Revised May, 1998
A cross-section of society, consisting of farmers, business and professional people, tradesmen, factory workers, school teachers and retirees represent Georgia's non-industrial private forest (NIPF) landowners who own over two-thirds of the state's commercial forestland.
In Georgia, there are 23.6 million acres of commercial forest land of which almost 17 million acres--72 percent--are owned by approximately 695,000 farmers and other nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners. This compares to 63 percent in the U.S. South. Forest industry ownership in Georgia, almost 5 million acres, is almost the same as the total percentage in the South--21 percent. Private ownership is at 4 percent and national forests (public ownership) is at 3 percent; they are relatively small ownership classes in Georgia.
In relation to all manufacturing in Georgia, forest industries in 1990 produced 24 percent of total output in the state. This is $1 of each $4 of output manufacturing added to the Georgia economy. Wood and paper processing is the number one output producing manufacturing sector in the Georgia economy. Of total Georgia manufacturing output of $45 billion, the forest industry (wood and paper processing sector) produced $11 billion directly in 1990. With a type 2 output multiplier (direct plus ripple effects, including household spending) of 1.7092 in Georgia, the wood and paper processing sector directly and indirectly produced almost $19 billion in output in a total Georgia economy of $243 billion in output in 1990. There are 1,600 forestry manufacturing firms in Georgia.
In relation to all manufacturing in Georgia, forest industries in 1990 employed 23 percent of workers. Thus, forest industry employs one of almost every four manufacturing workers and is the number one employer in manufacturing. Of 305,256 manufacturing workers in Georgia, forest industry (wood and paper processing) employs 69,292 workers directly. With a type 2 employment multiplier of 2.5443 in Georgia, the wood and paper processing sector directly and indirectly employees 176,300 workers in a total Georgia economy employing 3.7 million workers. Wood and paper, as used here, encompasses all or part of four main industry groups under the Standard Industrial Classification system used by the Bureau of the Census in collecting data on manufacturing. These are lumber and wood products, furniture and fixtures, paper and allied products and gum and wood chemicals. The U.S. forest products industry employs approximately 1.6 million people in forest and paper production.
In the U.S. South, 47 percent of total forest inventory is softwood with the remaining 53 percent hardwood. Georgia has similar percentages. Current softwood harvests run slightly above growth, while hardwoods harvests run only about onehalf of growth. Over the period 1990 to 2040, projections for softwood harvests from U.S. forests are an increase by 35 percent; hardwood harvests to rise by more than 51 percent. Total timberland area in Georgia is projected to decline from 23.6 to 21.8 million acres by the year 2030. Pine plantation acres are projected to increase from 4.72 to 7.17 million acres by 2030 and naturally regenerated pine acres to decrease from 6.97 to 3.14 million acres by 2030. Mixed pine/hardwood acreage is expected to decrease slightly from 2.74 to 2.42 million acres by 2030. Typically these mixed stands are 50 percent or more oak and 25 to 50 percent pine. Upland hardwood acreage in Georgia is expected to decrease slightly from 3.58 to 3.44 million acres by 2030. Annual sawtimber stumpage real price growth is expected over this projection period to be from 1 to 2 percent. Real pulpwood and paper price growth is projected to be flat over the period. To meet this projected increase in demand, output from southern forests is expected to increase by shifting toward more acres of planted pine and decreasing acreage of natural pine, mixed pine/hardwood and hardwood. Additionally, forestry cultural and management practices are expected to intensify. Increased production from more intensively managed planted pine will moderate further price increases of wood and paper products, relieve harvest pressure from public forests, and ensure sustainable production of forests crops, a renewable, natural resource.
Opportunities on nonindustrial private lands for increased timber production include:
Limited financial resources do not prevent landowners from undertaking sound forest management practices. There are a number of acceptable alternatives to the general forest industry model.
The natural regeneration scenario in this study was computermodeled using WINYIELD 1.11 (Hepp 1996), while the cut over and oldfield scenarios were modeled using GaPPS Version 4.0 (Zhou and Bailey 1996). Each scenario was examined using common assumptions, where possible, to compare the scenarios. Site productivity, indicated site index (SI), averaged 68 feet at 25 years. This SI can be described as highly productive and would be expected where additional inputs such as site preparation, weed competition control and fertilizer are added.
Financial parameters were set as:
All results are reported uninflated before taxes. Other variables such as hunting leases and pine straw harvests were omitted from these assumptions because they would be common to each scenario and would add no real new information to this comparative study.
All three pine regeneration scenarios examined grew substantial wood-flow (Table 1) and earned attractive returns for landowners (Table 2). This indicates that in a wide range of situations, from mature forest to marginal agricultural land, landowners can earn attractive profits when they take an active role in pine regeneration and subsequent management. If a forest landowner harvests trees but cannot afford several hundred dollars an acre to replant trees on cutover sites, planned natural regeneration is a good option. As shown in Table 2, replanting a cutover stand with a pine plantation will earn a higher rate of return and more total dollars per acre, than natural regeneration, $25 compared to $84 per acre per year for the two methods. But, cutover plantations require more investment capital to be tied up while the trees are growing than does a naturally regenerated stand. The highest returns and easiest tree planting can be realized through afforestation of marginal agricultural land. Several million acres of marginal agricultural land across the U.S. South, and over one million current agricultural acres in Georgia, will earn higher producer returns when planted to pine trees instead of to annual row crops. An Annual Equivalent Return ($/acre/year) of $133 per acre from trees competes favorably with most annual crops on marginal agricultural land (Table 2). Also, with afforestation of agricultural land, less investment capital is tied up in the growing trees compared to cutover plantations leading to a substantially higher IRR. The attractive growth and financial performances of tree plantations established on oldfield sites deserves a closer look by those landowners and investors interested in the practice of more intensive forestry.
Table 1. Modeled per acre stand parameters and woodflow of naturally regenerated, cut over and oldfield loblolly pine, U.S. South, planted 1997.
|Rotation||Stand Condition||Residual Component||Harvested Component|
|Length||Age||height||PAIa||Basal Area||Stems||Total Cords||Basal Area||Stems||Total Cords|
|Natural 35 years||28||67||1.1||65||114||21.30||33||83||10.34|
|Av. =||1.2||Totals/acre =||124||190||43.24|
|Cut over 33 years||18||50||1.7||80||301||17.40||57||215||12.37|
|Av. =||2.4||Totals/acre =||261||487||77.88|
|Oldfield 33 years||18||62||2.4||80||250||21.70||77||244||21.16|
|Av. =||3.0||Totals/acre =||267||470||98.72|
|Rotation||Internal Rate of Return (IRR%)||Annual Equivalent Value (AEV $/ac)||Soil Expectation Value (SEV $/ac)|
|Cut over, 33-year||10.61||84||2,104|
Hepp, T. 1996. WINYIELD, Version 1.11, Timber Yield Forecasting and Planning Tool,, Tenn. Valley Auth. Forestry Building, 17 Ridgeway Rd., Norris, Tennessee 37828, Tel. 423-632-1518, FAX 423-632-1795.
Zhou, B., and R.L. Bailey. 1996. GaPPS, Version 4.0, Georgia Pine Plantation Simulator, D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, Tel. 706-542-1187.
It has been said that most people don't plan to fail; they fail to plan. Having a successful forestry enterprise is just like doing anything else: it takes a plan. This chapter deals with the items that should be included in a forest management plan.
It is a good idea to include input from other people, such as family members, who are affected by the decisions you may make. Having a well defined, written set of goals and objectives is the most important aspect of any business. If you don't know where you are going, then it doesn't matter which road you take. Get your goals and objectives written down.
Decisions about forest lands should include concepts of multi-land use and alternative enterprises. Those in use today may include hunting leases, pine straw, cattle, pine cones, Christmas trees, pond management/fee fishing, honey bees, greenery, mushrooms, fishing worms, wild trees for landscaping, mineral leases, inter-row crop planting, firewood, etc. More information on alternative enterprises is contained in chapters 13 and 14 of this bulletin.
In addition to agency-sponsored programs, private consultants and industrial foresters are available to provide specialized assistance. These professionals can help write a detailed management plan as well as provide practical assistance when carrying out the plan to plant, harvest, and market trees.
Chapter 16 provides additional details on educational, financial, and technical assistance available to private forest owners in the United States.
Topographical information is necessary for planning management and harvesting operations. Topographic maps are helpful in planning access, firebreaks, managing smoke and for other general purposes. These are available from the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington, D.C.
Aerial photographs are invaluable to the development of a good management plan. Much of the information necessary for a workable plan, including measures of distance, can be obtained quickly and accurately from an aerial photo. Old photos can be used to help establish a history of your land, and recent photos provide an overall picture of your forest. Aerial photos can be obtained from your local FSA and NRCS office, state forester or from a private aerial photo service.
No land description is complete without a soil map. A soil map is helpful in delineating areas of equal site quality, judging land use capabilities and identifying limitations. Soil maps for most areas are available from your local NRCS office.
In describing your land, also include information about the climate, rainfall and length of the growing season. Special weather information such as the probability of ice, floods and droughts will also be useful in making decisions. It is also extremely important to know your rights to minerals, water and other legal aspects of land ownership particular to your county or state.
The written description is a good place to include information about existing and proposed streams, roads, gullies, fences, easements, dwellings and impoundments. Special features such as rocky outcrops, steep slopes, or old home sites should be clearly marked also. Figure 1 shows how a map can be used in an informal management plan.
Get a professional timber cruise to inventory present conditions for each stand (species, size and age distributions, stocking, site index, growth rates, and merchantable volume of the standing trees, and growth projections).
This key information gives your starting point. Just as you need goals and objectives to show where you are headed, you need to know your starting point. Show other site conditions such as disease or insects, wildlife use, wildlife food and cover and development potential.
The management plan can begin to get complicated at this point. Recognize the benefits of getting help from the agencies listed earlier. Also, help from private forestry consultants and industrial foresters is not just another cost item. Professional help can pay big dividends in increased profits from timber sales. Be sure to include provisions for protecting the forest from disease, insects and fire. Include sales policies and other economic considerations.
If regeneration is to be by natural means, specific actions have to be taken many years ahead of final harvest. These can include site preparation, prescribed burns to control weed trees and leaving high quality shelter wood and seed trees.
Seeded stands require specific site preparation, seeding method/rates, seed source and cost information.
Planted stands can be started by either hand or machine. With either method there are specific equipment requirements. Sometimes a contractor may be needed. Also, seedling sources must be lined up ahead of time. The different regeneration methods have specific cost and revenue structures. This can best be illustrated by comparing cash flow and budget projections under different assumptions. Table 3 shows typical cash flows for a naturally regenerated loblolly stand and a planted loblolly pine plantation. The biggest difference shown between these two types of regeneration is in the amount of money needed to get the stand started.
Table 3. Before tax dollars1 per acre cash flow by year for a naturally regenerated and a planted loblolly pine stand in Georgia.
|Year||Net||Accumulated Net||Net||Accumulated Net|
Provisions of The 1986 Tax Reform Act have changed the nature of investments in forestry and should be incorporated to show the tax affects. There is no longer a federal tax exclusion for long term capital gains. However, there remains an 84 month amortization and 10 percent investment credit on certain reforestation costs (you can charge off, over a 7 year period, up to $10,000 per year in reforestation costs).
Enterprise records should show forestry costs and incomes as well as land and timber basis. Also consider legal liability, contracts, invitees, licensees, trespassers, animals, tenants, insurance, maintenance, sale of forest resources and a lawyer.
Managing timber to minimize the taxes paid can be a complicated process. Be sure to get the best professional advice available on these matters well before actions are taken. After timber is sold or trees are planted, most of your flexibility to minimize taxes is gone. So, plan ahead.
Plan tree harvest by stand type. Develop a time table for harvests, harvest methods and restrictions to protect your resources. Include plans for site preparation for new trees after upcoming harvests.
Study timber price history and projections when planning tree harvests. Your plan should include marketing contract information and forms, liens, bids, improvement protection and easements.
Never sell timber without a timber cruise which tells you exactly how much and what kind of timber you have. Timber value depends on the size and product classes (pulpwood, chip-n-saw, and sawtimber) of trees you have.
Tax considerations apply heavily in the marketing plan. Be sure to get competent advice. More information on harvesting and marketing timber is provided in the section on Marketing and Harvesting on page 51 of this bulletin.
Establishing a new stand of pine seedlings doesn't have to be expensive. You can use several effective, low-cost pine regeneration methods as alternatives to expensive mechanical site preparation and planting. These low-cost regeneration methods fit many situations. If you have not yet harvested your stand of timber, consider using one of the natural regeneration methods. If trees have already been cut, treating with herbicides and planting seedlings or direct seeding are low-cost options. By planning and carefully selecting a regeneration method, you can establish a pine stand for one-third to one-half the cost of mechanical site preparation and planting.
Planting allows for the optimum number of seedlings per acre. With natural regeneration, some areas within the stand may have too few seedlings while other areas have too many. When there are too many seedlings per acre, a precommercial thinning is often necessary to maintain growth, incurring an additional cost. This variation in stocking often results in lower yields from naturally regenerated stands compared to planted stands. However, this problem can be reduced by carefully applying proper methods.
Using a natural pine regeneration method requires planning long before you intend to harvest your present stand of pine. Manage the existing stand to develop good seed-producing trees, reduce competition from understory brush, and provide a good seedbed for germination. Begin a prescribed burning program to control understory vegetation that competes with the pines for moisture, nutrients and growing space. Pine seed needs bare mineral soil for germination, so a thick understory of hardwoods, grass and other brush slows the growth of established trees and makes seedling establishment impossible. Prescribed burning at three to five year intervals prior to harvest controls understory competition and prepares a good seedbed.
The seed tree and shelterwood methods are applied by a series of cuts or harvests. In unmanaged and dense pine stands, a preparatory cut, which is essentially a thinning, is made at least three years before the seed cut to promote crown development of potential seed producing trees. The seed cut leaves only the seed producing trees. In many cases the preparatory cut is not necessary and the seed cut will be the first harvest cut. Once regeneration is established, promptly harvest the seed trees.
The seed tree and shelterwood methods differ in the number of seed-producing trees left in the seed cut. In the seed-tree method, six to eight trees remain per acre. This number usually provides enough seed in good seed years to regenerate the site. A single pine tree can produce 15,000 seeds, but in dry years and on poor sites seed production may be lower. During the l986 drought, only three of ten seed trees per acre produced seed in a seed-tree regeneration operation in the Georgia Piedmont. When the seed-tree method is used on small tracts, it is difficult to market the seed trees. The small volume of wood usually brings a lower price because the logger cannot work as efficiently.
A modified shelterwood system that is commonly used in the South leaves 20 to 40 seed trees on each acre after the initial seed cut. This ensures an ample seed supply in most years and an easily marketed volume of wood available after the seed cut. Aesthetically, many landowners prefer the more natural look of a modified shelterwood with more overstory trees remaining after the initial harvest. The remaining trees provide shade which slows the growth of competing vegetation. Longleaf pine is regenerated using the shelterwood method because the large, heavy seeds are not dispersed as far from the seed trees.
With either method, the seed trees selected in the seed cut should be the best trees in the stand. These are mature trees (30 years old), 12 to 16 inches in diameter, with straight stems and large, well-developed crowns showing no evidence of disease. Select trees with a live crown ratio of at least 30 percent for maximum seed production. The live crown ratio is the percentage of total tree height covered by living branches. If the crowns are too small, make a preparatory cut to stimulate crown development. Avoid high-grading the stand because this leaves only weak, suppressed trees with thin crowns and no potential as seed producers.
After the seed cut, check the cone crops on the trees and burn the site just before seed release in the fall to clear a mineral soil seedbed. Seed fall for the major southern pines begins in October and continues through December. Seeds of loblolly, shortleaf and slash pine begin to germinate in early February. Longleaf pine seeds germinate soon after seed fall. Newly-germinated seedlings are susceptible to temperature extremes and early spring droughts, but with favorable conditions, sufficient numbers of seedlings are usually established within three years of the seed cut.
