Dooner Earns Audubon Florida’s Sustainable Forestry Award

 

Michael Dooner, founder and President of Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC), was recognized by Audubon Florida with the 2019 Sustainable Forestry Award at the Florida Forestry Association (FFA)’s Annual Meeting in Miramar Beach, Florida. Audubon Florida’s Sustainable Forestry Award is presented annually to a forester, forestry family, or forest business that demonstrates improvements in bird and wildlife habitats and water resources through forest management practices. Audubon recognized Mr. Dooner for his efforts to revitalize timber operations in the Florida Panhandle following Hurricane Michael.  In 2018, Hurricane Michael made a catastrophic negative impact on many rural communities that depend directly on a sustainable forestry industry in the Florida Panhandle. His commitment to lead the restoration of working forests in Florida has been essential to the economic and ecological benefits these forests provide.

“Thank you, Michael,” Audubon’s Director of Policy Beth Alvi said during the award presentation, “for helping see the Panhandle through this challenging time, and for protecting the region’s forest way of life and its economy.”

While assessing and salvaging personal holdings and those of his clients, Mr. Dooner simultaneously worked tirelessly with agency personnel to improve recovery efforts, connect forest landowners with essential resources, and advocate for federal disaster relief for the industry.  His efforts to expedite recovery of the forested regions of the Panhandle are essential in protecting the ecosystem services, watershed security, and wildlife habitat that are the foundation of the ecology of the area.  Mr. Dooner was also one of the first representatives of the industry to reach across the table and promote partnerships with organizations like Audubon Florida.  He understands that a healthy forest industry promotes working forests which, in turn, provide habitat for plants and animals that many other organizations are also working to protect.

“Michael Dooner is a great example of what forestry is all about,” said FFA Executive Vice President Alan Shelby. “He remains focused on moving forestry forward, especially in the tough times. Michael is a forward thinker and understands the connection between forestry and the environment and economy.”

A graduate of the University of Florida with over 40 years of experience, Mr. Dooner is the immediate Past-President of the Florida Forestry Association, member of the Society of American Foresters (SAF), and a Florida Farm Bureau State Director.  Mr. Dooner’s commitment to conservation and sustainability is reflected in the professional approach taken throughout SFC. In 2015, Michael led SFC through the creation of its environmental and ecological subsidiary, Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA), to strengthen and expand the level of expertise and services provided to the natural resource industry.  This expansion and the continued management of hundreds of thousands of acres of working forests in the Southeast, demonstrate the conservation-minded approach to forestry Mr. Dooner has worked to instill in his company and the entire industry.

Link to Florida Audubon Site Announcement

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Audubon (www.fl.audubon.org) is Florida’s most influential conservation organization and promotes stewardship and appreciation of the natural beauty of Florida’s land and water resources. Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

The Florida Forestry Association (www.floridaforest.org) is a statewide trade membership association representing all facets of the forest industry.  The Association’s mission is to promote the responsible and sustainable use of Florida’s forest resources.

SFC and WEA Discuss Landscape Management Plans in the Southeast at Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) Annual Meeting

 

The 2019 Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) Annual Meeting was held this week in Knoxville, Tennessee.  TFA and the Tennessee Tree Farm Program asked Austin Carroll to speak on behalf of Southern Forestry Consultants (SFC) and Wiregrass Ecological Associates (WEA) regarding ongoing landscape management planning efforts in the Southeast and implications for the upcoming Tennessee plan. Mr. Carroll, a Registered Forester who led the development of the initial American Tree Farm System (ATFS) Landscape Management Plan (LMP), has led the creation of state-wide LMPs in Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida.   SFC and WEA will continue to lead the creation of these plans during 2020 in Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia.

LMPs are currently being developed and utilized in numerous states as a tool to help navigate one of the biggest barriers to landowner forest certification, the management plan itself. The SFC/WEA team are developing this innovative tool to meet standards for both ATFS and the Forest Stewardship Program.  Additionally, these LMPs are designed to strengthen the critical bond between a landowner and their natural resource professional, which research indicates leads to active forest management. Mr. Carroll presented on lessons learned during the development of LMPs throughout the Southeast and how those lessons will help in the development of Tennessee’s LMP.

 

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The Tennessee Forestry Association (TFA) serves as “The Voice of Forestry” in Tennessee. TFA is a private, non-profit organization primarily funded through membership dues. It began more than 50 years ago under the name of “Keep Tennessee Green” and was organized to assist in reducing the tremendous toll taken by forest fires each year throughout the state. TFA continues to work with state and national government agencies to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the forests of Tennessee through a diversity of public relations, government, and educational programs.

Check out the fresh round of enhancements and updates for Prism!

Part of Redefining Forest Technology is continuous improvement based on your feedback.  With Prism, we’re planning for the next 20 years of forest technology by ensuring the Prism solution is up to date, and always getting better.

