IN THIS ISSUE:
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The Florida Forest Steward
A Quarterly .Vewsleerr for Florida Landowners and Resource Professionals
Volume 4, No. 1
Stewardship Landowner of the Year -- Where Are You?
During the past six years, over 700 Florida landowners have received forest
stewardship management plans. Almost 75 of them have attained the Stewardship
Forest certification in recognition of their devotion of time, effort, and funds to
following their plans and improving their lands.
Now, we are looking for the Stewardship Forest landowner who has made the extra
effort above and beyond what is needed for certification. We want to recognize this
landowner as Florida's 1996 Stewardship Forest Landowner of the Year.
What does it take to be eligible for this honor? If any (or all) of the following
statements sound like what you have been doing on your property, you may be the
landowner we are looking for.
* You undertake management activities that improve timber growth, wildlife
habitat, conservation of soil and water, recreation, aesthetics, and (as applicable)
*You have made ;, ~iif,,, t improvements, as outlined above, to your property since
you began your Stewardship management program.
*You perform much of the forest management work on the property yourself
*You have promoted the Forest Stewardship Program and encouraged other landowners
to follow a stewardship land ethic.
The landowner who earns this honor will be recognized with a ceremony and presented with
a special plaque and sign. The winner will also receive a piece of equipment, such as a
chain saw, that would come in handy on most forest properties.
If you are interested in becoming the 1996 Stewardship Landowner of the Year, or if
you know of a landowner who deserves this honor, contact your local County
Forester, Resource Biologist, Cooperative Extension Director, or natural resource
consultant. The deadline for nominations is August 31. One Landowner of the Year will
be selected from each of the five Stewardship Program regions, and the Florida
statewide winner will be chosen from among those five.
Regulations and the Forest Stewardship Program
Recently, we visited an unhappy Forest Stewardship Program participant. The local
Water Management District (WMD) had cited him for building a road through a
wetland without first obtaining a permit, and for obstructing surface water flow by not
using culverts. The landowner thought that he did not have to worry about permits since
he had a stewardship plan.
We hope that other landowners are not under this assumption. A stewardship plan does
not substitute for any permit or required action. The resource professionals who write
the plans try to suggest practices that minimize the landowner's expenses, cause the
least amount of site disturbance, and involve as little regulation as possible. If permits
cannot be avoided, the plan writers try to let landowners know what permits are needed
and where to obtain them.
If this landowner had mentioned during plan preparation that he wanted to improve access
to this area of his property to harvest timber, we would have discussed the need for
permits and possibly some alternative ways to get the job done.
We are not leaving this landowner, or any other Stewardship Program participant,
without assistance. Right now we are working with this landowner and the WMD to
resolve the problem as painlessly as possible. We are also trying to help another
landowner obtain county permits for wetland wildlife habitat improvement as
recommended in his plan.
By setting an example of ecologically sound and profitable forest management
Stewardship landowners can help convince the public that additional regulations are
Project Learning Tree
Each of us needs a basic understanding of how earth's natural systems function and of how
our economy and our lives depend on the healthy working of those systems. Children need
to start building that understanding when they are young. Toward that end, in 1976,
school teachers and natural resource professionals began Project Learning Tree (PLT)
in schools in the western U.S. This innovative environmental education program has
been such a great success that it is now used in all 50 States and several other countries.
Here are a few of the favorable comments about O
* The hands-on activities are enjoyed by both
teachers and students, teaching them how to think,
not what to think.
*PLT enables the dedicated school teachers of
tomorrow's leaders to provide I , i..'. fun-filled
learning experiences which help to develop critical
*Young people who experience PLT have the
opportunity to learn about the valuable natural
resources upon which we all depend. They also
have a chance to explore the importance of trees
and forests to our society from both the economic
and environmental standpoints.
*PLT exposes students to the challenges of
decision-making and conflict resolution regarding
land use and resource allocation.
In 1977, Florida was one of the first eastern states
to bring PLT to its schools. Florida's PLT program
grew slowly at first. Before 1991, less than 200
teachers per year were trained to include PLT in
their lessons. But, in 1994 PLT trained about 1200
teachers and in 1995, about 1600. That remarkable
achievement needs to keep growing. Each year
about 2,000 new public school teachers are hired in
Florida--and that does not include our many private schools. Much work remains to be
done before PLT's seeds can be planted in every classroom.
There are several ways that owner's of private, non-industrial forest lands can
become involved in PLT:
*Attend a one-day PLT teacher training workshop. You'll come away with first
hand understanding of this important program. You'll receive your own copy of the
PLT activity guide so you can see the methods teachers use to make PLT part of
classroom activities. Also, because a natural resource professional helps to lead
each workshop and all the many benefits offorests are discussed, you may get some new
ideas for managing your own land.
