Ricky L. Kilpatrick, Chaney, John A., Wolcott, Maurice C. | 4/22/2005 1:30:42 AM
SHREVEPORT – More than 200 forest landowners and industry representatives attended the Ark-La-Tex Forestry Forum March 10 to learn techniques important in growing trees and maximizing the profit potential from their land.
"Non-industrial private landowners own more than 67 percent of the land in the state," said LSU AgCenter area forester Ricky Kilpatrick, who works in northwestern Louisiana. "And most of the people attending this forum are private landowners."
The LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources for 2004 shows almost $5.3 billion in economic impact from the harvest and processing of forest resources in the state.
The southeastern portion of the United States represents the "Wood Basket" of the world, said Bill Hubbard, southern regional extension forester with the University of Georgia in Athens.
Hubbard presented a detailed discussion of the changes the industry has made in the past 50 years and explained issues that need to be addressed – such as providing incentives for landowners to replant forest lands and for industry to upgrade technologies.
In addition, C.A. "Buck" Vandersteen, executive director of the Louisiana Forestry Association, stressed the interdependence in the industry.
"Mills will locate in areas near forest resources," Vandersteen said, stressing that mills need trained loggers and adequate timber inventories.
For example, Roy O. Martin Lumber Co. of Alexandria last year announced plans to build a mill to produce more than 800 million board feet of oriented strand board per year near Oakdale, Vandersteen said.
He also said the industry needs to continue to improve its image and meet environmental compliance issues.
The Louisiana Legislature recently passed the Safe Harbor Agreement, which will help landowners manage the impact caused by the red cockaded woodpecker, Vandersteen explained.
He encouraged landowners to have their forest land surveyed for red cockaded woodpeckers to document the absence of the bird before timber matures. Then if the endangered species is later discovered on the property, the landowner may request public officials to move the birds to another location.
On another issue; the experts who spoke during the forum said landowners should use a combination of herbicides, fertilizers and cultural control measures to get the optimal growth from their stands. Using these practices also helps to enhance wildlife diversity and populations.
Managing forestry properties requires owners to know where the boundaries are located. This helps in making improvements to the timber stand, marking trees to sell and managing the forested areas.
LSU AgCenter research associate Maurice Wolcott used a computer to demonstrate how landowners can download software from the Internet and view an aerial photograph of their property from the comfort of their home or office.
The participants also heard from Paul Spillers, a tax attorney from Monroe, who stressed tax management and estate planning as part of a financial plan for tree farmers.
"This educational forum helps landowners stay informed about the latest technologies and issues in forestry that help them remain competitive and return a profit," said Kilpatrick, who organizes the annual event for the LSU AgCenter.
For more information on tree farming, forestry issues, herbicide and fertilizer recommendations and the management of forest resources, contact Kilpatrick at (318) 965-2326 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on a broad variety of issues ranging from crops and livestock to nutrition and health, contact any parish office of the LSU AgCenter.
Ricky Kilpatrick at (318) 965-2326 or email@example.com
Maurice Wolcott at (318) 578-1464 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Chaney (318) 473-6589 or email@example.com