2012 Genetic Tree Improvement & Restoration Activities in the GYE

Project:  Whitebark Pine Genetic Tree Improvement and Restoration Program Activities in the Greater Yellowstone/Grand Teton Seed Zone

Agency/Forest or Park/District: The Greater Yellowstone/Grand Teton Seed Zone (GYGT) including: Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, Bridger-Teton NF, Caribou-Targhee NF, Custer NF, Gallatin NF, Grand Teton NP, Shoshone NF, and Yellowstone NP. Activities funded by this proposal would take place on the Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee and Shoshone National Forests and in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. The Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, Custer NF, and Gallatin NF in the GYGT seed zone will conduct similar activities to be funded separately by regional project submissions.

Project coordinator:  Nancy Bockino

Contact:  Nancy Bockino, Ecologist, Grand Teton National Park. Phone: 307.690.1683

Email: Nancy_Bockino@nps.gov


Members of the GYCC Whitebark Pine Subcommittee: Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, Bridger-Teton NF, Caribou-Targhee NF, Custer NF, Gallatin NF, Grand Teton NP, Shoshone NF, Yellowstone NP. These units have been integrally involved in the restoration program since 2001, are dedicated to its continued support, and have agreed that having a dedicated crew to execute scion, spore and pollen collections, as well as hard-to-access plus tree collections are the most efficient way for these plant materials to be collected and delivered to the nursery at the time they are needed

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $11,000

Supplemental funding: $6,800 from Grand Teton National Park.

Dates of restoration efforts

During  the field season 2012, we successfully collected donor material from many designated donors in the Tree Improvement Program.  Aeciospore collections = 4 to 6 collections; Cone collections = 50 total, including FHP Gene Conservation donors; and Scion Collections = 6 donors.


The overall objective of this proposed project is to continue to support the Whitebark Pine Genetic Tree Improvement & Restoration Program initiated in 2001 in the Intermountain West, which is fundamental to the conservation of whitebark pine. Collections of: i) cones from previously designated plus trees; ii) blister rust aeciospores; iii) scion from donor whitebark pine; and iv) pollen from designated donors will provide the biological material needed to support the program work schedule and objectives.

Acres/ha treated



Plus Tree Cone Caging & Collection: Each plus tree will be protected from attack by the mountain pine beetle in early to mid-May 2012 with verbenone or carbaryl applications. Developing cones will be covered with mesh cages in late June/early July 2012 and then harvested in September and October 2012.

Aeciospore Collection: Spore collection methods will follow guidelines presented in Mahalovich 2003 and by David Foushee, the Tree Improvement Horticulturist for the Coeur d‟ Alene Nursery. Collections will occur from May to early July 2012, depending upon the timing of spore shedding due to variation in elevation, aspect, and latitude. Two collections per unit will be made and separated by a minimum of one mile. Spores will be collected during dry weather and stored in a low humidity environment.

Scion Collection: A minimum of 40, 6 to 8-inch, scion will be collected from each donor during November 2012 (depending on tree phenology related to weather) to ensure that each scion is dormant. Scion material will be collected from the upper third of the tree crown only, preferably from wood that grew the previous summer. The cut ends will be wrapped in wet paper towels and put into Ziploc bags with collection tags identifying: tree species, tree number, collection type, location, elevation, forest name, collector name and collection date. Bags of scion will be kept in a cooler with ice and shipped within 48 hours to the Coeur d‟Alene nursery.

Pollen Collection: Pollen collection guidelines provided by David Foushee will be followed. Pollen will be collected from designated donors. Pollen ripeness will be monitored. All collection materials will be sterilized to avoid contamination among pollen donors.

Monitoring since completion of the project

This project does not include monitoring, rather the project is complete for 2012.  These tree improvement collections are ongoing and will need to be collected again in 2013. We also kept detailed notes regarding the temporal sequence of pollen ripeness to enable greater pollen collection success during spring of 2013.

Will outcome meet goals?

Yes.  Successful and continuous collections are critical to the Tree Improvement Program.  This work has been highly successful.

Future actions/follow up? 

See above

Miscellaneous comments

We were able to obtain several pollen collections.  Due to early plant phenology and rapid development rates during spring 2012, we did not obtain pollen from all indicated donors.  Pollen collections are challenging regardless of seasonal conditions, as pollen ripeness is a very short period of time (1-2 days).  Arriving on site to gather pollen from the identified donors requires intricate understanding of individual tree/site phenology.  We hope that 2012 notes/observations will allow for greater success in the future.