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Volume 10, No. 1
Congratulations Master Wildlifers
Wildlife Forages for Florida
Forest Legacy Program
Spotlight on Florida Wild Turkeys
Wildlife Plant Feature
Timber Price Update
Upcoming Events Florida Forestry Information Bulletin
THE FLORIDA FOREST STEWARD A Quarterly Newsletter for Florida Landowners and Resource
A University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service and Florida Division of Forestry joint project:
Chris Demers (editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, P.O. Box 110410, Gainesville, FL
32611-0410, (352) 846-2375 or cdemers(nmail. ifas. uf edu
Alan Long (co-editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, (352) 846-0891 or ajl2(ufl. edu
Todd Groh (co-editor), Florida Division ofForestry, 3125 Conner Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650, (850)
414-9907 or groht1(doacs. state. f. us
Chuck McKelvy (co-editor), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 3125 Conner Blvd,
Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650, (850) 414-9911 or mckelvc(~fwc.state.fl.us
Congratulations to all Master Wildlifers who attended at least 18 hours of the shortcourse last
February and March, and a warm welcome to those Master Wildlifers who are receiving the Florida
Forest Steward Newsletter for the first time. We have added you to our Forest Stewardship Program
mailing list so that you will receive this publication and announcements to our upcoming natural
resource workshops, tours and other events.
The Master Wildlifer program was a resounding success the Clemson University satellite broadcast
shortcourse reached over 440 landowners and wildlife enthusiasts across Florida and over 4,000
landowners around the Southeast. In addition to the 440 landowners participating in Florida, another
100 natural resource, academic, and extension professionals served on support committees at 20
downlink sites around the State. The program could not have happened without the help and support
of these folks:
Site Coordinators: John Alleyne, John Atkins, Logan Barbee, Lamar Christenberry, Chris Demers,
Diann Douglas, Gerald Edmondson, Eleanor Foerste, Lynn Gager, Sharon Gamble, Mike Goodchild,
Susan Hedge, Brenda Holloway, Ed Jowers, Elizabeth Maitland, Mike Renwick, Stan Rosenthal,
Ken Rudisill, Paulette Tomlinson, Allen Tyree, Larry Varnadoe, and Ray Zerba.
Site Committees: Andy Andreason, Tim Atkinson, Donna Belcher, Tim Boring, Steve Carpenter,
Robing Marquette, Kendall Carson, Bill Clark, Louis Claudio, Shep Eubanks, Fred Gilliam, Pat
Grace, Henry Grant, Larry Halsey, Jon Handrick, Ann Hanson, Craig Iversen, Paula Jensen, Bill
Kelsey, Charles King, Aaron Levine, Mariaisabel Merizalde-Colletti, Josh Mayfield, Nik McCue,
Jeff Mullahey, John Pankow, Barbara Pledger, Trisha Pohlmann, Will Sheftall, Trent Skill, Bern
Smith, Charles Strauch, Dana Sussmann, Linda Ulesth, Robin Vickers, Bruce Ward, Tim Wilkinson,
and Maria Wilson.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Biologists: Mark Asleson, Geoff Brown,
David Cook, Terry Doonan, Justin Ellenberger, Jeff Gore, Wayne Harris, Harry Harter, Leslie
Hawkins, Earling Hunter, Arlo Kane, Chuck McKelvy, Ashley Joye, Karen Lamonte, Jeff McGrady,
Paul Moler, Cory Morea, Erin Myers, Larry Perrin, Jerry Pitts, Roger Shields, and Collin Smith.
Agency / Organization Support: Thomas Gilpin, Todd Groh, Charles Maynard, and Earl Peterson
of the Florida Division of Forestry; Brad Gruver, Chuck McKelvy, Frank Montalbano, Tim O'Meara,
and Nick Wiley of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Vickie Allen and Jeff
Doran of the Florida Forestry Association; and Rod Clauser, Freddie Johnson, Mitch Flinchum, Alan
Long, Joseph Schaefer, Wayne Smith, Pete Vergot, and Christine Waddill of the University of
Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Sponsors: Fred Simons of Carden & Sprott Insurance Agency; Kevin Morgan of Florida Farm
Bureau; and Dianne Hines and Sal Riveeccio of Florida Wildlife Federation.
