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    Description

    Limber pine, designated by Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) as a Species of Management Concern, is a keystone species that maintains ecosystem structure, function, and biodiversity. Limber pine is declining in the park due to the interacting effects of recent severe droughts and the climate-exasperated mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak, and is threatened by the invasion of the non-native pathogen (Cronartium ribicola) that causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust (WPBR). White pine blister rust was confirmed in the park in 2010 (Schoettle et al. 2011; Schoettle et al. 2018b) and several new infections were discovered in this area during the fall of 2017 (Burns 2018). The disease is expected to spread and intensify, thereby causing mortality and negative impacts to biodiversity, ecosystem processes, and park resources in a changing climate. These same stressors are causing widespread mortality throughout much of limber pine’s range and basal area losses are projected to exceed 40% over the next 15 years (Cleaver et al. 2015, Kearns and Jacobi 2007, Krist et al. 2014). Loss of this keystone species will ultimately lead to cascading ecological impacts and loss of biodiversity in RMNP.

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    Citation

    Cleaver, Christy M.; Burns, Kelly S.; Schoettle, Anna W. 2017. Limber Pine and White Pine Blister Rust Monitoring and Assessment Guide for Rocky Mountain National Park. Final Report prepared by Rocky Mountain Research Station for Rocky Mountain National Park. Inter-Agency Agreement 15-IA-11221633-157. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 28p.

    Keywords

    limber pine, white pine blister rust (WPBR), mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, Cronartium ribicola, Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/56244