Becoming a Forest Steward in North Carolina

Forest stewardship is a commitment to your land for the present and in the future. True stewards apply the ideas of conservation in managing all of the resources of the forest.

Benefits of Prescribed Burning

Prescribed burning (also known as ‘controlled burning’) is an important forest management tool that may be appropriate to use throughout the life cycle of a stand of trees. Some of the more frequent and beneficial uses of prescribed burning are briefly outlined in this leaflet.

Caring for Your Woods… A 10-step Plan for Landowners

When people acquire forestland they often lack information on what to do with their new property. Long-time woodland owners are often equally at loss when they decide to actively manage their woods for the first time. Some woodland owners wish to do little with their woods. Other owners want to do everything. The 10 steps presented here, suggest important information to obtain and the first things to do if you want to care for your woods with active management. Follow the steps and you will also learn what is feasible both for your land and your pocketbook.

Crop Tree Management in North Carolina

Landowners today are interested in forest management that promotes environmental stewardship and produces multiple benefits. Crop tree management can do just that. This system is designed for use in timber stands of adequate quality, but which are either not ready for final harvest and regeneration or belong to landowners who place high value on continuing stand management.

Crop Tree Release in Precommercial Hardwood Stands

The length of time necessary to grow quality hardwood trees is perhaps the greatest deterrent preventing private landowners from practicing hardwood management. Valuable trees such as white and red oaks, cherry, ash, yellow poplar and black walnut require decades to reach financial maturity. This publication describes how to accelerate growth rates in your young hardwood forest, which is vital to keeping your interest alive during the critical and dynamic time between seedling establishment and final harvest.

Financial Incentives for Forest Management

Managing your forestland can be an excellent long-term investment. Over the years, income from managed timber stands has exceeded that from most other crops in terms of value added per acre per year. Even managed pre-salable timber stands have increased the property value of forestland substantially over bare or unmanaged, cutover woodland. Annual returns from 0 to 40 percent are possible from forest management. The range of returns is wide because of variations in soil productivity, stand condition, tree species, markets (both availability and price fluctuations), intensity of management, and availability of financial incentives.

Forest Health—Community Wealth: A Landowner’s Guide for Enhancing Forests in Western North Carolina

Is your forest all it could be? If you have recently acquired forested acreage in western North Carolina or have never considered the potential of your forest and would like to learn more about how to enhance your property, take some time to work through this guide. It has been developed for forest landowners like you, who may want multiple benefits from their land, such as natural beauty, recreational opportunities, wildlife, and income. Even if you’ve lived here for many years, a plan for your forest is a wise investment for your future.

Forest Land Enhancement Practices for North Carolina

The productivity and ecological character of North Carolina’s future forests rest largely in the hands of over 500,000 private individuals and families who own 78% of the state’s 17.7 million acres of commercial timberland. Owners cherish the forest for the economic, social and environmental benefits the forest provides. Forest management, timber harvesting and reforestation decisions are influenced by many things, including family situation, the productivity and character of the soils, the current condition of the forest, income needs and philosophy about land ownership and the environment. The purposes of this publication are 1) to encourage landowners to evaluate the current condition and potential of their forest; 2) to suggest pro-active practices which enhance forest health, diversity and productivity and; 3) to investigate forest management and timber harvesting/regeneration options as they impact future forest condition, especially forest health, tree species composition and productivity for wildlife and timber.

Forest Practice Guidelines for Tennessee

Those involved in managing Tennessee forests have felt the need for a concise statement about forest practices in Tennessee. Although several sources provide information about Tennessee’s forests and appropriate forest practices, searching for information takes considerable time, and in some instances the sources are not readily available. These guidelines provide a ready, authoritative reference. This publication identifies appropriate forest management practices and informs the Tennessee forest landowner about making wise policy decisions and establishing long-range goals.

