Master of Forestry Professional Papers

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  • Management Plan for Converting Old Use Agricultural Land to an Active Christmas Tree Farm
    (2022-12) Braun, Will
    This project assesses the conversion of an agricultural farm to a Christmas tree plantation. The current property owners are considering shifting the land use to a choose-andcut Christmas tree plantation. The region is experiencing shrinking agricultural land use due to an aging generation of farmers and a dramatic change in regional land use. The current owners are familiar with traditional agricultural farming; however, the family has never managed a crop like Christmas trees. The landowners are considering an alternative crop as a practical means of generating revenue, preserving the property as farmland, and providing a recreational location for the community. The Elma Farm is ranked among the best airable land in Western New York, placing the farm in the top 10% for production capability in the state’s nearly 7 million acres of farmland. Since the farm’s inception almost 150 years ago, it has been continuously owned and farmed by the same family. The farm is in the town of Elma, which is in Erie County, Western New York State. The farm is uniquely situated outside several large towns and is conveniently less than an hour’s drive from the city of Buffalo (population of 250,000). The farm, established in 1875, covers approximately 63 acres, which includes the original homestead and outbuildings. The purpose of this project is to assess the farm’s viability as a Christmas tree farm and to develop a management plan to transition from current use to a Christmas tree farm that includes agritourism operations. The conversion assessment factors include land use history, geography, site characteristics, tree species, soils, and other characteristics. Research found the site geography, soils, and other characteristics are favorable for growing Canaan fir (Abies balsamea var. phanerolepis), Concolor fir (Abies concolor), Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesi), Fraseir fir (Abies fraseri) and Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris). A financial analysis suggests the Christmas tree plantation would be economically viable after 6 years and would recoup the initial investment of converting the traditional agriculture operations to a Christmas tree operation within 10 years. Based on these findings, it is recommended the landowners convert the agricultural farm to a multi-crop Christmas tree plantation, dedicating 15 acres to a Christmas tree plantation, 5 acres to a pick-your-own vegetable stand and community tourism, and 30 acres to leased farmland. This recommendation is based on two assumptions external to the analysis: (1) the current owners can finance the initial investment, and (2) can absorb the lack of positive cash flow for the first six years.
  • Forest Management Plan
    (2022-07) Terrell, Edward
    The Property owner is interested in maintaining a partially forested property for aesthetics and bequest value. The owner does not use his forested areas directly. The purpose of this plan is to qualify this property for present use valuation. The forested areas on the track must be brought into a healthy, productive and responsibly managed state to qualify. The property is located in the central Piedmont of North Carolina and is approximately 75 acres of which 43 is in the management plan. The managed area has been delineated into 4 stands based on age, soils, topography and vegetative type. None of the stands on this tract are being managed for timber presently. Management areas include upland oaks, yellow pine, oak-pine forest cover types and an early successional stand dominated by five-year-old pines with grasses, vines, and hardwood advance and advanced reproduction. The hardwood and pine-hardwood mix stands will be managed for adequate stocking levels while maintaining growth vigor. The early successional stand will be managed for natural pine in monoculture. The operations performed will be paid for by the income from harvested timber and Southern Pine Beetle Prevention Program funds in the case of the young pine stand for its pre-commercial thinning. As this is a smaller property, operations will only be performed when every stand on the property is ready to be harvested together to make the sale more marketable. The timber on the property is currently worth approximately $107,313.23. The recommended silvicultural prescriptions will result in a NPV of $95,918.00 over the next 30 years. The use of conservation forestry on this property not only provides the owner with aesthetic benefits but also ensures the resources on the property are carried forward for the benefit of future generations.
  • Effects of shortleaf pine seedling stock (bareroot vs containerized) on growth and survival in the absence and presence of fire
    (2019-07) Chirico, Dominic
    The survival and growth of containerized and bareroot shortleaf pine seedlings were compared in this study at 3 and 4 years of age (2 years and 3 years in the ground respectively). The following questions were the focus of this study: 1. Which stock type has higher survival in the absence of fire? 2. Which stock type has higher survival in the presence of fire? 3. Which stock type has greater ground-line diameter in the absence of fire? 4. Which stock type has greater ground-line diameter in the presence of fire? 5. Which stock type has greater height in the absence of fire? 6. Which stock type has greater height in the presence of fire? 7. Which stock type has the greater volume in the absence of fire? 8. Which stock type has the greater volume in the presence of fire? 9. Which stock type has the greater growth in ground-line diameter between the time of planting and the burn? 10. Which stock type has the greater growth in height between the time of planting and the burn? 11. Which stock type has the greater growth in volume between the time of planting and the burn? From this study, containerized had the higher survival at 93% in the absence of fire. The bareroot seedlings had a survival of 87% in the absence of fire. When fire was introduced to the site, the bareroot seedlings had the higher survival at 70%. The containerized seedlings had a survival rate of 61% after the end of the first growing season following the prescribed burn. The average ground level diameter (GLD) for containerized was 11.3 mm and 14.5 mm for bareroot before the burn. The p-value was <0.00001. The average GLD after the burn was 5.1 mm for containerized and 6.1 mm for bareroot. The p-value was 0.000257. The average height before the burn was 62.1 cm for containerized and 73.5 cm for bareroot. The p-value was <0.00001. The average height after the burn was 42.0 cm for containerized and 46.6 cm for bareroot. The p-value was 0.000407. The average volume before the burn was 107.7 cm3 for containerized and 205.2 cm3 for bareroot. The p-value was 0.000798. The average volume after the burn was 17.1 cm3 for containerized and 40.0 cm3 for bareroot. The p-value was 0.008943. Before the burn, containerized seedlings had a 3 higher survival, likely due to the lack of root disturbance at time of planting. The bareroot seedlings had a greater average GLD, height, and volume. After the burn, the bareroot seedlings had the higher survival and average GLD, height, and volume. The higher survival of bareroot seedlings after the burn is likely explained by their larger diameters, heights, and biomass volume.
