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Friday, April 25, 2008

Bristlecone Pine

Common Name: * Bristlecone Pine
Scientific Name: * Pinus longaeva
Conservation Status: * Vulnerable VU B1+2e

Why is this species important?
This species is believed to be one of the world’s oldest organisms, with recorded ages up to 4870 years. As such, the timber can provide an important record of environmental conditions over this period. Additionally, the dense, resinous timber can persist for a very long period of time even after death. Tree ring chronologies have been dated back 9,000 years.

The seeds are also an important food source for small mammals and birds, especially Clark’s Nutcracker.

Where is it found?
It is characteristic of the tree-line in the high desert ranges of eastern California, Nevada, and Utah of the United States of America.

Why is it threatened?
This relict species suffers from intrinsically poor recruitment, reproduction and regeneration. It is doubtful whether present rates of regeneration are sufficient to replace the population under present climatic and environmental conditions.

What conservation action is needed?
Most areas where the species occurs are protected and cutting or gathering wood is prohibited, for example in the Great Basin National Park in Nevada and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Botanical Area of Inyo National Forest in California.


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