Circular 125 November 1954
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
AND UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
H. G. CLAYTON. DIRErTOR
(In Cooperation with U. S. Forest Service)
Flatwoods Farm Woodland
By WM. H. DAVIS MCGREGOR
Lake City Research Center
Southeastern Forest Experiment Station
Fig. 1.-One of the annual cuts from the Olustee Farm Woodland.
(Forest Service photo.)
Fig. 2.-Products that bring a cash return are the reward for careful farm
woodland management. (Forest Service photo.)
Many farm woodlands in the flatwoods of northeast Florida
and southeast Georgia have become almost worthless after
years of unmanaged turpentining and timber cutting. Such
a woodland can be changed into a productive forest within 10
years and at the same time provide an annual cash return to
the landowner for each hour he spends doing the job.
Such a change has been brought about with profitable results
on a typical run-down woodland on the Olustee Experimental
Forest in a study set up by the Southeastern Forest Experiment
Station in 1944. During the past decade the pineland portion
of this tract yielded an average annual cash return of $2.72
per acre for stumpage, plus $6.82 for the labor used in harvest-
ing the products, or a total income of $9.54 per acre every
year. At the same time the woodland has been improved to
bring an even higher return in future years.
ORIGINAL WOODLAND CONDITION
The Olustee Farm Woodland was typical of many small
tracts in adjacent parts of Florida and Georgia. It had been
subjected to destructive naval stores practices. Figure 3 is
typical of conditions on the woodland before management began.
The Olustee Farm Woodland covers 53 acres. Sixteen acres
lie in a deep hardwood-cypress swamp. Most of this is too wet
to grow pine and supports only slow-growing cypress and hard-
woods, many of which are too stunted or defective to be of any
use. The remaining 37-acre portion of the woodland lies next
to the swamp, and varies from moist slash pine sites to drier
areas which originally had a thin stand of longleaf pine. Slash
pine was beginning to come into some of the openings in the
longleaf stand as a result of fire protection which began about
Fig. 3.-Most of the pineland on the farm woodland looked like this
before management began. Forty-six percent of all sawlog-size trees had
faces which had been worked out using the old-style wood-chipping hack.
No reproduction was coming into the stand. Compare with figures 5 and 6.
PLAN OF MANAGEMENT
How should this depleted farm woodland be managed? Two
main objectives were considered: first, to make a profitable
annual harvest of products so that the landowner would receive
some cash return each year; second, to improve the woodland
by increasing its volume and growth rate.
The first goal of management was to cut the worked-out
trees, which had a slow growth rate. The removal of these
trees was spread over the first five years in order to have an
annual income during the improvement stage. Injured, dis-
eased, overcrowded and other poor-risk trees were removed
at the same time, thus putting the stand in excellent condi-
tion for future growth.
Besides wood products, a continuous naval stores operation
of 400 faces, worked according to the recommendations of
the Lake City Research Center, was maintained on the 37 acres
of pineland. One hundred new faces are installed each year
and worked for four years; 100 faces become worked out
each year and are cut. Thus an annual harvest is maintained.
The swamp area served chiefly as a reserve for special
products, such as cypress lumber and fence posts, which are
often needed on most farms. These products were cut as
Pines particularly were carefully marked and thinned. Plant-
ing was done where necessary. All these common sense for-
estry practices were carried on with the aim of improving
the woodland and increasing its value and growth rate.
Ten years of management show that the 37 acres of pine
have contributed most of the annual return and have shown
a substantial improvement in growth, stocking, gum yield,
stand composition, and general condition.
Annual harvests of sawlogs, pulpwood, crossties, fuelwood,
posts and gum naval stores have given the landowner an
average stumpage return of $2.72 per acre every year. Taxes
and other incidental costs are estimated at about $0.21 an
acre, leaving a net stumpage and lease return of $2.51 an
acre, including interest on investment (Table 1).
A woodland owner can increase his profits by letting his own
laborers use their slack time to cut the products and do the
turpentining. In this way there will be a return to labor in
addition to the stumpage return. On the Olustee Farm Wood-
land, logging and turpentining have required an average of
41 man-days a year. After deducting all costs for tools and
equipment, the woodland has yielded a return of $0.79 per hour
for each hour spent in harvesting the products (Table 1). This
return for labor has averaged $6.82 per acre per year. Adding
this to the stumpage return, the total net annual return has
been $9.54 per acre, which amounts to a total of $353.19 each
year from the 37 acres of pineland. This shows that the ob-
jective of an annual cash return has been met on the Olustee
TABLE 1.-AVERAGE ANNUAL RETURNS FROM
Total .... ..
per acre -....