Evaluate regeneration success in the winter when the green seedlings stand out against the dead grass. When there are several thousand well distributed two-to three-year-old seedlings established per acre, remove the seed trees. If an adequate stand of seedlings is not established, you must wait until the next good seed crop and reburn the site to control competition and prepare the seedbed.
Harvest the seed trees when the seedlings are two to three years old. As the seedlings get older they are subject to greater damage during harvest. Supervise the removal of the seed trees to prevent damage to the new stand. Locate logging roads and skid trails to minimize damage to seedlings. However, dense patches of seedlings may be thinned by running skid trails through them. If more than several thousand seedlings remain after the removal cut, reduce the number of seedlings to 700 to 900 per acre by mowing or harrowing 10 to 12 foot wide strips leaving 1 to 2-foot-wide rows of seedlings. Leaving seed trees on the site however, causes poor seedling growth and a loss of income from failure to sell the best trees in your stand.
The seed-in-place method requires control of understory vegetation through a series of prescribed burns or herbicide treatments before seed fall occurs. The stand is then harvested in the fall after the seeds have dispersed. If a new stand of seedlings is not established, the tract must be artificially regenerated.
If an inventory of your stand reveals several thousand well-established seedlings per acre, consider using the seedling-in-place clearcut method. Harvest your stand in late summer or fall after the seedlings have survived their first growing season. Carefully plan skid trails to minimize damage to the seedlings and to thin dense areas of reproduction. Clearcutting strips 200 feet wide in well stocked stands is an effective regeneration option. Cut the strips perpendicular to prevailing winds to ensure that seeds from trees in the uncut strips blow into the clearcuts. Before seed fall, burn the strips to prepare the seedbed and reduce competition.
Obtain seed from reputable sources in the geographic region where they will be planted. Loblolly, shortleaf and slash pine seed should be stratified to improve germination and commercially treated with repellents to protect against seed-eating predators. Sow these species in the spring. Freshly-collected longleaf seed (treated with repellents) can be sown in the fall or in early spring. Stratification may benefit germination of stored seed.
On small acreage use cyclone seeders to broadcast seed in strips. By removing litter and dropping seeds on bare mineral soil, individual spots can be hand seeded. Tractor mounted row-seeders sow seed in rows that helps control stocking and spacing. Large acreages are most efficiently seeded using fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters. Combine several local tracts so a contractor can reduce costs by aerially seeding them in one operation.
Some sites can be planted and treated with herbicides in a pine release operation several years later. This is a good option when advanced competition from brush and weeds is not severe. Only the vegetation competing with the individual pine seedlings needs to be controlled with spot or row treatments, so chemical costs are reduced. This option is attractive because the cost of the pine release can be added to the expenses on your income tax return the year it occurs. Costs of site preparation must be capitalized and recovered through amortization over an 84-month period.
Low-input site preparation treatments can be contracted through consulting foresters or applied yourself. Careful selection of herbicide treatments can lower your establishment costs (see Winning with Herbicides).
Reducing the up-front costs of stand establishment may result in greater returns to your forestry investment at the end of the rotation. Check the condition of your timberlands (Table 4) and talk with a forester to determine the best low-cost option for regenerating your timberland.
Table 4. Selecting a low-cost regeneration option.
Present Stand Condition & Regeneration Option(s):
Mature pine to be harvested in next five years. Understory has few hardwoods and brush.
Well-managed stands of pines producing numerous values to the landowner are one aspect of good forestry. Unfortunately, many stands of pines do not fully use inherent site productivity to produce value. These pine stands have been abused, unmanaged or poorly managed over the years. Major renovation treatments are required to bring these stands back to full productivity and to facilitate management in future years. Several aspects of pine stand renovation are presented in this chapter. Complete stand conversions from hardwoods to pines and other possible management alternatives such as pine/hardwood mixes or hardwoods are not discussed.
When the understory cannot be colonized by the overstory trees, other species that can become established in partial shade and have seeds that germinate well in litter will grow. These species begin to form an incomplete secondary canopy layer below the overstory. As secondary canopy trees grow, their canopies rise, eventually pushing out the early successional species. As the early successional species die and cannot replace themselves, the stand becomes dominated by the new species.
New species succeed in the stand if their seeds can germinate, young seedlings can survive in the understory and stems can grow quickly into overstory openings. An additional feature of these latersuccessional species is sprouting from established root systems. This gives a tree a headstart over the competition. For example, young oak seedlings may have stems two years old and root systems 12 years old. Oak continues to sprout until an opportunity exists for the sprout to grow into a canopy gap.
Pine is an earlysuccessional species. Conditions that are similar to open, newly harvested sites favor pine if the disturbance area is large enough to minimize competition, open up mineral soil for seeds and provide full sunlight. Latersuccessional species like oak, maple and other hardwoods sprout back after disturbance or harvesting, and can survive more shading, less exposed soil for seeds and more competition.
To maintain pine, management activities must create conditions favorable to pine and unfavorable to its competition. By periodically damaging hardwoods (later-successional species), pine will continue to dominate the site. This type of management will inhibit normal successional processes that would lead to a hardwood stand. Without management or with poor management, pine sites will eventually be dominated by hardwoods. Good management holds the site at an early-successional stage prime for pine. Prescribed burning, herbicide use and cutting are ways to hold succession in the pine stage.
Trees make food by capturing sunlight in their leaves. Energy from sunlight is used to produce food from air and water, so leaves must be exposed to adequate sunlight. When trees cannot capture enough sunlight they decline and die. Larger tree crowns result in more food production, which leads to increased wood production.
Because light and other resources needed for tree growth are limited, decide which trees should be favored. Emphasize trees with rapid, highquality growth with few risks and great market potential. Allowing trees with no economic value to live prevents favored trees from using those resources for growth.
To maximize economic returns, pines must grow as big as they can in the shortest amount of time. Concentrate site resources (light, water and essential elements) onto a few crop trees and eliminate the rest of the trees. Resources can be shared by hundreds of trees and weeds, or concentrated on a few crop trees that will make money. Ensure that crop trees fatten their trunks by keeping their crowns large and eliminating neighboring competitors.
Trees must have large crowns to make food and to react well to any stand treatments. Leave crop trees well distributed across the site and free to grow or use planting to establish new seedlings so crop trees can fully occupy the site.
In some cases, problems are the result of decades of abuse, no management or poor management. Instant, radical solutions may not be possible and may destroy future productivity so the solutions presented are not "quick fixes". Patience and correct treatments will yield good results.
Before prescribing a treatment, the problem must be fully appreciated. What is the problem? If the stand is understocked with pine, how many pines are present? If the stand was harvested and not replanted, what is on the site now? Should a stand be liquidated to start over or left to harvest the few remaining stems? In stagnated pine stands, how dense are the stems? These questions and others must be answered as accurately as possible to ensure prudent, costeffective and timely treatments. An inventory is essential.
In this section, 5acre blocks (with 467foot sides of a square or a 263foot radius of a circle) are used as the minimum size of a renovation treatment. Renovation can occur over an entire forest or in small blocks or patches. Fiveacre units are an easy way to plan and keep track of treatments because they are a good size for providing resources for an earlysuccessional species like pine. Designate problem areas and treatments in any scale, but the smaller the treatable unit, the higher the per croptree costs become.
Generally, the higher the discount (interest) rate for acceptable management alternatives is, the more costly midrotation liquidation becomes (see Figure 2). Early in stand life, little rotation time and site resources are invested in the new stand, so losses from a total harvest to start again are relatively low. Near the end of a rotation when the trees are close to harvest, a total harvest does not involve large additional costs. Stands in the middle of a rotation cycle with few crop trees can be carried to full rotation age with fewer costs and more returns than completely harvesting and starting over. If you decide to completely liquidate a stand, use one of the methods presented in the section on Low Cost Regeneration Options. Herbicides may be required to release the pines once established.
The purpose of renovation is to thin pines that are too dense or to push succession back to an early stage. Holding succession at an early stage minimizes competition, assists with natural reproduction and ensures future stands will be easier to manage.
The level of treatment needed to allow pines to dominate a site is limited by the additional economic returns a specific treatment yields at harvest time. The most effective and efficient level of treatment per acre at the lowest cost over time determines what treatment to use and to what extent it is used.
Remove hardwoods with periodic fire and/or chemical treatments. Most hardwoods less than 3 inches in diameter have thin bark and are susceptible to fire damage. The first fire kills the main stem and the next fire kills the sprouts. Repeated prescribed burns are necessary for hardwood control. Larger hardwood trees not killed by fire can be chemically injected or girdled. If advanced regeneration of pine is in the understory, wait 7 to 10 years before the second burn if a regeneration cut, unevenaged management or group management is planned.
Large patches that are at least 1 acre in size and empty of trees after herbicide treatments are suitable for planting. Plant across the site with 12foot by 12-foot (302 trees per acre) spacing. Control herbaceous and woody competition around seedlings and eliminate overtopping neighboring hardwoods. Plant pines in full sun and delay further fire until seedlings are 10 years old. Release pines with chemicals in two to five years if needed. Prescribed burning done just before pine seed crops can help establish new pine seedlings with a lowcost natural regeneration system. See the section on LowCost Pine Regeneration Options for more information.
This type of stand requires enrichment plantings, heavy TSI and hardwood control to prevent hardwood dominance. Because stands are abused by different means of highgrading, careful examination and treatment application are required. Plant in areas completely harvested or opened by vegetation control to establish highquality pines on the site. Plant in blocks with about 300 seedlings per acre on a 1 2foot by 12-foot grid so that each pine is in full sun and free to grow.
Remove competition by a preplanting prescribed burn, wait 10 years for the pines to grow, then begin a periodic cycle of burning. Competition can be removed and pines released by herbicides within five years. If large pines that can act as seed trees exist (six to eight mature trees per acre with large crowns) , burn in late summer before good seed crops.
The problem with high graded stands is not from succession to hardwoods but from limited biological productivity. Reverse this process by eliminating all unwanted or unacceptable stems, and by favoring good pines already on the site. Several TSI treatments and harvest/plantings may be needed for full recovery.
These types of stands require vegetation control by fire and chemicals to minimize hardwoods, site preparation on some areas and planting. If naturally regenerated pines do not exist on the site, the stand should be liquidated and burned. The site can then be regenerated by lowcost site preparation and planting methods. Pine release after two to five years will probably be needed.
If more than 150 stems of advanced pine regeneration (greater than one inch in diameter) or more than 300 stems of pine seedlings exist, use pine release. Clumps of seedlings create spacing problems and should be thinned out. If little natural pine regeneration exists, the site is still young enough in the rotation to be started over. Additional chemical, brush cutting and prescribed burning will be needed to ensure pine dominance.
Older stands that are over 130 square feet of basal area can stagnate and be prone to pest attack and stress problems. These stands were planted too densely and never thinned or arose from dense natural regeneration. Older stands require more care in thinning. Some species, such as slash pine, do not respond well to thinning. Wind blowdown and ice damage can become problems for remaining trees in newly thinned older stands, and residual tree damage from thinning is difficult to prevent in a dense stand. Thin stands back to 70 to 80 square feet of basal area for the first thinning from a stagnated older stand.
Table 5. Decision table based upon stand conditions.
|Manage Existing Stand||Harvest and Regenerate|
|A) Total Basal Area||over 65 ft2||under 65 ft2|
|B) Percent pine BA of total||greater than 25%||less than 25%|
|C) Average merchantable pine age||middle-aged||less than 5 years old or closer than 5 years to harvest|
|D) Pine grouwth rate/crown size||medium to fast / greater than 1/3 live crown||less than 20% live crown|
|E) Amount of advanced pine regeneration||greater than 1 inch in diameter||less than 75 stems|
Many forest stands in Georgia suffer from three common problems of middleaged forests: Poor management, if any at all; no planning for regeneration; and stands that are too dense. Losses from midrotation management problems can offset the most careful regeneration efforts. Planting trees and then forgetting them is neither prudent nor careful management and lost income dollars is the penalty.
This section concentrates on production pine forestry: Water, wildlife, aesthetics, recreation and other tree species can all be included in viable management objectives. Professional foresters can help you set and meet goals and objectives for your land. Productive combinations using all of the land's resources can pay large rewards.
For example, harvest/regeneration may account for five of 35 years that a forest stand grows or 14 percent of the life of the stand. The harvest/ regeneration period is critical to economic returns, but you cannot neglect the 80 percent or more of a stand's life between harvests.
Intermediate aged stand management involves manipulating tree crowns which are the leaves and supporting branches that provide nutrients for growth. Without a healthy crown to make food, you have no tree trunk (the product you sell). Forestry is crown management.
Trees make food by capturing sunlight in their leaves. Energy from sunlight is used to produce food from air and water. Trees that cannot capture enough sunlight will decline and die. Foresters manage tree food production to make wood. The more food produced, the more wood produced.
Every site where trees grow receives about the same amount of sunlight, but only a certain amount of the sun s energy is available for conversion into tree food.
Several factors prevent a tree from fully converting available light energy into food: the species of tree and type of leaves present, soil problems, water problems, pest and damage problems and competition for resources from other plants and trees.
Since there is a limited amount of sunlight and other resources available for tree growth on a site, you need to decide which trees should be favored. Favoring trees with rapid, highquality growth, few risks and a great market potential will be profitable. Allowing poor trees with no economic value to live keeps the good trees from using that energy to grow.
To maximize economic returns, trees must grow as big as they can in
the shortest amount of time. You must concentrate any energy captured and
other site resources onto a few "crop" trees and eliminate the rest of
the trees. The energy and site resources can be divided over thousands
of trees or concentrated onto the few crop trees that will make you money.
Ensure that crop trees fatten their trunks by keeping their crowns large
and by controlling competition.
Intermediate-aged stand treatments keep the best crop trees growing fast and big. Trees must have large crowns to make food and to respond well to stand treatments.
Tree crowns expand and grow and trees with the tallest crowns collect more of the site resources and grow taller. The tallest trees may be pines or hardwoods. As taller, bigger trees continue to capture more of the site resources, the smaller trees get less of the resources and begin to decline and die.
Tree crowns are soon deeply overlapping each other and shading their own lower branches. When one branch cannot make enough food for itself, it is sealed off and dies in a process known as selfpruning. Heavy crown competition eliminates many lower branches.
The unmanaged forest becomes thick with pine and hardwood trees. As the trees lose many of their lower limbs, the length of their live crown shrinks. Live crown ratio is the length of the main trunk where all the living branches are connected, divided by the total height of the tree. For example, a tree 100 feet tall with a living crown length of 40 feet would have a live crown ratio of 40 percent. Live crown ratio is a measure used to determine competition. The larger the living crown, the more food the tree can make and the bigger it can grow. Tree mortality accelerates when the live crown ratio reaches 20 percent.
With competition, many trees make only enough food to grow slowly and are quickly overtopped by neighboring trees. Overtopped trees make even less food and further decline. Death of overtopped trees is the common result of site competition.
Trees that are completely overtopped and no longer growing are "suppressed" trees. Suppressed trees survive for a time, but eventually die. When a suppressed trees dies, the resources used to make its food and grow its wood are wasted. Those same resources could have been used to help a crop tree get bigger. Instead, the wasted resources become termite food and potential income dollars rot on the forest floor.
Remaining trees in the unmanaged forest continue to grow. The forest site is now carrying its maximum amount of tree crown area with few places where an extra leaf could be placed. Every tree is using a lot of food to maintain itself and to compete with its neighbors. There are many stems, each with a small crown. Each tree's potential growth is limited by the resources it can capture. The total resources of the site are divided to keep thousands of stems alive.
Some trees are more successful than others at competing for resources. As a few trees capture more of the limited resources, smaller trees begin to decline and die at a faster rate. This rate is the natural mortality of the stand. The remaining trees develop smaller and smaller crowns producing less food. These weakened, slowgrowing trees are more prone to environmental stress and pest attacks. Pests such as Southern pine beetles remove competition-weakened trees, sometimes a whole stand at a time.
In an unmanaged stand of trees, a majority of the site resources are wasted upon trees that die before their value can be harvested. This is not productive forestry.
