Bulkley Valley Research Centre - Science in the Public Interest

Wetzin’Kwa Whitebark Pine

Project Reference Number: 2016-06

Project Status: Complete

Led by: Sybille Haeussler, PhD, UNBC, Smithers

Funder: Wetzin'Kwa Community Forest Corporation

This project seeks to conserve endangered whitebark pine ecosystems in and adjacent to the Wetzin'Kwa Community Forest through planting of nursery-grown seedlings that will be resistant to an introduced fungus (whitebark pine blister rust). Whitebark pine (Pinusalbicaulis) is a keystone wildlife tree species that was listed as endangered under Canada's Species at Risk Act in 2012. In BC, the tree and most of its associated plant communities are currently blue-listed (considered "threatened"), but under review for red listing ("endangered"). The Wetzin'Kwa Community Forest is located at the northwest limit of the tree's range. Healthy whitebark pine populations in this area enhance the ecological diversity and wildlife habitat value of Bulkley Valley forests and subalpine areas and also allow this species to persist and move north with climate change. In addition to learning how to restore and establish whitebark pine ecosystems using nursery-grown seedlings, it is vital to locate and select genotypes that are resistant to the introduced Eurasian fungus White Pine Blister Rust (Cronartiumribicola). This pathogen is the primary reason why whitebark pine is endangered. Wetzin'Kwa is leading the way with 2500 seedlings already planted or soon-to-be planted.

Related Reports

Publication Date Report Title Authors
June 2017 Restoration of Endangered Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) in the Wezin'Kwa Community Forest and Environs Sybille Haeussler