*Tell local teachers, principals, and school board members about PLT and put them in
touch with the PLT organization so that steps can be taken to hold a teacher
training workshop in your area.
*Sponsor a workshop or help find other local sources offunding. PLT is not a
government "handout". In each town or county where a training is held, financial support
to cover some workshop costs must come from local businesses or individuals.
*Ifyou know a forester, wildlife biologist, or other natural resource professional who is
not yet involved in PLT, encourage them to take part. Natural resource professionals who
can help train teachers are especially needed in south Florida.
Project Learning Tree is teachers and natural resource professionals working together so
that tomorrow's leaders--in today's classrooms--will have a sound and balanced
understanding of forests and the many benefits they provide. Teachers, natural
resource professionals, and forest landowners are encouraged to get involved in PLT and
help school children have fun getting ready to be responsible citizens in the 21st century.
For more information about PLT contact:
Florida PLT Central
PO Box 10078
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-0078
Southern Pine Beetle Update
"As long as we have lots of loblolly pine, we'll have more frequent, more widespread,
and more destructive southern pine beetle (SPB) outbreaks than our area has known in
the past (when loblolly pine was much less common in Florida)." That view, stated by
a Florida Division of Forestry (DOF) scientist, is shared by many researchers and
practicing foresters familiar with the SPB. In northern Florida, in the last 25-40 years
loblolly pine has colonized many old fields and pastures and had been widely planted
for timber production.
In March, DOF Entomologists conducted a systematic SPB trapping program. Since
1986, this type of survey has been widely used throughout the south as a way to predict
SPB activity. Predictions have proven to be accurate 75-85% of the time. In April,
the prediction for northern Florida was that the heavy SPB outbreaks of the last two
years would not occur in 1996. However, DOF did not drop it's guard and continued
aerial surveys to pick up signs of any SPB outbreaks as early as possible.
So far this year, DOF's continuing surveillance has shown that forecast to be accurate ...
with one major exception. There is now a rip-roaring southern pine beetle outbreak
in southern Hamilton County, along the Suwannee River, with some "spots" in adjoining
areas of Suwannee, Madison, and Columbia Counties. Timber company lands, State
Forests, and non-industrial private holdings have all been affected. Dense plantations as
well as older natural stands are involved. The severity of this outbreak is attributed to the
vast amount of preferred host material--loblolly pine--that is available. In this
particular infestation the attacks have not yet involved slash, longleaf or other pines
To try to stop the spread of the beetles (and to salvage the wood of the dead and dying
trees), the owners have loggers "cutting like crazy" in and around the Hamilton
Co. infestations. We hope everyone is following the correct precautions for handling
this wood: The mill should be informed in advance that infested wood is coming in. Once
at the mill, the wood and bark of the infested trees should be processed immediately,
killing all SPB eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults present.
Hurricanes and SPB outbreaks have taught the state government that it is sometimes unwise
to follow all the standard rules for cutting trees on State lands. To get infested and at-risk
trees rapidly removed and bring SPB outbreaks under control, a new "fast track procedure"
is now being followed on affected Water Management District and State Forest lands.
This arrangement seems to be working well this year; loggers start work in the woods
only about three weeks after an SPB infestation is first spotted on State lands.
So far, in this year's Hamilton Co. outbreak no premerchantable stands have been
attacked. However, 1995 infestations included some five year old stands on company
lands. The company bulldozed the infested areas and buffers around them. This worked
pretty well. With the tree trunks lying exposed in the sun, heat killed most of the beetles
in them. Also, this procedure disrupted the chemical communications that the insects use
to attack trees in overwhelming numbers; the beetles that did emerge from the felled trees
did not start new outbreaks.
SPBs are present in other areas of north Florida this year, but, with the help of other kinds
of bark beetles, they are mainly just taking out scattered trees that have been weakened
or wounded by lightning or other factors. They are not attacking nearby healthy trees. That
is how SPBs almost always operated before changes in land use provided them with
vast, dense natural stands and plantations of their preferred host, loblolly pine.
The first easily noticed sign of an SPB outbreak in your woods is a group --a half dozen
trees or more--of dying pines (trees with mostly yellowing or red needles). This would
be most likely to occur in a loblolly stand. However, when an outbreak gets going,
other pines, even longleaf, may be attacked. In an SPB infestation, the dying trees will
usually have many popcorn size "pitch tubes," up and down the trunk, where sap has
oozed out of the holes where the beetles bored in. If the victim trees were highly
stressed before the beetle attack, pitch tubes may not be present, but reddish dust from
the beetles' boring through the bark may be seen around the tree on spider webs, leaves,
and cracks in the bark. Peel some loose bark from a dead tree. Winding S-shaped
galleries (made by the tunneling adult beetles) on the inside of the loose bark are a telltale
sign of SPBs. In the kind of SPB presence that is cause for alarm, the beetles attack
healthy looking green pines near the dying ones. Pitch tubes 10-20 feet up the trunk are
the first sign of the attack on green trees. As more beetles attack the tree, more pitch
tubes appear higher and lower on the trunk.
