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The Florida Forest Steward
A Quarterly Newslettr for Florida Landowners and Resource Professionals
Volume 7, No. 3
Welcome Leslie Hawkins, Stewardship Biologist-
Attack of the Southern Pine Beetle
Greenhouse.Gas Affects Tree Growth
Black Bears in Florida_ -
Timber Prices Another Look
Ask Joe Steward
SFRC Workshops for Landowners and Professionals
Forest Stewardship'Program 7
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 cdemer, a ,i'.: ifas.ufl.edu
Alan Long (co-editor), School of Forest Resources & Conservation, UF, (352) 846-0891 orAJL a ~n.: ifas. ufl.
Todd Groh (co-editor), Florida Division ofForestry, 3125 Conner Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650, (850)
414-9907 or firstname.lastname@example.org. us
Chuck McKelvy (co-editor), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, 3125 Conner Blvd,
Tallahassee, FL 32699-1650, (850) 414-9911 or mckelvc @doacs.state.fl.us
Cooperative Extension Service
Institute of Food d Aricu]ltura.l Sciences
Welcome Leslie Hawkins, Stewardship Biologist
By now many of you have met Leslie Hawkins, who replaced Daniel Coggin as the Stewardship
Biologist for the eastern half of the State. Leslie is originally from Indiana, but has lived in 7
different states in the last 9 years working as a wildlife technician and on her masters degree. She
earned a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University in 1993, and has recently completed a M.
S. in Wildlife Biology from Clemson University.
Most of Leslie's experience has been in nest searching and point counts for songbirds with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Denver, and she has performed similar tasks with private
avian research centers in Oklahoma and California. In addition to songbird counts, she has done
her share of trapping and banding various bird species as well as prairie dogs and deer.
For her M.S. degree, she studied northern bobwhite quail and its use of Conservation Reserve
Program (CRP) loblolly pine plantations following commercial thinnings. This project involved
trapping, banding, radio telemetry, and using geographic information systems in rural South
Leslie enjoys recreating outdoors as well, partaking in many activities including hunting, canoeing,
hiking, fishing, and wildlife viewing. If you have forest property east of Jefferson County and are
interested in the Stewardship Program you will probably meet Leslie in the near future. Those of
you who have met her know that she is energetic, motivated, resourceful, and learning her way
around rural Florida with great enthusiasm.
Attack of the Southern Pine Beetle
Like people, trees are more susceptible to attack or infection when they are tired or run down. For
trees, we refer to this tired or run down state as stress. The recent drought caused many pines in
north Florida to become targets for the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis), one of the
most serious pine pests in the southern U.S. Jim Meeker, Forest Entomologist with the Division
of Forestry, reported recent southern pine beetle activity in 17 northeast Florida counties, with a
total of 1,110 damage spots covering 5,330 acres as of August 23. The counties hardest hit by the
recent outbreak were Hernando, with 352 spots covering 4,000 acres; Levy, with 317 spots
covering 400 acres; and Alachua, with 100 spots covering 300 acres. Other counties had damage
varying from 2 spots covering 1 acre (Gilchrist) to 23 spots covering 163 acres (Flagler). State
lands have been hit as well. Withlacoochee State Forest (in Hernando County) has 100 spots
covering 1,000-1,500 acres, and Goethe State Forest (in Levy County) has 91 spots. All identified
active spots in these state forests are under control.
Southern pine beetles are short-legged, about 1/8 inch long, and
dark reddish-brown to black in color. They have a notched head
and a rounded rear. The larvae are crescent-shaped and whitish,
with an amber head. When fully developed the larvae are about
the same length as the adults. Pupae are the same size and white
in color. Eggs are pearly-white and are found in notches along the
sides of the adult egg galleries found in the inner bark of attacked
Adult beetles bore through the outer bark into the inner bark, or cambium (the living tissue that
feeds the tree). At each bore hole the tree usually exudes a resin, which forms a pitch tube. Once
inside, the beetles construct winding s-shaped galleries that cross one another and eventually
girdle the tree. After eggs hatch, the larvae add to these galleries. Spread of blue-stain fungi
introduced by the beetles hastens the death of the tree. The first sign of tree mortality from
southern pine beetles is discoloration of the foliage. Needles become yellowish, change to red and
then brown. To identify damage from southern pine beetles look for the s-shaped galleries in the
cambium underneath the bark. A birds-eye-view of southern pine beetle damage reveals a target-
like spot, with dead trees in the center appearing red and trees attacked more recently appearing
more yellow to green toward the edges.
