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Special edition journal provides new perspectives and guidance for managing white pine blister rust
Date:9/1/2010

or grubbing out Ribes bushes from farms and forests. Although Ribes eradication reduced losses in some stands and provided needed employment during the Depression, the practice was unreliable, expensive, and could be environmentally damaging. Continued research discussed in the special issue has led to silvicultural and genetic practices that are used today and could be adapted for managing future populations of white pines for their economic and ecological values.

The western white pine is an evergreen tree capable of rapid growth to great size with desirable wood properties. This pine and the similar sugar pine were once important timber trees, but logging, other disturbances, and loss of regeneration led to a marked decline in supply.

The release of the publication compiled by Shaw and Geils coincides with the centennial of the introduction of the pathogen to Western North America as well as the Great Fire of 1910, often called the largest fire in American history. This fire burned over 3 million forest acres in northern Idaho and western Montana and killed 86 people. The area it burned was about the size of the state of Connecticut and the forests were said to be so dense that a person had to cut a way through. Also consumed in this fire were acres and acres of western white pine. After the destruction, the white pine readily regenerated, along with the Ribes which set up a perfect condition for the newly introduced Cronartium ribicola to kill millions of young pines.

In higher elevations of the mountainous West where white bark pine grows, white pine blister rust and bark beetles have so devastated some populations that the Department of the Interior is now reviewing a petition to list the species as threatened or endangered. This special issue of Forest Pathology contains considerable scientific information that may be of significant value as the agency evaluates the status of this tree species.

Shaw, Geils and their colleag
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Contact: Sherri Richardson Dodge
srichardsondodge@fs.fed.us
503-808-2137
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Source:Eurekalert

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