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New Study: Whitebark Pine Seeds at Risk

June 10, 2013
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Clark's Nutcracker

New insight on seed production patterns in whitebark pines raises new concern for the already-dwindling western trees and the animals that depend on them. The study, published today by HF senior ecologist Elizabeth Crone and post-doctoral fellow Josh Rapp in the Journal of Ecology, details how heavily the trees rely on abundant pollen to produce abundant seeds.

As whitebark pine stands are reduced to smaller and smaller patches by the mountain pine beetle and white pine blister rust, their pollen hits its mark less often, and fewer seeds are produced. This produces a ripple effect down the foodweb: species from mountain birds to the grizzly bear depend on the seeds for food.

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