Bridger-Teton maps Whitebark Pines
by Bridger-Teton National Forest
June 1, 2009
The Bridger-Teton National Forest will fund specialized flights this summer for the purpose of gathering significant information about whitebark pine trees. The cones of the whitebark pines provide a critical food source for the grizzly bear population. The information from these flights will provide Forest specialists and other agencies with much needed information to maintain the whitebark pine populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
On May 19, 2009 the Bridger-Teton attended an evening presentation hosted by the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Natural Defense Council and Teton Science Schools that in part discussed the decline of the whitebark pines and the effect that tree mortality is having on the ecosystem as a whole. The Forest had been looking for ways to fill in the information gaps that researchers had across the Greater Yellowstone Area in regards to whitebark pine. The Bridger-Teton successfully applied for Forest Health Protection money through State and Private Forestry and was awarded funding last week that the Forest will use to fund flights over the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem to classify, photograph and map whitebark pine mortality. The funding amounts to $150,000 and the flights will begin in June and conclude in August, 2009.
Agencies in the Greater Yellowstone Area need the information from these flights in order to complete the Whitebark Pine Strategy for the ecosystem. The Strategy will focus on the restoration, conservation and protection of whitebark pine trees in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The draft Strategy document is expected to be released in September, 2009.