State Coordinators: Chris Demers and Will Sheftall of the University of Florida Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HARD WORK AND SUPPORT!
With the Master Wildlifer program fresh in many of our minds, this is a good time to review an on-
going, collaborative effort by UF- IFAS and the Florida Fish and Widlife Conservation Commission
to determine which forages are really the best value in Florida. While nature lovers and hunters
invest in a multitude of wildlife forage products on the market, University of Florida forage
specialists believe buyers don't always get what they pay for and that they pay too much. IFAS and
several State wildlife biologists joined together recently to look at what works and what doesn't.
Because there is not much hard data on food plots for wildlife, UF-IFAS horticultural specialist
Steve Olson, along with forage workers Ann Blount, Ken Quesenberry, Ron Barnett, Gordon Prine,
and Carrol Chambliss set out to evaluate commercial forage products, as well as recommend recipes
for wildlife that can be assembled with adapted varieties available at many feed stores. These blends
should be suitable for light, sandy soils and be relatively inexpensive. County extension agents have
taken the lead in planting trials in many north and south Florida counties, to make valid comparisons
of wildlife forages, rather than base recommendations on testimonials. You can often see these trials
first hand in yours or neighboring counties. Forages are evaluated on their adaptation to the region,
including resistance to disease, insect, and nematode pressures. Seasonal distribution, forage
production and utilization by wildlife are the key elements used in rating the food plot materials. The
end result should be a win-win-win for the wildlife, you-the wildlife enthusiast, and IFAS.
So far the team has discovered that a few choice blends are biologically and economically suitable
for Florida wildlife forage plots. Blends containing locally adapted varieties of oats, ryegrass, wheat,
crimson clover, red clover, and white clover seem to work the best in this part of the country.
Specific variety and forage blend recommendations are available in two IFAS Extension
publications recently completed by this group: "A Walk on the Wild Side: Cool Season Forage
Recommendations for Wildlife Food Plots in North Florida" (SS-AGR-28), which is an abbreviated
version of "Wildlife Forages for North Florida Part I: Cool Season Food Plots" (SS-AGR-30).
Both of these are available for viewing, downloading and printing on the IFAS Electronic Data
Information Source (EDIS) at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/TOPIC Wildlife Forages. Also check with
your local county agent about updates on wildlife forage recommendations.
Dr. Ann Blount can be reached at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna at
850-482-9849, ablount(kL ail ifas. ufl. edu.
Energywood: a Marketing Opportunity for Short-Rotation Trees?
Timberland owners in the South may see a new wood-using industry develop that, in time, could
conceivably become as big as the pulp and paper business. This new industry is biomass energy, or
Based on an estimate given by W. N. Haynes of Timberland Managers, Inc. in last quarter's Timber
Mart-South summary report, one ton of hardwood or pine chips, depending on moisture content, has
the same British thermal unit (BTU) value as that of one barrel of oil or one-half ton of coal. With
oil selling at around $28 to $32 per barrel and pine pulpwood selling at a delivered price of $22 or
less per ton, pulpwood is theoretically worth more for energy than pulp. Most of the intensively
managed pine plantations in the south are growing about 10 to 12 tons of merchantable timber per
acre per year. Translated to BTUs, they are growing 12 to 15 barrels of oil per acre per year, the
difference being in the non-merchantable portion of the trees. Another advantage of selling trees for
biomass fuels is the ability to include the entire tree in the sale, regardless of species or size; and
insect infested, fire killed, and invasive exotic trees can be sold as energywood as well.
This business of producing energy from trees would clearly be an economic boost for landowners
and loggers alike and it would have important benefits to society as well:
-This renewable source of energy could reduce our dependence on foreign and domestic oil reserves.
