Two years later, a judge in the Missoula federal court invalidated the decision, ruling that available science contradicted the agency's interpretation that grizzlies could adjust to the impact of climate change on whitebark pine
. Yellowstone grizzlies were back on the threatened species list.
2013, the Forest Service proposed to replant native whitebark pine
"White pine blister rust, a lethal disease accidentally brought to the continent on imported seedlings, has wiped out roughly 50 percent of the whitebark pine
in the Rocky Mountains since its arrival in the early 20th century," reports NRDC.
The highest-elevation forest ecosystems in western North America, whitebark pine
forests are a critical habitat for brown and grizzly bears, and play a vital hydrological role by shading snow and regulating the flow of meltwater.
Unlike lodgepole pine forests, whitebark pine
forests are not expected to recover in most areas after the outbreak ends.
Environmentalists have cited the beetle-caused decimation of the whitebark pine
as putting grizzlies in greater danger of extinction because some bears rely on whitebark pine
"As we lose whitebark pine
, we need to redouble efforts to anticipate and reduce conflicts with people," warns NRDC senior wildlife advocate Louisa Willcox.
Invisible at distance but succulent and nutritious long after lowland vegetation had become coarse and dry, the greenery on this north-facing rock slide was a magnet for big bucks bedding in nearby thickets of Subalpine fir and whitebark pine
(12) The heavy seed crop of the whitebark pine
supports many species, including the Clark's nutcracker which harvests and stores large caches of the seeds, and feeds on them through winter and into the breeding season.
Taylor periodically stops and points out moose, grouse, and elk tracks, or where a bear has clawed the skin off a whitebark pine
. The wild strawberry is a fiendish red; the air, thin and crisp.
Clark's Nutcracker is a lovely bird found in whitebark pine
Mattson's analysis of grizzly numbers from 1975 to 1995 shows that the population may decline during lean years for whitebark pine
seeds, one of the bear's key food sources.