Title: Timber - grazing - game
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00026375/00001
 Material Information
Title: Timber - grazing - game
Alternate Title: Bulletin 127 ; Florida Agricultural Extension Service
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Nieland, Louis T.
Publisher: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Publication Date: December, 1945
Copyright Date: 1945
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026375
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aab7777 - LTQF
amt7507 - LTUF
18374735 - OCLC
002571192 - AlephBibNum


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The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

rEB2594GJR A


N u

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
A. P. SPENCER, Director

J. THOS. GURNEY, Chairman, Orlando N. B. JORDAN, Quincy
THOSE. W. BRYANT, Lakeland J. HENSON MARKHAM, Jacksonville
M. L. MERSHON, Miami J. T. DIAMOND, Secretary, Tallahassee
JOHN J. TIGERT, M.A., LL.D., President of the University
H. HAROLD HUME, D.Sc., Provost for Agriculture
A. P. SPENCER, M.S., Director of Extension
MARSHALL O. WATKINS, B.S.A., Assistant to the Director
Agricultural Demonstration Work, Gainesville
CLYDE BEALE, A.B.J., Assistant Editor'
JEFFERSON THOMAS, Assistant Editor'
A. W. O'STEEN, B.S.A., Supervisor, Egg-Laying Test
RUBY NEWHALL, Administrative Manager1
W. T. NETTLES, B.S., District Agent
J. LEE SMITH, District Agent and Agronomist
E. F. DEBUSK, B.S., State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
H. S. McLENDON, B.A., Asst. State Supervisor, Emergency Farm Labor
HANS O. ANDERSON, B.S.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
P. L. PEADEN, M.A., Asst. State Supervisor, EFL
H. G. CLAYTON, M.S.A., State Director, Production and Marketing Admin.1
R. S. DENNIS, Assistant State Director, Production and Marketing Admin.1
R. W. BLACKLOCK, A.B., Boys' Club Agent
W. W. BASSETT, JR., B.S.A., Assistant Boys' Club Agent2
A. L. SHEALY, D.V.M., Animal Industrialist'
HAMLIN L. BROWN, B.S., Dairyman
N. R. MEHRHOF, M.AGR., Poultryman'
WALTER J. SHEELY, B.S., Animal Husbandman
L. T. NIELAND, Farm Forester
C. V. NOBLE, PH.D., Agricultural Economist1
CHARLES M. HAMPSON, M.S., Agricultural Economist, Farm Management
D. E. TIMMONS, M.S.A., Economist in Marketing2
ZACH SAVAGE, M.S., Economist'
JOSEPH C. BEDSOLE, B.S.A., Assistant in Land-Use Planning'
K. S. MCMULLEN, B.S.A., Soil Conservationist
Home Demonstration Work, Tallahassee
MARY E. KEOWN, M.S., State Agent
RUBY MCDAVID, District Agent
ETHYL HOLLOWAY, B.S., District Agent
MRS. EDITH Y. BARRUS, District Agent
ANNA MAE SIKES, M.S., Specialist in Nutrition
VIRGINIA P. MOORE, Home Improvement Agent
ISABELLE S. THURSBY, Specialist in Food Conservation
JOYCE BEVIS, M.A., Clothing Specialist
Negro Extension Work, Tallahassee
A. A. TURNER, Local District Agent
FLOY BRITT, B.S.H.E., Local District Agent
1 Part-time.
2On leave.

By L. T. NIELAND, Extension Forester

Timber and game were fundamental natural resources of
Florida long before the white man ever set foot on its shores.
Grazing has been important ever since cattle were introduced
to the State by the Spaniards 4 centuries ago. Today both
timber and grazing are of greater importance than ever before.
Because the old practice of burning off the dead wiregrass
cover to improve early spring grazing often plays havoc with
pine timber stands, a new approach which might provide for
both cattle and trees appears to be needed.
Believing that a way could be found to combine timber and
grazing and form a better basis for utilization of the land, pro-
vide effective fire barriers in wide strips and result in benefits to
the timber owner, the cattleman and the State, the author in
1940 proposed a combined timber-grazing-game program. This
program has attracted widespread attention. It has appealed
to owners of both timber and cattle.
Of Florida's 35 million acres of land, about 21/2 million acres,
or 7 percent, are in cultivation. It is estimated that an addi-
tional 11/2 million acres are in urban property, highways, rail-
roads, airports and similar uses. That leaves approximately
31 million acres, or nearly 89 percent of the State's area, which
is or may be made available for such extensive uses as timber
growing, grazing and wildlife development.


