Restoration of whitebark pine on a burn site utilizing native Ectomycorrhizal suilloid fungi
Jenkins, Martha Lee
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The compilation of threats both natural and anthropogenic and the resulting loss of whitebark pine has led scientists and land managers to actively pursue a strategy for restoration of this keystone species. A range-wide strategy for restoration has been developed by leading managers in the field and focuses on promoting rust resistance, conserving genetic diversity, saving seed sources, and employing restoration treatments (Keane et al. 2012). These strategies are applied across the range of whitebark pine and rely on the collaboration of land managers, scientists, and academics. Seed Source The most promising strategy for restoration of whitebark pine is the out-planting of blister rust resistant seedlings (Keane et al. 2012). Due to the continuous loss of mature cone-bearing whitebark pine, it is necessary to collect seed for blister rust resistance screening, genetic conservation, and out-planting... For the large-scale planting of 36,000 whitebark pine seedlings on the Eureka Basin Burn in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, the first year survival of the 800 seedling subsample was high overall (94%). A method for examining how seedling-level planting variables such as colonization by suilloid ectomycorrhizal fungi, microsite type and position, slope, and potential soil moisture (TWI) affect seedling health and survival was developed and seedlings were monitored 3 and 14 months after planting. Further monitoring will continue to examine how long term seedling success is affected by these variables.