Bishop pine forests are unique to granitic quartz-diorite soils. Fragments of bishop pine forests exist along the coast of California where the climate, soil and fire regime are just right for their growth. Here at Point Reyes, these forests are not hard to find. They grow primarily all along the northern end of Inverness Ridge. Post-fire, you can find young pines of the same age crowded together such as along the Drakes View Trail. Dense pine patches alternate with dense stands of blue blossom and the very rare Marin manzanita. Over time, young forests self-thin, giving way to mature forests mixed with bay laurel, madrone, coast live oak, tanoak, huckleberry, salal and swordfern. The bishop pine forest bounces back quickly from a fire. Over one third of the pine forest you see today was ash in 1995 after a fire raged through the Mount Vision area. Can you guess what other national park has bishop pines? (Channel Islands NP).
Pine Pitch Canker
As visitors drive along Limantour Road, they may notice that an increasing number of the bishop pine trees have tan needles at the end of their branches, and some trees are even dying. This is a result of pine pitch canker, which is a disease caused by the fungus Fusarium circinatum, which was discovered in a bishop pine forest at Point Reyes National Seashore around 2006. This has raised concern regarding the spread of F. circinatum through native stands of bishop pine and other susceptible host tree species beyond coastal California. Visit our Pine Pitch Canker page to learn more, including how you can help limit the spread of this disease.
Last updated: May 8, 2020