As a climbing arborist, it's part of my job to climb up trees and harvest the cones to collect their seeds.
This year, I participated in harvesting the cones of Douglas Firs.
During that time, the trees produce a lot of resin. The cones dripping, and the resin goes everywhere. We use sunflower or olive oil, or any other common oil, to not get stuck and stick on everything. The fragrance of the pines is wonderful. But after some days you get a bit overloaded, as resin contains turpentine. The tree's resin is a typical protection of conifers.
How do we know that the seeds are ripe?
It is a matter of practise. And actually we harvest the cones right before they fully ripe and fall off the tree by themselves. The first couple of times, your skilled climbing buddies are the best teachers. After a while, you will be able to identify which cones are worth enough to climb up a tree. To check the cones if they carry seeds, you have to open them. You can choose, do it when you're back on the ground, or you can do it when you're still in the tree top. The first choice is the saver one, as handling a sharp knife next to your ropes while you're hanging in them isn't.
How do we climb up a tree?
First we throw or shoot via slingshot our throw line up a tree into a safe branch or fork. Afterwards, we attach our climbing rope to the throw line and pull it all the way up, anchor it on the tree's trunk and make sure that it is safe to climb up. You can hang and jump on the rope's first meter while observing the point of the rope's turning point. That gives us the first couple of meters. Maybe 30 meters is doable. We have to climb up the rest, supported by our safety lanyards. Almost at the tip of the tree, we anchor another time and use a second system to abseil or climb up again. But I'll deepen into that another time.
Back to the topic.
What do we harvest the seeds for?
It's part of the reproduction, to grow trees and have, unfortunately most of the time, monoculture forests for wood production. But the forestry is already going another direction. A good-for-the-nature and sustainable direction of biodiversity, and leave nature to the nature.
To add one thing about laws:
Forest Reproductive Material Law.
The purpose of the law is to protect the forest with its many manifold positive effects through the provision of high-quality and identity-secured forestal reproductive material in its genetic diversity and to improve, as well, to promote forestry and its productivity.
And why do we climb up a tree to collect the cones instead of waiting until they fall off by themselves and collect them from the ground?
Well, simply because, ones the cones fall off, touch the ground and get a little moisture, they are on their way to germinate. That would be the natural way which happens also, because we can't collect every single cone from a tree, and we can't climb up every single tree in a population.
Check out the video below
Btw! I was trying to put the 3speak video right here on this post, but I don't know how to. Can somebody help and give me a hint how it works, please. 3speak and /or YouTube.