Stewardship of forests recognized

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Three area properties have recently received the coveted TREASURE Forest Award given by the Alabama Forestry Planning Committee.

They are:

the David and Martha Wright property certified in October: 1,049 acres in the rolling hills of north Dallas County and 190 acres in Autauga County along Mulberry Creek;

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the Lucile P. Swift Trust managed by Buddy Swift: 335 acres along the Alabama River east of Selma; and

the John T. Lide property: 1,239 acres in Dallas and Lowndes counties. A portion of this property is located near Sardis, south of Selma, with the bulk of the acres near Old Town.

These three bring the number of certified Dallas County TREASURE Forest landowners to 25, of a statewide total of 1,924 landowners recognized since the program’s inception in 1974.

The awards were presented earlier this month by Tom Long, Dallas County Forester, to each property owner or manager individually. David Wright received his award from Long on his property in north Dallas County. Buddy Swift received his award at a weekly Kiwanis Club meeting at the St. James Hotel, and John T. Lide received his on a portion of his acreage in Sardis.

The TREASURE Forest Award, according to information provided by the program, is earned by private landowners who display their commitment to the TREASURE Forest ethic through their physical management of the land which they own or for which they are responsible. The award includes a signed and numbered certificate, a sign that may be posted on the TREASURE Forest property and a cap for the owner or manager to whom the award is granted.

At the time of the official recognition the land becomes a certified TREASURE Forest and the landowner is called a TREASURE Forest landowner. TREASURE Forest and TREASURE Forest landowner are earned titles, according to the program’s brochure, that represent good stewardship of the land, protection and/or enhancement of the multiple values of the forest, and providing benefits to both present and future generations.

The citation for the Wright property, which has several ages of pine plantations on it, notes that many of these stands have been thinned and prescribe burned; hollows and creek bottoms are managed for hardwood timber; and wildlife habitat is managed for deer, turkey and fishing.

The citation for the Swift trust notes two management objectives &045; timber production and wildlife management &045; and, further, that pine plantations are surrounded by an extensive firebreak system and several wildlife openings dispersed in the uplands, while 149 acres of bottomland hardwoods are retained to provide habitat for deer, turkey and waterfowl.

The citation for the Lide property notes that it is being managed for timber and wildlife. Further, there are several ages of pine plantation and a variety of mixed pine hardwood and bottomland hardwood on the property. The older plantations have a prescribe burning program in place, and the variety of timber and cover types is providing excellent wildlife habitat for deer and turkey.