Yesterday I told the story of whitebark pine as the king of its ecosystem - making reference to the enormous role it plays in its community and also to the following photograph which I described as a sylvan Shakespearean character, Oberon, King of the Fairies.
We were announcing the filing of our petition to list whitebark pine as an endangered species due to the combined effects of climate change, mountain pine beetles and an invasive disease called blister rust.
As news of our petition made the rounds, we heard back from researchers who have been studying whitebark pine for years. One wrote with the following news:
"That photo is of a tree on Crater Lake's rim drive. While I was an ecologist there from 2002-2008, I became familiar with this tree. It is now dead from both blister rust and beetles."
Let's not have this be a harbinger for the rest of the species.