Wyoming Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region

Federally Listed, Proposed & Candidate Species | Species of Concern | Migratory Birds | All Species By County

 

 

Federally Listed, Proposed and Candidate Species

 

Whitebark Pine
(Pinus albicaulis)

Status: Candidate

Whitebark PinePhoto Credit: USFS - Richard Sniezko

 

Whitebark Pine Section 7 Range

Section 7 Range Symbol

Wyoming Section 7 Range
Whitebark Pine

Potential Distribution in Wyoming

For Species Lists, please use the IPaC System

Section 7 Range

Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Federal agencies, or project proponents whose actions have a Federal nexus (e.g., Federal funding, permit, or lease), must consult with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service if their actions “may affect” listed species (endangered, threatened, proposed, candidate) or their habitat.  Section 7 species ranges identify those areas on the landscape where agencies or proponents should consider potential effects, both direct and indirect, to the species and their habitat.  These Section 7 species ranges typically encompass larger areas than specific locations where listed species are known to occur.  Project proponents are encouraged to refer to the Service’s Information, Planning, and Conservation System (IPAC) website at http://ecos.fws.gov/ipac/ or to contact the FWS Wyoming Ecological Services Office for additional information http://www.fws.gov/wyominges/ :307-772-2374.  (Section 7 Range boundaries based on the best available data at time of development.  Section 7 Ranges will be updated as new information becomes available.)

Download Section 7 Range GIS Data or Section 7 Range Google Earth layers

 

Species Information

Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a candidate for listing under the ESA (76 FR 42631; July 19, 2011).  In Wyoming, whitebark pine usually occurs above 8000 feet on cold and windy subalpine to alpine sites.  Whitebark pineis a five-needle pine that is typically 16 to 66 feet tall with a rounded or irregularly spreading crown shape.  When located in relatively dense stands of conifers, whitebark pinestend to grow as tall, single-stemmed trees.  In open, more exposed sites, trees frequently have multiple stems.  Above tree line, the species grows in a krummholz form (stunted, shrub-like growth).  Dark brown to purple seed cones grow at the outer ends of upper branches and are 2 to 3 inches long.  The scales of the cones are thick and do not open on their own.  Whitebark pine is almost exclusively dependent upon Clark’s nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), a bird in the family Corvidae (whose members include ravens, crows, and jays), to open its cones and disperse the seeds.

The presence of whitebark pine promotes increased biodiversity and contributes to critical ecosystem functions.  Whitebark pine is frequently the first conifer to establish after disturbances such as wildfires.  Snow drifts form around whitebark pine trees, thereby increasing soil moisture, modifying soil temperatures, and holding soil moisture longer.  The shade from whitebark pine trees slows the progression of snowmelt, reducing spring flooding at lower elevations.  Whitebark pine also provides highly nutritious seeds for numerous species of birds and mammals.

Major threats to whitebark pine include mortality from disease caused by the nonnative white pine blister rust, predation by the native mountain pine beetle, climate change, habitat loss from past and ongoing fire suppression activities, and the combined negative effects of these individual threats.

Additional Information and Recent Actions

Last updated: March 21, 2014