The State's future and expansion depend, to a large extent,
upon the constructive use of these 31 million acres of untilled
land. When this vast acreage begins to produce in maximum
amount, under the ownership and management of those who
live on the land, all of the timber, grass and game each acre is
capable of producing, a new wealth and wellbeing in magnitude
as yet undreamed will come to Florida.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.-The author expresses appreciation to the
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the pictures used at bottom of the
front cover, in Fig. 4 and on the back cover; and the USDA Extension
Service for making the drawings.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Fig. 1.-The timber-grazing-game program is a "natural" for Florida
cutover lands. This sketch shows how a section of 640 acres of forest land
is protected from fire by wide strips of improved pasture grass which are
grazed closely by cattle. The ponds provide a place for fish and assure a
water supply for the cattle.



Few states in the Union have been more richly endowed by
Nature than Florida. Forests of high value that seemed in-
exhaustible once extended from coast to coast. Game birds and
animals and the finest of food and game fish were everywhere
in plentiful supply. These have been a principal Florida asset-
for both residents and tourists.
Gradually, however, this great heritage has slipped away.
Today in many areas little remains of the magnificent stands of
cypress, longleaf and slash pine, red cedar and the many kinds
of valuable hardwoods. Deer
and wild turkeys exist in but
a few protected spots. The al-
ligator, bear, fox-squirrel, ot-
ter, Florida sandhill crane,
wood duck and many other
species of bird and animal life
seem to be on the way out.
The ivory-billed woodpecker
and parakeet have already dis-
appeared. Fishing has been all
but destroyed in many of our
ponds and lakes.
Carelessness and unnecessary
wastefulness, it may be admitted, contributed in part to the de-
struction of such great natural resources as forests and wildlife.
In the conquest of a new domain this seems inevitable. On the
other hand, the chief reason for widespread depletion may well
have been the absence of a plan, or a program, designed to
develop and maintain the basic resources and yet, at the same
time, practical enough to meet the everyday needs of the people.
At any rate the past has seen much reaping and little sowing,
and Nature's cupboard, in many instances, has become very
bare. A fundamental law was disregarded. Withdrawals ex-
ceeded deposits. A better concept is needed. The renewable
natural resources, such as soil fertility, forests, game and fish
must be developed to their highest point of productivity. After
that the portion harvested or withdrawn each year must never
exceed the annual increase or replacement. The future develop-
ment and prosperity of Florida would clearly seem to depend
upon how closely and faithfully this simple rule is followed.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Forest and grazing lands in Florida are, in the main, insepar-
able. There are, of course, certain areas, such as in the extensive
marsh and prairie regions, where timber growing probably will
be limited to isolated spots. Grassy glades where the soil is
periodically too wet for trees also intersperse the piney woods at
frequent intervals. The soil in these glades is moist and pro-
ductive and lends itself well to the establishment of improved
pasture grasses. On the other hand, almost all of the land now
in timber is well adapted to profitable forest production and
most of it will likely remain in trees. With few exceptions the
forested lands, as well as other areas, are and always have been
used for grazing the year around.
Principal problems in forested areas
are (1) depleted timber stands, (2)
difficulty in protecting forests from
fire, (3) lack of a program for proper
maintenance of game, fish and other
1 wildlife, (4) loss of soil moisture
through destruction of humus and
t i other decaying plant residue due to
-.- periodic fires which lower the water-
holding capacity of the soil and ac-
celerate run-off, (5) absence of a sound harvesting program
which would adjust the annual cut to the annual growth, and
(6) the necessity for burning over, annually, large areas of
forest land to provide grazing for existing herds of cattle.
In areas suitable chiefly for grazing, problems include (1)
lack of small, compact stands of timber where these may con-
tribute to shelter for livestock, provide fence posts and addi-
tional income, (2) lack of a sufficient number of water holes to
furnish fresh, wholesome water for stock during extended
periods of drouth, (3) insufficient improved pasture areas to
supplement the native wiregrass and other wild forage plants,
and (4) lack of a program for maintenance of game, fish and
other wildlife.
The extremely variable soil and moisture conditions peculiar
to Florida favor a wide diversity of forest tree species. Often
an area no larger than 40 acres supports several entirely dif-
ferent forest types. Although some forest stands consist of