Forest treatments must always meet this criteria: The cost of the treatment must be less than its benefit at harvest, adjusted for time's effect on money. In other words, a treatment must generate product value greater than the cost of the treatment, plus interest, carried over the rest of the rotation period.
Release pines by eliminating brush, hardwood sprouts and any tree overtopping or directly competing with a crop pine. Try to eliminate direct competition from neighboring weeds in an area equal in diameter to half the height of the young pine. Do not allow any weeds to shade the pines.
When a stand is young, competing woody weeds (trees, shrubs, and vines) prevent the pines from capturing all the site resources needed for best growth. Depending upon harvest, site preparation and establishment procedures, many pine stands under five years of age may require release from competition. All the released site resources can then be concentrated into rapid pine growth. Waiting too long to release pines from competition leads to increased mortality, pest problems and lost growth, all of which cost you dollars.
Herbicide treatments across a site are becoming a costeffective method of ensuring fast, early growth in pines. Aerial, ground spray, singletree injection and spot gun application procedures can be prescribed by a forester to meet your objectives and site conditions.
Mechanical cutting around crop pines is possible on small plots, but is not costeffective over large areas. Do not treat every pine. Release only those pines that are healthy, have a large crown and are well spaced across a site. The number of crop trees for final harvest ranges from 50 to 250 trees per acre, depending upon your objectives. Do not waste time with pines that will obviously be suppressed and die in the future. Individually treat only crop trees.
Pine release allows pines to grow above their competition and then control the site. Strive for 250 or fewer freetogrow crop trees per acre. Pine release is not always needed. As a rule of thumb, release pine when onethird or more of the current stand is hardwoods. Use of prescribed fire to release young pines is risky and still experimental, so do not use fire for pine release. Also protect young stands from wildfire with fire breaks.
Precommercial thinning removes unsaleable young stems to provide less competition and more site resources to remaining stems. Whole stands of young pines can be lost to overstocking and growth stagnation without treatment. Even under lowcost management, a precommercial thinning may be the only viable option in an overstocked stand.
With natural regeneration, it is not uncommon to have 5,000 or more seedlings per acre. If a site has more than 3,000 seedlings per acre, consider precommercial thinning. Precommercial thinning is most cost effective when completed within five years of establishment because equipment such as disks, choppers or brush mowers can be used. Larger trees may require a chainsaw crew to walk the site. When mowing or chopping, leave thin rows of seedlings standing with variable width- cleared strips between the rows. Leave 300 to 500 freetogrow stems per acre. Establish and leave strips of trees in only one direction. Do not mow or chop in a grid to select for single trees.
Thinning allows each crop tree to develop and maintain a large crown. Thinning removes trees that are site resource wasters (declining, suppressed, deformed, cankered, crooked and limby trees). Thinning helps to increase log grade (quality) on a forest wide basis, increase windfirmness and can shorten the rotation (time to harvest). Thinning improves returns and reduces risks.
The principle of thinning is to take out trees that will not be crop trees because of growth rate, position or quality. Resources released can then be utilized by crop trees. After a thinning, the remaining trees will continue to grow until they again fully occupy the site.
Caution: Thinning stands by removing the best trees leads to
longterm stand damage and productivity losses. This destructive process
is called highgrading. As the best trees are taken, only the crooked, slow-growing
and pestinfested trees survive to reproduce. Highgrading is the worst treatment
you can give a forest.
Short rotation (15 to 25 years) stands used primarily for pulpwood should not be thinned after midrotation age. Fiber yield in short rotation is the objective and proper spacing control at establishment maximizes fiber yield and eliminates the need for thinning. Sawlog or long rotation (35 years or more) stands can be thinned several times beginning at age 10 to 15 years.
There are three common thinning methods for pine stands: row, strip and selective. Each thinning method must be tailored to meet your objectives and the characteristics of the stand and site.
A combination of row or strip and selective thinning is often the best practice. A large number of stems can be quickly eliminated while the best crop trees are selected. Start thinning once the trees removed can be sold (10 to 15 years). Once thinning is started in a stand, continue to thin every 6 to 12 years depending upon tree growth rates and markets for the thinned wood.
Basal area values, which are easily measured approximations of living
crown area, can simplify thinning decisions. When stands reach 100 square
feet of basal area, thin back to 60 square feet of basal area. Keep the
stand between these two target basal areas. See the glossary for an explanation
of how to measure basal area.
Another important consideration in thinning is designing and building haul routes and roads. Poorly placed, marked or installed roadways can cause significant stand damage, as can thinning when the soil is wet.
Tables 6 and 7 can help you visualize thinning practices using the number of crop trees per acre and the amount of space left between each crop tree. According to Table 6, if trees in your stand of pines average 11 inches in diameter and the basal area (BA) is 100 ft2, then the number of trees you want to grow per acre is 152. According to Table 7, the distance you should allow between each crop tree is 17 feet. This information can help you plan thinning or TSI activities and help you decide the number of trees per acre to remove in thinning.
Table 6. Number of trees per acre, by average stand DBH and basal area.
|Average Diameter (DBH in inches)|
|Trees/acre||Feet between trees||Trees/acre||Feet between trees|
Costeffective pruning requires that you make only one pass through the stand. Prune only the final crop trees (70 to 100 trees per acre). Prune branches and branch stubs up to 17 to 18 feet from the ground to clear the length of one full log. Do not prune living branches that would leave the tree less than a 50 percent live crown ratio. Do not prune after midrotation.
Waterlogged or low pH soils may lack available phosphorus. The addition
of 50 pounds of phosphorus per acre, if other site problems are not limiting,
can produce growth benefits. Site index at age 25 can be increased 10 feet
by fertilizing typical, poorly-drained soils in the lower Coastal Plain
In most areas, nitrogen is a limiting soil factor. On highly productive sites, nitrogen fertilizer can be added at 150 pounds/acre, but it is relatively expensive. All other growth factors must be good for best results. Allow 7 to 10 years after application to determine the full effect on growth rates.
Alternative fertilizers such as sewage effluent, sewage sludge and solid and liquid animal waste can be used, but transportation and application methods of these materials can be costly and water quality problems must be closely monitored. A legume nurse crop such as clover can be used to improve nitrogen levels. Careful cost/benefit analysis is required before any fertilizer treatment is used.
Thin areas prone to Annosus only in summer. Every cut stump needs to be sprinkled with borax powder. Another treatment is a powder that contains another type of stump infecting fungi. This fungi does not effect standing trees but prevents Annosus from colonizing the stump. The borax or the fungi treatment must be put on the cut stumps at the time of harvest. Stands with Annosus should be thinned and treated frequently to salvage trees that will die without thinning.
Another severe problem in some areas is the infection of young stands with fusiform rust fungi which produces growing cankers that cause major trunk faults and degrade the wood product. If a young stand has less than 25 percent of the trees infected with fusiform rust, remove those trees during thinning and carry the stand to harvest.
Southern pine beetle is a major pest of overstocked trees on poor sites.
Thinned, fastgrowing stands are less susceptible to attack.
Winter thinning minimizes beetle problems because the beetles are not as active in the winter. In years of beetle epidemics, you should not harvest pines or execute any forest activities that injure them.
Taking care of your forest after establishment can minimize your management risks and maximize your returns. Do not regenerate your timberland and forget it!
Uneven-aged pine management is an alternative method of utilizing forest productivity for the small landowner because it is less capitalintensive than some traditional pine management systems. Uneven-aged forests have pines of many sizes in three or more age classes. This size and age distribution is common in many natural forests. Uneven-age pine management can be a sustainable system.
An uneven-aged forest can be composed in two ways. The first is made by single trees of various ages growing together. There may be three or more age groups among the trees.
The second way uneven-aged forests can be composed is by small groups or clumps of even-aged trees with each group a different age and with the groups intermixed over the forest. The forest will have a mosaic pattern of small, even-aged groups of trees with each group representing a different reproductive period. Several even-aged groups of trees may occupy nearly the same space in the forest. For example, a group of 5yearold pines can be in the understory of 20yearold pines.
Even-aged forest management requires harvesting all the trees at the same rotation age. With uneven-aged management, the rotation age is replaced by a cutting cycle which is the interval between major harvesting and thinning operations in the same stand. Because the trees and stands are mixed in age, there is no beginning or end of a single stand. Cutting operations continue on periodic cycles with individual trees or groups of trees harvested.
Periodic vegetation control in uneven-aged stands is important. Although some understory growth is controlled by shading from the pines, hardwoods must be removed periodically or natural succession will lead to a mixed hardwood/pine forest. Hardwoods can be effectively controlled by herbicides, fire or cutting. Timing prescribed fire so that pine reproduction is beyond danger is critical to good vegetation control. Generally, pines must be at least 3 inches in diameter (seven to nine years old) to be fire resistant.
Harvest cuts can be heavy or light, and can reduce or build up growing stock. Heavy cutting can destroy growing stock and lead to a decline in forest productivity. How often you harvest depends upon the volume of growing stock present. You can cut the amount of growth that is occurring over time and provide growing space by thinning (Figure 3).
The length of the cutting cycle affects the amount of timber harvested at any one time, the volume of the growing stock remaining and the site resources avail able for pine reproduction. The longer the cutting cycle is, the greater the percentage of total volume that must be taken with each harvest. Long cutting cycles lead to even-aged stands (Table 8), and short cutting cycles maintain uneven-aged stands.
Table 8. Percent of forest volume to be harvested based upon growth rate and cutting cycle length. Stand growth rate can be estimated from sampling annual ring widths of several crop trees and determining volume growth.
|Stand growth rate (percent)|
|Cutting cycle (years)||3||5||7||9|
Leaving too many trees after harvest decreases value and volume growth because of overstocking. Leaving too few trees fails to utilize the productivity of the site. Know the growth rate of your pines and adjust the length of the cutting cycle to maintain a highly productive stocking level for each site.
The length of the cutting cycle is the most important variable in uneven-aged management. For southern pines, shorter cycles (four to eight years) are best. Periodic removal of suppressed, declining, dying and dead pines will concentrate forest productivity onto crop trees.
Fire, when properly used, is an effective tool for managing southern pine forests. Southern pine species are well adapted to the use of fire for regeneration, control of competition Other benefits of burning, such as habitat management, reduction of fuels, improving appearance and access, can be observed in stands where the owners regularly apply fire.
Burning under controlled conditions and for a particular purpose is called prescribed burning. A prescribed fire is used to accomplish one or more objectives and is managed according to pre-determined conditions to achieve these objectives. Prescribed burns conducted under controlled conditions and with due consideration to impact on other forest resources is a valuable forest management tool.
The pine forests early settlers found existed because of periodic burns started by lighting strikes and Indians who previously inhabited the forest. When burning is stopped and pine forests are cut, natural succession replaces many sites with shade-tolerant hardwoods. This is particularly true in Georgia's Piedmont and on better sites in the Upper Coastal Plains. To maintain pine forests, succession can be managed with regular prescribed burning. The bark of southern pines protects the living tissue inside from the heat of a fire, but this is not true with many other tree species. For this reason, fire is not normally recommended when managing hardwood forests.
Land managers should determine if there are any smoke-sensitive areas near the burn. These are areas where reduced visibility or smoke irritation to livestock and humans could cause material loss and suffering. Smoke-sensitive areas include airports, heavily traveled highways, resorts or recreation areas, schools, hospitals, factories, stock barns, holding pens and neighborhoods.
Avoid burning if a smoke-sensitive area is downwind or down drainage (smoke often flows like water when it settles at night). If the burn must be conducted, take necessary precautions such as placing signs on the highway and making arrangements with persons likely to be affected by the burn. It is common courtesy to inform adjacent landowners of your intentions prior to the burn and again the day of the fire. Problems can often be avoided with these simple precautions:
Following a cold front, a steady northerly wind can often be counted on to give the fire direction and to dissipate heat and smoke. The afternoon relative humidity should be 30 to 50 percent for most burning. When humidity is lower, burning is dangerous. To have an effective burn, the forest litter should feel dry but the soil beneath should be damp.
Follow radio and television forecasts for predicted fronts and suitable weather and confirm weather forecasts with your local Forestry Commission office the morning of the planned burn. According to Georgia law, the Commission must be notified and a permit obtained before burning.
With a steady wind of 4 to 10 mph, a backing fire that burns into the wind is usually best. This is particularly true if the area has not been burned in the past few years. Remember that for stand maintenance, one fire will not do a complete job.
Areas typically should be burned every three to five years.
The use of herbicides for vegetation control in forestry has become well established in recent years. The development of more effective herbicides and application equipment has increased the of this forest management tool. Vegetation control studies show that economically-significant growth and improved survival are possible when woody and herbaceous competition is controlled.
In many situations, competing vegetation can best be controlled with herbicides. Mechanical control is not possible in many instances because high costs, short term control and site damage are often disadvantages.
After being tested and approved, herbicides are registered for forestry uses by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Division. More than one herbicide and application method may be registered for use on the same site. Choose the herbicide or combination that will most effectively and economically control the targeted plants. Applying herbicides not registered or for uses not indicated on the label is illegal and they may not do the job intended or may cause adverse effects to non-targeted species or the environment.
Always read the label before using any herbicide.
Get copies of the label(s) and the "Material Safety Data Sheet(s)" (MSDS) in advance for planning your herbicide application. These are available from suppliers and manufactures. Also get information on endangered species for there may be restrictions on the use of certain materials in your area. Then, read and carefully follow information on the label and MSDS for a safe, effective herbicide application.
The laws require that applicators be certified as competent before they can purchase or apply "restricted use" pesticides, but it is suggested that applicators of any pesticide be certified. The certification process will add to your knowledge about herbicide safety and attest to your competency. Applicators for hire must be certified before they use any pesticide and they must have a pesticide contractor's license and sufficient liability insurance.
There are various herbicides registered for use in newly-planted pines. Your local county extension office has a listing of currently labeled forest herbicides, along with rate and application methods in the Georgia Pest Control Handbook. Each spring, forest herbicides labeled for use in Georgia are updated; check with your country extension office. These herbicides or herbicide combinations will not give 100 percent control of all weed species, but if these treatments are properly applied and conditions are favorable, adequate weed control will be obtained. It is recommended that all herbicide treatments be made during the first year of planting. Little benefit is gained if they are applied during the second or third growing season.
Pines planted in fields with a severe infestation of common bermudagrass will not have adequate survival unless control measures are implemented prior to or immediately after the planting of pine seedlings. It is imperative that the weed is properly identified and a bermudagrass control strategy implemented. There are various options available for the control and supersession of common bermudagrass.
At the reestablishment of the 4- to 5-inch new growth, apply Roundup
or Accord at the rate of 3 to 5 quarts to the acre broadcast. Make applications
when grass is not drought-stressed, with 30 to 40 gallons of water per
acre and a pressure of at least 30 p.s.i. Allow the field to overwinter
and burn just prior to planting trees. Burning is not necessary, but it
will make planting and the application of other soil-residual herbicides
more effective and provide protection from spring wildfires.
After planting pines, apply a soil-residual herbicide to prevent the reestablishment of other weed species, such as annual broadleaves and grasses.
Most forest herbicides are labeled for helicopter application only. Application with fixed-wing aircraft may not be as effective and is more subject to drift.
Ground application can be done with machines that are more versatile than aircraft. The machines can treat small or large areas and are not so limited by weather as are aircraft. They are not as visible as aircraft are, so they are not as apt to arouse public attention or concern. However, ground machine application is limited by terrain and stand conditions.
Crawler tractors, skidders, four-wheel drive farm tractors and the sturdier all-terrain-vehicles can be used for herbicide application. The selection depends on the job to be done and the site conditions.
Because of the expensive, specialized equipment necessary for aerial and mechanized ground application, consulting foresters and vendors are needed for this work. Much of the vegetation control can be done by hand application. Some areas can best be treated or can only be treated using hand equipment. Hand equipment is relatively inexpensive and the application techniques are not difficult, so individual landowners, or the labor they hire, can often do the job.
