Native mycorrhizal fungi and whitebark pine restoration
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Whitebark pine 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.