Subscribe Now!
BY Jeff Dennis on Feb. 24, 2017

Balancing Timber, Aesthetics & Wildlife to Benefit Quail

Farming for wildlife is a hobby that can quickly turn into a passion, where each increase in intensity comes with a price. The majority of the acreage in the Southeast is privately held, and the majority of landowners keep the entire region in a blanket of pine plantations under heavy rotation. All wildlife species and small game, like quail in particular, benefit from early successional habitat. It’s not easy to dial back the popular practice of intensive timber management and then dial up a balancing act that benefits aesthetics and wildlife too, but it might be time to try.

For generations, saw-timber from pine trees along the coastal plain used to set the market when it came to top dollar prices for timber. Nothing stays the same forever and a slowly changing timber market was thrust into overdrive during the economic recession not quite a decade ago. With genetically enhanced seedlings and a white hot export market, it’s likely that whole tree chipping is a term that most are now familiar with. Pine tree poles remain the holdout as a potential top dollar timber product despite the evolution of the timber market.

The highest, best use for a tract of acreage has changed for some from strictly tree farming to put more emphasis on recreational value. Hunting is normally the driver for this pivot towards conservation, but water quality issues are now coming to the forefront, and the word is slowing getting out that a suite of songbirds and big game, including deer and turkeys, can all benefit from a triumvirate of management goals.


Join The Conversation Below

We welcome relevant, respectful comments below. Please read our Community Guidlines.
Please log in to post comments


Magazine Archive

Please select the desired magazine below.

Connect With GameKeepers


Connect With GameKeepers

GameKeepers Farming for Wildlife