Please Help

Don Staples dstaples at
Thu Jul 16 11:17:01 EST 1998

TREEFARMER at wrote:
> Want to elaborate on that management philosophy a little more Don?

Sure would.  I wrote:  

"Hmm, you apparently have never tried to cruise a 15 year old southern
Pine plantation.  Biodiversity keeps you from walking, or even crawling,
without hacking your way through the jungle of vegetation.  Erosion? 
weeds and grass wont let it happen, without extra help from the land
owner and his equipment.  Pine monoculture is not corn fields, although
some of the companies are trying to make it that way with the liberal
use of herbicides.  Some of the older plantations, usually now well
thinned, were planted at such a rate that crown closure occured
somewhere around 10 years, and other vegetation was shaded out, but this
also reflected the immediate results of a natureal catastrophic
conversion to pine.  SYP can literally self regenerate at the rate of
tens of thousands trees per acre, effectiely shading out all

"It is the management philosophy of the owners that cause the most
with southern pine monoculture."

Some Industrial managers maximize production by converting any and all
sites to pine monoculture.  That may include bedding that raises the
seedlings above the ground water, temporarily as with the hammocks in
bottom land hardwood, and allows a start towards the pine stand, rather
than planting hard wood on a hard wood site.  Bio-diversity be damned in
this productive monoculture.  Not all industrial managers take this
course of action, there are as many different philosophies in the
corporate forest as in the private.

Some private land owners strictly in product mode will follow the same
procedure, but more and more of the private landowners in the south are
reflecting the change from production to bio-diversity.  Hard woods are
being left and smaller acreages of pine are being planted.  This is in
part due to the fragmentation of the land base and described in other
posts on this group.  The newer, smaller acreage owners, are looking for
something other than production. 

But what is apparent is that the hugh tracts of pine monoculture are
themselves being fragmented in some areas as companies die, diverse, or
get bought out.  The other side of the coin is that some companies are
going to raise pine like silage, grow it until it is of a size that is
economical to handle, then cut it, or pull it, and chip it on site for
fiber production.  This requires hugh areas of relatively easy terrain
for equipment to work.  The Gulf Coastal Plains.  Just as cotten was
king fiber in the south a century ago, wood pulp may well become the
second king.  The king is dead, long live the king.

I don't have the answer, I try to convert (educate) my land owners to
environmentally sound management practices, I occaisionally find
success.  we have tried everything from cost share to propaganda to
encourage the diversity of forest in the south.  Maybe we have failed in
simple education of the owners.\

Will I plant a pine plantation on the entire tract?  YOu bet, if that is
all I can do to reforest that tract.  i would rather try to convert that
bottom land pasture back to hard wood, plant the slopes and uplands into
pine with hard wood on the drainages, or what ever the land calls for. 
Don Staples
UIN 4653335

My Ego Stroke:

More information about the Ag-forst mailing list