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Spring 2017


Remembering Jack Warner Logger Roger Watson Senator Del Marsh Southern Loggers Coop

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Alabama Forestry Association, Inc. Chris Isaacson, Executive Vice President OFFICERS Chairman ............................................................Gray Skipper President.........................................................Vaughn Stough President-Elect......................................................Hank Bauer Secretary ...................................................Stephan Tomlinson Treasurer ..........................................................Tom Bradley III

Sp r in g 20 17 | Vo lu me 61 | Nu mb e r 3



Communicating news & information of, about, and for the Alabama forestry community.

DISTRICT DIRECTORS Black Belt District ..............................................Doug Bowling Capital District.....................................................Jim Solvason Delta District ....................................................Frank Mozingo Longleaf District..................................................Phillip Smith Mountain District...................................................Allen Keller Piedmont District ...............................................Chris Langley Valley District ................................................DeWayne Oakley Vulcan District.......................................................Trae Bonner Warrior District....................................................Rick Johnson Wiregrass District..........................................................Vacant ALC REPRESENTATIVE Chris Potts FOREST FUND REPRESENTATIVE Kevin Kennedy FORESTRY LEADERS REPRESENTATIVE Gee Allgood AT-LARGE DIRECTORS Al Bracewell Terry Bussey Ray Colvin David Leibold Ryan Mattei Patricia Moody Mena McGowin Morgan Lenn Morris Guice Slawson, Jr. Clay Thomas

10 Above: On this Roger Watson job, beetles had started getting into the trees so the landowner wanted them all cut. Because some of the timber was 70 years old, it sometimes took two cuts by the CAT cutter on opposite sides of the tree to bring it down.

FEATURES Remembering Jack Warner



Logger Roger Watson


Senator Del Marsh


Spotlight on Southern Loggers Coop


In Memoriam



Especially for our tree farmers/landowners:


Green Horizons

Alabama Forests (USPS #025-358) is an official publication of the Alabama Forestry Association, 555 Alabama Street, Montgomery, AL 36104-4359 and is published five times a year. The AFA reserves the exclusive right to accept or reject advertising or editorial material submitted for publication. Advertising rates quoted upon request. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Ala. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Alabama Forestry Association, 555 Alabama St., Montgomery, AL 36104-4395



From the Executive Vice President


Dean’s Notebook


News & Views


Log A Load Update


Advertisers’ Index


ON THE COVER A Echo Logging CAT Cutter dropping a 70-year-old pine tree. SFI-01273


Connect with us on

13 and see what’s new on our web site alaforestry.org


From Executive Vice President

Spinning Plates e’ve all been told that change is inevitable, but if you’re like me, that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Take, for example, my recent visit to McDonald’s. After paying, I looked at my receipt and saw that I’d been charged for a “Senior” cup of coffee. Despite my protest, the young lady behind the counter insisted that I qualified. Experiences like this continue to remind me that we can do nothing to stop change. We can, however, take actions to adapt to that change. “Adaptive forest management” is a fancy term coined to describe the process of monitoring changes that occur in the “environment” and adapting our management to accomplish the landowner’s objectives. Adaptive management is necessary in organizations as well and that’s what we’ve been doing at AFA. To paraphrase, “This isn’t your father’s AFA.” The strategy we employed in the past to protect Alabama’s forest and business owners and promote forestry doesn’t move the needle today. The political environment has changed, communication technology has changed and our adversaries have changed. As a result, we have almost tripled our political giving, developed a political infrastructure to recruit and support candidates (including actively engaging in campaigns), and are using social media to increase our influence.



Today, litigation has become the preferred policy-making strategy for many organizations who wish to stop the economic use of forests or force us to pay more taxes. As a result, AFA has focused on building financial resources to defend our interests in these legal battles. Case in point, the Lynch lawsuit clearly demonstrated why we need to engage (threat of huge property tax increases) and what we can accomplish if we’re willing to fight. We’ve also seen an increasing need over the last few decades, especially during the Obama administration, to utilize the courts to push back against overreaching and intrusive federal regulations. The Southern Resources Alliance was recently formed to advocate for reform of the Endangered Species Act. The individuals and companies that formed SRA realized we cannot continue to play the game by the same rules we’ve been using. Our adversaries have made effective use of the courts to drive policy and we must be willing to use the courts, when necessary, to change those rules. Changes at the county and municipal level have also resulted in changes at AFA. Road use ordinances, road and bridge weight postings and harvesting ordinances have required us to increase our monitoring of local government actions and compelled us to engage in an increasing number of local political races

to ensure we elect officials who understand the value that forestry brings to their local communities. In addition to changes in the legislative and political environment, we’ve witnessed a host of other changes that have compelled AFA to adapt. Increased public attention on sustainability has driven an

