The Florida Forest Steward
A Quarterly Newsletter for Florida Landowners and Resource Professionrals
Volume 4, No. 4 Summer, 1997
In this issue:
News from the Forested Wetlands Workshops
Learning about Managing & Marketing Cattle or Pine Straw on Forest Land
New Member of UF's Extension Team
Ecosystem Management in the Southeast: Attitudes and Challenges on Fragmented Ownerships
Books and Articles of Interest
Restoing the Urban Forest Ecosystem
EQIP s Sign up Announced
News From the Forested Wetlands Workshops
On April 28th and 30th, two workshops on Forested Wetlands Ecology and Management were held in
Nassau and Alachua counties, respectively. Jointly sponsored by the Forest Stewardship Program and the
Cooperative Extension Service, the workshops were designed to provide information about forested
wetlands issues and options for management to landowners and natural resource professionals.
The wetland topics covered included: types and values, wildlife issues, conservation easements, BMPs,
regulations, timber management and research findings. Dr. Susan Vince, University of Florida researcher,
described the different types of forested wetlands that occur in Florida, and the important role these
wetlands play in the natural landscape, including flood control and protecting water quality. Dr. Peter
Frederick, also from UF, then discussed the importance of these wetlands to various types of wildlife, and
how activities like hunting and bird watching in forested wetlands contribute greatly to the economy. Dr.
Richard Hilsenbeck, an ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Tallahassee described the use of
conservation easements in protecting wetlands. A conservation easement is a legal agreement which can
be used by landowners with forested wetland property that has unique or special natural features. A
conservation easement allows landowners to sell the development rights for the property to an
organization that will protect (not develop) the resources. The landowner retains title and control over
how the land is managed. For example, the landowner can still manage the land for timber or hunting.
This arrangement may result in both revenue and a substantial tax savings for the landowner while still
protecting the natural areas from any development impacts.
Following supper, Mr. Jeff Vowell of the Florida Division of Forestry presented information on the
silvicultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) recommended for forestry activities in wetlands, which
were developed in 1993. Important points included limiting road building in wetlands and restricting
harvesting operations to dry periods. Mr. Vowell also talked about various levels of regulation: Federal,
State and local, which may require permitting for some silvicultural activities.
The timber management portion of the workshops was presented by two forest industry representatives:
Dr. Tom Fox of Rayonier spoke in Nassau County and Mr. Rob Cone of Georgia-Pacific Corporation in
Alachua County. Information presented included silvicultural systems appropriate for regenerating forest
wetland systems and the products for which one can manage.
The final speaker at the workshops was Dr. Jim Shepard of the National Council of the Paper Industry for
Air and Stream Improvement. Dr. Shepard presented results from the Florida Wetlands Study which was
conducted in cooperation with the University of Florida and several other partners in Alachua County.
The study looked at the ecological impacts of harvesting cypress ponds and surrounding pine plantations
in comparison to no harvesting activities. One finding was that complete harvest resulted in a shift in
some wetland wildlife communities to more early successional species in the early years following
Approximately 80 people attended the workshops. For more information on some of these topics, obtain
Extension publications CIR1178 "Forested Wetlands: Regulations Governing Management" and CIR1185
"Forests, Hydrology and Water Quality: Impacts of Silvicultural Practices", both available through your
county extension office.
Learning About Managing and Marketing Cattle or Pine Straw on Forest Land
On May 5, a multi-county workshop on Alternative Enterprises for Your Timber Land: Managing and
Marketing Cattle or Pine Straw was held in Hamilton County. The workshop was a joint effort of the
Hamilton County Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Forestry Forest Stewardship Program
and the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida. Putnal's Premium Pine
Straw, Inc and American Cyanamid graciously sponsored the workshop.
The purpose of the workshop was to provide information to ranchers and forest landowners about
opportunities for additional economic benefits from managing their timber lands for cattle or pine straw.
Workshop participants went on a field tour of Harrell Tyree's forest land to observe the differences
between slash, loblolly and longleaf pine in growth, management and marketing. At Jerry Smith's
property, they discussed management techniques for forage production in pine stands with widely-spaced
rows of trees.