Cyclic outbreaks of southern pine beetle are brought under control by diseases, predators,
parasites, and weather. Landowners can use integrated pest management techniques to suppress
outbreaks if necessary. The most recommended practice is rapid removal of infested trees,
utilization of merchantable wood, and burning of infested materials. Using infested wood to build
structures near other pine stands is a bad idea because these materials can introduce the beetles
into those stands.
Beware of Other Insects
Bear in mind that the southern pine beetle is not the only insect that can damage pine stands.
Other insects, such as the ips engraver beetle, black turpentine beetle, ambrosia beetle, and
southern pine sawyer are also common invaders of southern pines. The ips engraver is the second
most common damaging insect for southern pines. Signs of attack by ips engravers are reddish-
brown boring dust in bark crevices or dime-size, reddish-brown pitch tubes on bark surfaces. Y-
or H-shaped galleries appear beneath the bark with short galleries running perpendicular to them.
Blue-stain fungi are also introduced by ips engravers and will expedite tree mortality.
Black turpentine beetle damage will be found low on the tree as they attack fresh stumps or the
lower trunk of living pines, usually about 2 feet from the ground. Look for half-dollar-sized,
white to reddish-brown pitch tubes in bark crevices on the lower tree bole. Ambrosia beetles,
which attack both pines and hardwoods, leave behind a pile of fine white dust below the entrance
holes or at the base of the tree. Southern pine sawyers generally attack dead pines or logs held in
For more information on insects and diseases affecting southern pines, visit the USDA Forest
Service's Forest Health Protection web site at http://fhpr8.srs.fs.fed. us/
Greenhouse Gas Affects Tree Growth
ABC News recently reported on a Duke University study of the impact of increased levels of
atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on tree growth and forest species composition. Over the last 4
years, scientists at Duke have inundated an experimental forest with CO2, the principal
greenhouse gas produced by burning fossil fuels. An increasing concentration of atmospheric
CO2 is expected to elevate global temperatures over coming decades by reflecting radiant heat
from the Earth back to the surface, causing sea levels to rise and altering plant species
composition around the world. The goal of the project is to provide scientific facts about the
impact of increased CO2 levels.
One finding of the study is that some trees, namely loblolly pines, grow more rapidly and
reproduce more robustly as a result of increased atmospheric CO2. Loblollies in the study have
been growing about 25 percent faster and are twice as likely to be reproductively active than pines
outside the experiment. Hardwoods in the study, mostly oaks and hickories, are also growing
more rapidly than those outside the experiment.
Increased CO2 may be a good thing for loblolly pines, but they are only a small part of the
picture. Increased global temperatures, if realized, may alter the occurrence of other species and
ecosystems. The latest issue of the Society of American Foresters' Forestry Source newsletter
(vol. 5, no. 8) reported a University of Alaska study on the effects of rising temperatures on the
growth of white spruce in the Alaskan interior. Researchers there have found that growth of
white spruce has responded negatively to higher temperatures. A warming trend in the Alaskan
interior has resulted in more arid conditions, inhibiting growth and CO2 intake by the species.
Drought-stressed trees are more susceptible to fungal invasions, and increasing numbers of dead
trees in the region may add fuel for potential forest fires. Likewise, researchers at Columbia
University's Biosphere 2 in Arizona found that increases in ocean water temperature could slowly
dissolve coral reefs, and low-lying coastal regions could be underwater if predictions of sea level
rise are realized.
Forests as a whole will almost surely change in the future, as they have in response to past climate
changes. Many scientists expect changes in competitive dynamics between species and a change
in overall species composition as a result of predicted CO2 levels. Forests will likely be
dominated by those species that can efficiently use CO2 and adapt to climate change at the
expense of others. Others argue that these predictions will never come true because they believe
that forests will expand and absorb excess atmospheric CO2.
Black Bears in Florida
By B. Wayne Harris, Wildlife Biologist, Forest Stewardship Program
The Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) is our state's largest native land mammal. Though
averaging about 300 pounds, male bears can weigh up to 600 pounds while females are notably smaller.
The largest black bear ever recorded in Florida, a 624 pound male, was road killed in Collier County in
1968. Most bears have a mostly black coat with a brown muzzle. Blonde or white patches are fairly
common on the chest. The hind foot of a black bear produces a track that closely resembles an extra wide
human track with claw marks at the ends of the toes. These hind tracks may be up to 9 inches long. The
prints from the front foot are more rounded and smaller in size.
