The intensive pine plantation investment -- From Planning to Execution to Harvest --Valdosta, Georgia

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What this Course is about

The pine plantation is the primary forest investment vehicle used in the Southeast US.  This course provides an in-depth overview of the integrated pine plantation investment from planning to harvest, bringing in the most advanced and current understandings available as taught from two professionals with deep practical operational experience in planning, land investment, operational establishment and timber management, tree breeding, and applied research. Foundational to the forest investment is the understanding of how regional soils, changing climates, and a range of existing pests impact best management practices and subsequent returns.  In addition, understanding the forest stand dynamics at the various stages of development is critical to framing potential and expected responses to timber stand management activities. On top of these base understandings, the genetic revolution of the last 15 years has more fully empowered the investor to reach increased yields of improved quality sawtimber, poles, grade and other needed and valuable forest products.  Changes in genetic options have led to the creation of new deployment planting schemes that continue to evolve.  And, finally, the creations of strong inventories of enhanced valued wood isn’t worth much if the harvest and sale methods don’t optimize the created opportunities.  These subjects and the individual forest management activities required are covered well in this course. 

Who Should Attend

Anyone who invests in southern timberland and utilizes pine plantations to increase returns. Anyone who makes their living off of this investment vehicle: Forest planners and modelers, forest managers, procurement foresters, forest owners, and forest service providers. Attendees will include both next generation owners and foresters wanting more initial exposure to the investment type, and also very advanced investors and managers wanting to push in to the most advanced methods of tree growth.

The enhanced learning experience

The course will start with 1.5 days of intense indoor instruction and discussion and will culminate in a ½ day field tour that views and demonstrates many of the advanced understandings covered in class. Both the class and outdoor learning experiences will be enhanced through case study and actual operational examples that are woven into the course. The class is limited to 50 people to maximize interaction and learning potential for the attendees.

Advanced, applied operational pine plantation establishment and management considerations for forest investors and managers in the Southeast US and beyond

April 5-6--- Rainwater Conference Center --- Valdosta GA

  • Derek Dougherty, PhD
  • Phil Dougherty, PhD

Instruction Day 1: Indoors at Hotel

7:30 – 8:00 am


8:00 am

Major components and variables of the Forest Investment

  • Forest system options (natural, artificial, pine, hardwood, intensive, extensive)
  • Geographical variables –species, terrain, regulations
  • Market variables and harvest system merchandising
  • People, connections needs, i.e. contractors, positions,

9:00 am

Foundational Forest Soils Understandings Necessary for Successful Investment

  • SEUS regional difference --- Physiological provinces first; soils across the South
  • Soil Characteristics and properties (texture, drainage, density, depth, depth to restrictive layer, water and nutrient holding capacity – CEC, etc.)
  • Plantation Species x Soils (species matching) considerations
  • Soil impacts on priority assigned establishment activities

10:00 am

Coffee and Snack Break

10:20 am

Environment aspects affecting the plantation Investment

  • Carbon, cloud cover, precipitation, temperature, etc.
  • Growth potential by climate; by soil
  • Pests of the Southern pine plantation
  • Regional risk profiles of the SEUS physiographic regions
  • Bringing risk profiles into modeling investment returns

11:00 am

Forest Stand dynamics (tree level, forest level, ecosystem level)

  • Immediate post-harvest functioning
  • Mid-rotation stand dynamics
  • Pre-harvest condition / functioning

12:00 am

Lunch on your own

1:15 pm

Artificial Regeneration --- the integrated, full rotation investment

1:30 pm

Site preparation considerations --- Mechanical, chemical, burning

  1. Mechanical consideration
    • Method options – bedding, ripping, roller chop, etc.
    • Debris management
    • Primary systems by region
  2. Chemical considerations
    • Primary chemicals prescribed and used by physiological regions
    • Timing for optimal control and non-toxic early pine growth
  3. Mechanical and chemical site prep integration; timing optimization

3:00 pm

Drink and Snack Break

3:20 pm

Tree Breeding, Genetics, and Seedling considerations

  • Tree breeding systems – purposes, methods, intensity of focus
  • Level of tree improvement seedlings and associated benefits and risks
  • Seedling morphology considerations for strong investment return
  • Genotype specific modeling considerations

4:20 pm

Seedling care, planting methods, and seedling protection alternatives

4:40 pm

Initial planting density considerations

5:00 pm


Day 2 instruction: Indoors in the morning and in the field in the afternoon

8:00 am

Intensive, integrated establishment regimes that optimize value potential

  • Combining genotype characteristics and density impact
  • Advanced deployment regime options
  • Modeling returns from alternative regime types in specific markets

9:30 am
Coffee and Juice Break
9:50 am

Mid-rotation management considerations that preserve and optimize potential

  • Thinning variables affecting activity decisions and implementation
  • Thinning considerations --- old resource vs new resource differences in preferred methods of thinning
  • Mid-rotation hardwood release variables, options, and timing
  • Fertilization variables of impact and options
  • Mid-rotation management optimization --- thinning + release + fertilization

11:00 am

Timber sale options and considerations to fully capture the potential created by intensively managed pine plantation.

12:00 pm

Pick-up box lunch, load up, and travel to first field stop in nearby Boston., GA.

12:35 pm

View longleaf pine growth, stem and crown quality performance on a high resource site in Brooks County, GA. Discuss thinning methods to protect and promote pole and sawtimber production. Discuss longleaf tree improvement needs and systems for private forest investors.

1:50 pm
Travel to Thomasville, GA for Tour Stop 2
2:20 pm

View and discuss pine species site assignment on a range of soils (varying texture and drainage)

View open-pollinated slash pine growth performance (site index, descriptive statistics, pole percentage) of a 25-year-old thinned slash pine plantation on an old-field, Tifton and Leefield loamy sand soil

View open pollinated slash pine performance on a bedded cutover lowland fine sand site in its 5th growing season

View clonal and control mass pollinated loblolly pine plantation performance established on beds with a 20’ row spacing in its 10th growing season

View a loblolly pine plantation established with an advanced 2nd generation control mass pollinated cross in its 17th growing season.

4:30 pm
Adjourn at 4:30 and start back for the hotel
$550 Book Now
Event Features:
  • 7.30 am - 4.30 pm
  • Dougherty CE
  • 05 April - 06 April
  • For All Levels
Qualifies for 14 Category 1 credits

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