mixed species,
particularly in
the hammocks,
the State's
main forest
types may be
roughly divid-
ed into 5 dif-
ferent groups:
pine lands,
hardwood ham-
mocks, black
gum and cy-
press swamps,
longleaf scrub
oak ridges, and the very poor and
thirsty soils known as sand pine
scrub. A few minor areas of dis-
tinct forest types, such as the cab-
bage palm hammock of southern
Florida, and the somewhat dwarfed
and scrubby hardwood growth on
many of the keys might be in-
The longleaf-slash pine areas
comprise by far the largest and
most important forested lands in
the State. They occur everywhere
throughout Florida as far south
as Lake Okeechobee. South of the
lake a different variety of slash
pine, known as south Florida slash,
takes over. This tree differs, com-
mercially, from north Florida slash
pine in that it is not worked for
naval stores, and the wood is con-
siderably harder.
While longleaf and slash pines
often grow in mixed stands,
slash will tolerate much wet-
ter lands than longleaf. On Pin S

Florida Cooperative Extension

the other hand, longleaf
grows successfully on sandy
ridges, which are too dry
for slash. On many flat-
woods and other soils, how-
ever both trees seem about
equally well adapted. Long-
leaf and slash are called
the dual-purpose pines, be-
cause they yield the best
lumber as well as being the
only species which can be
worked for naval stores.
The other 5 native pines
are of less importance and
not nearly so numerous as
longleaf and slash. Lob-
lolly pine grows over the
northern portion of the
longleaf-slash range, and
is frequently found crowd-
ing in among these more
valuable trees. Shortleaf
pine belongs to the red clay hills region
of Florida from Madison County west-
ward. Pond pine is restricted to certain
very wet, acid, seepy spots commonly
referred to as "sandsoak" soils. Spruce
pine grows somewhat sparingly in hard-
wood hammocks throughout the central
and northern parts of the State, and
sand pine only on the deep, dry, poor
sandy soils along the coasts and in a
number of other areas. The Ocala Na-
tional Forest located in Marion and
Lake counties has perhaps the largest
single area of sand pine in the State.
i Probably second in importance to the
longleaf-slash pine type are the hard-
wood hammocks. These contain
Hard woods most of the valuable hardwoods
such as sweet gum, black gum,


magnolia, white bay; black cherry, hammock hickory, ash, white
oak, red oak, basswood, maple and dogwood. In some hardwood
hammocks, particularly those underlain with limestone, marl
or shell deposits, red cedar is well adapted and is always a wel-
come and valuable addition to the stand. There is, of course,
a large number of other trees in every hardwood hammock
which are of little or no commercial value. Among the most
common of these are laurel oak, live oak, water oak, hackberry,
elm, holly, beech, laurel cherry and persimmon.
Cypress and black gum swamps occur almost everywhere in
Florida. They vary in size from a half acre to hundreds of
acres. Many thousands of these are small, circular in shape,
and contain less than 10 acres. Some are made up of pure stands
of black gum, some are pure cypress, and others may be mixed
stands of gum and cypress. On deep, rich soils tree growth in
swamps is rapid and much valuable wood may be produced, but in
pure cypress swamps, where all merchantable timber has been
cut, many years must pass before another harvest can be made.
Most of the longleaf pine-scrub oak ridge lands have been
almost clear cut, and periodic fires and lack of seed trees have
prevented natural restocking of the pines. Such areas are
usually too dry for slash pines, and no satisfactory way has
yet been found to plant long-
leaf pines in such locations |-
successfully. Where seed trees __
are present and the land is pro-
tected from fire some regener-
ation of longleaf pine may be
expected, but on this type '--
natural reforestation is exceed-
ingly slow.
The sand pine scrub areas
are usually of low productivity
from a timber growing stand-
point. This pine is of medium .
to small size, is easily killed
by fire, and the wood is rather knotty and not durable in the
weather. Lumber for interior trim and pulpwood are its chief
uses. Because of its habit of growing in compact stands, with a
thick undercover of brush, sand pine scrub provides good game
cover. The land on which sand pine grows is too dry and poor for
cultivation or for production of more valuable tree species.