Chris Isaacson

“This isn’t your father’s AFA.” expansion of our efforts to promote the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and to grow participation in the American Tree Farm Program. In 2013, responding to a growing challenge of finding qualified workers to fill open positions, AFA began to lay the foundation for a workforce development initiative focused on creating a pipeline of young workers for logging and forest products manufacturing operations. This September we will launch our Forestry Career Promotion Program in rural high schools around the state and in early 2018 will begin our Logging Equipment Operator Training Program. In addition, we are in the early stages of developing a training program to prepare workers for jobs in sawmills around the state. One of the benefits of getting old—besides the discounts —are the memories you accumulate. One of those memories are the times I would sit in my

grandparents’ den watching the “Ed Sullivan Show.” One particular performer made a lasting impression. Erich Brenn spun 5 bowls on sticks and 8 plates on the table without letting any fall. Just as a bowl or plate was wobbling and about to fall, he returned to it, gave it a few more spins and then moved on. When someone asks me what we do at AFA, my mind flashes back to Erich Brenn spinning those bowls and plates. (Google “Erich Brenn” and watch the YouTube.) There are far more challenges (bowls) and issues (plates) needing our attention than we have resources (funding and people) to address. As a result, we are constantly looking for ways to build our capacity so we can add more bowls and plates and more effectively meet our members’ needs. So, you’ll understand my response the next time we meet and you ask, “How’s it going?” “Just spinning plates!” s 3

Dean’s Notebook

A Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Enterprise Management Is on the Horizon at Auburn! unting, fishing, wildlife watching, and other outdoor recreation activities account for about $4 billion annually and 42K jobs in the state of Alabama alone. Throughout the country there are thousands of small, medium, and large enterprises in both the public and private sectors engaged in these activities. A workforce is needed with multidisciplinary knowledge and skills relating to wildlife management, business, and hospitality and customer relations to support and expand these enterprises. Currently, only Kansas State University, or KSU, is producing graduates with these skills by offering a bachelor’s degree in “Wildlife Outdoor Enterprise Management.” Conversations with representatives from private outdoor clubs and enterprises, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, KSU faculty, and several other groups/organizations suggest that there is a huge demand for graduates to support outdoor enterprise industry within the U.S. and around the world. This has prompted the Auburn School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, or SFWS, to develop a bachelor’s degree program in Wildlife Enterprise Management. Drawing on Auburn University’s SFWS expertise in wildlife and outdoor recreation management, College of Business expertise in marketing, finance, and accounting and the College of Human Sciences expertise in hospitality, restaurant, and customer relations, we are developing a bachelor’s degree in wildlife enterprise management with a minor in business. Current student enrollment at KSU suggests that we can anticipate annual enrollment of at least 25 new students each year within 5 years, with enrollment anticipated to increase each year after. Students who successfully complete



this program will:

l Have a deeper understanding of wildlife

management as it applies to consumptive and non-consumptive enterprises; l Appreciate the fundamentals of conservation biology and ecotourism; l Have skill sets in the hospitality industry as it relates to customer service, food and beverage production, lodging, and law; l Have knowledge of the accounting, finance, and other business principles required to manage small or medium size operations; l Be able to effectively market and advertise a wildlife or outdoor-related enterprise. This interdisciplinary degree program will be supported in part by the University’s Core course requirements. In addition to AU’s core requirements, there is a need for additional business-related courses that will fall under the College of Business and additional science courses above the core requirements that will fall under the College of Science and Mathematics. However, the majority of the wildlife management course requirements will come from within the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the hotel and restaurant management course requirements from within the College of Human Sciences. We presented the degree proposal and a draft curriculum to our Advisory Council at our annual meeting in March 2017. The feedback and support from members for the proposal has been overwhelming. Furthermore, members gave us valuable insights to explore student internships and scholarship opportunities to advance the program. Currently, the proposal is in

Dean Janaki Alavalapati, Auburn University

There is a huge demand for graduates to support outdoor enterprise industry within the U.S. and around the world.

review with the AU University Curriculum Committee. With their endorsement, we anticipate the proposal will then be reviewed for approval by the AU Board of Trustees in July. The proposal will then be forwarded to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for their approval. The SFWS will then begin recruiting for student enrollment in the fall 2018. This new major will be very popular with new and transferring students who are interested in careers in wildlife and outdoor-related enterprises. With only one other program of its kind in the U.S. and the expansive field of job opportunities available both nationally and internationally, we fully anticipate that our program will attract a diverse body of students from across the country and beyond to join this growing industry. Students interested in this career path, may contact our student recruiter at workingwithnature@auburn.edu for more details about the proposed degree program. s 5

Timber Titan of Alabama’s Forest Industry Editor’s Note: In Greek Mythology Titans were a race of immortal giants of incredible strength. Today, “titans of industry” refers to individuals who made an incredible impact on the development of a particular industry. This article chronicles the life of Forestry Titan Jack Warner.

