Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT)
Texas Local Implementation Team (TLIT) Update
By Kent Evans, Coordinator
Our longleaf team assisted the Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas Parks, and Wildlife Department, and the U.S. Forest Service in delivering the Texas Certified Insured Prescribed Burn Manager course in June 2019. The training burn demonstrated summer fire to reduce yaupon understory competition beneath an overstory of mature longleaf on the E.O. Seicke State Forest. These courses have helped triple the number of certified managers in our longleaf geography over the past five years.
The TLIT also hosted longleaf plantation workshops led by Ad Platt, The Longleaf Alliance, local foresters, and specialists. A total of 15 consultants, 16 landowners, and 49 agency staff heard from RMS forester Jennifer Smith about site preparation methods and the use of prescribed burning. Azimuth Forestry staff showed 900 acres of impressive longleaf in three age classes they have established. Landowner Randy Gardner showed 300 acres of 38-year-old longleaf (established by Champion) where he has conducted pole sales and does his own burning at one to two year intervals. Randy showed the Texas co-champion longleaf (116’ tall, 38” dbh) in the churchyard of Enon Baptist Church.
On July 16th, the TLIT met at the USDA Plant Materials Center and received a demonstration of the NRCS Rainfall Simulator on four undisturbed soil profiles: forests, prairies, bahia pasture, and tilled soils. A 15-minute shower provided a powerful illustration on the importance of how healthy soils provide proper ecosystem function, decreased erosion, and extreme rainwater infiltration. Soils that are undisturbed with diverse plant communities support greater biologic activity, bind soil particles together, and allow water to infiltrate rapidly. Unhealthy soils (i.e., tilled soils and bahia pasture) had brownish run-off and virtually no infiltration below a 2” depth. Soil profiles from the diverse grass and forb species absorbed the “rain” shower, then slowly yielded clear water. LITs should consider hosting the NRCS demonstration for their stakeholders.
Touring RMS lands near Chester, Texas; June 2019. Photo by Kent Evans.