2010 Operational Cone Collection of the Flathead National Forest

Project:  Whitebark Pine Operational Cone Collection on the Flathead National Forest

Agency/Forest or Park/District: Flathead National Forest (FNF), USFS

Project coordinator:  Melissa Jenkins; Flathead NF; 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 758-5333; mmjenkins@fs.fed.us

Contact:  Karl Anderson, Flathead NF 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901 (406) 758-3535; kanderson@fs.fed.us

Cooperators: Glacier National Park.  We plan to make a portion of the seeds available for purchase by GNP if there is a critical need identified in the park.

Source of funding/amount:

FHP: $9,750

Supplemental funding:

Dates of restoration efforts:

Originally planned for summer 2010. Due to low seed production, the project was done in July-September 2011


  • Cage and collect cones from 30 trees, transport cones to nursery and extract seed.
  • Have seed available to grow seedlings for planting in the extensive 2003/2007 wildfires on the Flathead NF and future wildfires.  There are hundreds of acres in the 2003/2007 fires that would make excellent whitebark pine planting sites (wbp present previous to fires and very little vegetative competition has established).

Work Completed:  Contractor caged and collected whitebark pine cones from a total of nineteen whitebark pine trees on the FNF.

Scope:  All seed that is collected on the FNF can be used anywhere within the Missions/Glacier Park seed zone.  Glacier National Park (GNP) and the FNF have agreed to share collected seed that will meet present and future critical needs when they arise.  This operational collection would allow the FNF to continue to maintain an adequate inventory of seed, so that the multi-year planting needs we have identified can be met.  We would be able to continue to sow operational seed in an effort to get seedlings established in areas that were burned in the 2003/2007 fires.  Currently we have seedlings growing at CDA Nursery for planting in 2010 and 2011.

Methods:    Cones caged in mid-summer, and collected in early-mid September. We have a cone collection contract that will allow the money to be obligated for out-year collections if there is an unexpected loss of the cone crop (as we did in 2010 when the cone crop was not the bumper crop we expected).  The cones will be sent to the Coeur d‘Alene Nursery for seed extraction and future seedling production.  Cones will be collected only from trees with phenotypic rust resistance.  Because the trees on the FNF have been heavily exposed to rust for many years, and the 110-seed source study (Mahalovich, 2006) showed higher than average levels of resistance on the FNF, trees with phenotypic resistance are likely to have some level of genetic resistance.

Planting:   No

Outcome:  We successfully collected whitebark pine cones utilizing a contractor and sent those cones to the Coeur d’ Alene Nursery for seed extraction.

Monitoring since completion of the project

            Dates: N/A

            Plans for future monitoring:  N/A   

Will outcome meet goals? 

Yes, collections were made from a total of nineteen trees.  A total of ~ 364 cones were made in this collection.

Future actions/follow up?  None

Miscellaneous comments: 

The funding for this collection was extremely valuable to the Forest as we ended up having a historic collection for whitebark pine cones on the FNF. The seed collected has been sown at the Nursery for operational planting across the Forest in FY 2015.