Most Florida black bears live in heavily forested landscapes. Pine flatwoods, sandhill scrub, and dense ti-
ti swamps seem to be preferred for an optimum mixture of good food and cover resources. The typical
diet of a Florida black bear includes a combination of plant and animal material. Common foods include
acorns, cabbage palm, gallberries, palmetto berries, blackberries, grubs, termites, and beetles. Bears will
also eat armadillos, wild pigs, deer, and on rare occasion, livestock.
Home range size can vary greatly in black bears, but averages about 70 square miles (44,800 acres) for
adult males and 10 square miles (6,400 acres) for adult females. These ranges may be defended
seasonally for limited resources from other bears, but range overlap is normal, particularly between males
and females. The larger range size of males is due to the need to associate with as many females as
possible during the breeding season.
Florida black bears once roamed the entire state, as well as south Alabama and south Georgia. Now they
are more or less restricted to five sub-populations across the state. These sub-populations are generally
associated with Eglin Air Force Base in the western panhandle, Apalachicola National Forest in the
eastern panhandle, Osceola National Forest along the Georgia state line, Ocala National Forest in north-
central Florida, and Big Cypress National Preserve in the southwestern portion of the state.
-"5'T, 2.0 million acres
42.000 acres L
Black Bear Distribution
SFrequent Reports Green Swamp
SPopulation shared w/ Ga.
Acreages represent quantities of occupied habitat BIG CYPRESS
where there are frequent reports of black bears.
Although bears are usually secretive and fairly timid around people, bear-human interactions are on the
rise as more bear habitat is developed. If you happen to encounter a bear in the forest, the best idea is to
enjoy the experience from a distance. Make some sort of noise to let the bear know that you are there but
never attempt to feed one. Feeding can reduce bears' natural fear of humans and create a possible danger
for you and future observers. If you see a bear in a suburban setting you should contact the Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission and leave the bear alone. Chasing or scaring bears will often cause
them to climb trees, therefore lengthening an unwanted experience for the bear and most residents.
Eme ency F
Distribution based on 1991 survey (modified 1993)
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Bob Crawford
announced that Florida landowners, whose forests were damaged by wildfire, flood, insects, or
drought in 1998 through 2000, may be eligible for Federal cost-share funds under the Forestry
Incentives Program (FIP) for reforestation. Congress has now extended eligibility to include
disasters that occurred in 2000. Nearly $1 million in disaster funds are still available from the
original allocation made by Congress for emergency tree planting assistance.
To qualify for this emergency tree planting assistance, applicants must be private, non-industrial
forest landowners with less than 5,000 acres of total US forestland ownership, and have at least
five (5) acres of damaged timberland that they want to reforest. In addition, landowners can only
receive cost-share reimbursement up to $10,000 per federal fiscal year. The assistance includes
cost sharing for site preparation and tree planting.
The cost-share will cover up to 65% of the cost to re-establish a forest stand. Eligible landowners
are encouraged to investigate this new opportunity to receive assistance for replanting damaged
timberland. The following is a summary of the Emergency FIP guidelines:
Disaster damages must have occurred between the dates of January 1, 1998 through December
Disasters covered include wildfire, drought, flood, and related insect damage (southern pine
Landowners owning more than 1,000 acres must receive a waiver from the Division of Forestry
Director. County foresters can initiate the waiver process.
The Program will pay up to 65% of site preparation and planting costs if they do not exceed
average statewide costs for each practice.
County foresters have technical responsibility for the program and determine if damages are
disaster related and what site preparation is required.
The Division of Forestry and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have
established a continuous sign-up to help facilitate the application process. Applications for
Emergency FIP are available at your local NRCS office or contact your county forester.
Timber Prices Another Look
By Alan Long and Chris Demers
Perhaps the most frequent question we
are asked in extension revolves around
what prices a landowner might expect for
a sale of their timber. Although you may
be able to tune in a noontime broadcast
to hear daily prices for corn, wheat or
other agricultural crops, no such
opportunity exists for timber. Each
timber sale is unique in: acreage, tree
size, volume, quality, accessibility,
distance to markets (different production
facilities) and a host of other variables. -.
Timber prices are initially dependent on what mills are willing to pay for wood delivered to their
woodyards. Those prices are, in turn, dependent on the national and international markets for their
finished products (lumber, plywood, poles, paper or pulp). Demands for those products, such as
new housing starts in the U.S., are cyclical, and one product (lumber, for example) may be high in
demand (and therefore in mill prices) at the same time that another product (say, paper) is facing
stiff international competition and prices are low. Delivered prices at the mill are also dependent
on the particular production costs at that mill. Thus, pulpwood sold to two mills, side-by-side,
may be valued differently because of different mill designs and market outlets.