  • Restoration plan for the northwestern portion of Raven Rock State Park, Harnett County, NC
    (2019-03) Gershman, Amy (Wren)
    The restoration tract, the 630-acre Raven Rock State Park Northwest, is located in the Coastal Plain near the Fall Line. The tract is bordered to the south by the Cape Fear River, to the north by Mill Creek, and to the east by Avents Creek, a tributary to the Cape Fear. It is currently forested with four natural community types: Dry Oak-Hickory Forest, Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest (Piedmont Subtype), Piedmont/Mountain Bottomland Forest, and Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest, as well as an old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation. No longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) is present. The management objective of Raven Rock State Park is to restore the tract to the pre-colonization landscape as best as can be determined by natural history, soil, topography, hydrology, and succession, and to establish the Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forest on the landscape wherever appropriate. Until 2002, Raven Rock State Park Northwest was under timber management by Bradley Lumber Company, Willamette, and then Weyerhaeuser. Management units are grouped by natural community evidence, especially species composition, and prior management. The management regime of Unit 1 – Piedmont Longleaf Pine Forest – includes pre-harvest burning, clearcutting, planting containerized longleaf at 7 x 10 spacing, herbicide control of hardwood competition, and burning every 1-4 years after longleaf reaches the canopy in order to restore longleaf to the landscape. In the Dry Oak-Hickory Forest, the stands of existing oak-hickory overstory or understory include recommendations for prescribed burns to control the hardwood understory in Stand 6 and imazapyr application during the growing season in Stands 2 and 8. All loblolly pine should be girdled over a period of 10 years, except within a 100-foot buffer zone of the equestrian trail where it should be harvested. Shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) should be retained for the red-cockaded woodpecker. In Stands 12 and 14, which have a loblolly-dominated overstory and oak-hickory understory, the loblolly should be girdled and the hardwood treated with triclopyr. Burning is recommended for wherever longleaf volunteers in from Stand 1. In the Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest (Piedmont Subtype), the main recommendation in all stands is to girdle all loblolly over a 10-year period because it is not a natural component of this forest type. The 100-foot buffer of the equestrian trail applies here as well. For Piedmont/Mountain Bottomland Forest, the recommendations include reduction of the loblolly to 8 percent of the total basal area (Braun, 1950), since the species is naturally found in this community but not in its current numbers. Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) and Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum) exist in both the bottomland and levee forests. The recommendation is to control the invasive vegetation with aquatic glyphosate with surfactant during dry periods to release herbaceous and woody vegetation. The recommendation for the Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest is the same as in the Bottomland Forest: control the invasive plants and release the native understory. Hydrilla (Hydrilla spp.) should be treated annually with fluridone. Best Management Practices and protection of Streamside Management Zones should be adhered to conform to North Carolina Forest Practices Guidelines during all forest management operations.
  • The applications and limitations of using remote sensing platforms to detect harvest activity
    (2016-12) Harnish, Kevin
    Multispectral remote sensing applications that detect changes in vegetative reflectance in the near infrared are used to identify forest cover change in forests across the globe. Remote sensing platforms are used to identify changes in vegetative density often using the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetative Index) or other similar methods based a change of vegetative reflectance over time. Changes in forest cover may represent any number of disturbance events, fire, hurricane damage, human harvest behavior, and land use change. This paper aims to develop an accuracy assessment of using remote sensing products that identify indiscriminate changes in vegetative density to identify human harvest activity across multiple geophysical regions and forest cover types in the Southeastern United States.