Jack Warner Was Indeed a Man for All Seasons By Sam Duvall

By any measure, Jack Warner was bigger than life! Physically, Jack was tall and strong. He exercised vigorously well into his 90s and died at the age of 99 on Feb. 18, 2017, five months away from his 100th birthday.

n the business world, Jack took the family wood businesses to new heights. These included the manufacturing of pulp and paper products via Gulf States Paper Corporation in Tuscaloosa and Demopolis and the big sawmill and pole mill at Moundville, Ala. Then there are the world-class properties he developed including the golf course and residential property at the NorthRiver Yacht Club in Tuscaloosa, among others. Last, but certainly not least, Jack Warner amassed a collection of early American art that placed him near the top of the most successful art collectors in the world. Reviewing Jack’s life, you hear superlatives like he was “larger than life,” “a legend,” “a giant” in various capacities. All of these descriptions are accurate. But there was much more to Jack Warner than the mere words spoken about his life.


Early Years Jack Warner, an up-and-coming businessman and art collector.


Jack was born in Illinois on July 28, 1917, to Mildred Westervelt Warner and Herbert Warner. He was raised in

Tuscaloosa, Ala., where his maternal grandfather’s company, Gulf States Paper Corporation, was based. He graduated from Culver Military Academy in Indiana in 1936 then earned a degree in business administration from Washington and Lee University in Virginia in 1940. Jack was an accomplished swimmer and set a new school record in the breaststroke while at W&L. He belonged to the W&L Athletic Hall of Fame and the university recognized his philanthropic contributions to the school by including his name among the first alumni featured on the Honored Benefactors Wall in Washington Hall. In 1939, Jack married Elizabeth Butler and they had two sons, Jonathan Westervelt Warner, Jr., known as Jon, and David Turner Warner. Jon has strong memories of growing up in the household of such a dynamic father. But perhaps his most vivid memory is his father’s firm grip on his arm as he rescued him from a rip tide current in Florida. Their son David, who died in 2012, had been named for Jack Warner’s brother who drowned in a swimming accident as a


child. As a result of that tragedy, Jack and David’s parents built numerous public swimming pools in David Warner’s name to encourage children to learn how to swim. Jack and Elizabeth’s son Jon Warner took over the company in 1995, when Jack stepped down as president and CEO. After Elizabeth died, Jack married Susan Austin Warner. During World War Two, Jack served in the U.S. Army, assigned to the last horsecavalry unit in the Army as a commissioned officer in the MARS Task Force in the Burma Theater of Operations. The MARS Task Force was akin to a modern special forces unit. They relied on stealth to operate behind Japanese lines and specialized in long-range reconnaissance patrols and ambush tactics to harry the opposing Japanese forces. So, even Jack’s military service could be considered unconventional and exceptional, as was much of his post-war life. As he served in East Asia, Jack developed an interest in and a fondness for the architecture of that region. He brought that back with him from the war and incorporated it into many of his developments. It’s enlightening that even while he was in combat, Jack was observing the architecture and lifestyles of the countries through which his military exploits took him. The company headquarters on River Road in Tuscaloosa — renamed Jack Warner Parkway in May 1999 — features four buildings in soaring styles with extensive interior gardens, suggesting 11th century Japan. The graceful exteriors reveal interiors filled with primitive artifacts and contemporary art from the South Pacific, Africa and elsewhere. The majority of the current corporate art collection amassed by Jack is housed there as well, in what is known as the Tuscaloosa Museum of Art.


Post-War Work Years Jack joined the Gulf States Paper Corporation as head of sales and production when he returned from military duty. He was named vice president in 1950, president in 1957, and chairman of the board in 1959. In the latter two positions Jack succeeded his mother, Mildred Warner. Mildred Westervelt Warner had assumed the role of president in 1938, and later became chairman until 1957. Her father, Herbert Westervelt, had started the company when he formed the EZ Opener



management in the South. This specialist advised in the development of an overall game management program, which is now widely copied. During the more than 50 years that Jack ran Gulf States Paper, he expanded operations from a single product and a single plant, to create a large, diversified company with operations across five states. Also during Jack’s tenure, the company received multiple honors for water pollution control efforts, including the National Wildlife Federation’s Whooping


Bag Company in Illinois. It was 4 based on a machine he invented that produced a folding squarebottomed paper bag that could be opened with the snap of a wrist, set on a counter and filled with groceries. Of course, the EZ Opener Bag Company would later become Gulf States Paper Corporation. It is clear from Mildred’s life where Jack got a lot of the characteristics that served him so well in the almost 100 years that he lived. In an era when women were mostly homemakers and women CEO’s were unheard of, Mildred Warner excelled as the manager of a major integrated paper company. In 1948, she guided development of a program in which company foresters advised private Alabama landowners in developing sound forestry conservation practices. In 1953, she established the Westervelt Game Preserve and in 1956, she was instrumental in employing the first corporate specialist in forest game

1 Jack as a young man attending Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, in 1936. 2

Jack Warner as a young commissioned cavalry officer serving in the MARS Task Force in World War Two. 3

Mildred Westervelt Warner and her son Jack.


