2008 Stateline WBO Release

Project: Stateline Whitebark Pine Release Idaho Panhandle_Dittman_2008_Released Whitebark Pine

Agency/Forest or Park/District:  USFS, Idaho Panhandle National Forest, St. Joe Ranger District (Avery, Idaho)

Project coordinator: Sidnee Dittman

Contact Sidnee Dittman, 208-245-6248, sdittman@fs.fed.us


This project will be a cooperative study with Forest Health Protection (FHP) and Idaho Panhandle National Forest.  FHP is going to cover costs and have technicians install research plots.  Art Zack, Forest Ecologist and John Schwandt, Regional Plant Pathologist, have both been to the site and provided input.  Dennis Riley, District Wildlife Biologist, has walked through the stands to help determine appropriate release guidelines for the contract.  The silviculture crew installed survey plots in 2005 to determine stand composition and also flagged and GPSed the two areas in October 2007.  The Forest Service will use the 2008 thinning contractor to release the WBP.

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $28,000

Supplemental funding: $4,410 from FS

Prior Expenditures (“sunk” Costs):  $5,700 from FS

Dates of restoration efforts

FHP set up research plots prior to the release which took place on September 10th and 11th of  2008.


To improve the survival of WBP along the Idaho-Montana Divide by releasing and then monitoring long-term effects with research plots.

Acres/ha treated

143 acres (Flattop Mountain, 101 acres and Square Lake, 42 acres)


We will release (daylight) WBP taller than 2 feet by cutting all competing conifers within a 6.8 foot radius around tree.  The release of the larger (>5.0” dbh) WBP will include cutting competing trees (11.8 foot radius) which are ½ the height of the WBP or larger.  Smaller adjacent trees will not be cut.  Trees larger than 10” dbh will not be cut.  Research plots will be installed to monitor survival and growth differences between released and unreleased WBP.  Plots will monitor the various opening sizes and response between treated and untreated WBP using various data including height, crown ratio, d.b.h., radial growth increment and white pine blister rust infection.  There are approx. 125 saplings per acre and 5–10 mature WBP per acre.  Slash will be minimal and needs no treatment due to the clumpiness and distribution of the WBP.  Approximately 25% are open grown and won’t need to be released at all.  To complete this project we needto adda categorical exclusion letter to the file, add the acres to our thinning contract, have Forest Health Protection (FHP) install plots and have the contract inspectors monitor the contract.  After completion the FHP will periodically (5 year intervals) visit the site to monitor effectiveness of the treatment.


Good.  The thinning crew finished in 2 days.  They did an excellent job and had no mishaps.  A few of the Whitebark Pine were targeted and girdled by elk and deer after being released due to their easy accessibility to antlers.

Monitoring since completion of the project

The research plots were monitored in the Fall of 2009, 2013 and will continue for the 10th, 15th and 20th year.  The research findings will help evaluate the effectiveness of release treatments on Whitebark Pine.  For more information on releasing Whitebark Pine visit www.firelab.org and select Research Projects and then Daylight.