Why are people collecting pine cones in New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota and other places in western United States? They are helping reforest fire-ravaged forests.
Only the healthiest of cones will do, which have no curves, no sap, and no insect bore holes. The cones are dried, their seeds cleaned, sorted and grown into seedlings ready to be planted.
Catastrophic elements like wildfire and drought are being exacerbated by climate change and native trees are getting harder to find because their environments are getting destroyed, so seed collection and reforestation efforts are becoming more important.