Jack Warner recognized for his contributions to the Tuscaloosa area by the Tuscaloosa Chamber of Commerce in 1964. The Chamber would give him its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.


T imb er T itan Jack War ner

The gardens at Westervelt that were designed by Jack Warner. Inset: Westervelt, the modern iteration of the company that Jack Warner ran for almost 50 years of his life. Crane Award. In 1970, he was named Alabama Conservationist of the Year. Dan Meissner, communications director at Gulf States Paper Corp. when Jack ran the company, recalled that Warner communicated just as easily with the rankand-file employees at his company as he did with world leaders. “Jack Warner was the kind of person who could visit with kings and still relate to the worker on the factory floor. He would frequently talk with employees he encountered and regale them with stories of his experiences. It was something that left a strong impression on workers throughout the company,” Meissner recalled. “Jack was a great student of history, especially history expressed through paintings. His collection of American art may have been one of the world’s best. There was a time when he organized a series of art lectures for headquarters employees and gave a series of tours of the art collec8

tion. He never failed to note that he was a ‘flag-waving American’ and veteran of World War Two. It was a real learning experience and gave employees an intimate look at the man and his love for art, history and America. “Working with Jack on speeches and presentations was always interesting. We would sometimes work for days on a speech, making revisions he suggested. Then, when the presentation time came he NEVER stayed on script, because his storytelling instinct was so strong he would diverge to address a new concept. “The company motto was ‘Quality Counts.’ It was something Jack Warner took to heart. He never did anything halfway. When he got directly involved in a project it may not end up like it was anticipated at the start, but his vision always brought amazing new dimensions to the result,” Meissner recalled. Mike Case, who recently retired as

president and CEO of Westervelt Company (which Gulf States Paper became), recalled the simple philosophy that Jack used to guide the company. “He told us there were three stakeholders in the business: associates (employees), shareholders, and customers. In his opinion, the shareholders came at the bottom because if you do things right for the customer and associates, the shareholders would be satisfied,” Case said in a recent interview. Jack’s wife Susan also noted in a recent interview how Jack would allow his top aides to debate issues before he would make a final decision. “He knew most of them were brighter than he was, and he wasn’t afraid of that,” Susan Warner said. “Because of his mother, he respected strong and intelligent women. He was so confident in his own judgment and in his ability it made him a great leader. He could talk to the top level people, and also go down on the ground ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

Jack would drop everything and conduct tours, expounding on his hero George Washington.

Jack Warner, decked out in his riding apparel, in a portrait by J. Anthony Wills, a self-taught Pennsylvania artist whose portrait subjects included U.S. Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

One of Jack Warner’s favorite acquisitions, the painting by John Faed entitled Washington Taking the Salute at Trenton, which is on display at The Westervelt Company headquarters.

level and talk to the workers. “You could drop Jack in a pond and he could talk to the fish!” she added in an interview in the Tuscaloosa News after Jack passed away.

Art Collection Just as he had excelled at pretty much everything he set his hand to, Jack became one of the world’s premier art collectors, emphasizing early American art. He amassed one of the greatest privately held collections of American art, antiques and furnishings in the world. Before a 2010 tax change led to the breakup and sale of some of the larger pieces, the collection held works by Albert Bierstadt, Rembrandt Peale, Edward Hicks, Thomas Moran, Edward Hopper, Robert Henri, Edward Potthast, Charles Bird King, James McNeill Whistler, Andrew Wyeth, Mary Cassatt, James Peale, Paul Revere, Winslow Homer, Duncan Phyffe, Thomas Cole, Sanford ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

Gifford, Frederic E. Church and more. For about a decade of the early 21st century, it was all in a single building at NorthRiver, a gem known better elsewhere than in its hometown of Tuscaloosa. Graham Boettcher moved to Alabama to become William Cary Hulsey Curator of American Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art. Before coming here, all he knew about Alabama was Jack Warner. “His reputation preceded him,” Boettcher told the Tuscaloosa News. “He always had a personality larger than life, and a vision for collecting American art that matched the personality.” Well into his 90s, Jack conducted tours of the fantastic art collection he had amassed when it was housed at the Westervelt Warner Museum of American Art. With the works all housed together, they formed a densely packed side-byside display of master work, impressive beyond words.

Jack Warner with artist Basil Ede, who died in 2012. Warner commissioned Ede to paint the Wild Birds of America in a series reminiscent of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America collection. The ambition was for Ede to paint 650 birds, all life-sized. He had completed more than 90 watercolors before suffering a stroke in 1989, after which he had to retrain himself to paint using his left hand. A book of the works came out in 1991 featuring 103 color reproductions from the series. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, wrote the foreword, claiming Ede as one of the world’s greatest wildlife artists and thanking Jack Warner for initiating the project.

