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Volume 1 | No. 3 | August 2008   


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David Ray, Tall Timbers new Forestry Research Scientist, joins the Research Staff

David Ray, Forestry Research ScientistTall Timbers is pleased to introduce David Ray, our new Forestry Research Scientist, who joined our research staff in July.

David has a longstanding interest in managing forests for the sustainable production of a variety of goods and services. His background is in the silviculture of natural forests of the Northeastern U.S. where multi-aged management of mixed species conifer forests is commonplace, providing a link to the approach he will be taking working at Tall Timbers. According to David, the philosophy behind the Forestry Program at Tall Timbers is well suited to carrying out the types of research and outreach that will help inform practice and transfer information on ecologically grounded and economically viable approaches to managing upland pine forests. Initially he will focus his efforts on topics such as planted pines, securing natural regeneration in the context of multi-aged management, and early development of newly established seedlings (of natural and planted origin). David states that, “the long history of managing forests for multiple objectives (e.g. wildlife, timber, aesthetics) that has defined land-use practices in the Red Hills Region suggests there is a ready audience for this type of information here, and I’m hopeful it will also be of interest within the broader region. These are exciting times to be involved in forest management, with emerging markets for ecosystem services like carbon storage and watershed protection, and developments in the areas of forest certification and conservation easements which offer landowners additional options. I look forward to helping assist the landowner members of Tall Timbers in meeting their forest management goals.” To learn more about David Ray and to contact him by phone or email, please click here.

Longleaf Pine Cone Crop Prospects for 2008 and 2009

By David Ray, Research Forestry Scientist

Results of the annual springtime cone count headed up by Drs. Dale Brockway and Bill Boyer at the USFS Southern Research Station suggest we can expect a ‘Fair’ cone crop this year (range 25-49 cones/tree).  Evidence from the two sites sampled within the Red Hills (Pebble Hill Plantation) and nearby Apalachicola National Forest, and also confirmed by more casual observations made here on Tall Timbers, indicate our catch will likely exceed the regional average in 2008 (Figure 1). Even so, because this crop is not forecast to be a good one (range 50-99 cones/tree), landowners hoping to secure natural longleaf regeneration this year are advised to carefully check the cones on their seed trees before investing in site preparation. Based on flower counts, next year’s seed catch is projected to be considerably lower, at least in the Red Hills. Note however that projections based on flower counts are less reliable because not all flowers will develop into cones the following year. Perhaps 2010 will provide the next bumper crop ( >100 cones/tree)? And remember that supplemental planting is always an option.

Note that longleaf cone production is highly variable across the region encompassed in this sample, ranging from 1 cone/tree in Bladen Lakes State Forest in Bladen County, NC to 57 cones/tree for Cedar Creek Company land in Escambia County, AL in 2008, and that few of these sites (perhaps 2 of 11) fall within the Red Hills Region. To address this limitation and get a better handle on annual cone production locally, we intend to supplement this long term effort with more intensive monitoring program. Stay tuned for more details on this new initiative.

Longleaf pine cone production

Figure 1. Predicted cone crops for longleaf pine seed trees (average and SD) over the next two years based on systematic counts of conlets (2008) and flowers (2009) from two sites in the Red Hills and nine others distributed across the broader region (summarized from data provided by Brockway and Boyer).

The mission of Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy is to foster exemplary land stewardship through research, conservation and education.