The Florida Forest Steward
Newsletter for Florida Landowners and Resource Professionals
Volume 4, No. 3
In this issue:
* Florida's Forestry Forum
* A Stewardship Horse Story
* Measuring Water Quality
* Navigating the Net for New Information
* News from Washington
* Books and Articles of Interest
* Timber Mart-South
* Current Stewardship Workshops
Florida's Forestry Forum: A Focus on the Private Forest Landowner
To a crowd of over 200, Bob Crawford, the Commissioner of Agriculture, emphasized that we can grow
trees for economic profit in an environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing manner and still protect
wildlife. He applauded the outstanding management practices of the Stewardship Landowner of the Year,
Paul Bleeling from Marion County. The Forum was held in Gainesville on Feb. 18th and 19th. It
presented a wonderful opportunity for landowners and forest professionals to not only voice their opinions
about critical issues facing forestry in Florida, but also to gather up-to-date technical information from a
wide diversity of speakers on taxes, regulations, endangered species, marketing, intensive management,
property rights and wildlife.
Guerry Doolittle of Champion International highlighted what we've done right in relation to the
environment. Since 1920, forest acreage in the United States has increased after having undergone two
centuries of decline. The percentage of forest land owned by private individuals has increased as well
which Mr. Doolittle equated with the record environmental achievement of revitalizing the nation's
Cooperation is the key word for such a successful effort. For example, a multi-agency task force
developed Florida's BMPs which are the most comprehensive in the South. Compliance with these non-
regulatory practices has increased dramatically from 84% in 1984 to 96% of landowners in 1995. The
Sustainable Forestry Initiative is another example of a cooperative venture by the American Forest and
Paper Association to set measurable standards for forest management practices.
John Alter, a forest landowner from Jackson County, spoke about trends he sees for the future of private
forest landowners. He pointed out that they should be called "working environmentalists" because of the
emphasis on sound forest management practices and the long-term perspective held by many landowners
even though they are over 60 years of age.
With the continuing public debate on private property rights he emphasized the need for forest
1. respond to misinformation using local media to clarify what forestry practices are and how most of
them generate minimal environmental impact,
2. join local service organizations which tell the forest landowners story to the public,
3. support and sponsor Project Learning Tree activities so that children learn about forest
4. demonstrate shared interests in protecting environmental quality by working with organizations
which are opposed to certain types of forest management,
5. support forestry organizations that represent private landowners, and
6. engage in dialogue and debate to enlighten the public. We have a social contract to educate the
public as to the value of forest products and required management.
What Landowners Said
Landowners surveyed before the Forum by the University of Florida indicated that there were seven
barriers to their managing their forest land more actively:
lack of marketing knowledge/opportunities
availability of technical information
assistance with prescribed burs and other forest management practices
federal and ad valorem taxes
information on wetland management practices and BMPs
ability to reforest
information on new forest management practices that are economically viable, socially sound and
Discussion groups took each of these barriers and listed the causes and possible actions which could be
taken by the organizations participating in the Forum to minimize or eliminate each barrier.
The Forum was presented by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of
Forestry, the Florida Forestry Association, USDA Forest Service, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, and
the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation. The support of numerous
sponsoring organizations was greatly appreciated. Look in the next issue of the Florida Forestry
Association's magazine for more information about what happened at the conference.
For More Information on the Forum:
Florida Forestry Association
P.O. Box 1696
Tallahassee, FL 32302
The American Forest & Paper Association
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
1111 19th St. NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036
A Stewardship Horse Story
On a beautiful, sunny day in March, Mary Farr, the manager of Horse Creek Farm and Robin Harris, the
Riding Instructor, proudly showed us their outstanding Forest Stewardship efforts in St. Johns County.
The 32 acre farm is located north of Switzerland, Florida and has a diversity of habitats including 18 acres
of planted slash pine, two acres of upland hardwoods and five acres of bottom land hardwoods which
border Mill Creek. Longleaf pine is widely scattered throughout the ranch.
A stewardship management plan was prepared right when the land was purchased in 1993. The primary
objectives of the plan are habitat improvement for wildlife species, enhanced aesthetics for horse-back
riding, establishment of pasture areas and management of timber.
With the help of resource professionals in forestry, wildlife management, and water quality from both
government and industry, Mary and her partners have used prescribed burs to enhance species diversity
and promote natural regeneration of forage species in the understory. She has noted a substantial increase
in the wildlife populations in the stand including finches, owls, squirrels, hawks, turkey, migratory birds
and gopher tortoises.
