I am a Master’s student in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at UBC. I am a lover of all things outdoors and have spent much time in the mountains through the course of summer work for Parks Canada in the Rocky Mountains, as a photographer for BC Parks, and for pleasure. Working for Parks Canada in Jasper National Park I first became interested in whitebark pine as my work was focused on finding healthy trees, protecting them from mountain pine beetle, and collecting their seeds and scion for use in rust resistance screening trials. I am in awe with the places whitebark pine is able to grow and survive. I found that studying this tree was a bridge for me between my love for the mountains, conservation, and forestry. Whitebark pine, considered a keystone species, is now listed as endangered in Canada due to the combined effects of white pine blister rust, mountain pine beetle, fire suppression, and climate change. I have worked in Jasper on the tree for three summers and each year have seen the mortality of many new trees due to mountain pine beetle and new infections of white pine blister rust. Finding resistance to blister rust in whitebark pine is of utmost importance for the long term survival of the species. I hope my Master’s work will help contribute to the expanding body of knowledge on this species.
Department of Forest Science, University of British Columbia, #3041 – 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4
|Links: CFCG project, Iain’s website