If you come across what looks like an active SPB infestation in your woods, contact
a knowledgeable forester. If it is indeed a spreading SPB "spot", try to contain the
damage: with the forester's guidance, bring in loggers to take out the infested and at-risk
trees. In Florida today, 95% or more of the reported SPB "spots" are first noticed during
For more information about the Southern Pine Beetle, contact your local
Cooperative Extension Service office or County Forester.
Heads Up for the 1996 Longleaf Seed Crop!
(We gleaned the following information from a longleaf pine management workshops
recently put on by Tall Timbers).
As many of you know, longleaf pine seed production varies
considerably from year to year and also from area to area. In a given
area, five to ten years may pass between good seed crops. 1996 is
shaping up to be a "mast year" with exceptional longleaf cone .
production! In fact, this bumper crop extends beyond the bounds of
Florida and may cover the entire range of longleaf. This creates an
excellent opportunity for naturally regenerating longleaf pine stands.
Longleaf seeds fall from the cones from mid-late October through
November. Longleaf seed is larger and heavier than that of the other
southern pines. The wind does not carry it far, the rule of thumb
being roughly a distance equal to the height of the parent tree. These
seeds cannot easily penetrate a heavy ground cover; they need bare
mineral soil on which to germinate.
For natural regeneration of longleaf, it is best to clear away ground
cover and duff with prescribed fire within a year before seed fall.
Lands that are well-maintained through the use of regular prescribed
burning should be in good shape to catch this year's seed fall. Land
that has not been burned and has a thick ground cover of woody and
herbaceous plants can be treated by mowing, disking, and/or raking to expose bare
soil. Carefully applied, growing season burning may be another option in limited cases.
You may want to consider letting some old wildlife food plots seed in to longleaf this fall.
If your longleaf stand has a well-developed understory of gallberry and saw palmetto that
has not been thoroughly burned in the last couple of years, it's probably not practical to get
a good seed bed ready this year. But, if you begin a program of regular and
frequent prescribed fires, you can have the stand ready for the next good seed crop.
Longleaf seed germinate soon after seed fall, usually within the first week. Look for
seedlings on your land beginning in December. If an adequate number of seedlings
are present, leave the areas you intend to regenerate out of your burning schedule for at
least one season. Longleaf pine seedlings need protection from fire until they are at least
one year old.
To take advantage of this year's good longleaf pine seed crop you need to follow these
1) Check your trees for cones.
2) Look over the ground cover in the areas you want to regenerate and take action to
expose mineral soil as needed.
3) Check these areas for seedlings this winter.
4) If seedlings are present, leave the area out of the next season's burn.
Natural regeneration is not the only way the abundant longleaf seed will be used. For
those interested in direct seeding longleaf this coming fall/winter or next year, expect
greater seed availability and, possibly, lower seed prices than usual. Also, expect
more longleafto be sown in nurseries and more longleaf seedlings to be available starting
a year from this fall. (Don't expect prices of high quality longleaf seedlings to come
down much; the price of the seed is a very small portion of the cost of producing a
seedling.) But, animals other than humans will harvest most of this bumper crop:
insects, mice, squirrels, migratory birds, and other small animals will feast on the
nutritious seeds--and hawks and other predators may take prey that is a bit fatter than usual.
Seeking More Cooperation and Less Regulation
The Safe Harbor program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) aims to get
private landowners to voluntarily help protect endangered species. Enrolled landowners
agree to create or maintain habitat suitable for certain endangered species. In turn,
the government agrees that, even if the listed species takes up residence on enrolled land,
the landowner will still have the freedom to convert that land to some other use. Safe
Harbor is expected to bring about a net increase inboth the population and habitat of
the targeted endangered species, even if some of the new habitat is eventually converted
to another use.
Before Safe Harbor, the laws designed to protect endangered species actually caused
private landowners to avoid attracting these rare plants and animals to live on their
lands. Landowners believed that once you have listed species living on your property, you
can face severe restrictions on future timber harvests, conversion to agriculture, or real
estate developments on that land. Since 1982, when "incidental takings" provisions
were added to the Endangered Species Act, some private landowners have legally
altered habitat where listed species lived, but only after a very difficult permitting process.
One of the most prominent endangered species in the southeast, the Red-
Cockaded Woodpecker (RCW), requires a stand of mature longleaf pine with practically
no trees and shrubs in the understory and midstory. Until now, owners of mature
longleaf stands might have felt the need to "cut the timber before the bird gets here"
to preserve long-term land use options.