The ranch has forged community partnerships with not only the County Forester, Water Management
District and Fire Department, but also with school and community groups. Several school groups have
been active in building bird boxes, establishing a butterfly garden and making name plates for different
tree species. Mary plans to ask the local Audubon group to consider using her property for bird counts and
identification of migratory species such as Eastern blue birds and yellow-throated warblers.
Selective, small-scale logging operations of plots ranging in size from one to five acres was both difficult
and demanding. "It was hard to find professional help to harvest such small areas", Mary told us. The job
required constant supervision to avoid damaging trees adjacent to the harvest area.
Having recently completed construction of a small bridge, the next project will be to design a trail system
for the riding school that meanders through the woods past the horse cemetery and the oddly-shaped
meditation tree that twists into a natural seat. Overall, Mary and her partners have enthusiastically
implemented the management practices in their Stewardship plan and have been very pleased by the
For More Information:
Selecting a Logger:
Florida's Master Logger Directory 1997. Lists contact information for all loggers who have successfully
completed the Florida Master Logger Course which focuses on current government regulations,
environmental concerns and business management techniques. The directory is available by writing:
Florida's Forestry Association
PO Box 1696
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1696
Fax: (904) 222-6179
A prescribed bum course is offered three times per year (Feb., April and May), by the Division of
Forestry in conjunction with Hillsborough Community College and several other state agencies. It is an
intensive, week-long prescribed fire course which includes planning for and conducting a prescribed bum.
This popular course cost $280 (including room and board at a state forest or park), so if you are interested,
book now for next year. For more information contact:
Hillsborough Community College
Division of Environmental Programs
1206 N Park Rd
Plant City, FL 33566
The Division of Forestry's home page also has a description of this and other educational
opportunities under Standards and Training at: http://flame.doacs.state.fl.us
Measuring Water Quality
(Submitted by Chris Demers, University of Florida, Research/Extension Assistant)
Freshwater mussels? It's likely that you've never even noticed them, and if you have, you probably think
these immobile creatures are about as fascinating as mud. But, a close look at creatures that are small,
quiet, ugly and slow usually reveals that they are just as amazing and important as those glamorous
wildlife species that seem to get all the attention.
How many anglers know that certain freshwater mussels living on stream bottoms were "catching" fish
with artificial bait long before any human came up with the idea? The shinyrayed pocketbook, a mussel
found in certain pristine north Florida streams, dangles a minnow-shaped sac of its larvae at the end of a
mucous strand similar to a worm on the end of a fishing line. Large-mouth bass are attracted to this
remarkable "bait." The bass' strike allows the larvae to swim free and attach to the gills of the fish. After
about two weeks on the gills, the pinhead-size mussel larvae drop off the fish and then continue to
develop as they drift in the current of the stream. Later, they settle to the bottom and grow into shelled
adults. Most mussel species require a host fish on which the larvae develop.
The U.S. has about 180 species of mussels, most of which are found in rivers and streams in the southeast.
An additional 100 species have gone extinct over the last 30 years, due to human activities. About 60
mussel species are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 with 70
more proposed for listing. Among them are eight species found only in certain streams draining southeast
Alabama, southwest Georgia, and north Florida. Many mussel species are being affected by stream
channelization, bank clearing, gravel mining, impoundment, siltation and pollution from industrial
agricultural and urban activities. Harvesting mussels for food and for the pearl industry are also potential
threats to native mussels.
Why should we be concerned about mussels? What good are they? For one thing, they are biological
monitors sitting at the bottom of the river, the "miner's canary" that can give an early warning that water
quality is declining. When populations of mussels and other benthic (bottom-dwelling) life forms are in
trouble, it is a warning that many other creatures in and around the stream may soon be in danger. A
healthy stream bottom is home for many organisms -- insect larvae, snails, crawfish, waterlice, mussels,
and certain fish -- that are the basic food for most fish. Erosion, channelization, and other disturbances
damage and even destroy benthic communities. As a result, fish populations decline. Because certain
mussels are highly sensitive to changes in water quality, researchers find them to be excellent indicators
of river and stream health. In Florida, a team of researchers from the Division of Forestry, the Water
Management Districts and several other agencies is testing the effectiveness of silvicultural BMPs by
using biological organisms in streams to monitor changes in water quality. Contact your local DOF office
for more information on BMPs.
