DENVER - The whitebark pine has been listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has found significant threats that will challenge the tree found throughout the West, including in Montana.
Providing Endangered Species Act protections to whitebark pine will boost new and ongoing research efforts to conserve the species. The protections for whitebark pine also make it illegal to remove, possess, or damage the tree on federal lands.
“As a keystone species of the West, extending ESA protections to whitebark pine is critical to not only the tree itself, but also the numerous plants, animals, and watersheds that it supports,” said Service Regional Director Matt Hogan. “The Service now looks forward to continuing engagement with the many whitebark pine conservation partners during the recovery planning process to ensure this species continues to endure for future generations.”
A news release calls the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Forestry Department a partner in the effort.
“The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ of Montana commend and honor the USFWS decision listing Whitenbark pine as a threatened species, said the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Forestry Department. “Native Americans continue to be stewards of the land and understand the need for balanced ecosystems. CS&KT does this by utilizing our traditional ecological knowledge taught from story and songs and applying it to western science techniques. Whitebark pine is not only a keystone species for this balance, but it is also part of our first foods and culture. CS&KT supports the listing Whitebark pine to help insure the protection and restoration of the land and of our culture.”
To learn more about the whitebark pine, please visit the species profile page, additional questions and answers about the listing of this species can be found on our website: Q&As: Whitebark pine listing as Threatened.