In the Rockies, [whitebark] Pines Die and Bears Feel It

Here is a good article on the dieoff of whitebark pine and grizzly bears.

In the Rockies, Pines Die and Bears Feel It. New York Times. By Charles Petit.






  1. kt Avatar

    Well, beyond bears … this massive whitebark pine die-off has implications for the Great Basin, including its avian species.

    Birds that rely on pine seeds, like the wonderful Clark’s butcracker, are likely to become increasingly dependent on Nevada’s pinyon pine. Unfortunately,federal agencies like Elko and Ely BLM, and some Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest are intent on destroying mature and old growth pinyon in order to:

    1) Get their hands on fire funds to burn, cut, chain, and feed the big off-season fire bureaucracy they have built and potentially “biomass” plants;

    2) Kill trees in hopes of growing more grass for already greatly subsidized public lands cattle and sheep.

    And even worse, the quid pro quo White Pine wilderness bill tacked on as a rider to what I recall was the last piece of legislation in 2006 by Harry Reid and John Ensign enables a rancher collaborative group, the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, to accelerate killing these increasingly precious native pines. This is all part of an Orwellian-named initiative, “The Great Basin Restoration Initiative”. Haven’t we learned by now that any Bush-era “initiative” = environmental devastation???

  2. RY Avatar

    Unfortunately, we don’t completely understand fire dynamics in the great basin. Pinyon/Juniper forests have been encroaching on sagebrush habitat and we’re trying to figure out how to manage these forests. Loss of sagebrush has been a huge issue. Fire certainly plays a role in these ecosystem, but extent and intervals is not completely understood. See for more info.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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