-Biomass from intensively managed plantations could result in a positive contribution to the oxygen/
carbon dioxide balance in the atmosphere carbon that is released into the atmosphere from the fuel
burned this year could be captured by the next year's growth.
-Tree biomass mixed with coal to produce electricity could significantly reduce sulfur air pollutants.
Is there a market for energywood?
There is but the emphasis is currently on hardwoods. According to some local producers of
energywood, one obstacle to using pine for energywood is the abundance of "wild" biomass in the
form of unwanted hardwoods that are available at no cost. In fact, many landowners will pay to have
hardwoods removed to make way for new homes.
Very few power plants are fueled exclusively by energywood. Most of the power plants using
energywood are using an approach called co-firing, which means the power generation facility is
modified to allow use of energy crop fuel, changing the fuel mix from 100% fossil fuels (such as
coal, oil, natural gas) to approximately 5% energy crop fuel and 95% fossil fuels. This doesn't sound
like a significant shift but, according to the Treepower Web site, it is very significant when
recognizing the tremendous size of these facilities. For example, co-firing energy crops at just one
medium size power plant (365 MWs) would be the equivalent of installing over 18,000 large solar
While markets for energywood are currently limited, there seems to be growing interest in "green
fuels" as a means to increase energy efficiency. Should more utilities start using energywood for all
or a percentage of their fuel, as is proposed by pending legislation in the Florida Senate, markets for
low value pines could develop.
For more information about this technology from both the crop and firing perspectives, see the
Treepower Web site at www.treepower.org/.
Forest Legacy Program
by Ed Kuester, Forest Legacy Program Administrator, Florida Division of Forestry
The rapid development of Florida's forest areas to nonforest uses poses an ever-increasing threat to
maintaining the state's valuable forestlands. Fragmentation and parcelization across our state is
resulting in the loss of these valuable ecosystems and their biological, economic and social values
they provide. In response to these trends, Governor Bush recently appointed the Florida Division of
Forestry as the lead agency to administer the Forest Legacy Program (FLP) in Florida, an action
uniting Florida with 31 other States now participating in that Program. The FLP is a voluntary
program that resulted from the Federal Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, was amended
in the 1990 Farm Bill, and renewed in the 2002 Farm Bill.
The FLP will protect designated forest areas, called Forest Legacy Areas, which are being identified
by the Florida Division of Forestry in consultation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating
Committee with significant public involvement and input. The USFS provides grant funds to help
prepare an Assessment of Need (AON), a statewide plan that identifies the threats of conversion to
non-forest uses facing private forests, and also identifies where the environmentally important
private forests are located. This AON plan is based on existing data, public participation, and State
lead agency analysis. The final plan will be sent to the USDA Secretary for approval. Typically the
planning process takes 8-18 months, but Florida will try to do it in less than six months. Once the
AON is approved, Florida will be eligible for additional funds to purchase land or interests in land
consistent with their AON goals and objectives.
Florida's program will encourage and support the acquisition of conservation easements on
privately-owned forestlands. These easements are legally binding agreements that transfer a
negotiated set of property rights from one party to another. The property remains in private
ownership and forest management uses can continue. Florida will receive Federal funds from the
Forest Service in a grant and then undertake the real estate transaction and accept title of
conservation easements in the name of the State. Forest Legacy grants require at least a 25% non-
Federal contribution. These grants are specific to Forest Legacy projects and are matched with non-
Federal dollars on a project-by-project basis.
For more information about the Forest Legacy Program in Florida, contact Ed Kuester, Forest
Legacy Program Administrator, Florida Division of Forestry, Phone: 850-414-9929, Fax: 850-921-
6724, kuestee()doacs.state.fl. us.
