Mississippi Society of American Foresters

MS SAF Position Statement on The Need for Hardwood Forest Management Research

Position:

The Mississippi Society of American Foresters supports increased research in the management of southern hardwoods. Increasing values for some hardwood forest products, in addition to wildlife management, environmental and ecological concerns, have resulted in landowners requesting more intensive forestry practices on certain sites suitable for quality hardwood production. The lack of an updated, comprehensive publication on southern hardwood management has seriously hindered successful planning and implementation of some hardwood management practices. The publication of an updated hardwood management manual specifying proven and unproven management techniques for specific species and site conditions is needed.

Background:

Sites suitable for the production of quality hardwoods comprise a significant percentage of Mississippi’s forest lands. These sites are found throughout the state including larger acreages in the Delta, other alluvial bottoms and loess hills to smaller tracts along minor stream bottoms, including sites within areas managed for pine production. Hardwood sites and stand conditions vary widely and forest management techniques must be properly applied to each if successful management is to be achieved.

The last comprehensive manual on southern hardwood management was published in 1960.1 Since 1960, many significant research studies have been published, focusing on particular sites and conditions. Due to the wide variety of hardwood site conditions and species in the South, numerous stand conditions remain with no proven management techniques available. Published growth and yield data, particularly for long rotations is lacking. However, progress is being made.

Foresters managing hardwood sites are faced with attempting to apply management techniques developed for other regions or conditions, and results have often been disappointing. A comprehensive publication summarizing the proven management practices and their limitations would not only be a means to accomplish more successful hardwood management, but would also summarize the "gaps" and lead to research efforts to close these "gaps."

Originally adopted by Mississippi Society of American Foresters (MS SAF) on July 24, 2003 and revised on November 19, 2008. This statement will expire December 31, 2017, unless revised by the MS SAF.