Restoration and Protection Strategy


American Forests is partnering with the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee’s Whitebark Pine Subcommittee to implement a comprehensive restoration plan in the Greater Yellowstone Area. This committee represents an unprecedented level of interagency coordination involving the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Approximately 770,000 acres — 30 percent of the total whitebark pine acres in the Greater Yellowstone Area — are identified for protection.


The restoration plan includes the following strategies:

Blister rust-resistant whitebark pine seedlings are grown in a nursery.

1. Conservation of Disease Resistance, which involves:

  • Identifying existing trees to determine natural resistance.
  • Collecting cones from disease-resistant trees.
  • Testing to ensure disease resistance.
  • Protecting and preserving cones from existing disease-resistant trees.
  • Growing disease-resistant seedlings in nurseries.

2. Site Preparation and Restoration Projects, which include:

  • Using restoration techniques from the best-available research and science.
  • Creating openings to ensure a viable habitat for whitebark pine, which are shade intolerant.
  • Pruning infected trees to prevent the spread of disease to new, healthy trees.
  • Planting disease-resistant seedlings in targeted areas.

3. Protection Projects,which include:

  • Protecting both new and existing trees.
  • Applying synthetic pheromone to protect trees from beetle predation.
  • Reducing competing species to increase the availability of water and nutrients.
  • Removing excess vegetation to prevent loss of trees to unmanaged fires.

U.S. Forest Service checks planted whitebark pine for damage.

4. Monitoring, which involves

  • Documenting the current and future condition of the whitebark pine population.
  • Evaluating results to improve restoration actions.
  • Determining the efficacy of protection strategies and survival and growth rates.
  • Assessing affected sites to determine the condition of existing trees.

5. Restoration Planning and Implementation, which involves:

  • Evaluating site readiness to prioritize restoration strategies.
  • Continual data collection.
  • Updating maps of whitebark pine distribution and condition.
  • Adapting restoration plans in accordance with the latest and best-available science.

Want a more in-depth description of our restoration efforts?