Following supper, four speakers presented information on cattle marketing alternatives, managing pine
straw, fertilizing pines and weed and brush control recommendations. A brief summary of each
Cattle Marketing Alternatives
by Dr. John Holt
Cattle prices fluctuate in unpredictable cycles. The market is currently recovering from a low because of
an abundant corn crop, and over supply of slaughter facilities and a strong export market (especially to
Japan). The University of Florida Market Information System and Livestock Weekly are good sources of
information for keeping up with the cattle market. Florida prices are $6 to $10 less than quoted Midwest
prices due to a lack of nearby slaughter facilities and the greater distance to market opportunities. The best
price predictor available is the futures market and current predictions are for 6% rise from May, 1997 to
Although "woods cows" will bring a lower market price, the most important consideration for breed
selection is choosing a breed that can thrive and reproduce under the field conditions we find in Florida.
For example, a Brahma cross is a good choice because of greater heat tolerance, longevity and calf size.
Another factor that is as important as breed selection is marketing strategies. Pooling cows with your
neighbors for a sale can attract more buyers and improve your return. You should try to assemble a group
of one hundred or more similar looking cows to attract more competitive buyers. Another way of
improving your return is to consult with your cattle market manager to help time your sale to coincide
with order buyers seeking your product.
Managing Pine Straw
by Mr. Scott Hamlin
Since the beginning of the industry in 1971, the demand for pine straw for landscaping has steadily
increased. Both slash and longleaf pine are excellent species for generating alternative income from pine
straw. There is no market for loblolly pine straw because the needles are shorter and do not hold their
An ideal site is planted at 8 to 10 ft row spacing where crown closure has shaded out the undergrowth. For
slash pine plantations, shading typically occurs at eight years of age. The minimum row width for
equipment access is eight feet, however wider spacings can delay crown closure in a stand. Thinning is
another management practice that influences pine straw management. It promotes growth of undesirable
underbrush which makes harvesting pine straw more difficult and significantly reduces product value.
Pine straw is typically harvested by hand to avoid breaking the needles.
Contracts for pine straw are usually done on an annual basis by acre, although sites that require herbicide
treatment may have extended contracts. Current prices range from $60 to $80 acre/yr depending on the
tree species, number of trees per acre and undergrowth conditions. When negotiating a contract, your pine
straw contractor should provide proof of workman's compensation insurance and liability insurance. You
may also want to consider fertilizer applications as part of the contract and a payment schedule.
Ask Your County Extension Agent for copies of these publications:
Silvicultural Guidelines for Pinestraw Management in the Southeastern United States. 1992.
Georgia Forest Research Paper #88 by Morris, L., E. Jokela and J. O'Connor.
Pine Straw Management in Florida's Forests. 1992. University of Florida Circular #831 by M.
Duryea and J. Edwards.
Fertilizing and Weed Control in Pines
by Dr. Alan Long
Forest soils in the Southeast are generally nutrient deficient. This is especially noticeable with respect to
phosphorus at planting time and both phosphorus and nitrogen by mid-rotation. Therefore, fertilization
can dramatically increase tree growth (up to 40 cords/acre over a rotation) and profits, if done correctly.
Fertilization is especially critical for wet, poorly drained sandy soils like wet prairies and flatwoods.
These sites often require phosphorus application (40 to 50 lbs phosphorus/acre) at planting time for
successful stand establishment. Mid-rotation fertilization (40 to 50 lbs of phosphorus/acre and 150 to 200
lbs of nitrogen/acre) will also significantly improve stand growth on many sites (2 to 5 cords/acre).
Stand establishment on better drained loamy soils will probably not benefit from fertilization at planting.
In fact, fertilization of these soils may actually stimulate weed growth. A better strategy for these well
drained loamy sites is to eliminate weed competition for the existing nutrients, and to fertilize mid-
rotation at the same rates as described in the previous paragraph.
Fertilization of dry sandhills and wet peat soils is of limited value because growth is limited by too little
or too much water. Frequent burning of sandhills is not recommended because it will reduce soil organic
matter and lower the water holding capacity of the soil. Old agriculture sites may not require fertilization
because of residual fertilizers.
Mid-rotation fertilization should be done at least five to eight years before the intended harvest date to
give the trees time to uptake nutrients, increase their needle growth, and accumulate wood growth.
Fertilization is more productive after thinning because there is room for the tree crowns to grow. Burning
just before or just after fertilization will decrease the soils' ability to hold nutrients and the heat will
volatilize nitrogen. Less nitrogen will be volatilized if you fertilize in the winter or spring. Repetitive
removal of pine straw (three or more rakings) may require re-fertilization to replace the removed nutrients
(200 lbs/acre of nitrogen and 50 lbs/acre of phosphorus).
