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Compartment 22 Timber Harvest

The southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis) has been infesting many of the natural and planted pine forests in this region of the country. These infestations are part of the ecology of this region and under normal conditions, small populations of beetles are usually present in the forest. Recently, several years of below average rainfall (which stresses trees) combined with the widespread plantings of pine have created conditions conducive to the large scale outbreak that we recently experienced. Unfortunately, the beetles visited the Cumberland Plateau, and they infested the pine plantings on the Domain. Of the 11,000 acres owned by the university, approximately 1400 of them are or were planted in pine. The majority of these plantings were harvested before the beetle outbreak at the Smith Tract (located several miles from the contiguous Domain), but on the central sections of the Domain, there were about 600 acres of pine that had the potential to become infested.

Compartment 22 is a section of our forest located just past the equestrian center on Brakefield Road. This area was planted in loblolly pine, eastern white pine (species native to Tennessee but locally exotic), and Virginia pine in 1965. This 70 acre tract of land was infested with the beetle and the Office of Domain Management decided to harvest these trees. This decision was made in consultation with the Natural Resource Advisory Committee after careful consideration of several "no harvest" options. If the trees were not harvested, they would have resulted in a 70 acre safety hazard (as they fall) and a fire hazard during the drier times of the year.

After this harvest was completed, we replanted with native hardwood tree species mixed with some shortleaf pine. The long term objective is to return the forest composition back to one consisting of locally native tree species. The money generated from this harvest (approximately $30,000) went into the University general fund for operating expenses.

If you would like to speak to us regarding Domain Management activities, please call the University Forester or Domain Manager, (extention 1268) at your convenience.

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The timber logging deck
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Logs ready to be loaded
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Pine beetle galleries in the bark of a dead tree
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The harvested site
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The boundaries of the harvested site
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A beetle-killed pine tree
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The trees just after felling
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Pine beetle galleries in a fallen log
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The high proportion of trees killed
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Another dead pine
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Dead pines and overall timber quality
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Dead pines and overall timber quality
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Dead pines and overall timber quality
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Closeup of bark-sluffing caused by the beetle
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The skidder used in the harvest