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On the Ground: Timber Stand Improvement

“We’ve seen a dramatic change in the wildlife.” Manager Dustin Chasteen is talking about the “extreme wildlife response” to timber stand improvements he applied to St. Louis businessman Mark Lloyd’s 460-acre Franklin County farm. “The bobcats are coming back, the quail are using the timber, and the deer have more places to hide.” Timber stand improvement (TSI) is the removal of selected trees from woodland to improve its health and growth. The forester’s equivalent of “weeding the garden,” the TSI practice allowed Mark and Dustin to decide which trees to keep. Their treatments reduced competition in stands scattered across the property, and improved habitat values for wildlife in just two years. The Department of Conservation’s free publication, Timber Stand Improvement, covers details on conducting TSI. To order write to: MDC, Timber Stand Improvement, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180 or e-mail pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov.

Winter Prescribed Burns

This practice helps restore woodland diversity.

Historically, about 70 percent of the Ozark landscape was woodland or grassland, with an understory of grasses and wildflowers. Frequent low-intensity fires maintained this open, park-like appearance. Once fires were controlled, the canopy thickened up, and cedars invaded, blocking sunlight and choking out the understory layer of grasses. If your objective is to improve woodland diversity, burn late fall or winter, once every three to five years. Call your regional office to find out about prescribed burn workshops near you.

Clearing Cedar? Sell it!

Web site helps you find local markets and harvesters. 

The result of clearing Eastern red cedar from glades and woodlands is a heap of cedar. It doesn’t hurt to leave a few brushpiles for wildlife habitat, but with a little research, you can turn your cedar “waste” into cash. To find a mill that buys Eastern red cedar in your county or region, visit online. You can search this database by mill, county, species or product. If you don’t want to cut, limb, load and haul the cedar yourself, you can probably find a logger through your local mill who is willing to contract for this service. For information about the market for value-added Eastern red cedar products, visit the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry Web site.

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