Early control of herbaceous and woody weeds will make nutrients and water more available to pine trees
and can provide lasting growth benefits (an average increase of 0.5 cord/acre/year). However, herbicide
management requires careful planning to be effective and safe. Management objectives, site
characteristics, and climatic conditions need to be matched with the appropriate herbicide treatment. You
should choose a reputable applicator with the proper certification, insurance and ground support crew.
Your County Forester can provide you with a list of applicators. All labels should be read first and obeyed
as they are the law. Keep good records to document what was done and to help evaluate the success of the
New Member of the University of Florida Extension Team
Michael Jacobson is a name that you will probably become familiar with as a participant in the
Stewardship Program. He is the newest member of the University of Florida's forest extension faculty and
his area of specialization is forest management and landowner issues. In addition to his extension
assignment, Mike will be teaching two courses a year. Although originally from South Africa, he
immigrated to Connecticut twenty years ago. His wife recently gave birth to their first child, a girl.
Mike is currently getting acquainted with forestry in Florida. His last position was at North Carolina State
University's College of Forest Resources where he also obtained his Ph. D in Forest Resources. With a
Masters degree in Environmental Management from Duke University and a Bachelors degree in
Economics from the University of Connecticut, he has a strong background inforest economics and
policy. Mike has also worked overseas in tropical forestry. The following article is an abstract from
Mike's dissertation on the incentives and attitudes that affect non-industrial private forestry in the
Ecosystem Management in the Southeast: Attitudes and Challenges on Fragmented
Forestry is evolving towards ecosystem or landscape-level management approaches in many places. In the
southeastern United States, much of the forest landscape is fragmented due to the millions of non-
industrial private forest landowners each managing according to their individual objectives. One of the
goals of ecosystem management is to reduce the negative effects of forest fragmentation. Managing at the
landscape-level in the Southeast will require the cooperation of many landowners. This research was a
first step in the process of identifying ownership characteristics and landowner attitudes about and interest
in ecosystem management.
A survey instrument and computerized geographical information system (GIS) were used as tools to
analyze landowner interest in ecosystem management. The study was carried out in a heavily forested
region of the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, where the landscape-level management objective was to
develop a landscape corridor system across ownerships. Landowners who participate in the corridor
system would provide an important public service.
The survey results indicated that a majority of the respondents were interested in joint management.
However, only one-third of the respondents were familiar with the concept of ecosystem management.
The results are somewhat different from previous studies of non-industrial private landowners in size of
tracts owned and percentage of inherited land. Incentives and attitudes were more significant than socio-
economic or land management characteristics in explaining responses to joint management. Spatial
attributes of landowner properties, including land cover, were also found to be insignificant in explaining
landowner interest in ecosystem management. Maps displaying the respondent's tracts showed little
connectivity among "yes" responses in joint management. Protecting commodity and land values was the
main concern of landowners if they were to participate in a corridor system.
This study suggests that compensation and/or assistance will be important mechanisms for involving
landowners in joint management to provide land for corridors or similar landscape level practices. More
specific details about ecosystem plans will be required if alternatives such as voluntary approaches to
landscape level management are tried. Further information is needed on the altruistic reasons for
landowner cooperation in joint management.
Books and Articles of Interest:
Two recent publications of the US Forest Service Southern Research Station may be of interest to
landowners who have wildlife management or recreation objectives for their forest land. Be sure to give
the name, author and title of the publication as well as the publication number, when requesting an article
Southern Research Station
P.O. Box 2680
Asheville, NC 28802
Hamel, PB, Smith, WP, Twedt, DJ and others. 1996. A Land Manager's Guide to Point Counts
of Birds in the Southeast. (#11)
Describes procedures for monitoring birds using point counts, recording data (with forms to use), and
explains how to use different sample sizes for a variety of specific management questions.
Dickson, JG, Conner, RN and Williamson, JH. 1993. Neotropical Migratory Bird Communities
in a Developing Pine Plantation (#8)
This study looked at bird populations in pine plantations age two to seventeen years and found that bird
populations were low as well as being less diverse in two year old plantations. Bird abundance increased
rapidly as the plantation developed until age six. Bird species diversity also increased until age ten to
eleven and then gradually declined as the canopy closed and shaded out the lower vegetation. From age
12-17, the type of bird community was directly related to the presence of hardwood shrubs and trees in
the pine plantation.
