Project: Whitebark Pine (WBP) Regeneration Strategies: Direct seeding versus Planting Seedlings Evaluations: 2014 Evaluation and Monitoring
Agency/Forest or Park/District: USFS, FHP, Coeur d’Alene Field Office, ID
Project coordinator: Terrie Jain, USDA-FS RMRS, Moscow, ID
Contact: Paul Zambino, FHP, Coeur d’Alene Field Office, ID
Source of funding/amount FHP: $4,500 in WBP funds were received; $7,000 of in-kind funding contributed by FHP for salaries and vehicles. Spent $2,315.31 of the allocated $4,500.00. Some sites were measured by local NFS unit and they did not charge for travel or salary.
Dates of restoration efforts: FY 2014
Objectives: 1) Determine planting window for operational field-sowing of seeds, 2) Determine optimum seed planting depths for field planting dates and sites, 3) Determine whether non-pretreated vs. warm-stratified seed are preferable for extended (non-fall) field-sowing, 4) Compare direct seeding vs. fall-planted “standard” vs. “stubby” seedlings
Acres/ha treated: Small plots spread across 5-10 acres at each site. (See Table 1.) Center of replications at Gold Pass: 47.230625 -115.313712; At Thompsen Peak: 47.747779 -114843439.
Methods: Design for 2009, 2012 and 2013 direct seeding installations, each regeneration technique is replicated 5 times on each site. Two replicates of surface temperature in shade and full sun are also on each site. (See Table 2.)
Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance? Yes. 100 seedlings were planted at each site; 2 next to each of the 50 direct seeding replications at each site. Seed source not screened for resistance.
Accomplishments in 2014
1) Visited all 8 sites and obtained 5-year measurements on 3 sites that were established in 2009 and 2 sites that were established in 2010. We did not return to Ferry Lake in 2014 because germination was very low and measurements seized in 2012. However, we may want to revisit Ferry Lake to determine if we can identify specific factors that prevented germination.
2) Visited direct seeding #2 established in 2013 twice (July and September).
3) Presented five-year results at the 2014 White Bark Pine Ecosystem Foundation annual meeting in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Fieldtrip was located at the Gold Pass site to discuss results of direct seeding and planting.
5-year results for 2009 sites: Gold Pass, Thompson Peak and Ulm Peak.
1) Germination success is the most critical factor with direct seeding: We found significant differences as a function of site and as a function of seed preparation. Gold pass had significantly better germination. than Thompson Peak and germination on Ulm Peak was the least successful. Warm stratified seed germinated better than the other seed treatments. (Statistical analysis was tested at the p=0.05 level.) (See un-numbered graph of differences in percent germination success by treatment and site.)
For seed germination, statistical comparison among sites and treatments using least-squares means. Site and treatment were statistically significantly different, but there was not a statistically significant interaction between site and treatment. Caged versus not caged did not affect the germination results. (See Table 3.)
2) Survival after germination was statistically significant among the sites but not among the treatments. Order of significance among sites: Thompson Peak (A) had 63% germinates survival after 5 years, Gold Pass (B) had 44% germinate survival, and Ulm Peak (C) had 18% survival.
(See un-numbered graph of differences in percent survival after germination by treatment and site.)
3) Seeds established in 2013 did not germinate well the first year, but this is not unusual given the 2009 germinates continued to germinate 2-years post planting. It is critical we revisit sites in 2015.
Monitoring since completion of the project: On-going
Plans for future monitoring? Yes. The project is not complete. We would like to monitor the following attributes:
1) Germination trials from 2009 have not stabilized concerning establishment, we would like to monitor these direct seeding trials until we have noted final establishment but rather than every year, wait for 2-years.
2) We want a minimum of 5 year measurements on 2012 installation.
3) To continue to monitor 2013 direct seeding #2 trial through 2018 at a minimum.
4) Past monitoring focused on establishment, we want to add growth.
Will outcome meet goals? The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Annual Meeting attendees expressed a need to know and understand the trade-offs and benefits from direct seeding. Also since germination is such a critical step toward whitebark pine restoration, it would be beneficial to follow the different germination strategies to see where we can develop recommendations, trade-offs, and benefits.
Future actions/follow up: Yes, it is critical we continue to monitor the germination potential for the next two years since this is particularly a critical element to success. Also, because site significantly influences germination success, it is critical we identify key characteristics that may help managers to prioritize which sites may be best for direct seeding.
Miscellaneous comments: We did not have any problems or foresee problems. However, this last year, District personal measured the Yellowstone Club sites and therefore we did not need to travel to these sites, saving travel funds. However, if district personnel cannot do the monitoring we would need additional funds to travel to these sites to monitor. Also, John Schwandt has retired and is volunteering to re-measure these sites. In 2015, we may need to contract him to continue monitoring.