With the threats facing forests in the Mountain West, fast and concerted action is required to ensure the improved health and ongoing survival of these high-elevation forests. American Forests is partnering with others to comprehensively protect and restore these endangered western forests.
Nancy Bockino of the U.S. National Park Service climbs a whitebark pine to collect disease-resistant cones.
Goal 1: Create and implement a replicable protection and restoration strategy applicable to other threatened forest ecosystems.
- Restore highly affected areas by:
- Planting more than 100,000 disease-resistant seedlings in prioritized areas.
- Collecting cones and testing them for natural disease resistance so that additional resistant seedlings can be propagated in nurseries.
- Protect existing disease-resistant whitebark pines by:
- Applying pheromone patches (verbenone) to more than 10,000 adult disease-resistant trees to protect them from beetle infestation.
- Protecting and preserving cone-bearing trees at strategic locations across the landscape and ensuring the availability of disease-resistant whitebark pine seeds.
- Foster innovative research to improve management techniques by:
- Create replicable strategies that can be applied to forests across the West by:
- Adapting tested management practices and applying them to at least one other forest community.
- Providing adequate funding, both public and private, for the implementation of both protection and restoration projects in threatened forests.
Goal 2: Educate and raise awareness — locally and nationally — of the loss of high-elevation forests and advocate for the importance of restoring these forests to health.
Emily Stark, a volunteer from Bozeman, Mont., applies a phermone patch to an adult whitebark pine. Credit: Jami Westerhold/American Forests
- Educate and raise awareness of the loss of high-elevation forests by:
- Presenting the importance of whitebark pine and the threats it faces to policymakers, local communities and philanthropic groups, regional forests associations and attendees of national environmental conferences, including the Whitebark Ecosystem Foundation’s annual conference.
- Producing educational videos on western forests and the threats they face.
- Featuring these celebrated landscapes and our restoration and protection strategies in print and social media, including features in our American Forests magazine.
- Engage local citizens to improve understanding and support for implementing restoration efforts in these forests by:
- Promote policies that support healthy forests capable of both resisting and recovering from these threats by:
- Submitting comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requesting that the whitebark pine be listed on the endangered species list.
- Working with national agencies and other nonprofits to change policies that hinder the ability of forests to recover from these threats.