Seeds from the endangered Whitebark Pine support many species including Clark’s Nutcracker, Red Squirrel, and Grizzly Bears (a species of interest for the FWCP). This tree, found in high-elevation ecosystems, is on the decline due to the combined impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle, fire suppression, climate change, and especially, pine blister rust – an introduced disease that kills Whitebark Pine of all ages.
With funding from FWCP, Keefer Ecological Services Ltd., is in its second year of collecting seeds from rust-resistant Whitebark Pines throughout the St’at’imc Traditional Territory near Lillooet to help re-establish healthy trees in the area. In year one, close to 25,000 seeds were collected from 46 trees. The first of the seedlings, grown at Splitrock Environmental’s native plant nursery, will be planted in 2016.