Even for unexpected guests, Jack would drop everything and conduct tours, expounding on his hero George Washington, relating the history of the times and regaling guests with stories about the art and the artists. Viewing video of his tours, you see the excitement and enthusiasm that animated Jack as he talked about “my children,” which is how he characterized the pieces in the collection. Susan said that with all of Jack’s creations, from the yacht and golf clubs, to the gardens near his home on Lake Tuscaloosa, he wanted to share his love of the beautiful things he had created and the art collection he had accumulated. “He told me once, ‘All I’ve ever wanted in my life was to create something beautiful, and share it,’” she said. What a wonderful legacy this vibrant and exceptional man has left for the rest of us to enjoy! s


Logging Professional Profile We believe loggers should be celebrated for the part they play in the wood fiber supply chain of keeping wood flowing to the mills.

Roger Watson By Sam Duvall

For Eufaula logger Roger Watson, the only constant in the logging business is CHANGE … Watson, owner of Echo Logging just outside of Eufaula, Alabama, has been working in the woods since he was a wee lad. “I started going into the woods when I was a little bitty fellow with my daddy and I’ve been in the wood business all of my life. My granddaddy was a logger and a sawmiller and my daddy was a logger. Daddy quit logging when I was about 14 or 15 years old and went into the moving and storage business,” Watson recalled. Although he followed his father into the logging business, unlike his dad, Roger Watson stayed with it and at the age of 71 is still doing what he has always loved to do: go to the woods and cut trees. “Mamma always said that I had too much sawdust in my shoes because no matter what, I kept on going back into logging,” he said, smiling. Market conditions, particularly starting with the Great Recession in 2007-2008, caused some loggers to downsize their operations and conform to quota systems at the mills. Roger took Echo Logging down a different track. He cuts companyowned lands exclusively, avoiding the logging quota system. “We’re working with three different companies right now. I don’t buy any of the wood that I cut. I just put it in a contract. We move about 4,000 tons of wood a week. That’s a lot of wood and there’s a lot of timber buying involved, but not by us. We cut anywhere from 150 to 175 loads a week. We moved 161 loads this last week (April 10


10-14),” Roger said. “You could make a little more money buying your own wood. But it would take two timber buyers. When you look at two pickup trucks, two salaries, and all the upfront money to buy the wood, it really ads up. When I’m through with a job, I just drive off and I don’t have to worry about having wood to cut. That’s the way I have operated,” he added. Like most other loggers, Roger had to reduce his overhead by selling some equipment, and tailoring his operation to the prevailing conditions during the years after the housing market imploded in 2008. Before the big drop off, Watson had been encouraged by the companies he worked for to expand his operations. One company agreed to watch out for him in buying the rolling stock and equipment needed to deliver 100 loads a week. “Their procurement man told me, ‘get your equipment and your trucking situated where you can haul 100 loads a week and we’ll look after you if you’ll do that.’ I started buying trucks. It was just like Christmas, we hauled the very best timber. That’s all they wanted was pine logs. I had 15 brand new trucks. I had the best rolling stock to come through this town,” he recalled. “We were hauling wood 100 miles in some cases. I had enough trucks that we could keep our production up because we had the trucking power to move the wood. For instance, we were hauling from Ramer, Alabama, to a mill in Georgia. We were moving 200 loads a week of pulpwood and logs. That was in 2007,” he said.

Survival Depends on Adaptability “When the housing market went down the lumber market went with it. We were hauling the same amount of timber, but my revenues dropped from between $8 to $10 a ton. But my overhead didn’t fall. I wrote a check for $1,100 to get someone to take three Peterbilt trucks off my yard and take over the payments. It was either do that, or make three payments a month that I couldn’t afford to make,” Watson added. ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

“But we battled back. You’ve got to change according to the markets and what’s going on in the wood business. That’s one thing that I’ve done. We’ve gone back down to four or five trucks, then when things picked back up you buy some more trucks. But you’re in constant movement; you don’t ever stay in one place for very long. You’ve got to adjust to conditions,” he added. It was Watson’s willingness and ability to make these adjustments, coupled with consistent high production that has kept Echo Logging humming along in good times and bad. Even during the rough spots, Watson’s company has done better than most. “We’ve done great. Nobody could figure out what we were doing. Everybody thought I was crazy,” he recalled. “They’d say, ‘hauling wood 100 miles, you can’t do that,’” he remembers. “But they didn’t understand what I was doing. I had my payments and insurance costs and was running all new equipment in the woods. But the secret was the volume I was doing and the way I was doing it. I had some $100,000 weeks. Now it took about $60,000 to do it. But you take $60,000 from $100,000, you’ve got $40,000. It was just volume that made the difference. We weren’t worried about payments because we were doing enough to make the payments and make money,” he said.