Spotlight on Florida Wild Turkeys
By Larry Perrin, Wild Turkey Management Section, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Wild turkeys are considered "generalist species" meaning that they do not require specialized food
or habitat. This is quite evident from the fact that wild turkeys occur from Canada to Mexico, and
from Rhode Island to Hawaii. Even though wild turkeys are widely distributed, they are the same
species; however, scientists have designated five subspecies of wild turkey. The two subspecies of
wild turkey that occur in Florida are the Osceola, or Florida, subspecies (Meleagris gallopavo
osceola) and the eastern subspecies (M. gallopavo silvestris). The difference between the Osceola
and eastern subspecies is minor, with the Osceola tending to be a little darker in coloration. This is
most notable on the primary feathers (large flight feathers on the wing), which have less white
markings than comparable feathers of the eastern subspecies. The white markings are narrow and
often do not extend across the vane of the feather.
The eastern subspecies occurs primarily throughout the eastern United States, including north
Florida and the panhandle portion of the state, where, it intergrades with the Osceola. The Osceola
subspecies only occurs in the peninsular portion of Florida. Consequently, turkey hunters wanting to
harvest each of the turkey subspecies must come to Florida for the Osceola. This makes the Osceola
an extremely valuable natural resource, which is evident by the number of non-resident turkey
hunters coming to Florida each year (approximately 1,700 to 1,800 non-residents are hunting the
While turkeys are generalist species, and can therefore live in a wide variety of plant communities
and climates, a key to their well-being is vegetation structure. For the most part, turkeys prefer low,
moderately open herbaceous vegetation (less than three feet in height) that they can see through, or
see over, and through which they can easily move in relatively close proximity to forested cover.
Such open habitat conditions help them see and avoid predators and these areas will typically
provide sufficient food in terms of edible plants, fruit, seeds, and insects.
Newly hatched turkeys, referred to as poults, need grassy, open areas so they can find an abundance
of insects. Such areas are usually the most critical, and often the most lacking habitat in Florida.
Under ideal conditions for turkeys, grassy openings would occupy approximately 25 percent of a
turkey's home range. Openings should be scattered throughout an area, varying in size from 1 to 20
acres, and irregular in shape to maximize the amount of adjacent escape cover (moderately dense
vegetation or forested areas that can provide hiding places from predators or other disturbances).
Large, expansive openings (e.g., large pastures) without any escape cover are not as useful for
turkeys since they generally will not venture more than 100 yards away from suitable cover.
Managing your land for turkeys
Management can be as simple as regulating the number of turkey hunters, or turkeys harvested; or
can involve extensive efforts to increase the amount of available turkey habitat through the use of
prescribed burning, active timber management (i.e., thinnings, daylighting roads), mowing, and the
establishment of wildlife openings. Use of these, and other management elements, will depend on
your particular situation with respect to your land's features and available money, labor, and
Turkeys may easily range over a couple of thousand acres, so turkey management efforts need to
consider the size of your property and what management your neighbors are doing. For instance, if
you have 500 acres or less, your turkey population will likely depend a lot on the surrounding lands.
In this situation, if your neighbors are doing very little management and they do not have many open
areas, you can likely attract a lot of wildlife by maximizing your wildlife openings. Obviously, the
opposite of this is true as well.
A popular management technique for turkeys and other wildlife is planting food plots. However, this
management option can be expensive, time consuming, and unsuccessful if the weather does not
cooperate. If you decide to go with food plots, conduct soil tests so the correct amount of fertilizer
and lime can be applied. Although this technique has become popular, a more comprehensive
approach would be to improve overall habitat conditions using management techniques such as
active timber management, prescribed burning and mowing. These management applications can be
applied to larger acreage and are perhaps more cost effective and beneficial for a host of wildlife,
Additional management points to consider:
1- Protect hardwood areas such as oak hammocks and creek bottoms as these plant communities
often provide highly desirable fall and winter food sources (e.g., acorns).
2- Do not initiate predator control as a primary management tool since turkeys have evolved as a
prey species and effective predator control is expensive and time consuming (it is better to spend
this time and money on habitat improvements).
3- Be cautious with feeders as grain allowed to remain in moist, humid conditions, as well as grain
sold as wildlife food (rather than livestock feed, e.g., deer corn), may contain sufficient amounts of
aflatoxin (a poison produced by fungus) that can be detrimental to turkeys and other wildlife.
