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Twisted Whitebark Pine Tree - Crater Lake - Oregon
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Many of the Whitebark Pine trees (Pinus albicaulis) along the rim of Crater Lake, Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, are stunted and deformed by constant exposure to wind. Thriving in thin soils and dry air, on cold, windy, rocky mountaintops where few other plants or animals survive, whitebarks grow slowly and live long - more than a thousand years. Their trunks becoming twisted and gnarled over time, and many look barren of any needles, but it doesn�t mean they are dead.
Whitebark Pine is one of the most ecologically important tree species living in the western United States. Thirty years ago, healthy whitebark pines graced Wizard Island's summit crater, but today they are reduced to bleached, weathered skeletons, and visitors can now only experience them as nonliving relics.
Without them, there is serious danger that misconceptions about nature and even ourselves may arise.
March 27th, 2011
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