Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation from the Countryside to Your Backyard

There are nearly 2 billion acres of land in the conterminous United States. About 70 percent of that land is privately owned and its care is in the hands of those who live and work on it. Most of that land, 1.4 billion acres, is managed by farmers and ranchers. More than 92 million acres of land—an area the size of California—is privately developed and much of it is tended by homeowners. Farmers and ranchers use conservation plans to help them apply practices that meet their production objectives and protect soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources. You may want to develop a plan for your own backyard to help you apply conservation measures that fit your needs. Or maybe, for now, you’d like to try just a few of the activities in this book.

A Guide to the Care and Planting of Southern Pine Seedlings

Despite constantly improving reforestation technology, many public and private forestry organizations report declines in early survival in southern pine plantations. Experienced managers have come to expect lower survival than they were used to 20 to 30 years ago, and they are seeing failures that cannot be attributed to insects, diseases, or adverse weather. The most common reasons for these failures are breakdowns in what can be thought of as the "reforestation system." At various points between the nursery bed and the field planting site, seedlings are "critically wounded" by events that workers consider to be insignificant. Combinations of these "insignificant events" add up to poor seedling survival or complete plantation failure.

Measuring Survival and Planting Quality in New Pine Plantations

Thousands of acres of new pine plantations are established across the southern United States each year. Unfortunately, some of these plantations are considered failures for timber production once survival drops below 300 trees per acre. A question often asked is, “How do I determine the number of good seedlings per acre?” The goal of this publication is to provide landowners with an easy-to-use sampling technique to evaluate a new pine plantation.

New Pine Planting Strategies for the Western Gulf States

The structure of forest industry has experienced major changes over the last few years, not only across the South, but globally as well. Mills are closing, companies are merging, and large forest products corporations are divesting their lands. The demand for small-diameter trees in the South has diminished largely due to the amount of wood fiber and wood products now available from other countries around the world. As a result, countries that have traditionally depended upon the southern US for fiber (e.g., Japan) are now being supplied by other global markets. Competition is global and fierce, and in order to stay competitive, healthy, and profitable, foresters and forest landowners must use efficient stand establishment strategies. This paper outlines several such new strategies beyond the normal course of plantation establishment (e.g., proper site preparation, seedling care, and competition control). Much of what is covered in this paper will challenge traditional stand establishment philosophies as we explore stock type, initial stand density, planting season, fertilization, and insect control.

Planting Your New Stewardship Forest

Are you getting ready to plant your land in trees following a recent harvest, land purchase, or inheritance? This publication explains how simple changes in planting design can benefit wildlife, timber, and plant diversity… and your bottom line. Your rewards can be great and last for decades; all it takes is a little planning before the first tree goes into the ground.

Reforestation Contracts

The reforestation of a plot of land can often be a complicated process. It may include site preparation by chemical or mechanical means, tree planting, prescribed burning, and cull tree removal. Many forest landowners are unable to perform these tasks on their own and must hire a vendor with the manpower and equipment to do the job for them.

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.

Regenerating Southern Pines

The needs for pine timber in the United States are expected to double in the next 40 years. The South is expected to supply over half of the nation's pine timber at that time. To meet these needs, the pine forests of the future must be established in the 1980's. If this is to be accomplished, two factors loom important. Frst, over 70 percent of the total southern timberlands are owned by private, non-industrial owners; and second, only one of every nine harvested acres is currently being regenerated by this non-industrial ownership. Consequently, if future needs for pine timber are to be satisfied, regeneration and management of their forests for pine production must be prime objectives of private, non-industrial owners of southern forestlands.

Steps to Successful Pine Plantings

Successful pine plantings require a well-prepared site, quality seedlings, proper storage and field care of seedlings, and timely planting by a crew trained in proper planting techniques. Most landowners contract with a vendor for such services. This note gives information on (1) key clauses to include in any contract and (2) conditions which affect seedling survival and early growth.

Tree Planting Guide

Most homeowners plant trees for their beauty, but a well-situated tree also can reduce energy costs by shading a house from the sun’s rays in summer and providing shelter from harsh winter winds. They act as noise buffers, and provide homes for wildlife, making your home a more pleasant place to live. Proper selection and planting are critical to ensure your new tree’s long-term survival. This guide will help you select and plant trees.

Tree Planting Procedure for Small, Bare-Root Seedlings

Tree seedlings receive foremost care while growing in a managed nursery: fertile soil; ample moisture; and weed, insect and disease control. Lifting seedlings out of this comfort zone shocks them. If key steps are not carefully followed during handling and planting, mortality rate rises. Both hardwood and pine seedling survival is more likely if attention is given to the points made in this publication.

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.

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