In the Beginning Roger Watson has always been a gogetter. In whatever he has attempted to do in his life, he has gone all in to do a good job. The one place where he had a little slippage was in schooling. “I was born in Ozark in 1945. I went to Echo (Junior High School) through the 9th grade, and then transferred to Carroll High School at Ozark for the 10th, 11th and 12th grades. I played hooky every day. I quit in the 11th grade. I told Daddy I wanted to go to work, I didn’t want to go to school,” he recalls. “So I don’t have but about an 11th grade education. I could make good grades. That

wasn’t the problem. I just had other things on my mind. I had ball playing and fishing and hunting. I just had too many things to do other than go to school,” he remembers. “The biggest mistake I ever made was not completing my education. But I’ve enjoyed life and I don’t know that I would have done it any other way,” he said. Despite dropping out of school, Roger’s strong work ethic has seen him through the ups and downs of life and allowed him to support his family: wife Judy and twin boys Chris and Craig. “Judy and I got married in June of 1966 and will have been married for 51 years this June. I guess I’m going to keep her. There aren’t many who would have put up with me for that long,” he said with a laugh. Crystal Benefield keeps things going smoothly in the office so Roger can keep things going smoothly in the woods.

Up until 10 years ago, Judy kept the company books and generally ran the office of Echo Logging. About 10 years ago, Craig’s wife Crystal Benefield took over the office chores and although she and Craig have divorced, Crystal continues to run office affairs for the company. Judy is now semi-retired. “Crystal does an outstanding job. She watches my money better than I do,” Roger says with a laugh. Mechanic Randy Fleming also does a great job for the company of keeping the machines going or fixing them when they break. Roger was an outstanding baseball player and was told by the Carroll High School Baseball coach that he was going to be the starting catcher when he started to school there in the 10th grade. But Roger declined the discipline of spring training and essentially gave up a budding baseball career. But he later played on a softball 11

Lo gger R o ger Watson

Echo Logging’s top crew, left to right, Roger Watson, Craig Watson, Randy Fleming (mechanic), Charles Walker, Ed Quarles, John McLendon and Aurthur Peterson. team in Dothan that played all over the Southeastern United States.

And Then There Were Two Perhaps more than anything, the birth of Roger’s twin boys focused his attention on what is important in life. “Me, my mother-in-law, and my sisterin-law were waiting for them to come out of the delivery room. Back then, the men didn’t go in there with the women. Well, they stayed in there and stayed and stayed. As we waited, my sister-in-law said, ‘you know, it takes longer for two.’ She actually said that, although at the time there was no way to know if they were going to be twins, or even whether they would be a boy or a girl. “Well, when we walked up to the door of the delivery room and they opened that door there was a nurse with a baby under each arm. I like to have fainted!” he recalled with a chuckle. “Times were hard back then and I didn’t know what I was going to do with one, let alone two. It cost twice as much all the way. You’ve got to buy two of everything,” he added. For all of his joshing about the boys, it is obvious that Roger is very proud of his family. “They were both very good athletes. Craig was 31 and 6 pitching in high school, at a 1-A school. They won a state championship that year in 1989. It was the first time that George W. Long High School won a state title. Craig pitched two games 12

Some of the logs being loaded by Craig Watson were so big, it was best to drag them on one at a time.

in the finals of the state playoff. The six games that he lost were to 6-A schools during the playoffs. It was the first time George W. Long High ever won a state championship. “My other boy, Chris (born about six minutes ahead of Craig), was also a good athlete. He played baseball and football, he played everything,” Roger said with obvious pride. The boys are now 47 years old. Craig works with his father in the logging business and is “one of the best loader operators I’ve ever seen,” Roger said. Chris is police officer for the city of Abbeville. “He loves that. He’d rather bust somebody with dope in Roger Watson as a budding their possession young ballplayer. than kill a buck with horns that wide (his hands spread about four feet),” Roger said. Of the two boys, Craig liked working in the woods and Chris did not, which is alright because everyone has a certain calling. But having a son working with him, means there is at least the possibility of a fourth generation of the family to carry on

the legacy of working in the woods.

Echo Logging Metrics Echo Logging has three crews. The one that Craig works on and oversees is, in Roger’s estimation, “the best most efficient logging crew that I have ever seen in all my years in the business.” Roger runs a mix of Caterpillar and Tigercat equipment, weighted toward the former. Asked when he might be interested in passing the torch, Roger said he still likes the work but at some point will want to ease back on the throttle and hand the controls to Craig if he’ll have them. “I tell everybody now, when I was young I fished and hunted and played ball. Now that I’m old, I’ve got to work to make a living,” Roger said, with a laugh. “That’s actually the truth. But I always took my work seriously. Every job that I do, I’ve tried to do it better than anybody else could do it. That’s the way I run this logging operation, I want the best. I want to do it right and I want to do a good job. But I also love production.” It is that love for the work and the zeal for high productivity that Roger wants to bequeath to his son. Of course, having another Watson to continue the legacy built by Roger, and his father and grandfather before him, would be a good thing for an industry that needs all the young blood it can get if logging is to remain one of the most vital aspects of forestry in Alabama. s ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

A Profile in Public Service Editor’s Note: This regular feature profiles an individual engaged in the political arena.

