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Goal: Deliver Benefits to the Public Scientists adapt training on pine management and hardwood silviculture research for virtual delivery

Left: SRS Station Silviculturist Jim Guldin leads one of the “virtual field tours” included with the Virtual Southern Pine Module. Right: A shelterwood with reserves regeneration harvest conducted to regenerate oak and create early successional habitat on the George-Washington and Jefferson National Forests. (Forest Service photos)

Introduction

The need to communicate Station scientific findings and applications with resource managers in the field has not stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic. What has changed is the way SRS researchers engage in that communication. This year, training courses on southern pine management and on upland hardwood silviculture were provided virtually to meet the training needs of Forest Service land managers and state partners across the South.

Lectures for the Southern Pine Module were modified for online science delivery and recorded for independent, on-demand learning. The Upland Hardwood Silviculture Workshop was designed to include the most up-to-date information about the management of upland hardwood forests. Online training sessions spanned four days and are also available on-demand.

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic forced SRS scientists to quickly modify the logistics and structure of two highly anticipated training courses. Both trainings provide the advanced education and training that agency foresters need to obtain the silvicultural certification required to conduct active management on federal lands.

Every two years, SRS scientists are invited by experts in the Southern Region of the USDA Forest Service to host the Southern Pine Module, a ten-day, field-based workshop that highlights the ecology and management of loblolly, shortleaf, slash, and longleaf pines on public lands across the South. This year, the virtual event featured four hours of presentations and daily discussions across the ten-day session.

Although participants missed being in the field, organizers created photo-based virtual field tours in forests where southern pines are managed. One tour stop dated back to the early 20th century using photos and citations from the “Life History of Shortleaf Pine,” a 1915 USDA Bulletin by W.R. Mattoon. His descriptions of shortleaf pine a century ago can help guide current efforts to restore that iconic species across the landscape to which it is adapted.

The Upland Hardwood Silviculture Workshop has been offered since 1992 by the SRS Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management Research Work Unit. The unit provides many workshops and trainings to fulfill continuing education requirements for both federal and non-federal land managers.

SRS scientists developed, hosted, and participated in a four-day online short course held July 21-24, 2020. The course provided training on the principles and practices of silviculture and closely related disciplines for managing upland hardwood-dominated forests in the eastern U.S.

The course was attended by more than 100 managers from state forestry agencies in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia; other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense; and consulting foresters.

At both trainings, experts discussed regeneration methods, markets and economics, mixed pine-hardwood stands, forest health, wildlife habitat, and the ecological effects of fire. The upland hardwood course also focused on American chestnut restoration, reviews and drivers of timber production and markets, management of oak woodlands, and degraded hardwood stands. The pine module also discussed management of genetic resources used in planted stands and unwanted plants and insects such as Chinese tallow tree and the southern pine beetle.

Both courses provided land managers with tools and information needed to prepare and implement technically sound silvicultural prescriptions designed to meet multiple objectives. The courses recorded and will continue to provide information to land managers across the South seeking the best available science.


Access the Southern Pine Module (Forest Service internal link).

Access the Upland Hardwood Silviculture Workshop

Southern pine module

Principal Investigator
James M. Guldin, Senior Research Silviculturist
RWU
4159 - Southern Pine Ecology and Management
Strategic Program Area
Resource Management and Use
CompassLive Article
The Southern Pine Module Goes Virtual
Research Partners
Southern Region (Region 8)
Ouachita National Forest
Kisatchie National Forest
Bankhead National Forest
Crossett Experimental Forest
Palustris Experimental Forest
Forest Health Protection, Region 8
State and Private Forestry, Region 8

Hardwood silviculture workshop

Principal Investigators
Tara L. Keyser, Project Leader
Callie Schweitzer, Research Forester
Stacy Clark, Research Forester
RWU
4157 - Upland Hardwood Ecology and Management
Strategic Program Area
Resource Management and Use
CompassLive Article
Upland Hardwood Silvicultural Workshop Goes Virtual
Research Partners
Forest Health Protection, Region 8
Northern Research Station