Hopefully you have picked up on changes in the Prism mobile and web application including :

  • Faster grid creation across multiple stand polygons.
  • Chains as a preferred unit of measurement for plot grids.
  • Your last grid settings are saved for next time.
  • Point sampling (variable radius) plot volumes now computed in the stand stock report.
  • Minor user interface changes and fixes.

See some of these updates in action on the Prism page here.

Prism is an integrated forest technology we offer to forestry and natural resource professionals all over the Southeast.  Prism reduces the hidden costs of cruising and inventory management through Automated, Map-Centric Cruising.

Prism updates are seamless – they automatically show up in the web app and mobile apps if you have automatic updates on.

Bark Beetles in the Aftermath of Hurricane Michael

The aftermath of Hurricane Michael left landowners and managers in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama scrambling in pursuit of an opportunity to salvage what was left of their investment. While all segments of the industry worked as close to full capacity as possible, the combined effort is estimated to have salvaged only 10-15% of the compromised material. As the dust settled following the salvage period, the battered forests of the region were dealt another blow in the form of an unseasonably hot and dry May that further stressed timber stands. The broken, leaning, scarred, and windblown trees were quickly infested with bark beetles, and, with a factory of sorts in which to reproduce, the beetles soon moved to adjacent, otherwise healthy trees suffering from a lack of rain.

The two most economically impactful beetle species in the US south are the Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) and the Ips engraver beetle (IPS). SPB outbreaks are rare and occur most often in unmanaged, overstocked stands and generally require harvesting to salvage whatever can be utilized before the beetles eradicate entire timber stands. Attacks from IPS beetles are more sporadic and may affect a handful of trees or portions of stands of timber. Rather than targeting overstocked stands, IPS beetles focus on specific individuals suffering from injuries like lightning strikes, windthrow, and root disturbance. The scattered leaning, broken, and otherwise compromised trees resulting from hurricane damage plays right into the hands of the IPS beetle. Across all age classes, all species of pines, and all regions within the path of Hurricane Michael, IPS beetle activity has increased.

Southern Forestry Consultants, Inc. (SFC) has been monitoring beetle activity continuously and while activity slowed with the onset of consistent summer rainfall, activity has increased recently with drier weather. Earlier in the year IPS beetles were found in downed trees, but they had not successfully attacked living, healthy trees. In the past few weeks IPS beetles have begun to attack trees that, at least from an outward appearance, do not appear to have been damaged by the storm. We encourage you to be vigilant in watching for yellowing or reddening needles in isolated trees or groups of trees. Additionally, our monitoring efforts from the air and ground will continue.

IPS beetles have successfully attacked 16 species of pine in the US including loblolly, slash, and longleaf pine. Under normal circumstances IPS beetles are unable to successfully attack most healthy trees as the sap in the vascular system of the tree is able to expel or trap the attacking beetle. However, during periods of drought, reduced sap flowing in the tree as a result of less available groundwater inhibits the tree’s ability to resist attacks.  Furthermore, an abundance of dying material following disasters like Hurricane Michael provide ideal breeding grounds for the IPS beetle to reproduce and multiply.  Our monitoring efforts have supported the idea that hurricane-stressed trees of all age classes, including timber stands as young as three years old, have suffered damages leading to IPS beetles infestations.

Most control options for IPS beetles require the application of pesticides, but even the available products produce minimal effectiveness due to the difficulty in obtaining adequate coverage.  This challenge, coupled with the cost of treatment, really preclude pesticide applications from consideration as a logical option, except in isolated cases.  The best way to minimize risk for a given stand of timber is to prevent disturbance of all kinds.  As we enter the fall season when many people enjoy recreational activities on properties, be diligent in avoiding disturbance to timber stands.  Injuries from mowing, harrowing, tree stand attachments, and more can all lead to stressful conditions that could be the impetus for an infestation.

At this time, we are asking everyone to keep a close eye on their timber. It is perfectly normal to lose an isolated tree during any given year and secondary beetle infestations are common once a tree begins to die. However, if you see a group of trees in close proximity begin to decline or die, this could be a primary beetle infestation which will require closer observation. Yellowing needles, pitch tubes, and reddish-brown sawdust between bark plates are all indications of active beetles.  Please stay vigilant in your observations throughout the summer and fall as the peak beetle populations often coincide with seasonally dry conditions during this time.  If you have concerns about an infestation, alert your SFC forester to discuss an evaluation and options.

SFC to Exhibit in North Carolina

SFC is proud to be exhibiting our forest technology offerings at the North Carolina Forestry Association’s (NCFA) Annual Meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 2-4, 2019.    Our presence at this event is part our ongoing commitment to our technology customers in wood products and forestry, and providing our industry an edge through a more digital workforce.    We look forward to seeing you all in Wilmington in October!

NCFA Website Event Page. 

Learn why Redefining Forest Technology is critical to our industry.