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Ecosystem “Save” List Includes Greater Yellowstone – Alarm Sounded on Whitebark Pine Decline

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By Deb Courson
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
is on a new “Top 10” list that focuses
on habitats across the country that
are home to fish, wildlife and plants
at risk of extinction. Each zone on the
list is described as threatened because
of changing climate. They’re not a lost
cause, however. The report describes
conservation actions that could help
keep their species resilient.
The Endangered Species Coalition
issued the report. Derek Goldman,
the Coalition’s Montana-based
Northern Rockies field director,
says they took a long-term view of
habitat health:
“We focused on ecosystems that provide
habitat for lots of endangered species
right now, and other ecosystems
expected to provide refuge as species
try to adapt to global warming.“
For example, whitebark pines are
disappearing from the Greater Yellowstone
Ecosystem. Those trees are
an important food source for many
critters, including grizzlies. They
also play a role in stabilizing mountainsides
and shading snowpack.
The report calls for forest restoration
work and more research to develop
trees resistant to beetle infestations.
Goldman says they based the list
on scientific review and input that
focuses on protection, restoration
and reconnection.
“We looked for
things we can do on the conservation
side to protect really important
habitats for fish, wildlife and plants
that already are on the brink of
California’s Sierra Mountains and
the Arctic Sea Ice Ecosystem are
also featured in the report as areas
that need conservation attention.
The full report, “It’s Getting Hot
Out There: Top 10 Places to Save for
Endangered Species in a Warming
World,” is available at

Megan Paulson is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Outlaw Partners.

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