Field Trips

Thursday 28 May 2015

The 5th Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference will offer two field trip options. Both options are full-day trips and include lunch.

Field trip 1: Oakmulgee Ranger District, Talladega National Forest

The Oakmulgee Ranger District encompasses over 150,000 acres in the Alabama Fall Line Hills and supports forest communities that are typical of both the upper Coastal Plain and the southern Appalachian Highlands. The Oakmulgee District supports the largest population of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in Alabama and the collaboration between the USDA Forest Service and the Alabama Department of Conservation and  Natural Resources on the Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area represents the oldest such partnership in Alabama. On this tour, participants will learn about the prescribed burning program on the district, see ongoing longleaf pine forest and woodland restoration, tour sites to compare the resiliency of managed and non-managed stands to exogenous disturbance, see decline of off-site planted pines and discuss management options, learn about fire behavior and effects in mixed oak-pine stands, and learn about collaborative efforts on the district and about ongoing research in fire science and management.

Field trip 2: Bankhead National Forest

In 2003, the William B. Bankhead National Forest, along with researchers from the Southern Research Station and Alabama A&M University, initiated a study to examine the use of thinning (three levels: no thin, light thin to 75 ft2/a residual basal area, heavy thin to 50 ft2/a) and prescribed burning (three return intervals: no fire, frequent fire: burn every 3-years, infrequent fire: burn every nine years) to move unmanaged loblolly pine plantations towards upland hardwood-dominated stands. The tour stops will include stands that have received these treatments, with discussion on installation logistics, vegetation dynamics and wildlife habitat creation and response. Tour leaders will include Callie Schweitzer, Research Forester with the Southern Research Station, BNF staff Dave Casey (District Ranger), Kerry Clark (Fire Management Officer) and Allison Cochran (Wildlife Biologist), and Yong Wang (Alabama A&M University faculty).