An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality ofwhitebark pine forests of the mountain areas of the Greater      ...
The Greater Yellowstone   Ecosystem (GYE)
A Foundation SpeciesWatershed – Accumulation and Distribution of Snow, and              Attenuation of Spring Melt
A Keystone Species
Mountain pine beetle is a native insect                                          Photo – Jeff Foote
Their strength lies in their numbers           and their jaws
A Climate Change Issue©Jeff Hicke 2005      • Winters are becoming mild enough that even adult beetles, a freeze      into...
EcoFlight 2007  Resulting in an alarming level of mortality in previously  inhospitable high elevation whitebark pine fore...
Tree Mortality         Assessment                   2009•We developed and used an aerialsurvey method to inventorymountain...
Flight height: 300-600 mLAS Aerial Survey Method                                       above ground elevation  A tool for ...
O -No unusual mountain pine beetle-caused                                                                   2 -Multiple sp...
Small Catchment Mortality Map
Science-Management Partnership                 Whitebark Pine Strategy                Condition Assessment Tool           ...
Whitebark PineCondition Assessment        Tool    Results: High Priority         Protection            Areas•Areas on the ...
Public Engagement      Tree fight.org    A non-profit organization•An Integration of Science,Management & Volunteerism for...
2011 Volunteer Naturalist     Project Wild      (NRDC and TreeFight)Main goal: assess ecologicalimplications using wildlif...
Summary        •95% of the whitebark pine sub-watersheds in the GYE        are impacted by MPB and about 50% are currently...
An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowst...
An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowst...
An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowst...
An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowst...
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An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem [Wally Macfarlane]

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An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Presented by Wally Macfarlane at the "Perth II: Global Change and the World's Mountains" conference in Perth, Scotland in September 2010.

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An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality of whitebark pine forests of mountain areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem [Wally Macfarlane]

  1. 1. An assessment of mountain pine beetle-caused mortality ofwhitebark pine forests of the mountain areas of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem W. W. Macfarlane, J. A. Logan and W.R. Kern Outline: 1. Overview of whitebark pine 2. System Knowledge: Assessment of whitebark pine mortality (LAS) 3. Target Knowledge: Restoration/preservation strategy (Condition Assessment) 4. Information Knowledge: Public Engagement: TreeFight and NRDC
  2. 2. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE)
  3. 3. A Foundation SpeciesWatershed – Accumulation and Distribution of Snow, and Attenuation of Spring Melt
  4. 4. A Keystone Species
  5. 5. Mountain pine beetle is a native insect Photo – Jeff Foote
  6. 6. Their strength lies in their numbers and their jaws
  7. 7. A Climate Change Issue©Jeff Hicke 2005 • Winters are becoming mild enough that even adult beetles, a freeze intolerant stage, are surviving => Spring re-emergence of parent adults. •Brood produced by re-emerged adults may experience enough thermal energy to complete the life cycle within the same year of attack.© Jesse A. Logan 2009 • Due to reduced chemical defenses (vs. lodgepole pine), these surviving 1999 beetles, at even relatively low densities, are able to kill whitebark pine trees. •The combination of a warming climate and the vulnerability of whitebark pine to attacking beetles has resulted in a shift from non-overlapping, semivoltine (life cycle requiring two years to complete) generations to overlapping, bi-modal, univoltine (life cycle completed in a single year). •Resulting in unprecedented levels of outbreaks both in intensity and spatial distribution (i.e., high-elevation systems).
  8. 8. EcoFlight 2007 Resulting in an alarming level of mortality in previously inhospitable high elevation whitebark pine forests
  9. 9. Tree Mortality Assessment 2009•We developed and used an aerialsurvey method to inventorymountain pine beetle-relatedmortality in whitebark pine, acrossthe entire GYE.Landscape Assessment System (LAS) A collaboration between USDA Forest Service, GYCC Whitebark Subcommittee , Geo-Graphics and NRDC.
  10. 10. Flight height: 300-600 mLAS Aerial Survey Method above ground elevation A tool for mapping the extent and intensity of MPB-related mortality in WBPGYE Study Area and 2009 LAS Flightlines:•Flightlines consisted of 8,673 km•Photos were taken at the smallcatchment level (a10th of a sub-watershed)•A total of 4,653 photos in 2,595 small catchments were captured
  11. 11. O -No unusual mountain pine beetle-caused 2 -Multiple spots of red and gray treesmortality (refers to landscapes that may contain the 1 -Occasional spots of on the landscapeoccasional red tree but there is no evidence of mortality red trees on the landscapeexpanding to neighboring trees) LAS Mountain Pine Beetle-related Mortality Categories 3 –Coalescing spots of red and gray 4– “Sea -of -Red” where approximately 95% + 5-6 -Post outbreak forest mortality trees across the landscape. of the visible forest is dead ratings (gray forest)
  12. 12. Small Catchment Mortality Map
  13. 13. Science-Management Partnership Whitebark Pine Strategy Condition Assessment Tool GYCC Whitebark Pine SubcommitteeAssign an ecologically-based ranking for each whitebark pine stand in the GYEModel variables include – 1. Stand Type (Dominant versus Mixed) 2. Relative Canopy Cover (Open, Moderate or Closed) 3. LAS MPB-Caused Mortality RatingEach stand given a numeric value for preservation & restoration and applied to a map
  14. 14. Whitebark PineCondition Assessment Tool Results: High Priority Protection Areas•Areas on the map are the standswith the highest numeric rating forProtection with good access•The management strategy was totest the effectiveness of verbenone–An anti-aggregation pheromone
  15. 15. Public Engagement Tree fight.org A non-profit organization•An Integration of Science,Management & Volunteerism forWhitebark Pine Conservation•Summer 2010 involved over100 volunteers in the study ofusing verbenone to attempt toprotect high priority whitebarkpine stands.
  16. 16. 2011 Volunteer Naturalist Project Wild (NRDC and TreeFight)Main goal: assess ecologicalimplications using wildliferesponses to ongoingwhitebark mortality •At what level of whitebark mortality does a forest stop performing certain ecological functions? •This will help managers focus protection and restoration efforts in areas most likely to maintain/ regain ecological function
  17. 17. Summary •95% of the whitebark pine sub-watersheds in the GYE are impacted by MPB and about 50% are currently highly impacted by this on-going outbreak •Using this mortality information resource managers have identified priority areas for preservation and restoration •Using the web, Utube videos and social media we have drawn people to the plight of the whitebark pine – people are getting out into this forests and learn about them •Future research will use volunteer naturalist to inventory the wildlife responses to the decline of whitebark pine.Acknowledgments: USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Defense Council
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