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The Smith Tract Harvest

The Smith Tract is an 831 acre parcel of land just south of the Domain. Herbert and Elisabeth Smith donated the Smith Tract to the University in 1964. A year later the University made an agreement with Bowater to establish a pine plantation on the Smith Tract. The following year, the university established a 674-acre plantation containing 340 acres of loblolly pine, and 334 acres of Virginia pine. The site was mechanically prepared and planted with 700 to 1300 trees per acre.

Just before the harvest, the cover types of the Smith Tract were 30% Virginia pine, 40% Loblolly pine, 11% hardwoods, and 19% streamside management zones. The Smith Tract harvest was completed in three phases: 1998, 1999, and 2000. After most sections were harvested, they were allowed to lay fallow for a year, then sprayed with herbicide, burned to clear the slash, and hand planted. The Smith Tract was replanted with shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, and mountain longleaf pine.

Click here for land abuse examples at the Smith Tract

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Location of the Smith Tract relative to Sewanee's campus
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Forest Cover Types of the Smith Tract
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Harvest Schedule for the Smith Tract
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An aerial view of the Smith Tract before it was cut
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The trees were felled mechanically with a feller-buncher
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Hauling the trees to the logging deck with a grapple-skidder
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A boom-loader was used to put the trees through a delimber then load them onto trucks
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The harvested Smith Tract
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Aerial view after the Smith Tract was harvested showing the streamside management zones
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Undesireable hardwood regeneration before burning and/or herbicide treatment
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Herbicide truck and helicopter used to spray the hardwood coppicing
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Helicopter applying herbicide between seed trees
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In preparation for a controlled burn, fire lanes were plowed
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Starting control burns with a drip torch
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The burn well underway on the Smith Tract
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Smoke filled the air after the controlled fire burnt itself out.
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The land, clear for planting, after the burn
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The young pine plantation after the burn and planting
The pine plantation 3 years after being planted
A flock of swallows use remaining slash to perch