Status of Whitebark Pine in Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 2000
By thinning competitors and providing burned sites which are cherished by nutcrackers for caching seeds, fires are an endemic process linked to the longterm viability of whitebark pine (Arno 1986; Arno 1980; Murray and others 1997; Tomback and others 1990). Fire is being used as a tool in the Northern Rocky Mountains to restore and sustain populations of whitebark pine (Keane 2000; Keane and Arno 1996).
Understanding of fire’s natural role in Cascadian whitebark pine is very lacking and should be enhanced before it can be confidently employed as a tool in Crater Lake National Park’s whitebark pine communities. We need to understand the different regimes in the Park (east vs. west side, lower mixed stands vs. higher pure stands, and krummholz). Initiating a whitebark pine fire regime study would answer these questions. Such a project could be completed during a single summer by a two-person crew, providing a wealth of useful information.