  • Wood procurement and harvesting trends in North Carolina
    (2015-04) Hahn, George
    Wood procurement and harvesting trends in North Carolina by George Hahn. The forest products industry is a major sector of North Carolina’s economy contributing $4.6 billion in annual gross domestic product and employing over 65,000 individuals. Among the 65,000 forest products jobs, approximately 2,900 are logging and forestry jobs (Mitchell 2013). Because of its importance to the overall economy of North Carolina, timber supply chain research is very beneficial to the health of the industry. However, limited research is available regarding wood procurement and harvesting characteristics, with most industry research focusing on market analysis and price trends (Land & Mendell 2012). The objective of this study is three pronged: (1)-describe wood procurement trends in North Carolina, (2)-assess the future supply of timber and market forces that will influence the supply, and (3)-characterize the loggers in North Carolina based on experience, equipment spread, and willingness to expand operations.
  • Continuous-time Continuous Stochastic Process Models of Pine Stumpage Prices and Plantation Returns in the Southeast US
    (2013-05) Dixon, Ernest
    ABSTRACT DIXON, ERNEST, IV. Continuous-time Continuous Stochastic Process Models of Pine Stumpage Prices and Plantation Returns in the Southeast US. (Under the direction of Robert C. Abt). This work presents an overview of how continuous-time continuous stochastic process models can be used in forestry related analysis, using data relevant for the coastal plain of North Carolina. Testing for stationarity, model estimation, simulated projections, and interpretation are presented for geometric Brownian motion and simple mean reverting models of pine plantation returns for this region. Additional models are estimated for pine stumpage and plantation returns for regions across the southeast US coastal plain.
  • Comparing Existing Fire Records with Historical Fire Regimes for Fuel Mitigation Recommendations in the Wildland Urban Interface: A 10 year Case Study of the North Carolina Sandhills
    (2010-05-13) Ketchie, Christopher
    Comparing Existing Fire Records with Historical Fire Regimes for Fuel Mitigation Recommendations in the Wildland Urban Interface: A 10 year Case Study of the North Carolina Sandhills By Christopher Ketchie, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Throughout the course of the last century, the United States Forest Service and its partner agencies have consistently addressed the issue of fire management with aggressive suppression while failing to implement an equally aggressive fuel management program. The increasing spread of the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) into overcrowded, fire prone forests has put a considerable burden on our nation's fire management infrastructure by significantly increasing costs and decreasing firefighter and public safety. While progress is being made to address high fuel loads in fire dependent ecosystems, the majority of these efforts take place on state and federal public lands away from the WUI areas that are associated with our costliest wildfires. To bridge this gap and efficiently use the already stretched resources of our land management agencies, fire managers must specifically target the WUI areas at highest risk by addressing the deficiency in management objectives such as prescribed burning and mechanical thinning, as well as the equally important social objectives of public outreach and education. The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources (NCDFR) and the North Carolina Prescribed Fire Council (NCPFC) have identified the Sandhills Region as a high priority area for fuel mitigation efforts in North Carolina. Over past three summers, NCDFR has utilized Student Conservation Association crews under the NC FIREWISE program to assess WUI communities in the North Carolina Sandhills and other parts of the state by performing fire hazard assessments and completing Community Wildfire Preparedness Plans (CWPP). To facilitate these and future mitigation efforts, my master’s project will compile a comprehensive burn history of the North Carolina Sandhills by combining past wildfire and prescribed fire data from multiple agencies and organizations. These data will then be leveraged against other key data sources in a GIS database, including recognized WUI areas and historical fire regimes, to pinpoint those areas in greatest need of fuel mitigation efforts. The overall goal of this project is to integrate existing fire data with remote sensing data in a GIS environment to provide North Carolina fire managers with the tools to make informed decisions. This process will include elements under the broader umbrella of digital forestry, an emerging field that Zhao et al. (2005) define as “the science, technology, and art of systematically acquiring, integrating, analyzing, and applying digital information to support sustainable forests…[and] is a framework that links all faces of forestry information at local, national, and global levels through an organized digital network” (p. 47). The final output will allow North Carolina fire managers to more effectively use their limited resources in the most fire active region of the state.
  • Development of an online resource of land use regulations impacting forestry
    (2009-11) King, Brandon
    ABSTRACT King, Brandon. Master of Forestry. Development of an online resource of land use regulations impacting forestry. Between 2004 and 2006, North Carolina moved from the ninth to seventh fastest growing state in the United States. Research over the past 20 years reveals an increase in local ordinances as areas increase in population size and become more urbanized – and that there has been an increase in ordinances across the Southeast, which can impact forestry practices. Landowners may be unaware of ordinances that impact forestry practices, or how to obtain more information about them. However, ordinance violations can result in substantial fines or penalties and can restrict the ability of a landowner to develop his or her land in the future. Beginning in 2004, a project website was developed to provide information on tree protection and other county and municipal land use ordinances, such as zoning, to non-industrial private forest landowners (NIPF) in North Carolina. Local ordinances were identified from research conducted over a six-year period and ordinance information was posted on a project website developed to assist NIPF landowners in finding regulatory information. Described herein are the methods used for the project research, including sources of ordinance data, and website development.