Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Some of the most vulnerable ecosystems include subalpine forests where growing space declines with elevation and species distributions are defined by distinct climatic gradients and biotic interactions. Climate change is projected to be rapid and heightened in these habitats, highlighting the importance of genetic diversity and adaptive capacity of plant species that occupy them (Millar et al. 2007). The North American high elevation five-needle white pines (Fig. 1) define the forest-alpine ecotone in many mountain systems and provide watershed protection and wildlife habitat. They are also being challenged be an invasive fungal pathogen, Cronartium ribicola, that was introduced to North America in the early 1900s and causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust (WPBR) on five-needle white pines (subgenus Strobus; Fig. 2). All the high elevation five-needle white pines of North America are susceptible to C. ribicola. The disease spread rapidly through host ranges in the moist forests of the northwest and east and continues to spread, though more slowly, into the drier habitats of the southern Rockies, Great Basin and southwest. WPBR has killed many five-needle white pines in the north although it wasn’t detected in Colorado until the late 1990s, and has yet to be found on trees in Utah or most of Great Basin (Fig. 3). As the pathogen continues to spread, and the disease intensifies, the populations currently less affected may too follow the same trajectory as those to the north if effective management intervention is not pursued.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Schoettle, Anna. 2019. Taking the long view and acting now - prioritizing management of high elevation five-needle pines. Mountain Views (CIRMOUNT). 13(2): 2-7.


    high elevation five-needle pines, Cronartium ribicola, white pine blister rust (WPBR), management

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page