A tour focusing on forest health issues related to oak decline will be held on Saturday, October 27 on several farms near Gipsy, Missouri.
Arkansas already has a serious problem with oak decline and red oak borers. Over 300,000 acres of forest are dying in one area alone. That will have a serious impact on the forest industry - the value of many area landowners' forests will be greatly reduced. Many sawmills and loggers may soon be out of business as a result of this serious forest health issue.
Oak decline is already showing up in many places in Southeast Missouri. Oak decline mostly affects trees in the red oak group - and red oaks make up a significant portion of the forest in this area.
Management practices taking place on the farms to be visited are aimed at reducing the impact of oak decline. A method of logging will be presented that is entirely different than most traditional logging practices. The logger will be on site to answer questions about his methods. Also featured will be timber stand improvement (TSI) practices that are also aimed at reducing oak decline. TSI contractors will be present, and you can view work that one of them completed two years ago.
Practices to reduce or eliminate erosion are an important aspect of a timber sale. Called best management practices (BMPs), logging methods that are pleasing to the eye, and the practice of reducing or eliminating erosion when closing out a logging road, can be significant components of forest aesthetics.
These practices have been started on the current timber sale. You will see a road where BMPs were completed two years ago. The bulldozer operator who has worked on the roads of the current sale plans to be at the tour. Wildlife practices and tree planting efforts, including site preparation for planting, will be discussed. There will be a tour through a 40-year-old pine plantation to see the potential of using BMPs. Cost-shares, which are available for many forest and wildlife management practices, will be discussed.
This tour may challenge your current concepts of BMPs and will present information on practices that you can apply to your operation. All forest landowners, loggers and others who are interested in the well-being of our forests are invited to attend. The tour will start at 10 a.m. from the Gipsy Fire Tower, off of Highway TT, southwest of Zalma. Lunch will be served, so please call in advance so that everyone can be served.
For more information, contact Roger Frazier, private land conservationist at (573) 238-2671, ext. 111, or Rick Kammler, resource forester at (573) 783-7031.