Average per man-hour ........
Income Net Return
from per Man-Hour
Labor$ _of Labor
S0.73 $ 0.63
------ ----... ..----..... 0.79
Wood products sold cut, at the stump; gum at the woods road. No deduction has been
made from stumpage value to cover taxes, protection, and other incidental costs. These
costs have averaged about $0.21 annually.
** Costs of all tools and equipment used in harvesting the products have been deducted.
SValue of the trees sold standing.
t Value of the products cut from the trees, less stumpage value.
Most of the sawlog-size trees have been cut as crossties because of a favorable local
Total figures for the 10-year harvest are shown in Table 2.
TABLE 2.-TOTAL 10-YEAR HARVEST AND AVERAGE PRICES RECEIVED FOR ALL
PRODUCTS REMOVED FROM THE ENTIRE 53-ACRE WOODLAND.
I Average Price
SStumpage or Wood Cut at
Naval Stores I Stump; Gum
Lease at Woods Road
$8.00 per M bd. ft. $12.00 per M bd. ft.
$2.57 per cord $ 5.30 per cord
$0.43 each $ 1 06 each
$1.00 per cord I $ 5 54 per cord
$0.05 each $ 0.15 each
$0.064 per face $26.26 per barrel
The second objective-stand improvement-also has been
During the first five years of management, while the old,
worked-out trees were being removed, the volume cut each
year was larger than the volume replaced by growth; conse-
quently total volume declined. Since then only a part of each
year's growth has been removed, so total volume has increased
and now exceeds the initial 1944 volume. This volume change
is illustrated by Figure 4. Figure 5 is typical of a part of the
stand just after removal of the worked-out trees.
1100 VOLUME CUT
W 1000 -
W 950 -
1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953
Fig. 4.-Total volume, growth and harvest cuts on the 37 acres of pine
upland. Heavier cuts were made at first to remove worked-out trees and
other poor growing stock.
Present board-foot volume is 40 percent higher than it was in
1944. This is a result of two factors. First, with the new naval
stores techniques, using bark-chipping and acid, spiral gutters,
and double-headed nails, the entire tree can be used for pulp-
wood or lumber with hardly any loss in volume or grade. With
the old wood-chipped faces the worked portion of the tree was
jump-butted and this volume was lost because of nails, tins,
decay and turpentine borer holes. Second, improvement cuts,
which are a part of the annual cuts, have removed most of the
forked, injured, stunted, diseased and other poor-quality trees,
leaving only the better trees. Thus the average tree of a given
diameter today has more merchantable length and less cull than
its predecessors. Future management will be aimed at growing
more trees into larger, more valuable timber.
GROWTH AND STOCKING
During the 10 years of management, growth on the farm wood-
land has steadily increased. From 1944 to 1949, while the old,
worked-out trees were being cut, net growth on the pineland
averaged 37.5 cubic feet annually per acre-less than half a cord.
Since 1949 growth has averaged 82.3 cubic feet, or almost a
cord per acre each year-a 119-percent increase. Growth in
Fig. 5.-Typical stand just after removal of trees with worked-out, wood-
chipped faces. Compare with figures 3 and 6.
.. I -
1953 was 11/2 cords per acre. Much of this increase has been
in the smaller-size trees as young reproduction grows into mer-
chantable size. Growth will continue to increase as additional
trees become established in understocked areas.
From 1944 to 1953 the number of pine trees four inches in
diameter and larger has increased from 126 to 207 per acre.
The average diameter has, temporarily, decreased from 7.8
inches to 6.7 inches because the larger, worked-out pine have
been removed and have been replaced by more fast-growing
Volume per acre, which is now larger than it was originally
(Fig. 4), is still low. It should continue to increase, however, as
the average diameter increases and openings become filled in
with young trees. Figure 6 shows one of the better-stocked
parts of the woodland, where all of the old, worked-out trees
have been removed and saplings have filled in the openings.
Fig. 6.-Stand 10 years after removal of old, worked-out trees. Young
pine have filled in the openings. Compare with figures 3 and 5. Note
typical naval stores installation.
