2011 Caging and Cone Collection

Project:  Whitebark Pine Caging and Cone Collection 2011 Season

Agency/Forest or Park/District:  Bitterroot National Forest-Central Montana (CLMT) seed zone and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest-CLMT seed zone

Project coordinator:  Sasha Sulia

Contact:  Corinne Anderson  ckanderson@fs.fed.us   (406) 821-4256

Cooperators:  U.S. Forest Service

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $31,000

Supplemental funding: $5,600 FROM RTRT (Bitterroot NF)

Dates of restoration efforts

Summer 2011


There are two objectives in this WBP cone collection proposal.  The first objective is to collect enough seed to re-pay the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF.  They contributed the majority of seed we needed to sow for a wildfire restoration project scheduled for fall 2012.  The second objective is our ability to implement future reforestation projects within the CLMT seed zone.  Having seed in the bank will allow us to respond quicker to wildfire or other restoration opportunities.

Acres/ha treated

46 WBP trees


Cone-bearing Whitebark Pine in the CLMT seed zone were located on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF.  The B-D had a cone collection contract in place for people to climb and collect cones.  Because the Bitterroot NF and the BD are in the same seed zone, funds were used to collect WBP seed on the B-D for use on the Bitterroot NF.  Cones were collected and sent to the Coeur ‘d Alene nursery for processing.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance?  No


–     Between the Bitterroot and Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest’s we collected approximately 21 bushels of whitebark pine cones from 46 trees for the Central Montana (CLMT) seed zone.  Broken down the Bitterroot NF collected approximately 3 bushels of cones from 8 trees.  The Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF collected the remaining 18 bushels of from 38 trees.  This helps provide much needed whitebark pine seed for future planting projects across the CLMT seed zone.

–     I relearned the importance of caging whitebark pine cones on the Bitterroot NF in hope to have any chance of collecting seed.  We ran out of cages and I was just hoping we could collect the cones before the birds got to them. I also had heard that other forest within the region did not always cage and they were still successful in collecting cones.  I was majorly mistaken.  Even our caged cones were being eaten.

Monitoring since completion of the project 

The project is complete, no monitoring is needed.


            Plans for future monitoring?

Will outcome meet goals?

The outcome did meet the goals.  We were able to replace the seeds that we used from the B-D.  This project resulted in 41.4 lbs of Whitebark Pine seeds being stored at the Coeur ‘d Alene nursery for use in future planting on the Bitterroot NF.

Future actions/follow up?

Future actions will be restoring Whitebark pine on the Bitterroot NF.

Miscellaneous comments

One problem encountered was not having enough cages for the bumper cone crop we experienced this year.  There was a scarce supply of cages across the entire region. We did however manage to purchase and borrow some supplies which allowed us to make 250 cages.  We gave them to the B-D so they could complete their collection.  The effects were mentioned above in what I learned under the “Results” section.  To collect whitebark pine seed the cones must be caged.