Hand application methods are most often used for individual stem treatments, but you can treat entire areas for site preparation or release with crews using hand application equipment. The spot-grid application is one way to treat area. This is done with metered dosage spot-guns or other calibrated hand delivery devices that apply chemicals very accurately. Carefully-calibrated equipment is necessary because a soil-active herbicide is applied at very concentrated rates. The spots of concentrated herbicides are placed on the soil in a grid pattern throughout the area so the herbicide comes in contact with the roots of the hardwoods to be controlled. Soil spots may also be placed around individual stems if there are not enough stems present for a larger area to be treated.
If hardwood stems are not numerous and are generally less than 3 inches in diameter, a modified basal spray is an effective area treatment. This is the streamline or thin line basal treatment, and is applied with a backpack sprayer using a solid stream nozzle tip. The applicator shoots a low volume of herbicide and penetrant mixture across the base of small hardwood stems and clumps. The mixture is applied as a solid stream in one or more narrow bands 6 to 12 inches above the ground line. A slashing motion back and forth across the small hardwoods or sprout clumps is used to apply the herbicide. Spray stems 2 to 3 inches in diameter on two or more sides. Larger trees or trees with thick, rough bark will not be killed unless they are completely wet on all sides. Areas with more than a few large trees should be treated with a different method.
Use backpack sprayers to apply foliar treatments to individual hardwoods. This technique is primarily for release of 1- to 3-year-old pine plantations or natural stands. Certain herbicides are labeled for this use and will not kill the pines if properly applied. However, do not spray the pines. With a backpack sprayer and wand, apply the diluted spray solution to the foliage of competing hardwoods between full leaf and early fall. For best results and efficiency of application, hardwoods should be less than 6 feet tall. On areas with more than 500 stems per acre, other types of broadcast application or control methods are more economical. Various cut-surface treatments are effective and economical if the stems per acre are not numerous. These treatments control woody species that have passed the brush stage.
Application equipment may be a hatchet and squirt bottle or a specialized tree injection tool. A tree injector wounds the tree bark and places herbicide in the wound. The injector may be a pipe with a chisel-like bit on the lower end or a hatchet with a built-in calibrated pump.
Chisel types directed at the base of the tree are safer to use. Injections with these tools are usually spaced 1 to 4 inches apart, depending on species and chemical. Hatchet types are used at any convenient level, but be careful to prevent injury from glancing cuts. When using a hatchet and diluted herbicides, encircle the tree with overlapping cuts called frills. Chips should bot be removed, but left to help retain the herbicide in the cuts. Use herbicides formulated from water-soluble salts for all cut-surface treatments. They can be used at full strength a packaged by the manufacturer, but are diluted when used in unmetered injectors or squirt-bottles.
Hand-operated granular spreaders are used to apply soil-active herbicides. Some materials are selective and are labeled for herbaceous control over newly established pines or for woody release in older pines. Treatments are more effective when applied in the spring before full leaf-out. It is often difficult to get even distribution with hand-operated spreaders because trees and brush interrupt the herbicide distribution. The vegetation also makes it difficult for the applicators to maintain uniformly spaced, parallel treatment swaths.
Fertilizing pine plantations has captured the attention of forest landowners across the South. While the majority of stands receiving fertilizer treatments are on forest industry lands, private nonindustrial landowners are increasingly willing to consider fertilization. Growth benefits can be gained from fertilizer applications, but a good prescription is needed to ensure economic response as growth responses can vary greatly across soil and drainage classes. Before you begin any fertilization program consider several points. First, control of herbaceous and woody competition is critical if you expect to gain the best growth from any stand. Freeing up site resources from competing vegetation allows trees to use available growing space, water and light and is an essential prerequisite. Good site preparation and herbaceous weed control are the best investments can make to maximize production. In older stands, woody competition must also be controlled before starting a fertilizer program.
Second, determine your management objectives. Are you trying to maximize fiber production in short rotations? If so, you may want to practice intensive management which includes competition control and fertilization. Do you wish to produce sawtimber in longer rotations? Here fertilizer can be applied following a thinning operation to maximize growth of the selected crop trees. Is pine straw production an option? Periodic applications of fertilizers may be needed to replace some of the nutrients removed in harvesting of pine straw.
Finally, how much can you spend to manage your stands? Applications of fertilizer and other intermediate treatments must be evaluated to fit into your cash-flow structure.
Two commonly used treatments are fertilization of phosphorus (P) deficient wet "flatwoods" sites at the time of planting, and mid-rotation application of nitrogen (N) alone or N+P. Some intensively managed industrial pine plantations are receiving multiple applications of N or N+P during the rotation in effort to maximize fiber production and reduce rotation length.
Fertilization with P on wet "flatwoods" sites is often critical to insure stand establishment and growth. This is normally done during the site preparation and bedding operation using ground rock phosphate, triple super phosphate and ordinary super phosphate. P applied at planting has a long lasting response of 15 to 20 years. Trees in young stands on many unfertilized wet sites exhibiting sparse yellow foliage and poor growth and survival may be P deficient. A foliar nutrient analyses can confirm the problem, and P can be broadcast over the stand.
Mid-rotation fertilization using N, with P in some cases has been done on a variety of sites over the years. A common practice is to fertilize with N (urea, or urea + diammonium phosphate if P is required) following a thinning operation. Today, we see N applications being made at younger ages when the tree canopies begin to close at 8 to 10 years of age. Some operations are considering multiple application of N fertilizer in short-15 year rotations to maximize pulp production. The response to N fertilization cumulates in six to eight years so the gain must be captured by thinning or harvest before natural stand mortality occurs.
Soil characteristics, foliar sampling in existing or adjacent stands and the overall foliage density and vigor are important diagnostic attributes to prescribe a fertilization program. In some cases fertilizers may make the difference if getting a stand established as in the case of P deficient wet sites, or fertilizers are being used in combination with other silvicultural treatments enhance stand growth. Good competition control must be achieved if fertilization is to be economically justified. Check with consulting, industry, state and extension foresters for specifics regarding integrating fertilization into your pine plantation management program.
Table 9. Fertilizer sources for use in forestry.
|Source||% N||% P||% K|
|Ammonium Nitrate (33-0-0)||32.5||0||0|
|Diammonium Phosphate DAP (18-46-0)||18||20||0|
|Triple Super Phosphate TSP (0-46-0)||0||20||0|
|Ground Rock Phosphate GRP||0||11-13||0|
|Potassium Chloride (0-0-60)||0||0||50|
|Potassium Sulfate (0-0-53) (18% S)||0||0||44|
Coleman W. Dangerfield, Jr.
Julian R. Beckwith, III
Professor, Wood Products
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia
Recent research conducted at the University of Georgia Warnell School of Forest Resources demonstrated that current pine productivity of 1 to 2 cords per acre per year can be doubled or tripled through application of intensive pine plantation establishment and management practices. As a result, pine plantation productivity in Georgia can rival that of the most productive areas in the world.
Table 10. Mean Annual Increment (MAI) of total volume in ft3/ac & cords per acre for loblolly pine plantations world-wide.
|Location||MAI ft3/ac||MAI Cds/ac||Stand Age|
|Waycross, GA (flatwoods site)||420||436||9|
|Waycross, GA (upland site)||348||3.8||9|
Bedding plows are typically used to create raised planting beds on flatwoods sites with poor surface drainage, usually after shearing and piling. Planting on beds allows newly-planted seedling roots to remain above seasonally-high standing water to increase survival and early season growth.
Herbicide treatments to control woody and herbaceous vegetation are the most important factor in accelerating pine plantation growth. Mechanical site preparation treatments may leave a site looking weed free, but seldom provides long term residual control. Herbicides are necessary to effectively reduce weed competition in intensively-managed sites. At site preparation, control of established woody vegetation is critical. Recently cut-over sites need ample time for sprouts to flush before herbicides are applied to maximize uptake by the vegetation. Most site preparation herbicide treatments are applied in early to mid summer where leaf surfaces of the hardwoods is greatest. Following treatment, the vegetation is allowed to "brown up" and then a broadcast prescribed burn is done.
Following planting, herbaceous weed control is necessary for a rooting zone free of broadleaf weeds and grasses. Treatments may be banded over the planting row or broadcast over the site. Repeat treatments are recommended in the second year. Weed development must be monitored in the stand, paying particular attention to woody sprouts or seedlings that may become established. If competing sprouts and seedlings become established, use a woody release herbicide treatment applied in mid-rotation for control.
Fertilization provides adequate nutrition during all phases of establishment and growth. Phosphorus may be deficient on wet sites as well as on some uplands. If a soil test indicates availability of less than 2 pounds of P per acre, apply 40 to 50 pounds of elemental P during site preparation or planting. Triple superphosphate, or ground rock phosphate (on acid soils) are commonly used. Phosphorus applied at planting gives a 15 to 20 year growth response averaging 50 cubic feet of volume per acre per year (assume 90 cubic feet to a standing cord).
The nitrogen demand of newly-planted seedling is low and soil reserves can usually meet seedling demands, particularly on cut-over sites that have N available through the breakdown of logging debris. If N is added at planting in the form of diammonium phosphate, broadcast herbaceous weed control treatments will reduce growth of competing vegetation.
Nitrogen demand increases in excess of site supply, as the seedlings reach age 3 to 5 years. At this time N or N + P fertilization is necessary in order to keep/promote adequate leaf (needles) surface area required for rapid growth. Broadcast applications of 175 to 200 pounds of elemental N and 25 pounds of elemental P are typically applied per acre. Urea (46-0-0) + diammonium phosphate (18-46-0; supplies 20% elemental P) are typically used in this application. Additional N is needed as tree size increases requiring fertilization to be repeated at 4 to 5 year intervals to maintain growth rates.
Site preparation, use of herbicides, and fertilization are the most important factors in an intensive management program. Other considerations include species selection with loblolly pine most commonly grown for pulp production. Slash pine is also suited for intensive management with some growers preferring slash for operations that may shift into chip-n-saw and sawtimber production. Common planting densities range from 600 to over 700 trees per acre. Thinning and pruning may be used in stands managed for solid wood products.
Some industrial operations also control insect damage, primarily Nantucket pine tip moths which feeds in the shoots of loblolly pine. While tip-moth infestations can be severe enough to cause growth loss, control requires multiple insecticide sprays during the growing season to prevent infestations from the 3 to 5 moth generations that occur through the season. Treatments on private nonindustrial sites may be cost effective in the first and second growing seasons. Once the trees reach 10 feet in height, infestation damage is minimal.
Table 11. Costs of intensive management practices fora 14-year pulpwood rotation.
|1||Herbaceous weed control||50|
|2||Herbaceous weed control||50|
Table 12. Bare land values1 in $ per acre for a 14-year intensive management rotation at three yield ranges and three pulpwood stumpage values.
|Mean Annual Increment Yield Range|
|Stumpage value ($/cord)||Low 3.1 (cords/acre/year)||Medium 3.5 (cords/acre/year)||High 3.0 (cords/acre/year)|
|Bare Land Value ($/acre)|
Table 13. Planted old-field Conservation Reserve Program pine wood-flow projections for 20-year, unthinned loblolly pine in Georgia.
|Site Productivity||Old Model1||New Model2||Change||Percent|
Table 14. Planted old-field pine financial performance projections for 20-year, unthinned loblolly pine pulpwood rotations in Georgia1. Values in parenthesis are old model estimates.
|Site Productivity||NPW2 ($/acre)||IRR3 (%)||AEV4 ($/acre/year)|
|Low||332 (94)||15.8 (11.3)||34 (10)|
|Medium||410 (147)||16.7 (12.6)||42 (15)|
|High||49 (209)||17.7 (13.8)||51 (21)|
Solid/sawn products will have markets in the foreseeable future for the majority of construction-lumber in sizes from 2x2 through 2x12, and 4x4 through 6x6 posts. Because of processing costs and adhesives prices, composite products will probably not be price competitive with such solid/sawn material for a long time, if ever.
Nominal 2" thick dimension lumber when dressed/dried is actually only 1 ½" thick. Very fast-grown trees produce ring widths that can result in lumber with high proportions of very low density earlywood (EW) on faces exposed to high stress and/or wear. Such lumber can fail to provide expected performance even when matching criteria for a particular grade. It may also have nailing surfaces that consist predominately of low-density EW which cannot provide holding power of higher-density wood.
Much lumber from fast-grown timber comes from juvenile-wood, with its lower proportions of latewood (LW), which is lower density than mature LW. Large fibril angles in juvenile-wood cells also cause more longitudinal shrinkage and consequently greater risk of severe warping than mature wood. Finally, low proportions of cellulose in juvenile wood affect its performance in ways not necessarily reflected in lumber grades.
Borders, B.E., and R.L. Bailey. 1997. Loblolly pine - pushing the limits of growth. Consortium on Accelerated Pine Production Studies, Warnell School of Forest Resources, The University of Georgia. Tech. Rep. CAPPS 1997-1. 9 p.
Campbell, R.A. 1962. A Guide to grading features in Southern pine logs and trees. USDA Forest Service, SE For. Expt. Sta. Station Paper No.156. 22 p.
Dangerfield, C. W, Jr., and D.J. Moorhead. 1997. Revised modeling used to evaluate impacts of management and rotation on wood-flow and profitability from Conservation Reserve Program pine plantations in Georgia. Proceedings 27th Southern Forest Economics Workshop, Little Rock, AR. 5 p.
Pienaar, L.V., and J.W. Rheney. 1996. An evaluation of the potential productivity of intensively managed pine plantations in Georgia. Georgia Consortium for Technological Competitiveness in Pulp and Paper Technology - Fiber Supply. Final Report. 33 p.
Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. 1991. Standard grading rules for Southern pine lumber. Southern Pine Inspection Bureau. 134 p. +66 p. Appendixes.
Forested land can be a very satisfying possession. It provides natural beauty, shade from summer heat, shelter from winds, air purification, wildlife habitat, a source of water, a peaceful getaway and a financial reserve. As a forest ages, the addition of timber volume slows; so the increase in financial value may also decrease.
The decision to sell timber may be based on biological conditions of the forest, financial considerations or intangibles such as aesthetics. Sales of forest products other than trees leave the forest environment basically intact, but a timber sale produces major environmental changes. It may temporarily change conditions that make production of nearly all other forest products possible. To sell timber is usually a big decision for a landowner who should consider his personal objectives as well as the needs of the buyer.
Fortunately, timing a timber sale is not often a pressing issue biologically because the quality of mature trees changes very slowly over time, unlike many agricultural products. Of course, epidemics such as pine beetles or accidents such as fire or hurricanes can change the situation, but generally they are not great risks. This long-term storage potential means a forest landowner has great flexibility when timing a sale, and waiting for better market conditions to improve profits is frequently a viable option.
The market price of the finished product, minus all conversion costs (including profit), produces a residual sum that can be applied to the purchase of stumpage. Different producers can afford to pay different stumpage prices, depending upon what they manufacture, how efficiently they do it and how much it costs to retrieve (harvest and transport) the timber to them. The more bidders competing for a timber sale, the more likely the fair market value will be received. If a single large company owns nearby mills and a lot of forestland in an area, competition is reduced and stumpage prices tend to be lower. But if several competing mills exist near one another and timberland is owned mainly by private landowners, stumpage prices tend to be higher.
Even among southern pine species there are differences relative to marketing. For instance, only lumber from longleaf, shortleaf, loblolly and slash pines can be grademarked as "southern yellow pine." This has to do with inherent average strength properties and the demand for southern pine lumber's strength in construction uses. Lumber from other southern pines must be marked "mixed southern pine," so stumpage prices for the major southern pines may be higher than for others.
Because of their scarcity and the high cost of products made from them, these trees can bring relatively high prices. In contrast, most lumber used for construction does not have to be "pretty," so long as it has sufficient strength. Thus, construction lumber can be produced from smaller timber with more natural features such as knots and color differences. Such lumber is less valuable than plywood made from high-quality veneer and trees producing it are more common so this sawtimber will not bring prices as high as veneer logs command.
Timber values range from that used for power poles, to veneer logs, down to material that can only be chipped or flaked for use in composite products or for fuel. Items such as particleboard, pulp and paper or fuel have many competitors and sell for comparatively low prices. The abundance of low-value timber and the low cost of products made from it result in low stumpage prices.
