Projected Suitable Habitats for Whitebark Pine

  • Released Friday, December 5th, 2014
  • Updated Tuesday, November 14th, 2023 at 12:26AM
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Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is an important tree species in Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding forests. The pines inhabit cold and harsh high-elevation ecosystems, and produce energy- and protein-rich nuts that are considered to be an important source of food for grizzly bears, birds, and other species in the region. This visualization shows projected changes in suitable habitats in the Beartooth Mountain range (northeast of Yellowstone) for whitebark pine from 2010-2099 using the NASA Earth Exchange Downscaled Climate Projections (NEX-DCP30) model. The results show how the suitable bioclimate habitat area (blue shades) for the important species is expected to shrink by 2099. Average temperatures in the region have already increased by approximately 1 degree Celsius over the past century. In fact, many whitebark pine in the Beartooth range are already exhibiting browning and dying from infestations of mountain pine beetles and blister rust disease. To deal with these issues, the Whitebark Pine Subcommittee of the Greater Yellowstone Coordinating Committee is guiding management efforts across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The U.S. National Park Service is collaborating with scientists from NASA, Montana State University, Woods Hole Research Center, and Colorado State University to inform and support the Subcommittee by conducting analyses based on NASA models.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/U.S. Park Service


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