Five Needle Pine Forests

Five needle pine forests anchor high mountain snowpacks an important function in face of climate change. These forests provide shade for high mountain snowpack, reducing erosion, which helps to regulate downstream flows.

Limber pine and whitebark pine provide food for at least 13 species of birds, 8 species of small animals and 3 large mammals including grizzly bear. Whitebark pine is listed as endangered under the Canada Species at Risk Act and is a candidate species for listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. Limber pine is currently being evaluated for listing in Canada and is considered endangered in the province of Alberta.

Whitebark pine and limber pine forests in the Crown have significantly declined due to the stresses of native pine beetle epidemics and the exclusion of fire from these forests. Both species are threatened by white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle and climate change, which produces drought stress and mortality and alters pine distribution.

The CMP, in collaboration with non-governmental organization partners will focus on the implementation of several shared priorities related to restoring whitebark and limber pine forests in the Crown:

  • Identify existing distribution and status of whitebark and limber pine forests and identify climate-smart strategies that can most effectively recover these species in an era of rapid climate change;

  • Advance solutions that overcome barriers to restoration, including issues to limited supplies of five needle pine seedlings for planting, human development impacts, limited public awareness and support for the level of restoration required; and

  • Increase the pace and scale of restoration by identifying high priority areas for restoration in the Crown.