PolkCountyToday.comis delighted to welcome columnist Jason Ellis to the website. Jason is a District Forester for the Texas A&M Forest Service. Jason will answer commonly asked questions related to forestry, land management, tree health and more.
ASK A FORESTER, MAY 7, 2019
What is a prescribed burn? A prescription burn is the planned and controlled use of fire as a land management tool. Fire has always been an important part of the ecosystem. By doing prescribed burns, landowners mimic the open forest conditions seen hundreds of years ago, reduce fuels and create better habitat for wildlife species by regenerating beneficial plant species. Before a prescribed burn, burn managers consider a variety of factors including weather, fuel conditions, smoke dispersal and public safety. When planning for a prescription burn, a comprehensive burn plan is written for the burn area. Burns have different goals and often aim to reduce fuel loading, such a pine straw, twigs and fallen leaves that act as potential fuel in the event of a wildfire. When landowners burn older vegetation, they promote the growth of new, green browse for wildlife. To learn more about prescription burns or any other land management topics, contact your local Texas A&M Forest Service District Office at https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ContactUs/
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ASK A FORESTER, APRIL 8, 2019
What is a shelterwood harvest?
Whenever landowners harvest timber, they have different options when it comes to regenerating a stand. Landowners can choose between natural and artificial regeneration. Both have their own pros and cons, and landowners should make their choice based on their property goals. Artificial regeneration means that a stand is prepared for planting via mechanical and/or chemical means followed by hand or machine planting. This is typically done after a timber harvest or clearcut. With this method, landowners can decide how many pine seedlings to plant on a tract, which are typically set out in neat rows. The other option is natural regeneration, or shelterwood harvest. When landowners choose to do a shelterwood harvest, mature pine trees with good form and healthy crowns are left evenly spaced throughout the tract. These trees drop pine cones loaded with seed, and new seedlings sprout naturally. This method offers a more aesthetically-pleasing appearance and a more suitable wildlife habitat, which can be beneficial to those who enjoy hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on their property. However, since the shelterwood harvest takes longer to regenerate a stand, landowners who are managing their forest timberland solely for timber income will likely want to choose artificial regeneration, hand planting or machine planting, since this is the most profitable method. If you’d like to learn more about regenerating pine on your property or if you have any other forestry-related questions, please visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/ContactUs and contact your local Texas A&M Forest Service District Office.
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