The naval stores operation, which has been confined to the 37
acres of pine, has been an important part of the Olustee Farm
Woodland operation. During the 10 years, naval stores lease
value has made up 22 percent of the total stumpage value and
gum sold at the woods road has contributed 55 percent of the
net value of all harvested products. This has been accom-
plished with a minimum loss of tree growth and quality and
without serious complications in the management of the area
for wood products.
In addition to all returns already shown, the turpentining
operation would have qualified for conservation payments under
the Naval Stores Conservation Program. Thus a private land-
owner could have received NSCP payments for selective cupping
and bark chipping to add to the returns already shown.
From 1944 through 1948, when most of the faces were hung
on trees with old, worked-out front faces or on poor-quality
trees being removed for stand improvement, the average an-
nual gum yield was at the rate of 183 barrels per crop of 10,000
faces. From 1949 through 1953, when better-quality trees were
worked, yield has been at an average rate of 204 barrels per
crop. Production in 1952 and 1953 was at the rate of 225 and
218 barrels per crop, respectively. This steadily increasing
yield is partly the result of increased vigor and faster growth
and partly because larger trees are being turpentined. This
checks with other studies which show that high gum yield is
associated with vigorous, fast-growing trees.
To make the combination of naval stores and timber man-
agement more orderly, the present system is to put only one
face on trees 9 to 13 inches in diameter and two faces on trees
14 inches and larger. Faces are presently being worked four
years, which means that tree worked for naval stores remain
standing only four years after they are first cupped. The wood-
land manager need plan only a short period ahead in order to
select trees for naval stores.
This is an example of the importance of naval stores in wood-
land management in this region. Some landowners do not have
tools and equipment to do their own logging, although it would
be to their advantage if they could do this. Most owners can
carry on a small naval stores operation. A properly managed
naval stores operation does not unduly complicate woodland
Five hundred to 1,000 seedlings are being planted each winter
until all openings have been filled in. This number of seedlings
usually can be obtained by private landowners through the pulp-
wood industry's free seedling program; or they can be purchased
at cost from the Florida or Georgia state nurseries.
One thinning has been made in a thick stand of young slash
pine before the trees were big enough to sell for pulpwood.
More of these precommercial thinnings will be made as needed
to increase the rate of growth on the trees that are left. As
saw-log volume increases and more sawlog sales can be made,
pruning as a means of improving the quality of logs will become
a part of future cultural practices, although none has been
carried out in the past.
No serious disease or insect outbreaks have occurred on the
woodland, so no control measures have been required. Any
future outbreaks will be controlled, if necessary.
The swamp portion of the woodland has contributed little to
the annual growth or to the products harvested in annual cuts.
Since water stands on most of this area all year, growth of all
trees is slow, the trees are scattered, and little can be done here
to increase stocking or growth rate.
One major cut was made in the swamp in 1948. In other
years fence posts have been salvaged from down cypress. These
cuts have yielded an average annual stumpage return of $0.31
per acre. Taxes, estimated from similar private properties in
the area, and other incidental costs have averaged $0.10 per
acre, leaving a net annual stumpage return of only $0.21 per
acre. There has been an additional net return of $0.64 per
man-hour of labor spent in harvesting the products. The net
annual return for stumpage and labor has been $0.85 per acre.
In spite of the fact that management has not been profitable,
the swamp part of the woodland has served a useful purpose as
a reserve of special products for farm use.
Within a single decade an understocked, worked-out farm
woodland has been transformed into a valuable forest while
yielding a substantial profit. This woodland is improving each
year, and even larger annual incomes will be possible.
The methods used on the Olustee Farm Woodland can be used
by the average landowner. All that is needed is a minimum of
basic knowledge about tree growth and the occasional assistance
of a farm forester or other trained forester for advice and aid
in measuring growth, establishing proper cuts, and in writing
The harvest cuts in this study have been on an annual basis.
This has worked well and has made an orderly change from a
depleted to a productive woodland easier. Larger cuts at less
frequent intervals would undoubtedly give satisfactory results
also, but salvage and improvement are more effective if the time
between cuts is short. Five years should be the maximum be-
tween cuts on a small woodland.
The woodland owner who has the time and equipment can
increase his profits by doing his own cutting. Additional profits
could no doubt be made if the owner also did his own hauling,
although this has not been tried on the Olustee Farm Woodland.
This 10-year study demonstrates to small woodland owners
in the northeast Florida-southeast Georgia region that it is
practical and profitable to manage badly depleted woodlands
for an annual or periodic cash income.