Harvesting equipment, whether chain saws and bobtail trucks or large mechanical harvesters, have costs associated with moving them. The more volume over which that fixed cost can be spread, the lower the harvesting cost per unit. Equipment use also incurs operating costs. If stands are densely stocked, unproductive machine movement is reduced, lowering cost per unit so large dense stands can be cut more economically than small ones of low density.
In order to sell timber, one must have a buyer. If forestland is far from major producers of wood products, timber must be hauled long distances to a mill and transportation costs are high. In other areas, nearby mills may specialize in certain products, such as pulp and paper, and even if Chip-n-Saw or sawtimber stumpage is part of the stand, it may not bring prices representative of the product value. The pulp mill cannot put such timber to its best use and costs for hauling it to a distant sawmill may leave too small a residual for good stumpage prices.
Harvesting is also affected by the terrain and soil conditions present in a forest stand. High-production timber harvesting machinery works best on relatively flat, dry sites. On sites with steep slopes or in low, swampy areas, these machines become less efficient. The more time it takes to cut, bunch and haul logs from the woods, the more expensive the operation. When human labor is required to substitute for mechanization in adverse conditions, harvesting costs can increase even more. However, certain mechanized operations can be very expensive too, particularly if specialized equipment must be used to overcome site problems. For instance, wide-track, high-flotation log skidders used in very wet areas are extremely expensive. As harvesting costs increase there is less money available for stumpage payment. In some cases, costs are too high for a site to be logged economically, so trees are left uncut, or if cut as part of a management plan, their "negative value" is subtracted from the price paid for the rest of the timber.
Several standard regeneration schemes are used for forestland (see the section on Low Cost Regeneration Options). The easiest and most economical scheme for the logger usually is clearcutting followed by reseeding or replanting. Seed tree regeneration requires conspicuous marking of trees to be left so loggers will protect them from damage. A small amount of timber value is lost with this technique, and a slight increase in logging costs results. However, regeneration of the replacement stand occurs naturally, with costs for "filling in" lightly seeded areas much less than after clearcutting.
In shelterwood regeneration, lower volumes of timber are cut and logging costs are higher. Although this technique reduces timber values more than the other two, natural regeneration is more assured than with seed trees. regeneration costs and risks are greatly reduced.
The bottom line in selling timber is that given a particular stand, area and time, a landowner can do little to affect stumpage price. An inventory survey provides an idea of what is being sold, but at this point, varying the size of the sale, choosing a particular regeneration method and encouraging numerous bids are about all the options one has.
Throughout its life a forest can be managed to maximize its assets. Desirable species can be established on appropriate sites and cultural practices such as application of herbicides and fertilizer, pruning, prescribed burning and thinning can be applied as the stand matures. Sites can be improved for managing timber by draining beaver ponds, constructing or maintaining logging roads and installing fire breaks for protection.
Managing other forest resources to minimize reduction in timber quality and volume can help too. As timber reaches a marketable age, astute observation of demand will determine an advantageous time to sell. Retaining a professional forester to manage property for timber production and to handle timber sales may be the most profitable path.
Landowners rarely have the money required to expand or improve their woods roads or the knowledge and equipment necessary to construct a road. As a result, most landowners wish they had a road through their property, but do not have the means to fulfill the wish.
You can get a road built on your tract at a reduced cost if you plan for the situation and take the initiative at the right time. Under the right conditions, building a woods road on your timberland can be a low-cost, moderate-input process.
Regardless of who builds the road, always follow the recommended best management practices (BMPs) for forestry in Georgia. These are simple, practical methods to minimize soil movement and sedimentation. The BMPs are intended to ensure continued high water quality relative to forestry operations. The BMPs for roads are particularly important and some are even federally mandated in wetland areas.
Decide whether you really need a new road on your tract. Examine maps, such as readily available United States Geographical Service topographic maps and aerial photographs to define the existing road system on your land and pinpoint areas where access may be required. Using the maps, roughly sketch all proposed roads, being sure to link them with the existing road system. As you design roads on paper, consider factors such as drainage, slope, maneuverability and earth moving requirements. Aerial photos can help you identify problem areas, such as periodic drains, that may not be noted on the topographic maps. A good reference book for road construction is the Handbook for Eastern Timber Harvesting, available from the United States Forest Service.
Walk the proposed road to determine if the route you have selected is feasible. If you cross unmarked mayor drains or steep ravines, you may need to obtain better maps. In most cases, however, you will probably go over terrain similar to that noted on the maps and aerial photos. You may want to modify your mapped route to take advantage of conditions that you note during your survey hike. If you find no major problems, take some high visibility marking ribbon available at most engineering or forestry supply companies, and mark points along the selected route. Curves and areas of poor visibility should be marked more frequently. Marking the route in this manner is critical, because the logger will use these points to guide him during road construction.
Next, develop a timber bid request packet that contains the appropriate timber marketing information and a contract provision that includes construction requirements for your proposed woods road. Specifications noted in the contract should include desired road width, an estimate of the road distance, a description of the beginning and ending points of the road and an estimate of drainage and culvert requirements. Specify whether the buyer will be required to provide road construction material such as culverts and surfacing gravel. If your contract specifies an all-weather road with a gravel surface and stringent culvert or ditching requirements, do not expect many bids. However, if you keep the road simple and construction requirements to a minimum, you should have few problems attracting bids.
After selecting the best bid, contact the buyer and the contract logger to discuss the proposed road. Give them a tour of the proposed road and discuss your objectives. Ask the logger about the road layout and discuss any problems that might evolve during construction. Ask about starting and projected completion dates. The project may take a year or more to complete. Be willing to pay for material to guarantee that quality material is being used and that there will be enough to do a quality job.
Follow up on road construction efforts as the harvesting operations progress. If you note problems with drainage or at stream crossings, discuss improvements with the logger while the logging operation is still on site. If you can defer or eliminate the cost of moving equipment back to the site at a later date, you will substantially reduce your costs.
As the harvest nears completion, check the site and have the logger clean up any problem areas such as wet spots where log trucks may have rutted the road or where more drainage or culverts are needed. If the logger operates or has access to a grader, have important sections of the road graded. Block entrances to areas where traffic is no longer desired and seed-in the areas to reduce erosion and rutting where little traffic is expected.
Logging is not a spur-of-the-moment project. The typical contract logger in the South invests between $200,000 and $1,000,000 in equipment. Four to six employees rely on that logger for a living. The logger harvests between 200 and 1500 cords of wood each week, delivering pulpwood, chip'n'saw and sawtimber products to mills that can be more than 100 miles from the logging site. Most logging operations are highly mechanized. Harvested trees are usually transported using tractor-trailer rigs because wood is often delivered to the mill as tree-length pieces that exceed 35 feet in length.
Most landowners do not have the specialized equipment needed to harvest and transport timber. They have limited experience using logging equipment and usually have no experience merchandising timber products. To successfully harvest your timber, you must overcome these and other problems that may seem insurmountable. Generally, it is easier to let an experienced logger handle the harvest.
In some cases, logging your own timber can be the best decision. If your timbered tract is less than 15 acres it may be difficult to find a logger to harvest your timber. A logger can spend more than $500 just moving to the tract and if the tract has a small timber volume, the logger could lose money. If you cannot find a logger to harvest the timber, your only option may be to harvest the tract yourself. You may want to harvest your own timber if you plan to use the wood on your farm or at home.
If you decide to harvest you own timber, plan the operation before starting the harvest. Be sure to take some time off from work, because non-mechanized logging can be very slow.
Before you even pick up a chainsaw, determine if the timber is marketable. If the average stand diameter is less than 6 inches DBH (diameter at breast height) the stand is probably not ready to harvest. Determine how much timber is on the tract, what type of products can be removed, where the timber can be sold and the form of the wood required by the mill. Find out if mills in the area take "gate wood," unsolicited wood bought at the gate. If possible, discuss the situation with a representative from the mill about your plans.
Before you do any logging, you must have marketable timber, a mill or woodyard that will buy the timber from you and some method of logging and hauling the wood in a form that the mill will accept.
Shortwood systems are low-cost, labor-intensive operations that have been used for more than 50 years. You need a chainsaw, a converted haul truck and a lot of muscle. The entire system can be developed for less than $15,000, depending upon the quality of the truck. An experienced crew could harvest between 10 and 20 cords per day using this system. Trees are felled, limbed and bucked into 5-foot lengths with a chainsaw and the shortwood is piled in the woods along areas of good access. The truck is then driven to each pile where the wood is hand-loaded. A typical load will contain two to five cords, depending upon the truck capacity.
You cannot merchandise sawtimber or chip'n'saw products with a shortwood operation because these products require longer timber. Some trucks can haul cut-to-length sawlogs, but they are more expensive than the smaller pulpwood trucks. You will need a mechanized loader because the weight of a sawlog can reach several thousand pounds. However, a shortwood system is perfect for thinning harvests and keeping residual stand damage to a minimum.
You will need three or four strong workers to help with the operation. In most cases, these workers will hand pile and load the wood onto the truck. Logging is a very dangerous occupation; provide some worker's compensation for your employees as required by law.
If the mill accepts only longwood, as is common in the Southeast, you will need a slightly different system. Timber can easily be harvested as tree-length, but it is impossible to transport tree-length timber without a tractor-trailer. You can harvest the timber (fell, limb and buck each stem) with a chainsaw and skid it to the roadside with a tractor equipped for woods use (with a bellypan, rollbar and screen protection for the radiator). This system is comparable in cost to the shortwood system previously described, but does not account for the cost of hauling the wood to the mill. At the roadside, you will need a loader and a tractor trailer to get the wood into the mill. Loaders are difficult to rent and too expensive to buy for a small logging operation, so you may be forced to contract with a logger or hauler with a truck and a loader. Some contract haulers have a loader mounted on the truck and can do the operation with only one piece of equipment. Most contract haulers will charge by the loaded mile and on long hauls you may actually lose money from the sale, particularly if you are delivering gate wood.
Aside from the contract loader and hauler, you will need at least one other worker to run the tractor and skid the wood to the roadside. A third worker would be useful for limbing and topping the felled timber, allowing you to concentrate on felling. Production is somewhat greater than with the shortwood system, allowing you to get 50 cords or more per day.
You will be limited by the haul distance from your tract to the mill. With the system described, your operation would probably become unprofitable if the wood were delivered to a mill more than 50 miles from the tract. As a result, you would be limited in terms of market outlets.
Markets are also limited by product type. Your harvesting system may be able to produce cut-to-length sawlogs, but that is irrelevant if the mills in the area do not buy this product. If you decide to harvest your own timber, make sure you know what products are bought and the exact specifications for those products and develop your logging operation around these specifications.
Generally, harvesting your own timber is not recommended. Capital costs, poor merchandising and limits on profitability severely restrict landowner harvesting operations. Harvesting by the landowner should be encouraged only if the timber is for home or farm use, or is on low-volume tracts that cannot be profitability harvested by a contract logger. If you decide to develop your own low-cost harvesting system, do a little homework first. You may prefer to have a contractor do it for you.
Julian R. Beckwith, III
Professor, Wood Products
Coleman W. Dangerfield, Jr.
Warnell School of Forest Resources
The University of Georgia
So far we have discussed managing forest land mainly to produce timber for a variety of wood products. However, forest environments are versatile and can produce a number of other things that might interest a timberland owner. They can, for instance, yield "products" such as water, wildlife, grazing and recreational opportunities too. The production of landscape plants, firewood, pine straw and decorative items such as mistletoe and pine cones are also viable alternatives. In this section we will discuss some of those non-timber alternatives.
For all forest enterprises, liability is important. This is especially true when land is opened to consumers for a fee. Consultation with an attorney and insurance professional must be a part of any plans for alternative enterprises.
Depending upon local landscape markets, natural seedling production in a forest may provide profitable opportunities with proper management, selection, care and merchandising. However, using natural seedlings is not necessarily an inexpensive and easy way to produce a high-profit landscape product.
The first step in selecting wild trees is to mark with flagging or a stake those with good potential for transplanting. To increase transplanting success, tree roots must be trained (root pruned) by cutting them at some distance from the stem. This process stimulates development of more small, absorbing roots close to the stem. Before transplanting, give trees one full growing season to adapt to the pruned roots. Many will not adjust well and die.
In addition to root pruning, natural seedlings also need top pruning before transplanting. Remove dead, dying or unwanted branches one full growing season before transplanting. Leave one main stem, alternate branching, no forks and a well-formed crown of leaves. This can be done at the same time as root pruning. Trees with most of their branches at about the same height (flat topped) have problems adjusting to new sites; however, by top pruning for several growing seasons and removing competing trees, these trees can be invigorated.
With proper pruning and care, healthy landscape trees can be produced from forest seedlings. However, correct harvesting and replanting are essential. It is necessary to have a well proportioned planting hole; water and temporary stake for support. For two or three years, supply water year-round in dry periods to ensure the tree becomes well established. Avoid over-watering and do not begin fertilizing for one growing season after transplanting.
Successfully taking wild trees from the woods for landscaping is hard work. Large and rare trees can be in great demand, but market development is critical for profit. You must know what you have and buyers must be confident of tree quality and their potential for survival.
Harvesting, hauling, processing and marketing firewood take a lot of time if done by hand, and mechanizing the operation is a high-priced option. Consequently, firewood production can be a time-consuming recreational activity or an expensive business endeavor. However, low-value forest residues can be inexpensive raw materials for people to gather for individual or business use; so residues may serve as a source of income for the landowner.
Although any wood can be used as firewood, certain species are better than others. Table 15 lists characteristics often used in defining firewood quality. Since actual heat value per pound of all dry wood is nearly the same, wood density becomes an important measure of suitability for firewood. Heavier woods require fewer trips to the log stack for the same amount of heat.
Table 15. Characteristics reported for some commonly used firewoods.
|Species||Wt. per cu.ft. (lbs)*||HW (%)||SW (%)||Splitability||Startability||Heavy smoke||Spark yield||Heat yield|
|Black locust||52||35**||50**||poor||hard||no||very few||very high|
Some trees grow wood with larger amounts than others, and some woods naturally dries faster than others. Wood moisture content is the weight of water present relative to the weight of dry wood substance. High density wood holds more water at a certain moisture content than does low density wood so high density wood usually dries more slowly. Woods that produce the most heat usually need the longest drying time.
Other wood characteristics are also important to consider. For instance, the ability to split easily or to ignite quickly is desirable, but production of heavy smoke or sparks is certainly undesirable.
Firewood is usually bought and sold in cord measures. In Georgia the law requires firewood to be advertised and sold in full or fractional cord lots except when sold in individual bundles of less than 4 cubic feet and sold "as is." A standard cord is 4-foot logs in a stack 4 feet high and 8 feet wide (4x4x8), for a volume of 128 cubic feet. Air spaces between logs reduce the volume of wood and bark to about 80 or 90 solid cubic feet. For reference, the branch-free stem of a 20-inch DBH red oak tree 80 feet tall yields just over one standard cord of wood.
As a heat source, wood can substitute for many other fuels. Depending upon prices of the various fuels and how efficiently they are burned, wood can be competitive in price per unit of heat produced, but factors such as safety and convenience may reduce its desirability to a homeowner. If wood is used mainly for decorative burning or for specialty cooking, it sells for higher prices. People burning wood in fireplaces for atmosphere will usually pay more for it than people heating with wood stoves and barbecue restaurants needing hickory firewood to flavor their meat will usually pay higher prices.
"Logging" firewood is not usually a case of felling tall, straight trees, cutting off their branches and tops and skidding long, straight logs back to be loaded on a truck for hauling to a processing point. Such high-quality raw material is sold for higher-value end products than firewood. Firewood timber is usually trees which are unsuitable for higher-value products because they are species without current market demand, or their form makes it difficult to obtain valuable products such as lumber from them. Woods such as black locust, dogwood, maple and mulberry are examples of species with little market value now. Even black gum, sweet gum, river birch and hickory may periodically have little market value. Many trees, because of their genetics as well as because of their position in the forest environment, grow with twists and turns in their main trunk and limbs. Although their wood may have a desirable appearance, their form makes it difficult to obtain straight pieces long enough for most products.