In addition to variations in woodyard prices, each possible buyer of your timber has their own
unique set of variables to deal with in terms of: the particular equipment they own or can lease,
their debt and capital structure, mills to which they haul the timber, and other sales they are
currently working. So, their operating costs for your particular sale will rarely be the same.
With these two major factors, delivered prices at the mill and harvesting costs, timber buyers
compute what they can afford to pay a landowner for their timber sale. It is no wonder that
landowners will often (if not all the time) see a fairly large range in prices bid or offered for their
timber. And it is almost a guarantee that the landowner will never see a buyer offer a price that
exactly matches the average price that was recorded in a timber price report for a previous three-
month period for a large part of Florida.
Where is this leading? We have regularly reported in this newsletter a brief summary of the most
recent Timber Mart-South (TMS) timber prices for northern Florida and have provided a more
detailed summary to county extension offices. Unfortunately, those prices are too often construed
as what a landowner should expect if they try to sell their timber today, which is usually several
months beyond the three-month period included in the averages. In reality, current prices relative
to any TMS report are almost always going to be higher or lower than the report. Rarely, if ever,
will they be the same. Thus, our report in this newsletter will cover the range (low-high) of values
reported in the most recent TMS report, which covers the period from April to June this year. We
still offer no assurance that prices for a particular sale today will even fall within that range. As in
past issues, we reiterate that your best source of information on current stumpage prices will be
timber buyers and forestry consultants in your area who are actively in the timber market. You
may want to check and see if any of them use email lists to inform interested landowners when
prices start rising (or going the other way).
If we have created more questions than we have answered, send them to us and we will return to
this issue in the next newsletter.
Stumpage price ranges reported across Florida in the 2nd quarter 2000 Timber-Mart South report
were: $14-$36/cord for pine pulpwood, $60-$86/cord for pine C-N-S, $84-$138/cord for pine
sawtimber, and $101-$125/cord for pine plylogs. Prices were generally down for all four products
compared to 1st quarter prices. Average hardwood pulpwood prices ranged from $6-$25/cord,
which was up slightly from the previous quarter. A more complete summary of 2nd quarter
stumpage prices is available at your County Extension Office.
Pine pulpwood markets have nearly disappeared in parts of the southeast due to a continuing flood
of wood. Persisting dry weather, CRP thinnings, and increased quantities of salvaged timber in
some areas have translated into mills needing very little pulpwood. Both chip-n-saw and
sawtimber have shown definite upward trends in average price over the same period. According
to F&W Newsletter No. 65 (Spring 2000), the demand for new home construction is the principal
driver of demand for, and price of, sawtimber. New housing starts continued an upward trend in
the first quarter despite increased interest rates, but the decrease in sawtimber prices in the second
quarter may reflect that change. Most forecasters predict that construction markets will remain
strong in the second quarter but, as predicted, the pace has slowed a bit. Locally, persisting dry
weather maintained access to many harvest sites and recent southern pine beetle outbreaks are
adding yet more pulpwood to the already swelling piles. We can probably expect pulpwood
prices in north Florida to remain low for some time.
Ask Joe Steward
Our Question and Answer column returns! Write, call or email the editor of the Florida Forest
Steward with your questions and we will print the answers in the next issue. We welcome
questions about articles in this or back issues of the Steward, specific management practices,
economic or financial issues, forest policy issues, or anything else relating to resource
management. The contact information for the editor is in the box at the bottom of this page.
SFRC Workshops for Landowners and Professionals
October 12: Forest Landowner Workshop, Volusia County Ag. Center, Deland.
Contact: Sharon Gamble, 904-822-5778
November 4: Project Learning Tree, Austin Cary Memorial Forest.
December 5-7: Basic Prescribed Fire Course for Landowners with Bum Experience, Sebring.
Contact: Hillsborough Community College, Fred Webb, 813-757-2104 or 757-2157,
December 13-15: Global Positioning Systems, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Contact: Dr. Alan Long, 352-846-0891
Forest Stewardship Program -
February 6 March 20, 2001: Master Tree Farmer 2001 3-hour satellite
broadcasts of resource management workshops, 7 PM to 10 PM EST, every I
Tuesday for this 7-week period at locations throughout Florida.
Announcement with further details will be mailed to Stewardship Program 2001
participants. For more information on-line, go to http:/www.mtf2000. net/