Texas Longleaf Implementation Team Update

February 12, 2015 Image 1 Crates Thumb

By Kent Evans, Texas Longleaf Implementation Team

The Texas Longleaf Implementation Team is pleased to have a new partner in longleaf restoration in east Texas.  Marianna & Rufus Duncan are the new owners of mature longleaf stands in east Texas that support red-cockaded woodpeckers and a treasure of other associated species in the longleaf ecosystem.  They are continuing the past stewardship of this area, once provided by Temple-Inland and International Paper and known as Scrappin' Valley.    The Duncans are working closely with The Nature Conservancy to permanently conserve the property’s conservation value of the longleaf habitat at Scrappin’ Valley for future generations.  This fall, the Duncans partnered with International Forest Company (IFCO) to harvest cones from the old longleaf growing on these lands.

Nick Muir, Tree Improvement Manager, IFCO, reported that they are excited, not only about sourcing great local seed, but also being able to grow these seedlings at the Evans Seed Orchard in DeRidder, LA.   IFCO made extensive collections of longleaf cones from genetically improved seed orchards and select natural stands from North Carolina to Texas.  Working with Rufus Duncan, healthy longleaf cones were harvested from Scrappin’ Valley (Wiergate/Burkeville, Texas) and will produce seed for an estimated 4 million new east Texas longleaf seedlings.  These seed batches will be used for planting in 2015 and subsequent years.  Locally sourced longleaf seedlings of the highest genetic quality provide the best reforestation stock for any area.  It is hoped that initiatives like this will positively contribute to the scope and quality of new longleaf establishments in east Texas.

Additional harvests from longleaf growing on the National Forests in Texas were coordinated by George Weick, Forest Silviculturist.    George reported collecting 450 bushels from approximately 1000 Texas longleaf trees, some bearing over 200 cones per tree.  This harvest was transferred to the Ashe Seed Extractory in Mississippi for further processing.  The supply of longleaf seedlings for restoration on the National Forests will be sustained for many years as a result of this abundant cone harvest.

Image 1:  Crates of collected longleaf cones.  Photo by Rufus Duncan.

 

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