However, where forest land is being cleared for other uses such as building
a lake or developing a residential area, often contractors will give away
timber to whoever will take it. This reduces their disposal costs and provides
knowledgeable local entrepreneurs a source of raw material for their immediate
Where timber-harvesting operations have been completed on forest land, frequently large volumes of residues remain. These often include tops and large branches of trees whose main trunks were logged for primary processing. Such residues often serve as ideal raw material for firewood and can usually be obtained at little or no charge. Obviously harvesting material from a logged tract has its challenges because of debris that makes access difficult. The extra cost of hand labor or of specialized equipment for dealing with such challenges must be offset by reduced cost of the raw material.
Another potential source of firewood timber is loggers already involved in harvesting operations. Paying a little more than the cost of logging/hauling their primary products can still yield logs for firewood at a price much lower than cleanup/residue/recovery logging.
Once firewood raw material is obtained, preparing it for sale becomes important. Storing large amounts of fresh, unprocessed timber can lead to deterioration if further processing is not carried out quickly. Because of large amounts of water in fresh logs, conditions are frequently ideal for attack by insects and decay fungi. Reducing timber to firewood-log size is the first order of business. Short pieces dry much faster than long ones, reducing risks of deterioration while improving the value of material for firewood.
The length of firewood logs can be an important consideration in terms of product desirability and hence marketability. Handling longer pieces is more efficient and cost effective, but some fireplaces or heaters will only accommodate logs of certain lengths. Providing logs of lengths that suit local markets in a way that maximizes profits from the business, requires careful record keeping, perceptive analysis and some ingenuity. Good marketing is required also with special attention to potential niche markets such as special lengths for large fireplaces at resorts or country clubs, large homes, elegant restaurants or historic showplaces.
Even further processing of cut-to-length firewood is often beneficial or necessary. Split logs dry faster, ignite easier, stack more securely and are easier to manage by hand than large, heavy pieces. Hand splitting with mauls and wedges can be very fast under certain conditions. Relatively short pieces of fresh, straight-grained logs will split easily with a single blow. However, dry logs, knots, forks, etc. vastly increase the effort of log splitting. Hydraulically-powered log splitters, particularly those with a divided splitting wedge producing multiple splits in a single pass, are essential for efficient operations with satisfactory financial-return potential. One critical concern in the splitting process is cycling rate. It is one thing to be able to split all sorts of logs, but altogether another to be able to split them fast enough to match other associated equipment, and/or to do it efficiently enough for satisfactory productivity.
Finally, firewood processing requires drying wood to a moisture content that prevents deterioration and satisfies the market. Kiln drying can be accomplished in a matter of days, but loading and unloading a kiln with firewood requires much handling or innovative racks/frames/stands to make the job tolerably efficient. Costs of a kiln can be high too, although drying firewood is undemanding enough to allow considerable flexibility and hence cost savings. Facilities that just increase natural fresh airflow with fans can improve drying rates considerably, and are much cheaper, although still slower, than kilns. Natural air drying is most common with firewood, although large stacking areas are required with sufficient air circulation. The more that wood can be protected from moisture-adding conditions (rain and high humidity) and exposed to drying conditions (heat, airflow and low humidity), the faster it will dry. Ideal air drying requires paved drying yards, roofed sheds, a site exposed to good airflow and regular monitoring of moisture content. Even under such conditions, dense woods like oak and hickory may require three to six months drying time before sale.
After drying, firewood must be held in storage until sold. For some customers, special bio-sanitizing and packaging may be required, and for many, delivery must be provided. It is necessary also to consider costs of such activities in pricing firewood.
Marketing firewood is not an exact science and is very market specific.
Rural customers probably expect less processing and lower prices than urban
ones, while city dwellers may be willing to pay much higher unit prices
for no "bugs," little "dust," quick ignition, few sparks and "pretty" flames.
Specialized customers, such as barbecue houses, may be willing to pay relatively
high prices for hickory or apple or peach wood that enhance the uniqueness
and marketability of their product. Matching processing practices and resulting
costs with consumer demands and what they are willing to pay, is essential
for success in the firewood business.
One difficult and often disturbing aspect of a firewood business is that "weekend entrepreneurs," with little overhead or little understanding or concern for their overhead costs, provide temporary or periodic competition that can put legitimate, full scale, full-time operations in jeopardy. Developing a reliable customer base and a reputation for a quality product and consistent, competent service and supply are hard but crucial to long-term success.
Where does this leave the forest landowner? Perhaps with an interest in energy production for personal use or for a specialty firewood business, or with thoughts about ways to get rid of unwanted, weed trees or logging slash. In any case, it's good to know that oaks, hickory and ash are more valuable for heat production than pine, yellow poplar and sweetgum. Knowing that, thinnings and logging remains may be advertised properly for more rapid, inexpensive and perhaps, profitable removal and the continuing job of managing the forest resources productively can proceed.
Mulches are often applied in order to hold soil moisture, to moderate soil temperature, to reduce erosion on new lots, to suppress weeds and to add a decorative appearance. Various materials are used for these purposes. In some places, ornamental gravel is popular; in others, pine bark is used, but in much of Georgia, pine straw is used predominately.
Although pine trees are evergreens, they lose old needles every year.
The carpet of needles under a pine forest can be a valuable resource when
baled like hay or straw and sold for landscape use. Pine straw mulch or
ground cover must be reapplied frequently (at one to two-year intervals),
so the market is nearly unlimited.
Despite the apparent financial promise of pine straw, there are certain restricting factors such as proper needle size. Longleaf and slash pines both have very long needles which bale easily and provide good ground cover. Loblolly pine needles are more difficult to bale although they provide satisfactory cover when applied. Other southern pines have needles too short to handle easily and cannot be baled well.
A certain amount of mechanization is necessary for baling pine straw
so trees must be spaced far enough apart to accommodate such equipment
as baling machinery. The ground must be level enough for its movement.
Weeds and hardwood leaves must be absent from areas where pine straw is
to be baled.
Pine straw yield can be increased by fertilization which may increase the need for weed control. The undecomposed or broken needles desired in the trade require raking and baling at least every other year.
The potential for pine straw production is greatest with longleaf or
slash pines planted on level old fields at wide spacings, fertilized regularly
and baled biennially.
Studies on pine straw production show that trees as young as six years old can yield 50 bales per acre every two years. On 15-year-old sites, as many as 100 bales per acre can be produced biennially. Although bales may sell at wholesale for $1.00 each, retail prices may be as high as $5.00 per bale. Mechanized baling operations on good sites have produced as many as 1,000 bales per day.
For a forest landowner, selling baling rights to a pine straw producer may be a reasonable option. If several producers are working in a particular area, bids could determine who gets the resource. If few bidders are available, the landowner may have to take whatever is offered or hire workers to do the baling and market it himself/herself.
Some major advantages of pine straw production are:
Fall and winter holidays are associated with autumn leaves, pine cones and various evergreen branches used for decorative seasonal displays. Mistletoe, running cedar or ground pine, holly, honeysuckle and grape vines are formed into attractive holiday wreaths and other decorations. In the spring, ferns, slash and longleaf pine shoots and numerous wild flowers are used to beautify homes and businesses. Because of their popularity, these various components of forest lands may be resources for alternative enterprises.
As with many alternative forest resources, considerable manual work is involved in collecting and selling decorative forest plants. Unless the enterprise is seen as a recreational activity, it may be hard to justify time spent for the money made. Once again the leasing approach may have merit. An agreement with a wholesaler to harvest various decorative materials from the property could produce welcome income. A flat fee per acre is probably the best way to charge; however, very specific guidelines must be part of such an agreement. For instance, tree growth should not be unduly hindered by the collecting processes or by the removal of material.
In many cases, removing decorative forest components benefits growth of remaining trees. Taking mistletoe and vines from trees can improve their thrift and collecting cones from the forest floor can reduce wildfire hazards. Harvesting greenery from crop trees may provide pruning benefits and increase sawtimber value. Of course, too much of a good thing can be bad. Poorly-trimmed branches can be sites for pest and decay damage and trees can be injured when climbed. Removal of certain wild flowers may be illegal if they are designated as threatened or endangered. It is essential to carefully select potential lessees and to specify collection guidelines.
Forests and wild lands are sources of abundant resources but harvesting such assets for profit is not always easy.
Water, whether running in streams and rivers or lying still in ponds, provides opportunities for recreational enterprises. Fishing, waterfowl hunting, boating and swimming are popular. Capitalizing on popularity can be profitable, but does require development. Simple leasing arrangements for limited use of water sources may be the easiest and least disturbing to the rest of the forest. More development can mean greater profit, but with higher associated costs, increased management activity and greater liability risks.
Although fish farms are usually associated with nonforested agricultural areas, they are feasible in ponds on forest land. Commercial production of other water animals, such as alligators, crayfish and turtles, can also be profitable if specialized conditions and approaches are considered.
Another limited possibility for water from forest land is electric energy production. Streams that drop in elevation rapidly or have deep reservoirs can yield water power for electric generators. Such power can serve personal needs to reduce dependence on electric utilities or it can be sold to utility companies in some cases.
With the exception of recreation, perhaps the most profitable use of water resources on forest land is as an attraction for residential development. On peripheries of large forests, the additional income generated from such development is considerable, usually much greater than the consequent loss of productivity from other forest resources. It should be considered a viable alternative enterprise.
When evaluating enterprises for forest land, remember that greater economic profit may mean reduction in other values and that more profitable activities almost always require more physical and financial inputs.
Growing trees is a long-term proposition with fairly large initial costs and little cash flow for a number of years. During the initial years of a timber investment, combining timber and livestock production would appear to offer opportunities to improve this situation. Limitations do exist because livestock can compact soil badly if the number of animals is great and trees cannot regenerate where livestock are grazing; however, research shows success is possible.
Grazing opportunities can be developed in existing pines by thinning to reduce basal area. This allows more light to reach the forest floor. Prescribed burning then encourages development of forage plants. Fertilization and seeding of desirable grasses can improve grazing quality. New pine stands can be established to integrate timber production and grazing opportunities. Tree seedlings can be planted at wide spacings of 10 by 10 feet or greater, or in closely-spaced rows that will be thinned frequently to leave open grazing strips. Regulation of basal area through thinning is extremely important, because approximately 15 pounds per acre of forage is lost for each 1 square foot increase in stand basal area.
Producing multiple products from the same area involves compromises. To allow sufficient light and water for grass production, the number of trees per acre must be reduced below that typical for timber production. At the same time, more land per animal is required for livestock than in open fields. One comparison showed a reduction in tree stocking from 650 down to 454 trees per acre reduced the land area needed per cow from four acres to 1.5 acres. Fertilizer applied to grass for hay/grazing production also increased forest productivity; so despite the extra costs for fencing and pasture establishment, results were promising. Calculated returns for timber increased and cattle production added additional income.
The proper choice of animal and forest stocking levels and pasture grass types can produce financial benefits from the combined production of cattle and timber. In fact, profits can be significantly greater with the combination than with either alternative taken separately.
There are many attractive elements of the outdoors in every forest. Even managed or recently-cut forests can have a sense of freshness and naturalness that provides a relaxing escape for many. For a forest landowner, these features can produce a demand for the recreational resource.
Forest recreation takes many forms. Some activities require minimal investment to establish or maintain. For example, leasing land for hunting may require no additional preparation, hiking may require initial clearing of some trails and periodic cleanup, while swimming would demand various facilities – lifeguards and frequent cleaning. The more popular activities often cost the most to establish and maintain, but may yield the greatest return. However, less demanding forms of recreation probably disturb normal management of the forest the least.
To be financially successful, a recreation enterprise must provide activities that are in demand. The area of land involved, distance to cities and special facilities or features will influence the activity chosen. Picnicking for a fee near a county park where picnicking is free will not likely work, but forest bicycle paths or hiking trails to an active beaver pond may attract paying customers. Nearby public attractions such as historic sites and scenic areas can attract customers if proper advertising is used. Study successful enterprises in the general area and provide activities or services to complement them. A camping area next to an overcrowded state park could be very successful even if the park has camping.
No matter what sort of recreation a landowner decides to offer, a planned approach is essential. Such things as car traffic, restroom needs, cleanup and refreshments must be considered. Until a facility becomes known, it may be difficult to anticipate demand; however, some evaluation of demand should be made to prepare for consumer needs.
Forest recreation endeavors can be grouped by anticipated length of stay. Hiking or bird watching usually are single-day events, quail hunting is a weekend activity and camping or dude-ranch vacations may cover a week or more. Longer stays increase demands for services and facilities, but they allow access to more distant consumers.
Activities can be classified by level of services and facilities needed. Rustic campgrounds are less expensive to establish and are easier on the land than camping areas with utility hookups. Users of rustic facilities may be more careful of their surroundings, keeping maintenance costs down; however, more facilities generally make a site more popular.
Providing recreational opportunities is a good alternative enterprise to timber management, but it isn't accomplished without effort. Higher expected returns mean more effort is required. Good planning, attention to detail and dedication are important. Dealing with the public at leisure can be an extremely challenging business.
Today, almost all Georgia hunting land available for a lease is booked. Lease prices, demand for memberships, day hunts and opportunities to hunt at resorts are on the upswing. These trends create opportunities that can benefit landowners.
What is driving this trend toward fee hunting? Lands open to the public are decreasing and wildlife habitat is shrinking, but hunters, while holding steady as a percentage of the population, are still increasing in total numbers.
According to the Wildlife Management Institute's April 1997 Outdoor News Bulletin, activities related to fish and wildlife continue to be very popular with Americans and a powerful economic force as well, according to a preliminary report of the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Related Recreation, which was conducted in 1996.
The survey, completed for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that the numbers of hunters 16 years and older has remained relatively constant during the past five years. There were 14 million hunters in 1996 and 14.1 million in 1991. Hunter expenditures jumped 75 percent, from $10.1 billion to 17.7 billion.
Surprisingly, the number of bird watchers, wildlife photographers, and other nonconsumptive participants dropped 17 percent during the 5-year period, from 76 million to 63 million. But their expenditures rose 39 percent to $29 billion.
Seven percent of the U.S. population 16 and older hunted during 1996, and 31 percent participated in nonconsumptive wildlife-related activity.
Hunters seek solitude, escape and adventure, and many vacationers, including hunters, enjoy visiting new places. These trends help fuel the demand for hunting on private land. Hunters will pay for low-density hunting and the experience it provides because most hunters dislike crowding.
Opportunities to watch birds and study nature can also be commercialized if a landowner has the right facilities and environment. Although the species most in demand continue to be deer, quail, turkey and waterfowl, some hunters are willing to pay to hunt raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, foxes and other species.
Figuring out how to tap into this new demand is sometimes confusing because there is no well developed system for marketing hunting. Hunting is not sold by the cord, unit or board foot. To market access to your wildlife you must identify your available wildlife, your marketing options and your potential customers and then think of ways to put them together.
First, look at your land and wildlife. Does your land have a clean river with good fishing? Do you have a marsh full of ducks in the fall? Do you have farmland with fencerows full of quail and rabbits? Is your land a hardwood forest with deer and turkey? Maybe the land is monotonous rows of planted pines, or perhaps you have lakeshores crowded with shorebirds in the spring. These situations indicate what you can do easily and what is impractical. If in doubt, follow nature's lead. If your land has a duck blind in a marsh, it can be marketed to duck hunters, but if your land has no marsh and no ducks, there may be no economical way you can profitably make an artificial duck pond with enough appeal to provide a good return on your investment. Likewise, if all your land is in valuable timber, it might not pay to take land out of wood production to create wildlife food patches or other specialized wildlife habitats.
Consider the people you want to attract and the services you want to provide. If you know little about hunting and you have little time to spend dealing with clients, perhaps leasing would be best for you. If you are willing to share your house with hunters for a weekend, a bed and breakfast operation might be ideal. If you love being around people, are hospitable and enjoy serving others then aim for a clientele willing to pay for guided hunts and full service.
