2010 Black Butte Fire WBP Planting

Project:  Black Butte Fire Whitebark Planting

_Black Butte project site vicinity, with WBP mortality and general site conditions

Black Butte project site vicinity, with WBP mortality and general site conditions

Agency/Forest or Park/District: Deschutes National Forest, Sister Ranger District, Black Butte, Oregon.

Project coordinator:  Chris Jensen


Chris Jensen, Genetics, Deschutes and Ochoco NF, Bend/Ft.Rock Ranger District, 1230 NE 3rd St. Bend, Oregon 97701. 541-383-4779, cejensen@fs.fed.us

Dave Priest, Reforestation, Deschutes NF, Sisters Ranger District, 541-419-1952.  dpriest@fs.fed.us


Deschutes National Forest, Central Oregon Intergovernment Council (COIC), R6 USFS Dorena Genetic Resource Center (DGRC), R1 USFS Coeur d’Alene Nursery

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $5,000

Supplemental funding: $1,500 NFFV

Southwest aspect Black Butte summit vicinity burn

Southwest aspect Black Butte summit vicinity burn

Dates of restoration efforts: 

Planting occurred October 2011


The objective of this proposal is to plant seedlings within a fire damaged area and summit of the butte. This will help restore Black Butte’s degraded and declining whitebark population and restore the burned over areas. It will also increase the numbers of small seedlings and augment the limited regeneration that is currently lacking in the natural population

Acres/ha treated

Approximately 10 acres


The Deschutes NF has experimented with many small opportunistic out-plantings in whitebark habitats over the last 10 years. (See case study #4 of the Land Managers Guide to Whitebark Pine Restoration in the Pacific Northwest).

The Deschutes National Forest has been actively collecting whitebark seed from all designated Conservation Areas located within and adjacent to the Forest, including collections from resistant candidate trees on Black Butte (2006).

Planting vicinity in burn-chlorotic seedling- Black Butte

Planting vicinity in burn-chlorotic seedling- Black Butte

The planting strategy is to utilize micro-sites adjacent to or behind rocks, logs or other structure for seedling protection. This will be especially important since much of the burn is located on an exposed southern aspect. Seedling shade protectors may be used on trees lacking micro-site shade to increase survival.

Experimentation with both summer and fall planting windows on the Deschutes has resulted in mixed results.  Generally, fall planting offers better survival and less heat related stress that results in late spring or early summer plantings. An October planting window preceded by a heavy fall rain will be targeted for this project.

Sufficient seed to produce 2000 seedlings will be sown at the Coeur d’Alene Forest Service Nursery, and surplus seedlings will be obtained from the Dorena Genetic Resource Center (DGRC). Seedlings will be sown using 10 or 15 cubic centimeter super cell containers for 2 years or until sufficient size and caliper is achieved.


We implemented the planting project as outlined in the methods section using 250 2-0 S-10d seedlings from Dorena Genetic Resource Center (DGRC) and 1200 seedlings cultivated at the Coeur d’Alene Forest Service Nursery.  The originally planned 2000 seedlings came up short from germination variability. Seed originated from CA 502 collected in 2006 through 2008 from disease resistant candidate select trees.

Planting occurred on October 6, 2011 using a Central Oregon Interagency Crew of 5 individuals as the primary planters.  Joe Baer, Sisters RD, was the planting lead for the Project. All seedlings and planting tools were hiked in 2 miles up near the Summit where the planting occurred.  At time of planting, soils were moist and seedlings were micro-site planted adjacent to structures when ever possible. Overall planting quality was good.


Seedlings were monitored the summer of 2012.  Survival was estimated to be 50%, with pocket gophers causing the highest amount of mortality. Seedlings appeared fair, with some exhibiting low-vigor.  Overall, the project had satisfactory results.

Future monitoring will be accomplished in conjunction with monitoring the nearby validation planting plots (established in 2011).

Will outcome meet goals?

seedlings planted adjacent to woody structure- outside of burn- Black Butte

seedlings planted adjacent to woody structure- outside of burn- Black Butte

The outcome of this project met the planting goals as outlined, however, because of seedling mortality the project was not a huge success. This project is another step forward in understanding realistic restoration planting expectations in natural whitebark environments.

Future actions/follow up?

In the future, it is hopeful an additional supplemental planting can occur near the summit utilizing surplus seedlings as they become available.