Florida Cooperative Extension


To aid in the sound and constructive development of the
State's tremendous acreage of forest and range lands, a 3-point
program is suggested. Under this program, timber grow-
ing, grazing and game production (including fish) would be
combined. The suitability of the land for each endeavor, and
the inclination of the owner, would determine which is to become
the major enterprise.
The program should be equally adaptable whether on farm
woodlands, on extensive forest land holdings, or on grazing
ranges. In brief, fully stocked stands of timber will be grown
on all lands not suited to or needed for pastures. On cattle
ranches or grazing ranges, timber would be restricted largely
to areas not adpated to grass. A few additional small, compact
timber stands may be developed, consisting of an acre or 2,
principally as shelter areas for livestock. Game and other
wildlife can, with very little effort, be made an attractive and
profitable sideline to either timber growing or grazing.


The protection of forest lands from fire is today the most
serious problem which confronts the timber grower. Unless this
problem can be solved, or at
least greatly alleviated, timber
production will remain under
a severe handicap and losses
from fire will be unreasonably
high. A few years of success-
ful protection, almost anywhere
in Florida, builds up a heavy
growth of dry wiregrass, pine
needles and other highly flam-
~ mable material. This accumu-
L. lation of dry vegetation, known
______ "' locally as a "rough", constitutes
a perpetual fire hazard. Even
when care is exercised in fire prevention there is much danger
of accidental fires during the dry season in winter and spring.
Therefore, steps must be taken to meet the extreme fire
hazard which always comes with complete fire protection. Under


the proposed program this would be accomplished by establish-
ing wide improved pasture fire barriers around and through
the forest area.
In small blocks of farm timber such barriers may not need
to be more than 50 or 60 feet wide. But on the larger forest
holdings of 500 acres and over, especially if the risk is great,
fire barriers from 100 to 200 feet wide are usually necessary.
When sodded to such perennial pasture grasses as carpet, Bahia
and some of the other better grasses, which cattle graze closely,
an effective barrier against fire can be maintained. Insofar as
possible the open
spots in the for-
est, wherever soil
types are most
suitable for the
improved pasture
grasses, should
be chosen for
these protective
fire barrier strips.
Often forested
areas are inter-
spersed with low,
moist, grassy
Fig. 2.-A 13-year-old stand of planted slash
sales where pines ready for the first harvest, which will be pulp-
trees do not grow. wood. The author carries the axe.
Usually these can
be converted easily to improved pasture grasses by shallow disk-
ing to destroy the native cover of wiregrass and then sowing
to the better pasture grasses. Quite often simply chopping,
seeding and mowing will establish improved pasture. Fre-
quently the wide, shallow, grassy depressions meander for miles
through the woods. By connecting these grassy lands at stra-
tegic intervals with pasture strips established through wooded
lands, a system of wide fire barriers results which will provide
protection for the blocks of timber they surround. In flatwoods
areas of longleaf-slash pine forest type, where the wiregrass
cover is heaviest and the fire hazard greatest, as much as 20
percent of a forest area may need to be in improved pasture
grass for adequate protection of the timbered lands.
On a section of land containing 640 acres, then, there would