In all cases, remember what you are selling. Charles Revson said, "In the factory we make cosmetics--in the store we sell hope." With trees you sell wood, but the role of a giant buck or a flock of ducks is to be seen and appreciated, not to be killed at the earliest opportunity. Animals breathe excitement into the hunting experience. Hunters are happy to see game in interesting surroundings and know they have a good chance of success. Hunters are more likely to come back if they see a lot and harvest nothing than if they see only a few animals and get them all. The way the land looks, while difficult to quantify, can be very important. Remember this when you sell timber.
Do not overbook and overshoot. Consider how much hunting your wildlife will support. Suppose you have 2,400 acres with an annual surplus of 60 deer. Groups of four hunters hunting for two days at a success rate of 25 percent per day could provide 320 person days of hunting before using up the annual surplus. Match your hunting enterprise and the intensity of its use to the supply of game. If you tend to attract greedy hunters, consider adding an extra fee for animals bagged. You can adjust this fee to encourage the harvest of certain animals--if deer are abundant, the fee for a doe might be less than a buck, and a trophy buck should cost extra.
Advertise full service recreation in specialized magazines. Advertise
where the customers are, not where you are. Field & Stream and
state or regional outdoor magazines are good for finding hunters; Audubon
and Smithsonian are good magazines in which to advertise for birdwatchers
and nature lovers.
Make a one-page advertising sheet. Mail it directly to lists of physicians, lawyers or other groups in large cities. Find your list by looking in the yellow pages and visiting trade shows.
Stress safety all the time. State your rules and provide an opportunity for guests to shoot at a range. Post copies of the ten commandments of hunter safety in buildings, at stands and in blinds.
Get professional help with wildlife management if you need it. As demand for wildlife management assistance increases, many unqualified people are adding "wildlife management" to their business cards. Just as you would hire a registered forester to organize a timber sale, you should hire a "certified wildlife biologist" if you need wildlife management advice. Wildlife is the foundation of your hunting enterprise and good advice is worth paying for. Do not assume a person is a professional wildlife manager just because a business advertises wildlife management services.
Cater to groups to reduce the labor of being a good host. If you host four or five people who know each other, the group will entertain itself. Four friends are much easier to entertain than four strangers. Many hosts charge the same for a group of four as for a group of two or three to encourage group bookings. You may prefer to offer free extras as an attraction instead of reducing the price.
Take photographs and post them on the bulletin board of your cabin. This will add atmosphere and memories, and you can send a photograph to your clients with a Christmas card and an invitation to come back.
Remember that your final product is a good memory. Do things that will leave good memories in the minds of your clients and eliminate things that will not.
Leasing hunting land is one of several types of hunting enterprises. A good lease describes the agreements between landowner and hunter so that there are no misunderstandings about the privileges being purchased. The clauses below are intended as a list of suggestions on the kinds of understandings usually included in a hunting lease. There is no standard form for these clauses and all items are negotiable. Adapt the following clauses to your needs or prepare your own clauses for particular situations.
1. Limit the agreement to the person and lands involved.
It is understood that all rights and privileges described here are limited to the land and provisions described here and to the undersigned lessor and lessee(s).
2. State the price and the kinds of animals the lessee(s) may hunt.
For the sum of $ _____________ the lessee may hunt the following kinds
(Write in game animals, deer, turkey or whatever is allowed.)
3. Describe the land to be leased.
In consideration of the rent described above, the lessor(s) hereby leases to lessee the following described premises:
(Include here a legal description of the property and include a map.)
4. Prevent the lessee(s) from subleasing the property.
The lessee agrees not to sublease the above described lands, nor shall lessee grant any permissions to anyone to hunt or otherwise use the above described land.
5. State clearly which rights are included in the lease.
Lessee shall use the premises for (Write in hunting, camping, picnicking or whatever is allowed.) purposes only. Lessee may not cut or damage trees, crops, roads or dwellings, fences, buildings or other property on the land.(Note: the lessor may wish to designate camping site or mark trees to be cut for firewood). Lessee agrees to repair any damage he causes and to return the land and property to the lessor in its prior condition at lessee's expense.
6. State that the lessee(s) is/are responsible for posting the land.
The lessee may post signs at his own expense. Text and size of such signs is to be approved by the lessor. When placing signs lessee may not drive nails into trees or buildings. (Signs should not be offensive or create an eyesore. Thin wire staples that penetrate only the bark will not damage timber).
7. Protect timber from damage by nails.
Lessee may not drive nails or other metal objects into trees for building deer stands or other purposes.
8. Comment on trespass and wildfire.
Lessee agrees to help protect said lands from trespass and fire. Lessee will make an effort to put out suppress or report any wildfires that may occur on the property.
9. Require that lessee(s) observe wildlife laws.
Lessee shall strictly observe all wildlife laws whether state federal, or local. Conviction of a wildlife law violation by any single member of hunting group will cause loss of lease immediately.
10. Include a clause to limit your liability for accidents.
It is understood that the lessee accepts .the land in an "as is" condition and further the lessee understands that hunting is dangerous activity and that there may be hidden hazards such as holes, fence wire, snakes, wells, swamps ponds, harmful plants, unauthorized careless persons on the land, other hunters, or other risks that may injure him or cause death and the lessee assumes all these risks as his own responsibility. Lessee agrees to hold claims of loss damages liabilities or lessor harmless against any and all claims of loss, damages, liabilities or other expense of or as a result of lessees occupancy and activities.
Note: A clause such as this is not a guarantee that the lessor cannot be sued--but it usually increases the chances of winning. The best protection against liability claims is insurance. Although the clause says that hunting is a dangerous activity statistically hunting is safer than many other recreational activities such as driving fishing certain sports etc.
11. Include a clause to prevent littering.
Lessee agrees that lands covered by this lease shall be kept free of litter at all times.
12. Reserve the right to cancel this lease.
Lessor retains the right to cancel this lease immediately and make no refunds if in his opinion lessee has not complied strictly with the provisions of this agreement. Lessor may cancel this lease for any other reason upon 30 days written notice to the lessee and in such case the lessor shall return to the lessee a pro rata share of the rent based on the unexpired portion of the lease. It is understood by the lessee that a letter of cancellation of lease shall be addressed to _________________ and this will be accepted as sufficient notice by all parties named herein and after expiration of notice period all parties named will immediately cease to exercise all rights stated in this lease.
13. Include a clause to state the dates covered by the lease.
Unless this lease is canceled as herein provided the lessee(s) may begin to use the land on ____(Date)____ and all rights granted shall cease on ____(Date)____.
Note: A lease can be for an entire year, hunting season, week or a single visit. Some landowners allow camping and picnicking for the entire year. Such extra benefits can help develop a better rapport between lessor and lessees.
14. Have all parties sign the lease.
(If the hunters are not signing in your presence, the use of a notary public is recommended.)
Executed by _________[Lessor(s)]__________ this ___________ day of __________________.
Acceptance: We acknowledge ourselves the undersigned lessee(s) to be bound by all terms and conditions of this agreement. All persons using the property must sign. Persons who have not signed this lease are not authorized to hunt on .nor enter upon the property described herein.
Hunters' signatures and addresses
Forestland management and assistance programs are available to Georgia landowners from a variety of sources. Public programs are sponsored by governmental agencies and private programs are sponsored by the majority of the forest industries. Additional forest management assistance is also available from consulting foresters for a fee. Other forms of assistance include associations of forest landowners that provide landowners with information and programs on forest management. Help is available, but remember, practicing good forest stewardship is a choice you have to make.
Extension provides training at the county, state and regional level with workshops, field days and conferences in such basic forest management topics as forest regeneration, forest protection, timber harvesting, and the use of prescribed fire and the herbicides. There are also training programs on use of multiple resources such as forest recreation, business management, Christmas tree production, urban forestry, hunting enterprises and wood processing and utilization. Extension also offers publications on forest management, taxation, reforestation, fuelwood, record keeping, harvesting methods, insects and diseases and other topics of interest to landowners.
County extension agents, located in each county in the State, are local representatives of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service. For assistance or information about Extension and forestry, contact your local Extension office listed under county government in your telephone book.
The GFC is also responsible for fire control in most counties in the state with the exception of the large metropolitan counties where the local fire departments have this responsibility. The county GFC offices provide publications on forestry and are a good source for pine and hardwood tree seedlings. Contact your local unit listed in the telephone under Georgia State Government. The address for the web site for the GFC is http://www.gfc.state.ga.us/.
The Wildlife Resources Division of the DNR offers assistance to forest landowners interested in their wildlife assets by providing information on the development of wildlife management plans for both game and nongame species. For more information on the services available from the DNR, call or write:
Department of Natural Resources
205 Butler St. SE
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
The address for the web site for the DNR is http://www.ganet.org/dnr/.
The NRCS provides technical assistance to determine your short and long-term needs, your objectives, your economic desires and the proper use of your natural resources and coordinates them into specific recommendations for a property.
For more information about services available from the NRCS, contact your local office listed in the telephone book under United States Government. The address for the web site for the NRCS is http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/.
There are two components of the CRP Program. One is a general program that offered annual rental payments and cost-share assistance for those that established long-term NOT CLEAR: resource conserving covers on eligible in years 1985 through 1995. Although some landowners were able to extend their participation in the program after the 1995 date, all participants that enrolled in the program in 1985, 1986, and 1987 were reevaluated in September 1997. After this date, landowners participating in the program will have to rebid their land and meet the new criteria for the program.
The other component of the CRP program is a continuous sign-up for high priority conservation practices on eligible land. Bid offers are automatically accepted provided the acreage and producer meet certain eligibility requirements. The per-acre rental rate may not exceed the CCC'S maximum payment amount.
A list of the current priority areas is available at the local NRCS or FSA office.
The Stewardship Incentive Program (SIP) is the cost share part of the FSP which helps non-industrial forest landowners implement the forestry practices recommended in the their FSP plan.
Softwood Timber (ST) Loans are available to RD borrowers who have distressed Farmer Program (FP) loans and who own 50 or more acres of marginal land. ST loans are designed to reamortize and defer payments on FP Loans for financially stressed farmers. Contact the RD supervisor in your county for more information.
North Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
501 Broad St.
P.O. Box 2536
Gainesville, GA 30503
(770) 536-3660 Fax (770) 536-4447
South Central Farm Credit, ACA
826 Bellevue Ave.
P.O. Box 1548
Dublin, GA 31040-1548
(912) 272-4603 Fax (912) 275-3550
Southeast Georgia farm Credit, ACA
40 S. Main St.
P.O. Box 718
Statesboro, GA 30459
(912) 764-9091 Fax (912) 764-4957
Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
117 S. Donalson St.
P.O. Box 769
Bainbridge, GA 31718
(912) 246-8032 Fax (912) 246-4229
West Georgia Farm Credit, ACA
296 N. Main St.
Madison, GA 30650
(706) 342-4222 Fax (706) 342-2580
Choosing a consultant is similar to choosing other professionals to work for you. Make sure he or she is a registered forester and ask for references of other landowners who have used him as a consultant. Remember, a consulting forester works for you and should do the best job possible. When hiring, be certain that the consultant has no conflicts of interest that might prevent him from acting solely on your behalf. For more information on choosing a consultant, obtain a copy of circular 389, Forestry Consultants & Your Timber from your county extension office.
The Association of Consulting Foresters of America (ACF) also provides a membership directory. To belong to this association, a consulting forester must meet educational and experience requirements determined by the association. As a result, the association endorses the professional qualifications of its foresters. To obtain a copy of the directory, write to:
Association of Consulting Foresters of America
1403 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2714
Phone (703) 548-0990 Fax (703) 548-6395
The Society of American Foresters also publishes a directory of consulting foresters who are members of the organization. This directory has a section listing the forester's expertise and geographic areas he or she covers. To obtain the SAF directory, contact:
Society of American Foresters
5400 Grosvenor Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 897-8720 Fax (301) 897-3690
Companies that offer assistance programs often request that they have the "first right of refusal." This is usually interpreted as the first opportunity to purchase any forest products sold from the land. Others ask for a more formal agreement.
For more information on industrial assistance programs available in your area, contact your county Extension office.
The American Tree Farm System is managed by the American Forest Foundation and operates through cosponsors and state and national committees. The Georgia Tree Farm Program is sponsored by The Georgia Forestry Association. Funds for the program come from the forest industry, forest landowners and others interested in encouraging good forestry on private lands.
Lands certified as a Tree Farm must meet standards set by the American Tree Farm System and are managed for the growth and harvest of repeated forest crops that is adequately protected from fire, insects, disease and destructive grazing. Although many Tree Farms in Georgia include pine plantations, a number of farms include natural stands managed for wildlife and aesthetics.
Prospective Tree Farms are certified by a forester after an inspection of the forest. Existing Tree Farms are reinspected every five years to ensure their compliance with the program standards. Unmanaged forests are also accepted as "Pioneer Tree Farms" if the owner has a written management plan prepared and states his or her intent to follow the plan. Inspections are done free of charge by foresters representing the Tree Farm program and certified Tree Farmers receive the free quarterly magazine, Tree Farmer. More information about Georgia's Tree Farm program may be obtained by writing to the Georgia Forestry Commission at the following address:
Georgia Forestry Commission
P. O. Box 819
Macon, GA 31202-0819
(912) 751-3485 or 1-800-GA-TREES
The GFA is funded by membership dues and is administered by elected officers, directors and a professional staff. This group promotes forestry and landowner interests through the production of the newsletter "GFA News," legislative reports, an annual convention and other informative services. For more information contact:
Georgia Forestry Association, Inc.
Suite 505, 500 Pinnacle Ct.
Norcross, GA 30071-3634
Created in 1941, the Forest Landowners Association is a proactive, progressive, hard-hitting organization of timberland owners who own and operate more than 47 million acres of timberland in 17 southern and eastern states. The organization produces a biennial landowner manual, holds an annual convention and publishes 6 issues of the Forest Landowner magazine each year. For more information on the Forest Landowners Association contact:
Steve Newton, Executive Vice President
Forest Landowners Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 95385
Atlanta, GA 30347-0385
(404) 325-2954 (800)-325-2954 fax:(404)325-2955
Founded by nonindustrial private woodland owners in 1983, NWOA is independent of the forest products industry and forestry agencies. It works with all organizations to promote nonindustrial forestry and the best interests of woodland owners. NWOA is a member of the National Council on Private Forests, the Natural Resources Council of America and the National Forestry Network.
Membership costs of $25.00 provide mailings of four issues of National Woodlands Magazine and eight issues of the newsletter Woodland Report. The newsletter includes late-breaking forestry news from Washington, D.C. and state capitals, (written for woodland owners by woodland owners).
Membership also includes an introductory visit from a professional forester in states where available on land of 20 acres or more. For more information contact:
National Woodland Owners Association
374 Maple Ave. E. Suite 210
Vienna, Virginia 22180-4751
(703) 255-2700 1-800-476-8733 or 1-800-GRO-TREE
If you are still in doubt about where to obtain assistance, your county extension office will help you contact the proper source.
Adapted from an unpublished work by
Ronald E. True
Technical Services Forester
Alabama River Woodlands, Clairborn, Alabama
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Ad valorem tax - annual taxes assessed by the county government on the basis of land and timber value.
Annosus root rot - a fungus that kills trees by decaying the bark and wood of the roots and root collar. It spreads most easily in the winter months during thinning or other management operations.
Artificial regeneration - establishing a new forest by planting seedlings or by direct seeding.
Basal area (of a tree) - the crosssectional area in square feet of the tree trunk at breast height (4½ feet above the ground), computed by the following formula:
BA(ft2) = (Pi r2)
where BA = basal area; Pi = 3.1416; r = radius of the tree in feet
Basal area (of a forest) - the sum of the basal area of individual trees on an acre of forest land.
Board foot - the lumber measurement of a piece of sawn wood measuring 1 x 12 x 12 inches. The term is also used as a measure when estimating the amount of lumber in trees, sawlogs and veneer logs. Board foot volume in a piece of lumber is computed using the following formula:
BE = (length in feet x width in inches x thickness in inches) / 12
Clearcut - a harvesting method which removes all the trees (regardless of size) from an area. After clearcutting, seedlings are commonly planted on the site.
