Innovative Forest Management Workshop Combining Management and Research Posted on April 21, 2015 by UPLLC

On April 8, 2015, Unique Places held a field tour describing the native species restoration through innovative forest management practices being implemented on a client’s property in Chatham County. Representatives from many great organizations attended including, the Longleaf Alliance, North Carolina Zoo, the Natural Heritage Program of NC, and both private landowners and land managers. The staff at Unique Places spoke about the innovative practices utilized on this property, such as the planting of longleaf pine in recently killed loblolly pine plantations and the utilization of prescribed burns to promote a herbaceous understory. The results have been the establishment of a young longleaf pine stand with a diverse suite of native plant and animal species. Given the unique soil and landscape characteristics of this tract, and in conjunction with meeting the goals of our client, many of our restoration efforts have not been attempted elsewhere. Many of these management practices are proving successful, while others we are still being monitored and evaluated. Unique Places received positive feedback and great suggestions for consideration from attendees.

Jason Payne, our Director of Conservation Forestry, described some of the challenges of longleaf restoration in former loblolly pine plantations versus restoration within a natural stand. Jeff Stewart, our Director of Invasive Species Management, described methods of competition control which would allow new seedlings the best chance for survival. Justin Robinson, our Forest Ecologist, gave an overview of the evaluation methodology utilized when choosing the optimum restoration strategy for a property. He also featured and described the Creeping blueberry (Vaccinium crassifolium) and inkberry (Ilex glabra), plants typically associated with the Coastal Plain region rather than the Piedmont, where this site is located. Cakey Worthington, Unique Places’ intern, enlightened us on the presence of vernal pools and various habitats for amphibians and reptiles found on this property, as well as the presence of the rarely-seen four-toed salamander (Hemidactylium scutatum).

We capped off the morning with a picnic lunch, catered by Chatham Marketplace, under the dappled shade of a recently-burned pine stand. This tour was a productive opportunity for sharing alternate forest management techniques, lessons learned, and discussions of future management considerations incorporating input from our guests.

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Site visit attendees listening to restoration discussions

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