Whitebark Pine Surveys

Unbelievable, but this is actually happening to the northern part of the Yellowstone Ecosystem also and it will impact both bear species in Yellowstone, Clark’s Nutcrackers, red squirrels and other species. Global climate change at it’s worst as far as I am concerned.

Matt

CHEYENNE — A beetle epidemic that’s killing trees across the Rocky Mountain region has taken an especially heavy toll on whitebark pine trees in the Yellowstone ecosystem, according to preliminary findings of a recent aerial survey.

The six weeks of flights this summer covered 2.5 million acres of whitebark forests in 21 mountain ranges in the 22-million-acre Yellowstone ecosystem. The survey involved the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service and the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council.

Up to now, aerial surveys conducted by the Forest Service have focused primarily on documenting beetle damage among the lower-elevation species.

We knew the impact was huge. But we really didn’t have a good feel of the true extent,” said Jesse Logan, a retired forest service beetle expert who helped coordinate the survey.

Beetles have all but wiped out some whitebark forests, including along the east side of Yellowstone National Park, researchers said.

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