Codominant trees - trees with crowns forming the general level of crown cover and receiving full light from above, but little from the sides.
Controlled burning - a prescribed burn started intentionally by a landowner to accomplish some particular purpose and over which he exercises some surveillance or control
Cord - a volume measure that, when cut and stacked, is 4 x 4 x 8 feet, or 128 cubic feet of space. Cord volume in standing trees averages 70 to 90 cubic feet, because only the tree volume is measured (the empty spaces that form when wood is stacked are not included). Pulpwood volume is typically measured in cords. A face or short cord is 4 x 8 feet of wood less than four feet long and is used for firewood.
Crook - a defect in trees created by an abrupt bend. Crooks must be removed before a tree is cut for lumber.
Crown - the portion of a tree made of branches and foliage.
Cubic foot - a volume measurement containing one cubic foot of wood, such as a piece of wood one foot on a side, and containing six to 10 usable board feet of lumber because some wood is lost as sawdust and shavings.
Cull tree - a live tree of merchantable size that is unmerchantable because of defect or decay.
Defect - any irregularity or imperfection in a tree, log or lumber that lowers its quality, strength or value. Common defects include crooked trunks, forked limbs, heartrot, lumber stains and splits in boards.
Diameter breast height (D.B.H.) - tree diameter 4 ½ feet above the ground, usually measured in inches.
Diameter limit cutting - a method of harvesting by which all merchantable trees above a specified diameter are harvested. This method is a form of high grading and is not generally recommended.
Dibble - or planting bar, a tool with a 10 to 12inch blade for handplanting tree seedlings.
Direct seeding - a method of artificial regeneration with tree seeds sown on the surface of a prepared site.
Dominant trees - trees with crowns extending above the general level of the stand canopy and receiving full sunlight from above and pare the sides. These are usually the largest trees in the forest.
Energy wood - wood that is used for heating and include forest, industrial, urban and other wood wastes as well as whole tree chips.
Environment - the existing condition of the surroundings that results from a combination of climate, soil, topography, plants and animals. An organism's environment influences its form and survival.
Erosion - the process by which soil particles are detached and transported by water, wind and gravity to some point downslope or downstream.
Evenaged forest - a forest containing trees that are about the same age (within two to five years). Pine plantations are evenaged forests that result from clearcut harvesting and reforestation with seedlings.
Forester - a trained professional who supervises the development, care and management of forest resources.
Forest management - (generally), giving the forest proper care so it stays healthy and vigorous and provides the products and values the landowner desires, and (technically), applying forestry principles, practices and business techniques such as accounting and benefitcost analysis to forest management.
Fusiform rust - a fungus infection that causes cankers or swellings on the stem and limbs of pine trees. Although seldom fatal, it often slows growth, and provides an entry site for insects and reduces tree value.
Hardwood - generally, all species of trees that lose their leaves in winter. Some hardwoods, such as magnolia, retain leaves throughout the year. Soft hardwoods are less dense hardwoods, such as red maple, hackberry, yellow poplar, magnolia, blackgum and sycamore. Hard hardwoods are denser hardwoods, such as birch, hickory, oak, dogwood and black locust, which are often used for furniture, pallets and firewood.
Harvest - removing trees in an area to obtain income from the wood products. In some cases a harvest may be necessary to develop the environment essential to regenerate a forest.
Headfire - a fire moving with the wind. Headfires can be dangerous in the wild.
Heartwood - the wood extending outward from the pith to the sapwood, the cells of which no longer participate in the life processes of the tree. Heartwood may contain phenolic compounds, gums, resins and other materials that usually make it darker and more decay resistant than sapwood.
High grading - harvesting the best quality trees and leaving lowquality trees to dominate the site.
Intermediate trees - trees shorter than those in the dominant or codominant classes, with crowns below or extending into the crown cover of codominant and dominant trees, receiving little direct light from above and none from the sides. These trees usually have small crowns that are considerably crowded on the sides.
Littleleaf disease - a disease of shortleaf pine and occasionally of loblolly pine. Infected trees have yellowish foliage, decreased needle length and shoot growth and shortened lifespan.
Logging slash - unwanted, generally unmarketable wood such as large limbs, tops, cull logs and stumps that remain in the forest after timber harvesting.
Log rule - a table providing estimates for the amount of lumber that can be sawed from logs of a given length and diameter. Three rules commonly used in the Eastern United States are the Doyle rule (used for hardwoods), the International rule (the most accurate) and the Scribner rule (used for pines).
Lump sum sale - a sale in which a specified volume of standing trees is sold for a cash price before harvesting begins. The price set is paid regardless of the volume of timber actually removed from the tract.
Merchantable height - the height of a merchantable tree from a point six inches above the groundline to a point where the trunk diameter is too small to obtain a particular product. The product cut from the timber determines the merchantable height. If the minimum usable diameter of pulpwood is four inches, the merchantable height of a pulpwood tree would be its height, minus six inches, to a trunk diameter of four inches.
Merchantable timber - a stand of timber of sufficient size and volume per acre to be harvested profitably.
Moisture content - the amount of water contained in wood, expressed as a percentage of the weight of the ovendry wood.
Mortality - death or destruction of forest trees by competition, disease, insects, fire or other factors.
Multiple use forest - a forest managed for two or more objectives, such as timber production, forage production, wildlife habitat and recreation.
Naval stores - products derived from pitch extracted from slash and longleaf pines. These products were historically used to construct wooden sailing vessels, but now are used for a variety of products.
Needlecast - a disease of needlebearing conifers. The first indication of the disease is a discoloration and browning of the needles. Trees are seldom killed by this disease.
Non-commercial species - tree species of poor form or inferior quality that normally do not develop into trees suitable for wood products.
Overstocking - when a forest contains too many trees per acre. Young pine stands can easily support up to 700 trees per acre, but mature stands (about 30 years old) cannot support more than 500 trees per acre. Overstocking reduces growth, causes trees to die and makes the stand more susceptible to disease and insects.
Plantation - a forested area established by planting or direct seeding and usually made of a single species, most often pine.
Planting machine - a mechanical device used to plant trees. The machine has one or two riders that handle the seedlings. The machine creates a furrow and the rider(s) inserts a seedling into the opening. The machine closes the furrow and firms the soil around the planted seedlings without stopping. Planters are usually pulled by tractors, skidders or dozers on well cleared sites.
Pole timber - trees used to make poles and posts. Most post timber is at least five inches in D.B.H., smaller than sawtimber and of good form and vigor.
Precommercial thinning - a thinning that produces no marketable timber but incurs time and/or money costs to conduct. Thinning removes poorly formed, diseased and unmerchantable trees from the stand to allow more sunlight and growing space for the remaining timber.
Prescribed burning - the controlled use of fire to achieve forest management objectives. Prescribed fire can be used to reduce hazardous fuel levels, control vegetation, improve visibility and improve wildlife habitat.
Pulpwood - wood cut or prepared to make wood pulp, paper, fiberboard or similar products. Trees more than five inches in D.B.H. that are unsuitable because of size, crooks or other defects are sold as pulpwood.
Reforestation - reestablishing a forest by planting or seeding on a cutover tract of land or managing stands for natural regeneration.
Rotation - the length of time required to establish a stand of timber and grow it to maturity. Typical rotation lengths vary, depending on the desired product. A typical rotation for pulpwood is 20 to 25 years and a typical sawtimber rotation is 30 to 100 years, depending on landowner preference.
Salutation cut - harvesting or killing trees infected by or highly susceptible to insects or diseases to protect the rest of the forest stand.
Saplings - Live trees of commercial species that are one to five inches in D.B.H. and of good form and vigor.
Sapwood - the lightcolored wood closest to the bark on a crosssection of a tree. The sapwood is composed of long tubes that conduct water and minerals from the roots to the tree crown. Under most conditions, the sapwood is more susceptible to decay than is the heartwood.
Sawlog - logs at least 8-feet long that are sound, straight and with a minimum diameter inside bark of six inches for softwoods and eight inches for hardwoods, or other size/defect combinations.
Sawtimber trees - trees containing at least one 12foot sawlog or two eightfoot sawlogs, and meeting mill specifications for quality, such as a minimum of nine inches D.B.H. for softwoods and 11 inches for hardwoods.
Seedling - a tree less than one inch in diameter and usually less than three years old.
Seedtree harvest - a type of regeneration harvest in which six to eight trees are left per acre to provide a seed source on the harvested tract. Trees left for seed should be of superior quality, healthy and vigorous seed producers. In most cases, the old stand is partially removed in a single harvest cut that leaves only the seed trees standing. The remaining trees are left for three to five years, until a stand of seedlings becomes established from seed. When the new stand is established, the seed trees are harvested, leaving the young seedlings to produce a new, evenaged stand of timber.
Shelterwood cut - a cut leaving 20 to 40 trees per acre on a tract to act as a seed source. This greater number of trees reduces the chance of loss or damage through windthrow and ensures better seed dispersal. The greater volume available may bring more money at harvest.
Silviculture - the scientific practice of establishing, tending and reproducing forest stand with desired characteristics. The practice is based on knowledge of tree characteristics and environmental requirements.
Site index - a measure of the productive capacity of a particular site. For natural stands, site index is the total height (in feet) of the dominant tree at 50 years of age. For planted stands, it is the height of the dominant tree at 25 years of age.
Site preparation - preparing land for planting, direct seeding or natural reproduction by clearing, herbicide application, burning, dishing, bedding, windrowing and/or raking.
Softwood - trees of the order Coniferales, usually evergreen, conebearing and with needles or scalelike leaves. Pines, spruces, firs and cedars are common softwoods. Bald cypress is a deciduous conifer.
Stagnation - when too many trees are competing for resources in the same area. Stagnant stands of timber have high mortality, grow slowly and provide little or no income for the landowner. Stagnation can be avoided in planted stands through proper spacing, judicious thinning and the use of good growing stock.
Stand density - a measure of the amount of timber growing on a site, expressed on a per acre basis in number of trees, basal area or volume.
Stocking - the number of trees in a forest stand. The stocking level is open compared to the desired number of trees for best growth and management and is referred to as partially stocked, well stocked or overstocked.
Stumpage - the value of timber as it stands uncut in the woods or, in a general sense, the standing timber itself. Stumpage is also the sum paid for the tree as it stands on the stump.
Succession - the replacement of one plant community by another until ecological stability (climax forest) is achieved. An abandoned farm left to maturity would go through different states of vegetative cover and finally reach the climax forest stage after 100 or more years.
Suppressed trees - overtopped trees with crowns entirely below the general canopy level, receiving no direct light from above or from the sides, and which have lost the ability to resume normal growth if released.
Thinning - removal of some trees from a stand to encourage growth among the remaining timber. Commercial thinnings provide the landowner some financial return, but precommercial thinnings do not. Methods used for thinning timber include row thinning (every third or fifth row of trees is harvested), selection thinning (selected trees are removed) and combination thinning (row and selection methods are used).
Timber cruise - an inventory of a stand of timber to determine the harvestable products and volume. Cruises should be conducted before timber sales to estimate the value of the stumpage.
Timber marking - selecting and indicating, usually by a paint spot, trees to be cut or left in a harvest.
Timber stand improvement (TSI) - improving the quality of a forest stand by removing cull trees and brush to leave a stand of good quality trees. Cull trees may be removed by chemicals, fires, girdling or cutting.
Tract - an acreage containing one forest type, an acreage enclosed by a fence and managed separately or a segment of forest burned at one time or having undergone some change, making it distinctly identifiable.
Tree length - a tree, minus the unmerchantable top and branches. Also, a logging harvesting system by which the entire stem to a minimum diameter is cut and hauled in one piece to the mill.
Unevenaged stand - a stand in which three or more age classes are represented.
Wholetree chipping - a method of converting whole trees into chips for use as pulp material or fuel for energy. This system can result in reforestation costs substantially lower than those of conventional harvest systems. A greater proportion of the standing timber is utilized and less residue is left to be dealt with during subsequent site preparation activities.
Wildfire - forest fire burning out of control, regardless of how it started.
In natural resources many management concepts, as well as an evaluation and control methods, utilize tree numbers per acre as a quantitative measure. The number of trees per acre vary by the distance between each tree. In plantations, the number of trees per acre would be determined by knowing the spacing within a row and the spacing between rows. In planting systems, the initial number of trees per acre can be estimated by their spacing. Within general forest management, the spacing between trees and the number of trees per acre can be used to estimate timber volumes and values, prescribe silvicultural treatments, and provide simple examples of forest growth dynamics.
Below are presented two tables that determine the number of trees per acre based upon tree spacing in two directions (along two axes perpendicular to each other). The spacing distances are in feet. The first table (Table SNSQ) shows the number of trees per acre when trees are on square or equal spacings. The second table (Table SN) is in two parts and shows the number of trees per acre at many combinations of spacings.
Table 16: Approximate number of trees per acre based upon the distance in feet between stems in a square grid rounded to the nearest whole tree. for other spacing combinations, see Table 17.
|Spacing (feet)||Number of trees/acre|
The amount of woody increment produced each year depends upon the proper functioning and productivity of the leaves. All the leaves together make up the living crown of a tree. The food and growth substances ultimately generated by photosynthesis and metabolic processes in the leaves directly determine the amount of materials available for generating annual increments. The annual increment produced throughout the tree is a result of crown production; crown production is a direct result of annual increment transport efficiency and volume. The growth increment also mechanically supports the crown against dynamic forces of gravity, wind, precipitation and the tree's own size, shape and mass.
Because the crown is provided with raw materials and growth substances collected and generated by the roots, and the roots are provided with food and growth substances generated by the crown, the physical distance and biological health between living crown and absorbing root are critical. Those cells between leaf and rootlet must store, defend, support, transport, prevent waste, and conserve precious resources needed for tree survival. Trees invest heavily in woody materials applied as an annual layer of cells over the outside of last year's structure.
The annual addition of growth represents an approximation of specific crown vigor, general tree health, relative whole tree growth rates, and crown volume. The more net food and growth substances generated by the crown, the larger the tree grows at a faster annual pace. Each year the total annual growth increment is a ecological integration of all genetic, environmental, and chance occurrence factors that influences whole tree survival and growth.
The measure of annual growth increments in trees can be estimated by circular crosssections and annual radial growth. Relative annual increment values (as a percent of the last annual increment) using this table can be determined by first estimating tree diameter at 4½ feet above the ground (DBH) as measured along the main stem on the uphill side. For this table, an estimate of generalized annual growth rate is determined based upon the number of annual increments present in the last (outside) inch of wood (xylem) generated. This measure estimates a growth rate by diameter (DBH) class.
Table 18 provides the annual xylem increment area increase based upon growth rate per diameter class in square inches.
Table 18: Area increase in cross-sectional inches per single growth increment by diameter (DBH = diameter in inches at 4.5 feet above the ground). The growth rate estimator ranges from 1.0 growth increment per inch (R1) to 20 growth increments per inch (R20). Diameter ranges from 6 inches DBH to 100 inches DBH.
Table 19: Percent increase in cross-sectional area per single growth increment by diameter (DBH = diameter in inches at 4.5 feet above the ground). The growth rate estimator ranges from 1.0 growth increment per inch (R1) to 20 growth increments per inch (R20). Diameter ranges from 6 inches DBH to 100 inches DBH.
This table provides the number of trees of a given size per acre across 14 relative densities. Density is based upon site occupancy and crown size approximations. The density factor used is in units of 10 square feet of basal area ranging from 10 to 140 square feet basal area per acre. Basal area is the combined crosssectional area of all trees on an acre at 4.5 feet above the ground.
This table is intended as an educational and general management device which can assist landowners and natural resource managers with estimating tree numbers per acre. This table is an expansion of commonly available forestry tables.
Table 20: Number of trees per acre by diameter (DBH) class in inches and basal area (BA) per acre class in square feet. (DBH is measured at 4.5 feet above ground on uphill side of tree and BA is the total cross sectional areas of all trees on an acre measured at 4.5 feet above the ground on the uphill side of a tree. Values are rounded to the nearest whole tree.)