FCH logo Fandrich Cone Harvesters: Answers

1.0 I guess you didn't realize that aerial picking collects cones from the tops of trees, where sunshine and good pollination help create the best cones. Because Mike could pick cones so quickly, he was able to wait until the last minute to get the cones at their peak of ripeness.

1.2 Not quite right. You must be thinking of extracting seeds from the inferior and unreliable cones stolen from squirrel caches. Just think of a poor squirrel in winter, when Yosemite Park is blanketed in deep snow, looking for its winter nourishment which someone has stolen and sold to you. (How would you like it if a grizzly bear broke into your tent and stole your beer?)

1.4 Try again, but keep in mind you are now dealing with Fandrich aerial rakes, which have mechanized the cone collecting industry. In 1988, 97% of all amabilis cones in British Columbia were picked from the air! You many not have realized aerial cones are collected from a broad genetic base from generally superior trees-- the best trees usually protrude above the canopy.

1.6 You must be a tree climber, as this is the yield from cones collected in the same type of stands by climbers. All together, the climbers in the Stanislaus project collected only 22 bushels, the same quantity that the pilot picked in 19 minutes. The climbers picked cones from the bottom and middle of the trees but left the best cones at the top.

When you are swaying 150 feet above the forest floor, you may long for the luscious cones waiting on the splindly top a few feet away-- but don't you keep your impulse under control when you think of your wife and lovely kids back home?

1.8 You picked the correct yield rate for the 73 bushels that were collected at the 7,000-foot level after the cones were beginning to open. Mike was using a standby helicopter on a firefighting contract so when a fire broke out, fighting the fire that was destroying an old forest took precedence over gathering the cones that would create a new forest. Even at 1.8 pounds of seed per bushel of cone, the extraction rate was nearly double the normal rate expected rate from ground collections.

Reminder: while waiting for the cones to ripen to perfection, moniter the cones closely. A hot spell after lengthy cold and wet weather can cause the cones to open very quickly.

2.0 You're close. Had the forester not been able to wait until the right moment and then go in to collect cones quickly, this could have been the rate. Because Mike was picking with a helicopter that was averaging 49 bushels per hour, he monitored the cones closely and then started picking when the cones were at their best.

2.2 You have the instincts of a nurseryman. Your boss would be very happy with this extraction rate-- you could pick your supply of cones on Monday and Tuesday and be back in the nursery on Wednesday to do the things you really enjoy-- like watching a Venus fly trap collect her nourishment.

But your boss would be even happier with the correct answer.

2.4 You are right! This is the correct average over all elevations. The 555 bushels of cones collected at the 6,000 foot level and the 208 bushels collected at the 6,500 foot level yielded 1,802 pounds of seeds. Each bushel yielded 2.4 times the amount of seed expected!

2.6 You guessed the correct peak rate. The 380 bushels of cones from the 5,500-foot level yielded 972 pounds, setting a new record at the Placerville, California nursery! The average rate for all elevations was slightly lower.

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1(b). The correct answer is 'better'. The Cornell report speaks for itself: "The 6500 foot elevation seed tested out with a 60% germinability. Comparing this with existing seedlots from prior years harvested it is 5 points better than our best lot in the seedbank and 15 to 22 points better than the rest..."

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1(c). "When all is said and done and all factors considered, does the Stanislaus consider the project a success and would we do it again? The answer to both questions is yes. A tremendous amout of cones (seed yield at this time is still unknown) were collected in a very short time. More importantly, in a short, early seed year such as 1984 proved to be, we were able to procure large amounts of seed at the peak of ripeness, an accomplishment which would have been difficult with any other technique with the exception of tree felling."

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This page was last updated July 18, 2000