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Whitebark Pine At Crater Lake's Rim - Oregon
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Whitebark pine is the dominant timberline tree in subalpine habitats at Crater Lake and Lassen Volcanic National Parks. They live at high elevations under harsh, cold, windy conditions. The trunks and branches grow away from the wind creating a gnarled, sculpted tree. Dead limbs on the exposed, windward side of the tree protect and provide shelter for limbs on the other side.
Whitebark pine trees produce large seeds that Clark's Nutcrackers, large, black-and-white, crow-like birds, collect and cache. Not all cached seeds are used, and those uneaten often germinate singly or in clusters and survive. This accounts for some trees having multiple stems as adults.
Whitebark Pines and Clark's Nutcrackers are custodians of the ecosystem. The teamwork between tree and bird works so well that the whitebarks depend entirely on the nutcracker to reproduce.
March 26th, 2011
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