Melissa Jenkins, a silviculturist at the U.S. Forest Service, has devoted her life to saving the whitebark pine.
Whitebark pines grow on harsh mountain slopes where few other trees can survive. They protect the water supply by preventing snow from melting too fast, and they provide food and shelter for wildlife from Clarke’s nutcrackers to grizzly bears. Sadly, whitebark pines are being devastated by a fatal exotic disease, blister rust fungus. There are now more dead than living whitebarks in the United States. In large parts of Montana’s forests, 90% of whitebark pines have perished. American Forests, the U.S. Forest Service, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and other groups are collaborating to identify, grow, plant and care for whitebark pines that are naturally resistant to blister rust fungus.