Del Marsh and the Alabama Senate, Then and Now

Del Marsh presiding over the Alabama Senate. Del has assumed the role of lieutenant governor, but not the office. He took over after then-Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey became governor when Robert Bentley resigned. All photos by Dennis Lathem

By Tom Saunders hen he woke up on November 3, 2010, Del Marsh couldn’t help but smile. The previous day was election day in Alabama and there hadn’t been one like it in 136 years! The Republican Party had just captured control of both chambers of the Alabama Legislature and swept all of the statewide races on the ballot. Prior to the 2010 elections, Democrats held a majority (20 of the 35 seats) and all the Republicans could do was muster opposition to Democrat initiatives, requiring them to maintain solidarity as a caucus. As election day approached, most political pundits felt that it was too close to call for the Republicans to gain a major-



ity in the Senate (18 seats). In order for this to happen, the Republicans would need to have a net gain of four seats. Opportunities did exist though as there were six hotly contested races in districts held by powerful Democrat incumbents and two open seats vacated by retiring Democrat members whose districts now appeared to be leaning Republican. While admittedly a challenge, Marsh knew it couldn’t happen without good candidates to run for office. “The importance of recruiting the right candidates cannot be overstated,” Marsh noted. “You can have the perfect environment and the best team in place, but if you don’t recruit the perfect person for that district you will never have success.”

Marsh First Elected in 1998 Adelbert C. “Del” Marsh was born September 2, 1956 in Wheeling, West Virginia. He moved to the Birmingham area when he was five and lived in East Lake where his father was a car salesman. Del graduated from Banks High School and realized at an early age that he had a passion for business. While attending Auburn University and pursuing a degree in industrial management, he started his first company, SportLines, detailing cars for local dealerships. When he graduated in 1980, Del sold the business for a profit. It was at Auburn where Del met his future wife Ginger, an Auburn University Cheerleader, who was born and raised in Calhoun County. On graduation they moved 13

Public Servant Del Marsh

“You can have the perfect environment and the best team in place, but if you don’t recruit the perfect person for that district you will never have success.” — Del Marsh

Senator Marsh being sworn in after his reelection in 2014 by then Lieutenant Governor, now Governor, Kay Ivey. Del’s daughter Christine holds the Bible for the swearing in.

to Anniston and Marsh went to work for his father-in-law’s chrome plating business, Industrial Plating Company. He bought the company in 1988 and diversified with Aerospace Coatings, producing refurbished aircraft parts for customers worldwide and employing over 150 workers. Marsh was first elected to the Alabama Legislature in 1998. He had no prior experience with politics but chose to run because he was frustrated that his legislative representatives didn’t understand the needs of small businessmen. When he first got into the race Del faced the daunting task of taking on powerful two-term incumbent Democrat Doug Ghee. However, during the campaign, Ghee dropped out and Marsh found himself running for an open seat. During this initial campaign, Del came to Montgomery and was introduced to the business political community at a meeting held at the AFA building. “After my first meeting with the folks at the Forestry Association I knew that this was an organization that I could work with that represented the interests of many hardworking Alabamians,” Marsh said. “Since then, I have always had a great working relationship with AFA.” Marsh was re-elected in 2002 and 2006, years in which the Republicans continued to be in the minority. “Those 12 years were tough. We had to work together as a caucus to kill as much bad stuff as we could and protect the people of Alabama from job-killing legislation,” Marsh said. “We were all on the same page which led to our spirit of excitement once we finally did get in control.”

Bombshell Roils 2010 Election

Del has been a success in business and politics because he always keeps his eye on the ball!


In October, 2010, just over a month prior to the general election, a bombshell dropped on the state of Alabama. A 39-count indictment was disclosed that identified 11 individuals, including four Alabama state legislators, three lobbyists, two business owners and one of their employees, and an employee of the Alabama legislature, all charged for roles in a conspiracy to ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

offer to and to bribe legislators for their votes and influence on proposed legislation dealing with gambling. On election day, the Republicans ended up obtaining a “supermajority” of 22 seats (giving them the numbers necessary to shut down debate) including a huge unforeseen surprise in the defeat of powerful Democrat incumbent Lowell Barron by an unknown upstart named Shadrack McGill. History was now ready to be made. While the Republican success can be attributed to many factors, including national frustration and backlash to the Obama administration and the gambling indictments, what shouldn’t be overlooked was Marsh’s role. He not only had to run his own campaign (which he won with over 60% of the vote), but was overseeing all the other senate campaigns and also served as the finance chairman of the state Republican Party. “We approached the elections like a business venture. We were responsible for raising money and were directing staff that was managing the messaging, media, and a robust ground game never before seen in Alabama,” Marsh said. Two years later, a Democrat senator would switch to the Republican Party giving the Republicans an increased margin of 23 seats. The Democrats had been reduced to 11 seats. Harri Ann Smith (an Independent) began to caucus with them, effectively giving them 12 seats, though quite a long way from the total control they had enjoyed for the previous 136 years.