Property owners in the sandhills region of North Carolina have enrolled 17,500 acres
of potential RCW habitat in the Safe Harbor program. They have agreed in writing to
clear understory hardwoods and take other measures to make or keep their longleaf
stands attractive to the RCW. If RCWs come to live on those lands, the owner is still
free--subject to the normal land use regulations that apply in that area--to alter that habitat,
as long as the FWS is first given a chance to relocate the RCWs. The RCW population
on private land in that part of North Carolina has been steadily declining. Now, with
the voluntary cooperation of private landowners brought about by Safe Harbor, it is
expected to increase.
Our source of information (the May/June 1996 issue of "Common Ground", a newsletter
of the Conservation Fund) is unclear about whether landowners who already have
endangered species on their lands can benefit from Safe Harbor. As far as we know,
Safe Harbor is not yet working with private landowners in Florida. For more
information about this promising program, contact the FWS or a Florida wildlife biologist.
Florida Stumpage Prices, 1996, 1st Quarter
(from Timber Mart-South)
Product Region Average Range &/Ton
Northeast (1) $ 42 $ 36-48
Pine P wood Northwest (2) $ 37 $30-43
($/Std. Cord) Aer $ 15
Average $ 39 $15
Northeast (1) $ 77 $70-83
C nSa CNorthwest (2) $ 69 $61-77 $ 27
($/Std. Cord) A er $
Northeast (1) $235 $203-266
Pi($/ Sctimber Northwest (2) $248 $208-289 $32
($/MBF Scrib.) Average $ 32$242
Northeast(1) $110 $91-128
Oak Sawtimber h
Northwest (2) $94 $ 74-114 $12
($/MBF Doyle) Average $102
Mixed Hardwood Northeast (1) $114 $ 95-132
Sawtimber Northwest (2) $116 $ 92-140 $13
($/MBF Doyle) Average $115
Northeast (1) $285 $267-303
($/BF Scib.) Northwest (2) $390 $390-390 $45
($/MBF Scrib.) A a$
Northeast (1) $341 $327-354
Power PSci Northwest (2) $367 $345-389
Average $354 $47
Northeast (1) $14 $11-16
Hardwood Pulp Northwest (2) $ 14 $ 8-19 $
($/Std. Cord) Average $ $5
Average $ 14
Reminder: When sharing this price
information with others, please
include the following cautionary
remarks: This information is based
on sales in Jan.-March, 1996; since
then, general market conditions may
have changed significantly. Also,
prices vary depending on size of
tract, access, amount and quality of
timber, other stand conditions, and
distance to mills. For example,
especially during periods of wet
weather, timber on "high and dry"
tracts tends to bring better prices.
Florida Stumpage Prices,
1996, 2nd Quarter .
(from Timber Mart-South)
Product Region Average Range &/Ton
e PNortheast (1) $ 40 $ 35-45
S d Northwest (2) $ 34 $ 30-37 $14
($/Std. Cord) er $ 14
Average $ 37
Northeast (1) $ 73 $ 64-82
Chip-n-Saw Northwest (2) $ 67 $ 60-73
($/Std. Cord) Average $ 70 $26
Northeast (1) $249 $210-287
($/BFScnb Northwest(2) $239 $195-283$33
($/MBF Scrib.) Average $244
Average $244 2
Northeast (1) $94 $74-114
($/ F D le) Northwest (2) $121 $ 91-151 $12
($/MBF Doyle) Average $107
Mixed Hardwood Northeast (1) $100 $ 70-130
Sawtimber Northwest (2) $128 $109-147 $13
($/MBF Doyle) Average $114
Northeast (1) $242 $224-261
($/MBF y ) Northwest (2) $266 $238-294$34
($/MBF Scrib.) $34
Northeast (1) $316 $286-346
Northwest (2) $372 $339-405 $46
($/MBF Scrib.) Average $344
Northeast (1) $13 $10-17
Harwod Pu Northwest (2) $ 16 $ 11-20
($/Std. Cord) Average $5
Average $ 15
Reminder: When sharing this price information with others, please include the following
cautionary remarks: This information is based on sales in April-June, 1996; since then, general
market conditions may have changed significantly. Also, prices vary depending on size of tract,
access, amount and quality of timber, other stand conditions, and distance to mills. For example,
small tracts, particularly those in and around urban areas, tend to bring lower prices.
A University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service and Florida Division of
Forestry joint project:
Paul Campbell (editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, P.O. Box 110420, Gainesville,
FL 32611-0420 Tel: (352)-846-0878
Alan Long (co-editors), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF
Charles Marcus (co-editor), Florida Division ofForestry, 3125 Conner Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650
.: UNIVERSITY OF
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences