Courtesy: Parks Canada
Jed Cochrane, fire and vegetation specialist with the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit for Parks Canada, cages a Whitebark Pine tree as part of a recovery effort.
High in the forests of the mountain parks, there’s a sun-loving tree that relies on a small bird to spread its seeds.
The whitebark pine, which has five needles and hard cones, plays an important role in stabilizing steep slopes, controlling the rate of snow melt and providing habitat for that bird (called the Clark’s nutcracker ), for squirrels and for bears in the mountains.
In 2010, the tree was federally listed as an endangered species in Alberta and British Columbia.
“We’ve got blister rust, mountain pine beetle, climate change and fire all playing a role in impacting the health and abundance of our whitebark and limber pines,” said Jed Cochrane, fire and vegetation specialist with Parks Canada.