4- Do not release turkeys of any variety into the wild, since Florida law prohibits the release of any
animals that may adversely affect native wildlife, or may reasonably be expected to transmit disease
to naturally occurring wildlife. Pen-reared turkeys will not have the wildness necessary to survive
and reproduce, and they can potentially spread disease to existing wild turkeys. Improving habitat is
a much better management approach.
Larry Perrin can be reached at 850-627-9674 or Larry.Perrin(@fwc.state.fl.us.
Wildlife Plant Feature: Blackberry (Rubus spp.)
Blackberry is an important
wildlife food and cover
plant that is widely
distributed throughout the
eastern United States. It is
a hardy plant that grows in
a variety of climates and
may do well in both cool,
northeastern regions and
hot, central Florida
Form: blackberries (otherwise called brambles) are perennial shrubs that are characteristically
armed with sharp barbs along the stems and midribs of the leaves.
Leaves: often compound, with 3 to 5 leaflets with serrated edges.
Flowers: small, white, 5-petaled flowers grow in loose clusters near the tips of the branches.
Fruit: an edible cluster, 3/4" to 1" long, of tiny drupelets that turn deep bluish-black when ripe.
Wildlife value: the fruit is an important food source for many wildlife species including black bear,
deer, rabbit, and numerous songbirds. Deer also browse on the leaves and woody shoots. Small
mammals, game birds and snakes frequently use blackberry thickets for shelter and nesting sites.
Miller, J.H. and K.V. Miller. 1999. Forest Plants of the Southeast and their Wildlife Uses. Southern
Weed Science Society. Champaign, Ill. 454 pp.
For more information on wildlife food plants see the reference above or the University of Florida's 4-
H Companion Plant page at www.sfrc.ufl.edu/4h/Trees Plants/Plants/plants.html
Timber Price Update
This information is useful for observing
trends over time, but does not necessarily
reflect current conditions at a particular
location. Landowners considering a timber
sale would be wise to let a consulting
forester help them obtain the best current
prices. Note that price per ton for each
product is now included in parentheses
after the price per cord.
Stumpage price ranges reported across Florida in the 1st quarter 2003 Timber Mart-South (TMS)
report were $17-$20/cord ($6-$9/ton) for pine pulpwood, $43-$70/cord ($16-$26/ton) for pine C-N-
S, $72-$100/cord ($27-$37/ton) for pine sawtimber, and $98-$118/cord ($36-$44/ton) for pine
plylogs. On average, prices were down for all products from 4th quarter 2002 prices. Hardwood
pulpwood prices ranged from $14-$2 1/cord ($5-$7/ton), which was up slightly from those of the
previous quarter. A more complete summary of 1st quarter 2003 stumpage prices is available at your
County Extension office.
South-wide average prices varied for the major timber products last quarter. Continuing wet weather
across the region kept average pulpwood prices on the rise. Pine sawtimber prices remained strong,
above those of a year ago, but pine chip-n-saw lost most of the quarter's gains and continues its
downward trend. This slump for C-N-S is reportedly due to a lower demand for smaller, low-quality
sawtimber. Hardwood pulpwood stumpage prices are strong, only a few cents below the south-wide
record high price set in early 1998.
Click on the link to see the graph use the "Back" function to return here.
Stewardship Mailing List We Still Need Your Help
We're still looking for updated addresses. U.S. Post Offices in some parts of the state are no longer
delivering to route-box addresses (example: RR 1 Box 234). They will only deliver to 911
addresses: a house number followed by a road, street, drive, lane, circle, place, etc. (example: 123
Hound Dog Rd). PO Box addresses are good too. If you currently have a route-box address and
know your 911 address, please take a moment to send your 911 address to Chris Demers at
University of Florida, PO Box 110410, Gainesville, FL 32611; or cdemers(~ mail.ifas.ufl.edu. If you
don't know your 911 address, ask your local post office. If your 911 address is not yet available,
simply send it to us when it is. Thanks very much in advance for your help!