For More Information Contact:
Biological Resources Division of USGS
E-mail: jim williams(@nbs.gov
USDA Fish and Wildlife Service
6620 Southpoint Drive, South, Suite 310,
Jacksonville, FL 32216-0912.
Navigating the Net
There's an amazing amount of forest information on the world wide web and it can take hours to navigate
through what's out there. We will highlight a few homepages you might want to explore in each
newsletter. Here's a sample of a few sites to browse:
THE ELECTRONIC FOREST RESOURCES LIBRARY has a fantastic website that links you to
valuable information on many topics throughout the south including subscriptions to Timber-Mart South,
technical information from Cooperative Extension Service sites in many states and lots of federal
information and homepages related to forestry, wildlife and the environment.
Located at this web address: http://www.uga.edu/-soforext/ is a map of the southern states that you can
click on which automatically sends you to loads of forest information at Cooperative Extension Service
sites in the "clicked" state. Below the map, are Southern Forestry Extension newsletters, the Forest
Owners' Guide to Federal Income Tax which you can read by downloading an acrobat reader and several
hotlinks to other forestry resource homepages.
Lets walk through an example of how to use this homepage. To find more information on mussels and
water quality from the previous article, you can click on Georgia on the map, then select Environment
and scan down the list of articles to one by Kim Koder on Freshwater Mussels.
FOREST PROTECTION is the name of the Florida Division of Forestry's home page. It has lots of
useful information on wildfire season statistics and history, maps of Florida from the 1600-1700s, how to
contact field offices around the state and prescribed fire technical information and training courses. There
are also links to state forestry sites throughout the nation as well as the USDA Forest Service. Check out
the "questions answered with a single picture" section! Located at: http://flame.doacs.state.fl.us/
THE SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION's homepage at the University
of Florida has forestry extension information including: news, activities, stewardship, reforestation, urban
forestry, natural resources education, alternative enterprises and publications. There are also links to other
important forestry related materials. Located at: http://aris.sfrc.ufl.edu/Extension
FORESTRY GRAB BAG OF FOREST RELATED SITES is in a draft format right now, but it has
tons of useful links to forest industry, research and government. Located at: http://www.igc.apc.org/forest/
SEVENTH AMERICAN FORESTRY CONGRESS: MANY VOICES -A COMMON VISION has
information from throughout the nation on efforts to form partnerships between stakeholder groups for
developing sound forest policy. Located at: http://www.cis.vale.edu/forest congress
To get an overview of the global resources on the net in forestry try browsing through this clearinghouse:
FORESTRY INFORMATION RESOURCES ON THE INTERNET homepage located at: http:/
www.metla.fi/pp/JSaa/doc/Toronto94-09.htm. This site has extensive descriptions of resources on the
web, such as listserves (which are E-mail messages from others who are interested in a particular topic),
use groups (which are discussion groups on specialized topics), and archives (which are storage sites for
information that you can copy). This site not only lists all the different electronic resources available, but
it also describes what each particular information resource is and how you subscribe or find it on the web.
There are instructions for conducting a search for a specific topic or how to obtain regular news updates
on almost any forest topic.
Having trouble searching the web for more information on forestry topics? One search engine that finds
the exact phrase that you are looking for is Hotbot located at: http://www.hotbot.com For example,
entering the phrase, "prescribed burning" results in information at websites on fire ecology, alternatives to
prescribed burning, laws on agricultural burning and lots of other relevant topics. You can specify date,
location, area to modify your search to get the information you want instead of lots of listings to wade
through that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.
News From Washington: SIP, EQIP and CRP Programs
Landowners who have applied for SIP funding should have been notified concerning the status of their
applications in mid-April. The two excerpts from USDA news releases below outline the key elements of
two other government programs. If you are interested in keeping up with USDA news releases, check out
their home page on the World Wide Web at http://www.usda.gov
$200 Million for New Environmental Program (EQIP)
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced in March preliminary state funding allocations for the
USDA's new $200 million Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), that will help farmers and
ranchers address agriculture's priority natural resource and environmental problems.
EQIP is a new USDA program created by the 1996 Farm Bill. It provides technical, financial, and
educational assistance to farmers and ranchers to address significant natural resource concerns and
objectives. EQIP replaces four previous programs including the Agricultural Conservation Program which
was heavily used by Florida's forest landowners to establish forestry practices.