A Guide for Virginia Forest Landowners

As a private forest landowner, you are a vital link in the sustainability of Virginia’s forest resources. Your land provides many benefits to all Virginians, including wood products, wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and recreational opportunities. Because forest landowners like you own and control three-quarters of the state’s forestland, the decisions you make regarding your forest today will impact the quality of Virginia’s forests for many years. The purpose of this publication is to provide you with some basic information on forest management and specifics on how timber harvesting should be conducted to ensure the sustainability of your forest resources.

Intermediate Stand Management

Cultural treatments applied in established pine stands are called intermediate stand management practices. These are often desirable or necessary to improve survival and growth rate of crop trees. No standard schedule can be suggested for intermediate cultural activities. Their application is affected by such factors as stocking, growth rate, site quality, competition, and products to be harvested from the stand. Such activities as release, precommercial and commercial thinning, prescribed burning, pruning, timber stand improvement, and supplemental fertilization are among the intermediate stand management options which may be applied to protect woodlands and improve economic returns.

Introduction to Prescribed Fire

Naturally occurring fire has shaped Southern ecosystems. It was the major ecological process in the development and dominance of longleaf pine forests, which once covered more than 90 million acres of land in the region. Longleaf pine developed several of its unique characteristics because of naturally occurring fires, started by lightning.

Landowner’s Guide to Wildlife Abundance Through Forestry

Your woodlands offer the promise of immediate and long-term benefits. Managed forests produce yields of timber and wildlife. Land with abundant game may be leased to hunting clubs for as much or even more than its taxes or provide the base for a hunting preserve business. Other recreation-based sources of income, such as camping or horseback riding, will be made more attractive on properties managed for wildlife. But economic considerations, though important, may not be your main reason for owning the land. To have a place where wildlife lives and can be enjoyed may be your primary desire. Land that has productive wildlife habitat is a pleasure to behold. The satisfaction of working with nature to increase wildlife abundance, and at the same time, of leaving to the next generation property of increasing economic and aesthetic values can be yours through careful but decisive management.

Maintaining Forest Property Boundaries

With the high value of timbered forest property today, landowners would be well-advised to take sufficient steps to protect their investment. Maintaining property lines and boundaries is one of the simplest, yet most often overlooked forms of protection from theft, trespass, and encroachment. The publication details the importance of property lines and how to maintain or reestablish them.

Maintaining the Forestry Exemption Under the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act

The North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act was passed in 1973. Its purpose is to prevent sediment from reaching streams by requiring the installation and maintenance of adequate sediment control measures during site-disturbing activities. The initial law provided a blanket exemption for agriculture and forestry. The 1989 North Carolina legislature amended the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act. The amendment maintains the forestry exemption but only on the condition that site-disturbing forestry activities be conducted in accordance with Forest Practices Guidelines.

Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in South Carolina for Wildlife Using Green Tree Reservoirs

Bottomland hardwood forests occupy the floodplains of many large and small rivers of the southeastern United States. These forests are productive systems and contain a variety of wildlife habitats. Many of these areas have been leveed and are flooded to make food, such as acorns and benthic organisms, available to waterfowl. The forested areas within the levees are called greentree reservoirs (GTRs). Flooding normally occurs during the winter dormant season and drainage when foliage begins to develop.

Management of Lowcountry Bottomland Hardwoods Using the Crop Tree Management System

Many landowners today are interested in managing their forests to accomplish a number of goals other than just for timber production. These goals may include fish and wildlife habitat improvement, aesthetic enhancement, and water quality maintenance. To meet these multiple demands, the Crop Tree Management System was developed focusing on selecting and releasing trees that will yield multiple landowner benefits, but can also be used to accomplish a single objective.

Managing Lowcountry Forests for Wildlife

Many Lowcountry landowners have existing natural stands of pines, hardwoods and pine-hardwood mixtures. Most are not interested in practicing intensive, plantation-based forest management but have a keen desire to maintain existing stands and improve wildlife habitat. The following management recommendations are based on years of management activity on Lowcountry plantations that are managed primarily for wildlife with timber income of secondary importance.

