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Monitoring limber pine health in the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota

Informally Refereed
Authors: Kelly Burns, Jim Blodgett, Marcus Jackson, Brian Howell, William Jacobi, Anna Schoettle, Anne Marie Casper, Jennifer Klutsch
Year: 2012
Type: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: In: Potter, Kevin M.; Conkling, Barbara L., eds. 2012. Forest health monitoring: 2009 national technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-167. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 233-240.

Abstract

Limber pine (Pinus flexilis James) is an ecologically and culturally important, yet little studied, tree species within the Western United States. Its distribution extends from Alberta and southeastern British Colombia to New Mexico, Arizona, and southeastern California with isolated populations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, eastern Oregon, and southwestern California (Burns and Honkala 1990). Limber pine has a very wide elevational distribution as well, ranging from 2,850 feet in North Dakota to 12,500 feet in Colorado (Burns and Honkala 1990). Limber pines serve many important ecological functions such as providing food for wildlife, stabilizing slopes, regulating snow retention and runoff, and maintaining cover on harsh, rugged sites where little else can grow (Schoettle 2004). They are some of the oldest and largest pines in the Rocky Mountains and are especially valued because of their unique cultural and ecological characteristics. However, recent reports suggest that they are experiencing significant ecological impacts as the result of the exotic invasive disease white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J. C. Fisch. ex Rabenh.) and other damaging agents (Blodgett and others 2005, Kearns and Jacobi 2007). Information on the status of limber pines and the long-term ecological impacts of this disease is needed to facilitate management and restoration efforts. The objectives of this study were to (1) assess the current ecological impacts of white pine blister rust on limber pine within white pine blister rust-infested and threatened areas of the Rocky Mountains and a small outlying population in North Dakota, (2) establish plots for future re-measurement to assess long-term and cumulative ecological impacts, and (3) gather baseline information needed to sustain, protect, and restore impacted stands.

Parent Publication

Citation

Burns, Kelly; Blodgett, Jim; Jackson, Marcus; Howell, Brian; Jacobi, William; Schoettle, Anna; Casper, Anne Marie; Klutsch, Jennifer. 2012. Monitoring limber pine health in the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota. In: Potter, Kevin M.; Conkling, Barbara L., eds. 2012. Forest health monitoring: 2009 national technical report. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-167. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 233-240.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/treesearch/43397