Improved pine trees featured at Hill Farm Research Station event

(04/28/16) HOMER, La. – Faster-growing and better-quality loblolly pine trees were featured as participants in the 2016 Western Gulf Forest InSight Conference visited the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station on Wednesday, April 27.

“We got to show them that there are a lot of new things in development now and already making it to market that can really grow forests better and of higher quality,” said AgCenter forestry research project leader Michael Blazier.

“We’ve seen trees that can grow an extra log up top, with smaller knots,” Blazier said. “That’s going to recalibrate the way we plant, harvest and overall manage loblolly pine.”

The group, composed of foresters and loggers from six southeastern states, toured a private landowner’s pine stand next door to the research station’s pine acreage. They could visibly see the difference between the private landowner’s trees and the pine trees that have been bred for higher quality at Hill Farm, Blazier said.

“The improvement in our forests can be attributed to 60 years of a cooperative effort within the forest industry to find the best genetics in our woods and breed the best of the best,” he said. “These new forests are going to make better wood, more wood, but we’ve got to be smart about how we manage that.”

The impact of forestry and forest product industries on Louisiana’s economy in 2015 was $10.8 billion, according to the latest LSU AgCenter figures. Forests cover 14 million acres, or about 50 percent of Louisiana's land area, making it the state's greatest single land use.

This was the first time the Forest Insight Conference, designed to provide information on innovations in the science of forest management, has come to Louisiana for a tour. “We hope to make this an annual tradition,” Blazier said.

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Participants of the Western Gulf Forest InSight Conference listen to LSU AgCenter forest research project leader Michael Blazier talk about improvements in growing loblolly pine trees. Photo by Tammi Arender

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Foresters and loggers from six southeastern states visit a loblolly pine tree stand in Homer, Louisiana, to see the difference between a private landowner’s trees and improved trees on the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station. Photo by Tammi Arender

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Rogers Leonard, LSU AgCenter associate vice president, welcomes the 2016 Western Gulf Forest InSight Conference to the LSU AgCenter Hill Farm Research Station in Homer, Louisiana. Photo by Tammi Arender

4/29/2016 12:58:25 PM
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