By Bob Beck
Laramie, WY – While the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service says the Whitebark Pine Tree warrants greater protection under the Endangered Species Act, the agency also says it has other priorities and limited resources, and so it will not list the tree. The Natural Resources Defense Council's Louisa Wilcox says the news is tragic.
"It's not just tree here that's endangered, it's the whole of the high elevation ecosystems. Because it's the Whitebark that pioneers the harshest slopes in the alpine, and makes the soil conditions capable of supporting other tree and plant species. It feeds and shelters many, many species of birds, rodents and bears."
Wilcox does think it is significant that the agency called attention to the issue of climate change and its impact on the Whitebark Pine. She hopes public education and current research will help find solutions to the problem.