SFC and WEA Presidents Address COVID-19 Pandemic

 

Over the past few weeks we have all watched the rapidly evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  Like you, we have been overwhelmed with news reports, email notifications, and inquiries surrounding this situation.  The health and safety of our staff, our customers and partners, and our collective families is the top priority of Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC), Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA), and Southern Forestry Realty (SFR).

While we are not experts on this disease, we are professionals and scientists who focus on science and data-driven decisions.  Therefore, we echo the recommendations of many of our colleagues and associates and encourage you to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for details and updates to navigate this rapidly changing landscape in our daily lives.

SFC, WEA, and SFR are prepared to navigate these challenging circumstances.  Our efforts began internally almost a month ago when our executive leadership restricted business air travel and attendance at large group meetings, increased cleaning efforts in our offices, promoted remote work technologies, and discussed COVID-19 risk mitigation procedures with our staff.  As you know, much of our work is in remote locations and allows us to enjoy the spring weather, but our staff does face challenges in the office, in our communities, and in caring for our families.  We embraced emerging technologies years ago that now allows our staff to routinely utilize remote work environments, social distancing, and virtual meetings to provide nearly uninterrupted service to our customers and partners.

The forest products industry has been deemed an “Essential Critical Infrastructure Business” by the US Department of Homeland Security, so we anticipate that mills and support businesses will make every effort to remain fully functional.  While our offices may be less full, we remain open and plan to provide you the same level of support and service you have come to expect.  Please excuse us if we don’t shake your hand when we see you or rely more on phone calls than in-person meetings with you over the next few months.

SFC and WEA will continue to monitor the conditions surrounding this event and adhere to the guidance of federal and state leadership. We will also evaluate any fiscal stimulus measures or changes that may impact your management decisions.

We recognize that during this time of social and fiscal uncertainty you may have many questions regarding your assets or work on your projects.  Do not hesitate to call or email us as you normally would.  The turbulent days ahead will not diminish our commitment to our trusted and valued clients, partners, and customers.  We know you value the same principles of loyalty, community, and resilience that have built the SFC family of companies. Thank you for your patience and trust in the days ahead.

We wish you and your loved ones all the best!

 

 

 

Michael J. Dooner, President, Southern Forestry Consultants

 

 

 

Austin D. Carroll, President, Wiregrass Ecological Associates

Helping Shape the Future of Forestry in Virginia: The Virginia Landscape Management Plan

 

Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) and Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) staff were in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month to lead the initial stakeholder meeting for the Virginia Landscape Management Plan (LMP). The goal of this kickoff meeting was to present the general plans for Virginia’s LMP and to garner input from the stakeholders regarding elements and objectives unique to Virginia. Stefan Bourgoin (Senior Ecologist and Project Manager) and Austin Carroll (WEA President and SFC Partner) were on hand to introduce the preliminary LMP format to the group.The meeting was held at the Virginia Department of Forestry headquarters in Charlottesville. Virginia Tree Farm President John Matel hosted the event and has been instrumental in early stages of development for the Virginia LMP. The diverse group of attendees represented stakeholders from various national and state organizations, including the Virginia Department of Forestry, F & W Forestry, Franklin Lumber, Westrock, Huber Engineered Woods, Enviva Biomass, James River Association, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Weyerhaeuser, and the Virginia Tree Farm Committee. Virginia is one of multiple states for which SFC and WEA are currently developing LMPs including Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

This LMP is a document produced through the American Forest Foundation (AFF) geared toward increasing landowner engagement in the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) and the Forest Stewardship Program (FSP). Streamlining the process for landowners to meet with a forester and enroll their property in ATFS is essential in conserving, protecting, and harvesting timber land throughout Virginia.  The LMP provides comprehensive details on various ecological and silvicultural topics (ecoregions, state forest types, landowner objectives, landscape objectives, conservation incentives, etc.) to give landowners options for managing their land within the ATFS guidelines and FSP standards.

SFC Announces Stratus, a web based Hub for Forest Management

Bainbridge, Georgia (January 16, 2020) — Southern Forestry Consultants and Lim Geomatics are pleased to present the official release of Stratus, a cloud-based asset management system and game changer for the forest industry. Southern Forestry Consultants is the dedicated provider of Lim Geomatics technologies in the Southeastern United States.

Advanced technologies can deliver remarkable returns on investment for forestry companies. Stratus provides a centralized and easy-to-use hub for organizing and making the most of data investments. The web application offers a modern platform for implementing an integrated digital approach to the art and science of forest management.

“This is not some ungainly desktop application with rigid workflows or finicky data requirements,” says Dr. Kevin Lim, company founder and Chief Technology Officer. “Stratus is fast and powerful, but it’s also flexible and user-friendly. It represents the culmination of all our work within the forestry sector over the past 15 years.”

