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Tree Campus: Lodgepole Pine

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b


Lodgepole Pine

Pinus contorta var. latifolia (PINACEAE)



W. Canada, inland W. USA



"The mountain pine beetle is the most serious insect pest in mature Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine stands, periodically killing most of the large-diameter trees in a stand. The beetle primarily attacks trees that are large enough to have sufficient phloem thickness to support the insect larvae. Generally trees 14 inches (35.6 cm) and greater in diameter attract the mountain pine beetle, with smaller trees being attacked after these larger trees are killed. Infestations continue until the phloem thickness of live trees is no longer sufficient as a food source. Trees smaller than 6 inches (15.2 cm) in diameter are rarely killed. Periodicity of infestations is related to rapidity with which a stand of trees grows into diameter-phloem distributions conducive to beetle population buildup. With each outbreak, mountain pine beetle kills most of the large, dominant Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine. After the outbreak, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine and the shade-tolerant associates increase their growth. When the Rocky Mountain lodgepole pines are of adequate size and phloem thickness, another beetle infestation occurs. This cycle repeats at 20- to 40-year intervals unless and until Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is eliminated from the stand. A fire may interrupt the sere at any time and return the stand to pure Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine. In even-aged stands, mountain pine beetle infestations kill large numbers of trees at once." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Native Americans boiled the inner bark of Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine for food... Native Americans used Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine for tipi poles." [1]



"Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine is harvested for sawtimber, paneling, floor joists, poles, pulpwood, firewood, fenceposts, and fence rails. It is also important in plywood, fiberboard, and composite/laminate products. Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine contributed greatly to the early economic development of the northern and central Rocky Mountain regions. Between 1975 and 1985, annual lumber production from lodgepole averaged between 500 and 700 million board feet. In Montana, Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine provided 25% of the timber processed in 1981." [1]



[1] Anderson, Michelle D. 2003. Pinus contorta var. latifolia. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: /database/feis/plants/tree/pinconl/all.html.

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