They must be planted by a Clark's nutcracker and then forgotten.
Considering the close alliance the tree has with the Clark's nutcracker, the precipitous decline of the whitebark pine begs the question of the nutcracker's situation.
Should humanity get a little too full of itself and its intellectual prowess, there's always Clark's nutcracker
to think about.
Whitebark pines are also slow to recover due to their reliance on Clark's nutcrackers and red squirrels for regeneration.
Whitebark pine sits atop that ecosystem, serving as the anchor for high-alpine and watershed habitats and as food and shelter for species ranging from Clark's nutcracker to the grizzly bear.
They found that all of those factors provided desirable seed-caching habitat for Clark's nutcrackers, the trees' natural dispersal agent.
Whitebark pine's symbiotic relationship with Clark's nutcrackers indicates how tightly intertwined the evolution of these two species has become over thousands of years.
This finding is consistent with the existence of a cognitive map in Clark's nutcrackers, but it's not conclusive," says psychologist Alan C.
Many animals have shown an ability to reach a desired location on the basis of its distance and direction from a stable landmark, but Clark's nutcrackers navigate according to abstract geometric relationships between pairs of moving landmarks, Kamil and Jones assert.
The prized seeds are picked and stashed by red squirrels in some habitats, but more commonly, whitebark seeds are the domain of Clark's nutcracker
Fire suppression during the past century has diminished suitable seed distribution sites for Clark's nutcrackers, he adds, and, except at the highest elevations, has allowed competing conifers to invade areas that historically were controlled by periodic burns.
With fewer mature trees present to provide seed for Clark's nutcrackers to cache, we're left with fewer seeds in the ground to germinate," Jenkins says.
Hoff suggests that selective clear-cutting and burning in the field, along with planting the nursery stock, could hasten the process of natural selection so that someday Clark's nutcrackers
will be stashing disease-resistant whitebark seeds.