“Stratus answers the question of how forestry asset managers will function in a more digital future where demands for real time data are rising rapidly”, says Michael Dooner, founder and President of Southern Forestry Consultants.

This end-to-end forest management information system will improve the productivity and safety of each step of the operations cycle, from short and long-term strategic planning to planting, cruising, harvesting, and transportation. Stratus is stocked with a highly configurable set of tools and workflows for drafting operational plans, monitoring harvest activities, managing enhanced forest inventories, and tracking hauling and harvesting equipment performance.

The entire Lim Geomatics technology ecosystem—AFRIDS, Op Tracker, Op Tracker for Transport, and Prism—plugs seamlessly into Stratus, which was designed to accommodate the diverse workflows required by different forested ecosystems and management objectives.

The application was created alongside a team of veteran foresters from Southern Forestry Consultants who helped define and test its scope and functionality throughout the development process. The software is licensed in a set of independent but interconnected modules so it can be scaled up or down to meet the needs of small, medium, and large operations alike.

As a cloud-based enterprise system, Stratus provides a single, authoritative source for up-to-date information about the forest and ensures an unrivaled level of security and data quality. The application is run on the software-as-a-service model so you’re always working with the latest version and supported by a dedicated team of developers and designers.

“Stratus was the missing link for delivering comprehensive forest connectivity,” says Lim. “We’re excited to take this next step with our clients by offering the complete set of digital tools for getting full insight into every stage of forest management and operations.”

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Reach out to us to learn more: sales@soforest.com

Learn more about Stratus here.

SFC Announces Planet imagery partnership

Southern Forestry Consultants is excited to announce that we are now a Planet Labs imagery reseller. Planet is a leading global provider of daily satellite imagery at multiple resolutions and temporal scales. SFC’s geospatial solutions division will provide Planet imagery to clients across the Southeastern U.S.

Planet’s imagery products are a game changer for efficient real time monitoring of land assets. Being a provider of Planet imagery is a strategic fit for SFC’s cloud-centric strategy for digitally enabled natural resource management via real time imagery within SFC’s managed web GIS solutions which allows all access to land data anywhere work is being done, whether the office, the truck or the woods. “We at Planet could not be more excited to have Southern Forestry Consultants signed on as a partner.” said John Atkinson, Global VP of Partnerships at Planet. “Their towering competence in forestry management, combined with Planet’s unique service, will deliver the best possible results to our joint customers.”

It can be a challenge for forestry and natural resources professionals to visit each and every ongoing management activity across geographically distributed land assets. Putting eyes on all operations is increasingly a challenge as organizations run lean due to tight labor markets. SFC’s web GIS customers can add Planet imagery directly to ArcGIS (Online or ArcGIS Pro) for real time visibility across all their lands and value added silvicultural activities. Operational benefits include reduced time on the road checking jobs and having to walk sites to see the precise extent of work completion. Land managers can quickly quantify a harvest’s extent, or acres for payment, using last week’s imagery right in ArcGIS Pro instead of walking a job’s edge with GPS. Since Planet’s imagery streams directly to ArcGIS, one can reduce time spent on labor intensive and slow imagery transactions involving shapefiles, email and large file management.

Reach out to us to learn more: sales@soforest.com
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Learn more about Planet at their website : https://www.planet.com

SFC and WEA Present Landscape Management Plan to South Carolina Stakeholders

 

Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) and Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) staff were in Columbia, South Carolina last week  to present the South Carolina Landscape Management Plan (LMP) for stakeholder review. Stefan Bourgoin (Senior Scientist and Project Manager) and Austin Carroll (WEA President and SFC Partner) were on hand to present the draft LMP document and geodatabase they composed. The meeting was held at the South Carolina Forestry Commission (SCFC) headquarters in Lexington, SC. SCFC Forest Management Chief Russell Hubright and State Stewardship Coordinator Chisolm Beckham hosted the event and have been instrumental in development of the South Carolina LMP. The diverse group of attendees represented stakeholders from 40 various national and state organizations, including Audubon of South Carolina, the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, South Carolina Forestry Commission, International Paper Company, Longleaf Alliance, National Wild Turkey Federation, and South Carolina Tree Farm Committee, among many others. South Carolina is one of multiple states for which SFC and WEA are currently developing LMPs including Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Georgia.

The LMP is a document produced through the American Forest Foundation (AFF) geared toward increasing landowner engagement in the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). Streamlining the process for landowners to meet with a forester and enroll their property in ATFS is essential in conserving, protecting, and harvesting timber land throughout South Carolina.  The LMP provides comprehensive details on various ecological and silvicultural topics (ecoregions, state forest types, landowner objectives, landscape objectives, conservation incentives, etc.) to give landowners options for managing their land within the ATFS guidelines.