Under EQIP, USDA can provide cost-share assistance to family-sized farms and ranches for up to 75
percent of the costs of certain environmental protection practices, such as grassed waterways, filter strips,
manure management facilities, capping abandoned wells, and wildlife habitat enhancement. Forestry
practices used to protect soil and water resources or enhance wildlife habitat may also be eligible for
EQIP will be delivered primarily to state priority areas. Under EQIP, state priority areas are watersheds,
or geographic regions, with special environmental sensitivity or significant soil, water, or related natural
resource concerns. Each state's priority areas were locally-determined by the NRCS state conservationist,
in conjunction with state technical committees and USDA Farm Service Agency personnel.
To determine state funding allocations, another USDA team developed an objective rating system based
on 26 national environmental factors. These factors addressed a wide range of natural resource conditions,
such as soil erosion and deposition, water quality and quantity, wildlife habitat, wetlands, grazing lands,
and other concerns. Initial state funding for Florida's EQIP program assistance is $3,250,000.
"The new EQIP program is part of the Clinton Administration's commitment to providing farmers and
ranchers with flexible, effective and voluntary conservation programs," Glickman said. "The EQIP will be
one of our key tools to help producers protect natural resources and ensure the sustainability of our food
supply." Producers will be able to sign EQIP contracts when the final rules and regulations for the
program are published in the Federal Register. In June, producers should contact local USDA Service
Centers and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for information on possible eligibility
for EQIP. Producers also can work with NRCS to develop their own conservation plans which are
required for any EQIP contract.
Successful CRP Sign-up
Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman announced the successful conclusion of the sign-up period for the
new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). "Preliminary figures from the field show that we got
approximately 301,650 offers for almost 26 million acres," said Glickman. "Of these, nearly 8 million are
new and offered for the first time, and the remaining 18 million or so are currently enrolled in contracts
due to expire in September." This large pool of offers will allow the USDA to enroll those acres yielding
the highest environmental benefits. "That helps us get the biggest bang for the taxpayers' buck," he added.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is based on voluntary partnerships between government and
members of the public. Agricultural producers receive annual rental payments and cost-share assistance
for establishing various kinds of protective cover on suitable farm property to protect and improve air,
water, soil quality, and habitat for wildlife. Rents are based on local market rates, and acres are chosen so
as to yield the greatest resulting environmental benefit. All land that is enrolled in the program must
compete for acceptance based on an environmental benefits index that ensures fair and equal
consideration for all types of land. Producers will be notified by mid-June as to which acres have been
accepted into the CRP.
The states of Texas, North Dakota, and Montana finished the sign-up period with the highest numbers of
acres offered. Producers offered about 3.4 million acres in Texas, 2.5 million in North Dakota, and 2.3
million in Montana. In comparison, Florida had 1,503 offers on 75,591 acres. Approximately 80% of the
acreage offered in Florida was for re-enrollment of land that is currently enrolled in CRP (mostly in pine
Books and Articles of Interest:
Safer Tree Felling
The National Arbor Day Foundation recommends the, Fallers and Buckers' Handbook as one of the best
books currently available on safe methods for tree cutting.
The 114 page book is intended primarily for professional loggers, but its clear text and illustrations on
care of equipment, protective clothing, directional felling and all phases of tree felling are equally
valuable for anyone interested in tree cutting. The book was produced by the Workers' Compensation
Board of British Columbia and is free for the asking at:
6951 Westminister Hwy
Richmond, BC V7C 1C6
Phone: (604) 276-3068
Timber Mart-South Update
The first quarter Timber Mart-South report has just been released. State averages for pine pulpwood and
chip-and-saw stumpage were up 5% to 10% over fourth quarter 1996 averages, while pine and oak
sawtimber or plylogs were up 20% to 25%. Hardwood pulpwood was unchanged. Full copies of the
Florida report will be available in County Extension offices in early May.
Current Stewardship Workshops
Announcements for the April and May Forest Stewardship Workshops were mailed to everyone on the
mailing list. Forested Wetlands Ecology and Management Workshops for Stewardship landowners will be
held April 28 and 30 in Callahan and Gainesville, respectively. Alternative Enterprises for Your
Timberland: Managing andMarketing Cattle or Pine Straw will be held May 5 in Jasper.
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I UNIVERSITY OF
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food and Agricultural sciences
A University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service and Florida Division of Forestry joint
Anne Todd Bockarie (editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, P.O. Box 110410, Gainesville, FL
Alan Long (co-editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF
Charles Marcus (co-editor), Florida Division of Forestry, 3125 Conner Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650