Managing for Hardwood

Forestry is one of the top three industries in North Carolina, where approximately 62 percent of the state's 32.2 million acres are forested. Approximately 67 percent of the forest land consists of hardwood or mixed pine-hardwood. Benefits from hardwood forests include watershed protection, wildlife, timber, recreation, and aesthetics. Increased demand for hardwood, due to tighter controls on federal lands and the hardwood exports, has increased the need for management of existing hardwood stands.

Managing the Family Forest in the South

To some, forest management means only management for timber production. However, in its broadest sense, forest management means management of forested acres for the continuous production of goods and services such as wood, water, wildlife, forage, and recreation. Owners should assess their own objectives so that their management plans will meet these objectives. The following pages describe how to increase timber yields, improve wildlife habitat, protect watersheds, obtain greater enjoyment from owning land and, in certain circumstances, use the forest forage.

Precommercial Thinning Contract Considerations

When a stand of trees regenerates naturally from seed sources or stump sprouts, often the outcome is too many tree seedlings are produced, or the seedlings are not evenly spaced across the tract. The resulting thicket of under-sized trees will require substantial time to become a healthy or high-quality forest. In this situation, a precommercial thinning can remove a defined amount of the new trees, thereby providing more ample growing space, sunlight and soil nutrients for the remaining trees and reducing the amount of time required to grow a quality and healthy forest.

Prescribed Burning in Alabama Forests

Early settlers in Alabama found that Indians used fire in the virgin pine stands and learned that they too could use fire to improve hunting, to keep down brush for improved access to the forest, and to clear land for farming. Although wildfires can completely destroy timber stands, the deliberate use of fire by professional foresters under controlled conditions can help accomplish several of the objectives of multiple-use forest management. This deliberate use of fire is called “prescribed burning.”

Providing Habitat Needs for Wildlife Through Forest and Agricultural Management

In general, good habitat conditions for wildlife can be created while managing timber or farming operations. In some cases, no additional costs are required. Information presented here will help in planning for an integrated land management program that optimizes timber growth, crop production, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities on private land.

Reforestation of North Carolina’s Pines

The Southern pines may reproduce themselves more successfully in most cases when special efforts are made to encourage regeneration. But first, owners should allow time to begin planning reforestation well in advance of the harvest cut. Such problems as understory vegetation control, site or seedbed preparation, and source of seed or seedlings must all be examined. Either artificial regeneration that involves planting seed or seedlings, or natural regeneration which relies on existing seedlings or seeds may be used. The practice of “letting nature take its course” often results in poor stands of low quality hardwood.

Southern Hardwood Management

Hardwood forests represent an extremely diverse and valuable assemblage of species. To some, hardwood management is a confusing and difficult concept to grasp. Unfortunately, past harvests in many hardwood stands removed only the best quality stems of a few select species, leaving poor quality often less desirable species in the wake. Because of past practices in many hardwood stands, some may not believe that hardwood forests can be properly managed for pulp, lumber, water quality, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, and a host of other amenities. We hope this publication will serve to expand the private forest landowners' horizon to the possibilities of hardwood management.

A Southern Pine Management Guide for Tennessee Landowners

Forestry’s impact upon Tennessee is inescapable. The wood products industry contributes more than $21 billion annually to the state economy and employs 184,000 workers.1 There are 14.4 million acres of forestland across the state, more than half the land base, and nearly 70 percent of these lands are owned by private, non-industrial landowners. Tennessee prides itself upon being one of the nation’s largest producers of hardwood timber, but 1.2 million acres of our forests are comprised of southern yellow pines.

Stewardship of Longleaf Pine Forests: A Guide for Landowners

This book is written in an easy-to-read format for the private landowner in the deep South, the heart of the range of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine was once part of the single largest forest area dominated by a single tree species in North America, covering as much as 90 million acres. Today, about 4 million acres remain and much of the ecosystem associated with the longleaf forest is in poor condition. The future of longleaf as a viable economic and ecological component of our Southern landscape rests in the hands of private landowners. Well-managed longleaf forests can provide high-value forest products, excellent wildlife habitat for game and nongame wildlife and scenic beauty all on the same property with few or no trade-offs. As you read through these pages, you will get some ideas about how longleaf forests can fit into the landscape on your property.

