Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT)

Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT)

Texas Longleaf Implementation Team (TLIT)

By Kent Evans, Texas LIT

Hurricane Harvey impacted thousands of families in southeast Texas.  The storm dumped over 45 inches of rain over Hardin County, home of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Roy E. Larsen Sandylands Preserve and adjacent Campbell Global lands.  The swiftly rising waters caused loss of TNC employee housing, personal belongings, equipment, and facilities.  Recently, Brian Gowin of Campbell Global, Shawn Benedict of TNC, and I looked at some plantations where prolonged inundation killed 6’ to 8’ longleaf saplings.  Trees taller than the flood waters did not suffer.  Unfortunately, yaupon seemed unaffected by the flood.  Flooding impacts on the preserve will continue to be monitored by TNC.

Texas A&M AgriLife hosted a Forest Pest Seminar recently attracting over 100 forestry consultants, loggers, pesticide applicators, and landowners.  Participants shared a common enemy, yaupon.  My presentation covered experiences from agency staff and Texas land owners planting longleaf and using fire to favor the herbaceous understory and control invasive brush such as yaupon.

Many stands of longleaf have been started by participants in our TLIT workshops and field days.  An example is Trey Whitley, who started burning his thinned loblolly plantation the first year of ownership.  He clear-cut some of his loblolly plantation, planted longleaf, and then added fire to thinned loblolly and applied fire to longleaf at 12 months.  Trey said his teenaged sons recognize the development of the native, herbaceous understory and enjoy the rapid increase in their deer herd.  The boys are really engaged, helping with prescribed burning, planting, and observing wildlife habitat changes.  Trey added that converting to longleaf and adding fire is much more exciting than the former loblolly/yaupon thickets.  Their family is in this for the long haul, setting the stage for multiple generations of enjoyment and stewardship on the land. 

IMAGE CAPTION:

Image 1: Brian Gowin and Shawn Benedict examine longleaf killed by Hurricane Harvey flooding. Photo by Kent Evans.