Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a high-elevation tree of the northern Rocky Mountains, where it grows in nearly homogeneous stands on harsh, dry terrain but is more often found with other conifers in moister, more protected sites. It reduces erosion, acts as a nurse plant for other subalpine species, and produces seeds that are an important food for grizzly bears and other wildlife. However, the whitebark pine is threatened throughout its range by blister rust, an introduced pathogen that increases the trees’ vulnerability to infestation by endemic mountain pine beetles.

Updated 9/2/2010