Treasured by Native nations and sought by hikers and foragers, the mountain huckleberry is an iconic western fruit that faces habitat loss from climate change.
Washington State University scientists are at work in northwest forests, studying how fallen logs and other woodland debris could shelter the huckleberry from a hotter, drier future.
“Woody debris is a critical structure in the natural forest ecosystem,” said Mark Swanson, associate professor with WSU’s School of the Environment. “It’s a legacy of the older forest that benefits the next generation of shrubs and trees.”
“Culturally and ecologically, the mountain huckleberry is a very important plant,” said Margaret Magee, a master’s student in the School of the Environment. “It produces a very desirable berry.”