Reforestation Picks Up Across Southern Belt As ‘Clear-Cut’ Sales Rise

A survey of 12 F&W regional managers in eight states across the southern pine belt shows an increase in tree-planting across the region, reversing a downward trend in recent years.  The spurt in tree-planting was attributed by to a corresponding increase in “clear-cut” sales of mature trees by landowners despite historically low prices for prime sawtimber, reflecting the prolonged slump in home construction.

Along with replanting harvested stands, reforestation in some areas of the South – notably in Florida and Texas – followed last year’s devastating fires and drought. Russ Weber, F&W’s long-time manager in Gainesville, Fla., said 65 percent of his planting in 2011 was due to wildfires.  “For this season, they (landowners) are planting generally are returning to clear-cutting timber sales to generate income and not waiting further for the product market to recover.”

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