Technical Guide to Crop Tree Release in Hardwood Forests

Crop tree release is a widely applicable silvicultural technique used to enhance the performance of individual trees. It offers flexibility in that it can be applied on small or large properties, and with certain modifications, it can be applied as a precommercial or commercial operation.

The Pine that Fire Built: Burning Young Longleaf

Prescribed fire can be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool in managing southern pine forests. As increasing acreage is planted with longleaf pine, many landowners are either required to burn their young stands to comply with cost-share programs or wish to burn to achieve various management objectives.

Thinning Pine Stands

Thinning is the cutting or removal of certain trees from a stand to regulate the number, quality, and distribution of the remaining “crop” trees. If the cut material can be marketed, the thinning is “commercial.” Where markets do not exist for the removed trees (usually because they are too small), the thinning is considered “precommercial.”

Timing of Prescribed Fire in Longleaf Pine Management: Benefits, Risks, and Roles by Season

Land managers in the Southeast have traditionally set fire to low vegetation in their pine forests every few years, chiefly during the winter months. Recently a variety of ecological considerations has generated interest in burning during the growing season in longleaf pine stands; but many experienced managers have expressed concern about the safety and effectiveness of summer burning. To assist forest managers facing practical decisions about when to conduct burning in their longleaf stands, this publication summarizes many of the principal insights provided to date by scientific research findings on the effects of season of burn on longleaf ecosystems.

Treatments for Improving Degraded Hardwood Stands

Popular sentiment is that the small trees in the lower canopy when released will become the large trees of tomorrow. The largest and best trees are repeatedly harvested leaving the smaller, inferior trees to perpetuate the next stand. In reality, the trees being released are probably of similar age as those being cut. These released trees are incapable of continued growth with their small, spindly crowns. The consequence of removing only highly valued trees with each harvest is a hardwood resource with ever lower levels of economically valuable trees.

Voluntary Conservation Options for Land Protection in North Carolina

Landowners share a deep connection to their land and the legacy they’ll leave behind. With so many conservation options to consider, landowners need to have a working knowledge of the choices to protect their land in the near and long term. Landowners should identify their goals before embarking upon a conservation strategy. Once a conservation strategy is selected, then the implications of state and federal taxes can be explored. This publication reviews the most common land conservation and protection options.

Wildlife Damage Management

Wildlife damage management, regardless of the problems species, has four basic components: 1) problem definition (identification and assessment of damage), 2) an understanding of the behavior and ecology of the problem wildlife species, 3) selection and application of control techniques, and 4) evaluation of control efforts.

Wildlife Food Plantings

There are 3 ways that landowners, managers and sportsmen can improve the quality and availability of wildlife foods. One method includes protecting existing high value native wildlife food plants that already exist. Secondly, managers can enhance and stimulate the growth of native vegetation by mechanical (timber thinning, strip disking, mowing, prescribed burning) and chemical (herbicides, fertilizers and lime) means. A third way is to propagate desired wildlife food plants by direct seeding or seedling planting, which is often called supplemental planting with food plots.

Wildlife and Forest Stewardship

Developing forestland to continually produce timber and provide wildlife habitat requires an active management plan. Forest stewardship, the process of managing all of the forest’s natural resources together, enables us to conserve our forest resources, including timber, wildlife, soil, and water. Forestry and wildlife management are not only compatible, they are interrelated. Managing for wildlife habitat can even improve forest productivity. This publication describes the basic concepts of management, showing how forestry operations affect wildlife habitat.

Wildlife and Wildlife Management

The term wildlife means different things to different people. To a backyard wildlife enthusiast, it may mean chickadees, nuthatches, and cardinals. To a hunter, it may mean white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, and gray squirrels. To a sheep producer, it may mean coyotes. To a poultry producer, it may mean mink, weasels, skunks, and raccoons. To a gardener, it may mean hummingbirds and butterflies.

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