"The discovery of Great Basin bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva," by Andrew Orlemann, Steven H. Flinders et al.

Abstract

In this paper, we provide the first documented evidence of Pinus longaeva from the Tushar Mountain range in central Utah. The P. longaeva trees, initially noticed at the end of September, and further surveyed during the first week of October 2016 are present on 6 small sites on the north-facing slopes of the North Fork of North Creek in the Tushar Mountains of the Fishlake National Forest. We estimate that there are currently up to 179 live individuals that range in age from seedlings to approximately 1400 years. Our data indicate these are particularly slow-growing specimens on very steep sites, in soil of igneous origin. Though many of the trees are infested with dwarf mistletoe, there is little indication that the population is currently at risk from fire, bark beetle attack, or many other common pathogens of other species. Nonetheless, there may be reasons for concern associated with future changes to the southern Utah climate, as well as the impact of invasive species such as white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) . We see opportunities for additional research on this unique population and its associated plant community. We also see the need for management strategies to conserve these P. longaeva stands, as well as a possible need to preserve its seeds and / or other genetic materials.

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  • Adam Floyd