Last year NC experienced one of the worst droughts on record. Many landowners contacted us concerned with how the lack of water affected their trees. Lack of water reduces growth, lowers resistance to other stresses and will eventually lead to the death of the tree if the drought continues. Fortunately, trees have internal defense mechanisms to help them survive the effects of a drought.
In recent years, thousands of North Carolina timberland owners have experienced significant timber losses due to catastrophic events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, fire and pine beetle infestations. Hurricane Isabel is only the latest example, with estimated timber losses exceeding $565 million in North Carolina alone. Based on our experience, landowners with mature timber damaged by Hurricane Isabel will probably receive less than 50% of the market value of their timber before the storm hit.
Landowners sometimes ask, “What’s better – planting or natural regeneration?” Generally, we answer this with another question: “How do you define better?”
Both methods are viable options for regenerating a forest, but each has some advantages and trade-offs. Here’s a summary of some of the key considerations.
The American Tree Farm System began in 1941 as a means to promote sound forest management practices for private forest landowners. Sponsored by forest industry, the program occurs in all 50 states, however in the early 90’s the program was discontinued in North Carolina . In a cooperative effort from North Carolina ’s foresters and the forest industry, the Tree Farm System is now returning to our state.
A timberland investment offers a great hedge against inflation as reported recently in a report by J P Morgan Investment Analytics & Consulting. J. P. Morgan was quoted as saying “Timberland correlates highly with inflation and is therefore an effective investment for preserving capital. It has outperformed other commodities in both high and low inflationary environments.” They went on to recommend that asset managers consider purchasing timberland
New research shows that the highest wildlife use of forestland-in terms of total numbers of wildlife, as well as species diversity-occurs in the cutover and seedling stage. A study conducted by Champion International and Stephen F. Austin State University examined wildlife use among cutover/seedling, sapling, pole and sawtimber successional stages.
There are four essential elements to any successful habitat:
Space – We often cannot do anything about the “space” available for wildlife. Our properties have boundaries and it is usually difficult or very expensive to increase the available space. Use of hunting leases is a useful way to increase space, while keeping costs down
Water – Over most of the south, water is plentiful and usually not a limiting factor, as it is in the west.
Food – Can increase quantity and quality through food plots, supplemental feeding and managing timber stands.
Cover – Nesting or bedding cover can be improved by any type of timber harvest that opens up the canopy and allows sunlight to reach the ground. This invites new growth beneficial to many species.
* Information condensed from “Improve Your Habitat” article written by Larry Weishuhn, wildlife biologist.
Below is a list of management recommendations to insure that you get the most from your new stand of Loblolly Pine Seedlings. Time frame will vary depending on the individual site conditions. Boundary lines and fire breaks should be maintained at all times. Seek professional forestry advice at the first sign of problems.
We were recently contacted by a family who had inherited property many years ago and had no idea of the actual value of the timber. Because there were a number of heirs involved, most of them living out of state, none of them had taken the initiative to determine the value of what they had.
Looking for a source of income between timber harvests? It’s possible to gross $1,000 or more per acre per year by gathering, marketing and delivering Longleaf Pine straw. Or if you don’t want to take on the whole job, pine straw suppliers may pay you up to $150 per acre for the right to harvest fallen needles on your land. In Georgia and North Carolina, pine straw is a $50 million industry annually.