Whitebark Pines in Peril at Yellowstone National Park

Whitebark Pines in Peril, Yellowstone National Park, by Larry Eifert 2014
Whitebark Pines in Peril, Yellowstone National Park, by Larry Eifert 2014

Commissioned by the Crater Lake Institute in 2013, this mural of decimated whitebark pine forests in Yellowstone National Park shows the ecosystem that’s being tragically effected by the decline of this keystone tree species.

Whitebark Pines of YellowstoneEarly fall scene with fresh snow on mountain, elk with full rack, aspen leaves yellow.
Species Reason why it’s included
whitebark pine keystone species for this painting. Show dead tree with beetle engravings, blister rust on live tree.
aspen drying and warming climate threatens this species in Yellowstone. Requires summer ground water.
grizzly bear Uses whitebark pine seeds for critical food
yellow-bellied marmot Threatened with habitat change
elk Warming climate = less food in summer
gray wolf Wolves depend on elk
wolverine Denning issues with future lack of snow
NO: gryfalcon Flying – a cold-weather bird
Canadian lynx Threatened species
Uinta chipmunk Prey species for larger carnivores
American marten Easily effected by prey species availability
snowshoe hare Prey species for larger carnivores, depends on snow.
golden-mantled ground squirrel Prey species for larger carnivores
great gray owl Effected by lack of prey, requires cold temps.
boreal owl An owl of the north
golden eagle Requires prey species such as snowshoe hare
Williamson’s sapsucker All listed woodpeckers will temporarily benefit from beetle expansion
Lewis’s woodpecker See above
three-toed woodpecker See above
Clark’s nutcracker Feeds primarily on whitebark pine seeds.
mountain chickadee May temporarily benefit from more insects and tree holes, but few conifer seeds.
White-breasted nuthatch On whitebark
Western wood pewee On aspen
Townsend’s solitare flying
Dusky grouse
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