closeup of white pine needles

Protecting eastern white pine

In *All, Earth Day, Environmental Stewardship by AgIsAmerica

The eastern white pine tree is a crucial ecological and economic component of forests in the eastern United States. White pines provide critical food and shelter for wildlife and store carbon. They also provide valuable lumber and are commonly used for reforestation, landscaping and Christmas trees. The potential economic value of standing white pine is $18.6 billion. Eastern white pines have suffered unprecedented damage in recent years due to pests, pathogens, climate change and more. In one region of Georgia’s Chattahoochee National Forest, nearly half of the eastern white pine trees are dead. Stressors vary from region to region, and many have received little or no attention. Symptoms can be difficult to recognize and quantify because they often emerge slowly and can have multiple causes. Tackling the complex and extensive white pine health issues requires collaboration.

Scientists from land-grant universities and the U.S. Forest Service are targeting efforts to recognize and quantify eastern white pine health issues and test and recommend treatments and preventative practices now and for the future. This work helps sustain eastern white pine forests and the services and products they provide. Using aerial and on-the-ground surveys, researchers measured the incidence, range and severity of disease symptoms and damage in white pine trees in the eastern U.S. and monitored the fate of symptomatic trees. Researchers estimated economic losses due to eastern white pine health issues.

As a result, researchers quantified reduction in lumber yield and grade due to health issues and incorporated these data into market models. These models have been used extensively by lumber mill operators nationwide to understand how various factors (like specific pests and diseases) affect wood supplies. These models help the industry prepare for possible future scenarios and help legislators assess the potential impacts of proposed policies. A committee developed and shared management recommendations to improve white pine resilience, mitigate disease outbreaks and damage and reduce economic losses. Managers of 10 forests in eight states (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Virginia, and North Carolina) have agreed to consider options for improving eastern white pine health in their forests. The committee also encouraged state agencies to host demonstrations that show how to improve eastern white pine management.

Source: National Impacts Database

View the full impact statement.

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