12 Florida Cooperative Extension

be 120 to 130 acres of improved pasture and 510 to 520 acres
in timber. This might, at first glance, appear to take too much
land out of forest production. But when we consider that much
of the pasture grass will be on land not suitable for trees, and
that the timber loss through fire on forest land not so protected
will likely be much greater than the sacrifice of some trees to
pasture, the soundness of such a program would seem to be
There are other important considerations in favor of the im-
proved pasture method of fire protection. Almost all Florida
pine timber lands are understocked. Many areas now carry
less than a 20 percent stand. The forest landowner is concerned
about this because, even with successful fire protection, it will
be many years before any considerable income can be expected
from forest products. Taxes, improvements, supervision and
interest on the investment are yearly items which must be
paid while a new forest comes in and grows into merchantable
timber. To meet these necessary costs while timber is coming
back, an income from grazing might play a vital part.
Returning, for a moment, to a section (640 acres) of forest
land which has been safeguarded from fire by the establishment
of 100-foot wide pasture fire barriers around and through the
tract, there may now be a total of 128 acres in improved pasture
grasses. These 128 acres may produce 100 pounds of beef
per acre per year, or 12,800 pounds of beef on each section of
land so protected from fire. In addition to the beef produced
on the improved pasture strips, some grazing will be picked up
on the forested lands. This should about double the amount
of beef a section of land of 640 acres would produce when all
of the land is burned annually or biennially, as in the old sys-
tem of range management under which, of course, little in the
way of forest income could be developed. Figuring beef on the
hoof at 6 cents per pound, probably a conservative average price
over a long period of years, we would have a gross income from
grazing alone, while the timber is growing, of 12,800 pounds
of beef at 6 cents per pound, or $768.00 for each section of land.
This should pay all costs of maintaining both the timber and
grazing operations, and leave a profit besides. Thus, we may
have a forest fire protective system which yields an annual
profit instead of resulting in an annual expense.
Another point worthy of mention is that in Florida we have
a great beef cattle industry. Vast herds have been developed


and are being sustained, largely upon native wiregrass, in cut-
over pine land country. To maintain these herds cattle owners
are obliged to burn off the dry wiregrass in late winter to pro-
vide early spring grazing for their stock. This is fine for the
grazing of cattle, but death to millions of pine seedlings-our for-
ests of tomorrow-while they are still in the grass stage. We
must retain our important beef cattle industry but, at the same
time, the State's interests demand that the forest resources be
Fortunately, under the combined timber-grazing-game pro-
gram, all 3 enterprises may be maintained. In fact, they might
be expanded and developed to the best interests of all. While
burning the woods is disastrous to the future of our forests,

Fig. 3.-Bob white quail-a natural game bird of the piney woods.

a hard blow, on the other hand, would be dealt the cattle inter-
ests if the burning off of all forest lands were suddenly pro-
hibited. Such a drastic procedure would be unwise and un-
necessary. The combined program would be gradually instituted
over a period of years, and the improved pasture strips should
more than compensate for any loss of grazing due to exclusion
of fire to favor the timber stands.
Of course, if it should be decided that certain wiregrass lands
must be periodically burned to supplement the improved pas-
ture areas in early spring, these could be set aside as additional
grazing lands. Such burned areas should, insofar as possible,
be located in areas where timber is sparse because the use of
fire in timberlands, even when carried out under the most

Florida Cooperative Extension

favorable conditions, will result in greatly reduced income from
timber. When the timber-grazing-game program is in full
operation it is probable that more and better cattle can be
maintained on a given forest range than previously, while at
the same time all of the timber it is possible to protect will be
growing in the wooded areas.


The question is sometimes asked, "Why not establish the
better pasture grasses under the trees, and let the cattle graze
them closely enough to remove the fire hazard?"
Establishment of improved pasture grasses and forest trees
on one and the same acre of land is not recommended by for-
esters or agronomists for several reasons. All of the improved
pasture grasses of Florida need plenty of sunlight, and all forest
trees, to grow tall and develop long, clean, knot-free and high-
value logs, must be crowded while they are in the sapling stage,
and even beyond. They must grow in such dense stands during
the first 15 or 20 years that practically all grass will die out
under the heavy shade and leaf litter. If young trees are
spaced far enough apart for much grass to grow the trees will
be too limby and broad-topped. They will become shade trees
instead of lumber trees and be of little value. Then again,
improved pasture grasses should be mown, or at least some
kind of rotary chopper should be run over them about once or
twice each year to keep down weeds and briars. This would
be very difficult if too many trees are in the way. Finally, the


