Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an iconic, five-needle, high-elevation pine whose existence is threatened by an exotic rust, mountain pine beetles, fire suppression, and climate change. Its distribution is limited to western North America and populations have declined 90% in recent decades. Whitebark pine is shade intolerant and depends on wildfire to reset the “successional clock”. Regeneration occurs mainly through germination of un-retrieved seeds planted by Clark’s Nutcrackers on burns following wildfires, however natural regeneration does not always follow wildfires or prescribed burning. Thousands of nursery seedlings are being planted across the landscape to compensate for losses, however survival rates are often low. This webinar will examine the potential use of native ectomycorrhizal fungi to improve seedling survival by describing the methods and results of greenhouse and field studies from Montana.
Dr. Cripps is a Mycologist and Professor at Montana State University where she teaches and does research on fungi. The cold-loving mushrooms that live in Alpine and Arctic habitats are her specialty, and she is involved in whitebark pine restoration using native mycorrhizal fungi to enhance seedling regeneration. She is the author of “The Essential Guide to Rocky Mountain Mushrooms by Habitat”, “Fungi in Forest Ecosystems” and numerous journal articles.
Created by Megan Dettenmaier