Pine in line for endangered list as bugs, disease take their toll

An alpine species of pine that is stressed by mountain pine beetles and a disease called rust may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced.

Whitebark pine, which in North Central Washington grows only on mountains above approximately 6,000 feet, is undergoing a status review by the agency.

The nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council — which petitioned to list whitebark pine as threatened or endangered — says climate change is also threatening survival of the tree.