearly homogeneous stands on harsh, dry terrain but is more often found with other conifers in moister, more protected sites. It reduces erosion, acts as a nurse plant for other subalpine species, and produces seeds that are a high energy food source to birds and mammals. Whitebark pine often grows in locations that are inhospitable to other tree and vegetative species, though once it has populated an area, it creates favorable habitat that enables other species to colonize. By generating these beneficial microenvironments, whitebark pine plays a significant role in forest successional processes and promotes diversity.

Since 2004, the Greater Yellowstone Network has been monitoring whitebark pine as part of the Interagency Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Whitebark Pine Monitoring Program. This effort measures the status and trends of whitebark pine for the NPS, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. Our monitoring focuses on gathering data to understand the white pine blister rust infection rates and severity; survival of whitebark pine taking into account blister rust, mountain pine beetle, wildland fire, and other agents of change; and recruitment of whitebark pine trees to cone-producing trees.

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Last Updated: June 29, 2017 Contact Webmaster