The number of Texas landowners interested in planting longleaf pine plantations continues to increase evidenced by a well-attended longleaf pine workshop held recently in Diboll.
"This is the largest crowd to date to attend a workshop focused on the restoration of longleaf pine. There were over 160 attendees with more than 100 of them being landowners from across southeast Texas to Louisiana," said Shane Harrington, a forester with the Texas Forest Service (TFS). "I believe the success of this workshop just proves that interest in establishing and managing longleaf pine is growing and that landowners are truly interested in the landscape and ecosystem provided and supported by longleaf pine."
The workshop's focus was on growing longleaf pine for timber, wildlife and its aesthetic value.
Kim Wright, program liaison for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Bryan, spoke during the event on Farm Bill programs, such as the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP).
The national Longleaf Pine Initiative (LLPI), administered through WHIP, is available to landowners who are interested in implementing conservation practices that will help improve, maintain or restore longleaf pine to its historic Texas range. The program pays landowners a percentage of the approved costs to implement approved conservation practices."
NRCS is committed to providing landowners with technical and financial assistance to establish longleaf pine plantations. The landowners who are interested in longleaf pine are committed to management and interested in the reestablishment, as it takes time and effort to successfully grow these pines," Wright said. "With the help of the Texas Forest Service, Texas A&M University and the Texas Forestry Landowners Association, we will once again see longleaf pines flourish in East Texas and Louisiana."
Attendees also heard from experts on the history of the longleaf pine, along with site preparation and management of a pine plantation. They also learned information on incorporating a prescribed burn plan into a pine management program. How to manage longleaf pine for game and non-game wildlife species also was discussed.
Availability of longleaf pine seedlings was presented and each workshop participant received a seedling plant courtesy of Brent Kartye, Kartye Land Management Services, and the SFA Pineywoods Native Plant Center.
The Diboll event was sponsored by the Texas Forest Service and the Texas-Louisiana Longleaf Task Force.