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Mississippi State University

Study Areas


We conducted research on the 14,410 ha Tallahala Wildlife Management Area (TWMA) and an adjacent area (4,000 ha) owned by Georgia-Pacific Corporation (GP). TWMA was located in Newton, Scott, Smith and Jasper counties within the Beinville National Forest while Georgia-Pacific lands were located in Jasper county. On TWMA, topography was flat to gently rolling with mean annual temperature averaging 18 C and annual precipitation averaging 152 cm. TWMA was composed mostly of mature loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands (37%), with shortleaf pine (P. echinata) and spruce pine (P. glabra) common within these stands. Pine plantations <15 years-old comprised 15% of the area with plantations averaging 19 ha in size. Mature bottomland hardwoods occupied 30% of TWMA with dominant tree species including oak (Quercus spp.), hickory (Carya spp.), and ash (Fraxinus spp.). Mixed pine-hardwood stands (17%) and agricultural lands (1%) in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) comprised the remainder of TWMA. Additionally, in November 1992, a tornado altered 9% (1353 ha) of the area. The U.S. Forest Service salvaged downed timber and replanted the altered area into loblolly pine in 1993.

Dominant understory and midstory species on TWMA included flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), greenbriar (Smilax spp.), red maple (Acer rubrum), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), and blackgum (Nyssa sylvatica).

Predominant silvicultural practices on TWMA included clear-cutting followed by pine regeneration and seed-tree cuts. Regeneration was by the seed-tree method or mechanical site preparation followed by planting. Pine plantations > 12 years-old were prescribed burned from November to March on a 6-year rotation, until 1995. During 1995, many mature pine stands were placed under management for red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) and burn rotations were decreased to approximately 3 years. Pine stands were thinned first at approximately 18 years of age and again at 35 years. Bottomland hardwood stands for the most part were unharvested. Equipment limitation zones along perennial and intermittent streams were 10 m from adjacent floodplains.

GP

was located along the eastern boundary of TWMA and was dominated by loblolly pine plantations (90%), 1 to 30 years of age. Streamside management zones (SMZ) comprised the remaining 10% of the area. GP was intensively managed for wood fiber production and pine plantations > 100 ha were common. Following clear-cutting, tracts were site prepared and planted by direct seeding. Intermediate silvicultural practices included thinning and burning, and stand rotation varied from 25 to 35 years, averaging 30 years. Topography was gently rolling to hilly. All GP land was leased to private deer and turkey hunting clubs.