Also available from the USDA Southern Research Station is a new publication that is a comprehensive
review of 50 years of research results on loblolly and shortleaf pine management. The General and
Technical Report S-118 entitled, Uneven-Aged Silviculture for the Loblolly and Shortleaf Pine Forest
Cover Types includes information on growth, yield and stand development, options for retaining
hardwoods, silvicultural practices needed for maintaining an uneven-aged stand and sample forms for
determining stocking levels, inventory and evaluation of reproduction.
Interested in Forest Aesthetics?
Three technical papers focusing on forestry aesthetics from both industry representatives and a private
non-industrial forester are now available from the American Pulpwood Associations Annual Meeting held
on April 7th at Hilton Head, SC for $5 each to APA members and $10 to all others:
American Pulpwood Association, Inc.
600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 350
Rockville, MD 20852
Improving Aesthetics at Weyerhaeuser (97-P-13) by Tom Miller. The three key principles to
improve public awareness of forest management practices as presented by Mr. Miller were: "(1)
understanding principles of landscape design; (2) implementation of sound engineering practices to
meld design and cost control; and (3) passing a measure of control to stakeholders" by asking for
input from them to guide, but not stop your management practices.
Forestry Aesthetics from the View of a Tree Farmer (97-P-14). The Southern Region's
Outstanding Tree Farmer for 1996, Mr. A.G. "Skeet" Burris outlines the techniques that he
employs in managing his family's Cypress Bay Plantation in Beaufort, SC. Some of the aesthetic
concepts which he considers are: shaping managed areas in pleasing and varied ways; limiting the
size of harvests; using wildlife corridors and roadside buffers; finding creative solutions to
potential eyesores such as power line easements; and taking measures to discourage illegal
dumping on his forest land.
Southern Forestry Aesthetics Guide Update (97-P-15). Mr. Gene Kodama of Westvaco
Corporation in Summerville, SC highlighted a soon-to-be-completed Aesthetics Manual from the
APA's Aesthetics of Forest Operations Task Force. The manual includes guidelines for foresters,
landowners and loggers on identifying and prioritizing 'visually sensitive" forest areas for special
treatment before and after harvest.
Interactive Information on Wildfire
If you have ever wanted to ask an expert about fire management, this homepage is for you. Located at:
http://www.firewise.org is an interactive section with fire experts, the opportunity to register to receive
future updates of fire information and a bibliography of publications and videos.
Restoring the Urban Forest Ecosystem is the Theme of the Upcoming Urban Forestry
Professionals who manage the urban forest are constantly facing challenges. Ecological restoration of
urban forests has become essential for those trying to maximize the benefits to communities and cities.
The Urban Forestry Institute offers up-to-date information about ecological restoration in the urban forest.
The course will cover ecology and restoration principles, planning, resource assessments and
implementation of restoration projects, problem-solving case studies and a one-day field trip. To enroll in
this intensive course offered by the University of Florida School of Forest Resources & Conservation,
CES and USDA Forest Service from June 23-27 in Fort Lauderdale, FL contact:
IFAS Office of Conferences
University of Florida
PO Box 110750
Gainesville, FL 32611-0750
EQIP Sign Up Announced
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept landowner applications for the new Environmental
Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from June 16th to July 18 at their office.
Forestry practices on agricultural, forested, and non-stocked forest land will be eligible for cost-sharing
under EQIP, as in the past with the Agricultural Conservation Program (ACP). All EQIP practices,
however, will be multi-year Long Term Agreements (LTA's) with a maximum annual cost-share of
$10,000. The amount of EQIP funds that are allocated to forestry practices will be determined by
landowner interest and the Environmental Benefit Index (EBI) scores that each application receives.
These EBI's will be similar to the ones developed for the recent Conservation Reserve Program sign up.
The Local Working Group in each Conservation Priority Area (CPA), however, will develop its own EBI.
Applicants whose farms are located within the CPAs will collectively receive 65% of the state's EQIP
allocation. Ask your County Foresters to find out what portion of your county lies within the CPA. If you
are willing to follow the same guidelines which are suggested for the Conservation Reserve Program, you
are likely to receive higher EBI scores. These guidelines include planting longleaf pine, planting less than
500 trees/acre of other species, or leaving 40 foot wide open strips.
Ask your County Forester about the date and location of the next Local Working Group meeting in your
[Back to FFS newsletter homeDaael
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 32611-0410
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