improved pasture grasses are close feeders. Their dense root
systems go down several feet deep, and in a dry season forest
trees often cannot compete successfully for the limited amount
of soil moisture available. Many trees might suffer or even
die during a drouth because the compact permanent pasture
sods rob them of necessary moisture.
It is, of course, well known that in every forest area there
will always be some native forage and browse plants. Timber
does not naturally come in so thickly everywhere, nor all at
once, as to crowd out all grass. As the dense forest stands grow
older and some of the trees are removed for sale, enough sun-
light will filter through to bring back a certain amount of grass.
In some forest stands, such as hardwood hammocks, there will
be very little grass but in the pine lands openings in the forest
which will furnish considerable grazing will always be present.
Reforested areas, therefore, will merely reduce, not eliminate,
the native forage plants.

Although game and wildlife development may be regarded
as a sideline to timber growing or grazing, it is nevertheless a
very important feature of the
3-point program.
Florida probably will always
attract large numbers of peo-
ple in search of recreation.
Many of these come, and re-
turn each year, to places where
hunting and fishing are good.
These visitors bring and spend
millions of dollars. No area is
too remote for them to find
in quest of their favorite "1
sport, provided camping facili- ':- i -A
ties are adequate. When deer,
wild turkey, quail, ducks, doves and other game are again plenti-
ful, and when bass and perch fishing in our lakes and pounds
everywhere is good, there should be room for hundreds of addi-
tional hunting and fishing camps. Camps in such areas would
very likely be in demand. By leasing these camps, and making
a charge for the amount of game taken, forest landowners could
make their holdings yield a handsome income from this source

Florida Cooperative Extension

each year. This might help materially in meeting annual taxes
and overhead on the whole operation.
Game and wildlife would seem to be natural by-products of
well-managed forest lands, and their production should entail
little expense. Possibly some little planting of game food patches
in certain places would be of help. Quail and wild turkeys are
known to feed on the lespedeza and carpet grass seeds which
usually form a large part of the fire barrier pasture strips.
The main thing, however, would be to restock the game where
necessary, protect it, and when sufficiently numerous, properly
adjust the annual take to the annual increase.

On cattle ranches and ranges where grazing is the principal
interest, the land usually will be managed so as to carry the
largest possible number of cattle the year round. Timber pro-
duction is of minor importance and, in most cases, will be carried
on only to the extent that it does not interfere with the main
business of cattle raising. However, there are sometimes limited
areas of good pine timber located on poor grazing land, or there
may be some swamps or some hammocks capable of producing
valuable timber. Also, a few dense sapling thickets might be
established where these can provide necessary shade and pro-
tection to livestock from the weather.
By following a few simple forest practices these timber
patches, which are of little value for grazing, might be made

Fig. 4.-The wild turkey should be Florida's leading game bird. Good
forestry and a little protection will bring this noble game bird back every-
where in Florida.

- .. -.- .


to yield the posts, poles or lumber which are always needed in
cattle operations.
The opportunities, on the other hand, for increasing and
maintaining certain game birds and animals on Florida ranges
appear to be very good. Where suitable food and cover are
available the number of deer, turkey, quail and other small game
might be greatly increased at little or no cost and with profit
to the ranch owner.
There may also be good possibilities for establishment of
fishing holes on many range lands. In much of the cattle coun-
try the land is very flat and ponds are shallow. During the dry
season, and particularly when there are extended drouths, many
ponds may go dry, leaving thousands of food and game fish to
die. To add to the problem, livestock are sometimes left with-
out adequate supplies of fresh water. In some cases, cattle have
been poisoned because they were forced to drink water polluted
by dead fish.
To overcome this difficulty it may be possible to use a small
dragline dredge to deepen these ponds so that they will hold
4 or 5 feet of water, even during the most severe drouths. The
water will then remain fresh and wholesome, cattle will have
a dependable place to drink, the fish will be saved, and the ranch
will be ahead by one good fishing spot.
When timberlands are safeguarded from fire and the native
plant and animal life develops as Nature intended, many little
incidental values are recreated. It is well known that unburned
woods make the best bee pastures. Annual or periodic fires
destroy the bloom of a number of the more important honey
plants. Even though the nectar-bearing shrubs and perennials
may sprout from the rootstocks after a fire, the flowers are
frequently borne only on twigs that are 2 or more years old.
Therefore annual, or even biennial, fires will prevent flower-bear-
ing wood from forming. The production of honey, for both
home use and market, could be greatly expanded through the
prevention of woods fires.

