The 1,200-acre Lee Memorial Forest in Washington Parish serves as an important research and teaching resource for the LSU AgCenter.
Located between the towns of Franklinton and Bogalusa, the forest was clobbered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but no buildings were damaged, and salvage sale of felled timber was completed by March 2006.
The Lee forest began with a 1,000-acre donation from the Great Southern Lumber Company in 1926 and was augmented with a gift of 210 acres from the William A. Knight estate in 1991. The forest provides its own operating budget with income generated from timber sales.
The main lodge was built in 1927 with lumber from the forest and was the home to a summer field studies program through the early 1960s. The summer program was moved to the Baton Rouge campus until 1982, when it moved back to the Lee forest. In 1992, it changed to an eight-week teaching session held during the last half of the spring semester for junior students. A two-week field course for wildlife majors is also offered between spring and summer semesters.
“Students develop their field skills at camp and see actual forestry activities,” said Thomas Dean, professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources
Along with being a teaching facility, the Lee forest is home to several research projects. For example, a recently established project works with sustainable silviculture and soil productivity to determine if any negative effects come from conventional harvest on new growth compared with trees previously on the site.
Other research projects include fertilizer and spacing studies, progeny testing of crosses between slash pine and longleaf pine, longleaf pine forest restoration and studies of Bachman’s and Henslow’s sparrows – two species whose ranges are limited to open pine forests.(This article was published in the spring 2006 issue of Louisiana Agriculture.)