whitebark pine

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Yellowstone thermal regions offer unique home to rare plants

Roy Renkin, a vegetation specialist with the National Park Service, points out sections of a forest in Yellowstone National Park that were the subject of a prescribed burn in 2007 during a 2008 media tour looking back at the summer fires of 1988.

Gift shops in and around Yellowstone National Park are filed with postcards, videos and guidebooks featuring grizzly bears and gray wolves. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a photograph—or even a passing mention—of three much rarer species found only in Yellowstone. Thanks in part to unique microclimates created by the park's hot springs, fumaroles and other thermal features, Yellowstone is the only place on earth where you'll find Ross's bentgrass, Yellowstone sand verbena and Yellowstone sulfur wild buckwheat. But most visitors to the park will never see these obscure plants. Continue Reading →

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Yellowstone area grizzly bears move closer to removal from threatened list

A few grizzly bears have been spotted emerging from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park.

Grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area took a step closer to losing some protections as a threatened species after a group of researchers last week reported positive trends in the recovering population. Wildlife managers from state, federal and tribal agencies met in Bozeman, Mont. to report on bear-human conflicts and hear details of continuing recovery efforts from the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team. Continue Reading →

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Wildlife officials warn Yellowstone area grizzly bears expanding range, seeking food

A few grizzly bears have been spotted emerging from hibernation in Yellowstone National Park.

As the population of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone area expands, grizzlies are expanding their range. That expansion, along with a year of low whitebark pine cone production—a staple of the grizzly’s diet—means outdoor enthusiasts need to be hyper-vigilant this fall, even when recreating in areas where they’ve never seen signs of bears. Continue Reading →

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Researchers seek more data on role of whitebark pine in changing grizzly populations

Researchers are working to gather more data on the role of declining whitebark pine trees in the slowing growth of grizzly bear populations around Yellowstone National Park.

In the ongoing deliberations over federal protections for Yellowstone area grizzly bears, debate often focuses on a fixed number of total bears living in the region. Counting bears—or more appropriately, estimating grizzly bear populations—is essential to helping determine when government recovery goals have been met. But just as important is tracking trends in population changes, and trying to determine the causes of those changes. Continue Reading →

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