Florida Cooperative Extension

Another by-product of unburned woods which is of consider-
able importance to country people is the annual crop of wild
blueberries, huckleberries and briarberries. Fires often wipe
out the entire harvest of these and other native fruits so much
esteemed by both town and rural people for pies and preserves.
A third item which might well be mentioned as part of a
well-managed forest economy is the trapping of fur-bearers.
Otter, raccoon, skunk, fox and opossum could probably be main-
tained in sufficient numbers, especially in the more remote areas,
to provide some income each year from the sale of furs. The
annual take, however, must be adjusted to the annual increase
to prevent extermination. Otter, because of their very valuable
furs, have been too heavily trapped and are in danger of becom-
ing extinct.
While singly each of these incidental values may not seem of
great importance, yet in the aggregate they may contribute in
considerable amount towards a more abundant rural life. Even
the scenic effect of a splendidly forested area may become a real
community asset in a State which seeks to attract tourists.


Florida's uncultivated acreage is close to 31,000,000 acres,
or approximately 89 percent of the State's total land area.
Most of this huge area is today only partially productive and
is contributing but a fractional part of the forest and other
wealth it is capable of producing.
Future development and expansion in Florida of agriculture,
industry and commerce is in large measure dependent upon the
full and constructive use of the untilled land area.
Statewide adoption of a practical, sound and workable pro-
gram, which includes the conservation, restoration and proper
utilization of all natural resources, appears to be needed.
Such a program must provide for development of forests,
grazing, game and wildlife. It must be devised and planned so
that owners of large and small tracts of forest and range lands
can continue to own and operate their holdings at a profit while
these lands are being advanced to their highest state of produc-
Since timber is today, and will probably continue to be, the
most important resource on the greater part of the State's un-
tilled land area, the production of forest crops must remain a
major enterprise. In some areas, however, the grazing of cattle


will, in all probability, continue as the principal land use. In a
few instances both timber growing and grazing may possibly
be carried on intensively on something like a 50-50 basis.
Forest fires still constitute the principal obstacle to profitable
forest production in Florida. Until this problem can be over-
come, timber losses due to fire will be discouragingly severe.
The protection of a tract of timber from fire for a few years
merely builds up a heavy, dry vegetative cover which increases
the fire hazard.
To provide adequate protection from fire it is suggested that
improved pasture grass strips, from 100 to 200 feet wide, be
established around and through the more extensive areas of
forest land. Because these better pasture grass sods are closely
grazed by cattle they would provide effective barriers to fire.
In areas where the fire risk is high and the timbered acreage
amounts to 500 acres or more it may be necessary to convert
as much as 20 percent of the forested land to improved pasture,
using the strip method.
Advantages of this method are (1) effective protection against
fire, (2) a fire protective procedure which will yield an annual
profit through cattle, instead of entailing an annual expense,
(3) a larger money return from the land, (4) an earlier return
from the land, which helps to meet carrying charges while de-
pleted timber stands are being restored, (5) the retention and
expansion of the important cattle industry, even on land used
primarily for timber growing, (6) the conservation of the State's
soil and water resources, (7) a program that is constructive,
feasible, profitable and practical, and can be instituted gradually
according to the means and inclinations of the landowner, (8)
the program is applicable to both farm woodlands and extensive
forest holdings.
The production of game, fish and other forms of wildlife may
be an attractive and profitable feature of well-managed timber
and grazing operations.
Such a program offers a positive approach towards the solu-
tion of one of the State's most pressing conservation problems,
assures proper consideration of the best interests of cattlemen
and timber growers, and provides the basis for a mutually ac-
ceptable and constructive program through which all interests
may prosper.


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