AFA Was “All In” The Alabama Forestry Association was the only statewide organization that was “all in” with the Republican effort to wrest control from the Democrats. Marsh, in appreciation of the role AFA played, used the AFA Board Room to hold the first meeting of the newly elected Senate Republican Caucus. At this meeting Marsh was selected to be president pro tem and Scott Beason was chosen to head the powerful Rules Committee. “The Alabama Forestry Association


played a critical role in flipping the Alabama legislature. Without their support there were several races that I am not sure we would have won,” Marsh observed.

Reform, Reform and More Reform It didn’t take Republicans long to get down to work. Upon election, legislators take office immediately, whereas statewide officials are not sworn in until January. So, a period of time existed between the new

An avid outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman, Del smiles as he holds a nice gobbler taken during the spring season.

legislative majority taking office and the new governor (Dr. Bentley) taking office while Governor Riley served as a “lame duck.” However, Riley had no intention of sitting around twiddling his thumbs. Riley immediately called a special session during which the Legislature passed and the governor signed laws that banned Pac-to-Pac transfers, precluded “pass through” appropriations, tightened the ethics laws and the definition of lobbyists, stopped the practice of “double dipping,” gave subpoena power to the Ethics Commission, stopped the use of public funds

for election activities and, most importantly, precluded state employees from having payroll deductions for union dues and political contributions. With Riley moving on and Bentley now in the governor’s mansion, the 2011 Regular Session saw a continuance of reform legislation and included passage of the Education Trust Fund Rolling Reserve Act, repeal of the DROP program, revisions to the teacher’s tenure law, passage of tort reform measures, increased public employee pension contributions and creation of the Department of Commerce. Marsh also pushed the Senate to adopt limited government measures to merge the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Labor (2012), created the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, merging law officers from over 13 state agencies (2103), and merged all the state’s computer infrastructure into the new Office of Information Technology (2013). From Del’s perspective, his most important accomplishment was the passage of the Alabama Accountability Act of 2013, providing an opportunity for children trapped in failing school systems to obtain tax credits and scholarships to move to better schools of their choice and further legislation allowing for the creation of charter schools. “I truly believe education is the most important issue for the state legislature. As a product of the public schools system, the husband of a public school teacher and the father of two children who graduated from public schools, there is no bigger proponent of the public school system,” Marsh noted. “However I also believe that there must be accountability and that parents have the right to choose what type of education is best for their child.”

Republican Success Continues With all the changes they had made prior to the 2014 elections, the Republicans had angered the very powerful teacher’s union, the Alabama Education Association. AEA spent over $10 million


Public Servant Del Marsh in the elections trying to gain back their influence — to no avail. Alabama’s voters were apparently satisfied with their new Republican leadership, as the Senate Republican Caucus grew by an additional three members, including another unforeseen surprise in the defeat of the powerful Roger Bedford. What’s left to be accomplished by this legislature as the 2018 elections approach? “I would like to see us address infrastructure, continued downsizing in government and face the reality of making long term changes to our prison system,” Marsh said. “We’ve done some good things this year already. We’re addressing Medicaid fraud and judicial realignment, which allows us to better utilize our judicial resources and we will always be looking at ways to improve education.” So, what’s next for Del Marsh after he leaves the Senate? “We will have to wait

and see. Right now I am 100% focused on serving as the pro tem of the Senate and working on the major problems facing the hardworking people of this great state,” said Marsh. s


Senator Marsh relaxing in front of the fireplace at his hunting camp.






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Associate Member Spotlight Highlights associate members who are invaluable to AFA. Through their financial support, associate members fund AFA grassroots activities and outreach to members and prospective members. Please support our associate members. They are an integral part of the AFA family.

Southern Loggers Cooperative Working Together to Cut the Cost of Doing Business

The Southern Loggers Cooperative (SLC) is like so many other great businesses that started as an idea by a small group of nine insightful businessmen and women. n 2004 that small group from Louisiana worked together to form an independent forestry and agricultural cooperative. From that idea, we have grown today to over 2,500 members strong reaching throughout 23 states and 29 stations in seven states, stretching from Texas to Ohio, with sales approaching 38,000,000 gallons of fuel in 2016. One of the SLC’s founding members, Travis Taylor who passed away in 2014, always said, “If you want to help a logger, you have got to find a way to put something in his wallet.” He knew he had a good idea with starting a fuel cooperative since about one-third of operating expenses are related to fuel. To stay true to Travis’s mission, SLC “puts money back in our members’ wallets by not only offering fuel savings on average of .15-.20 per gallon, but we also pay every member annual dividends” stated Todd Martin, executive director/CEO. Todd went on to explain that “100% of net profits are given back to our members every year.” In 2004, the collaborative efforts of the initial group of nine opened their first fuel station in Winnfield, Louisiana. Under the guidance of the first Executive Director Clyde Todd and Chief Operating Officer Mary Todd, the SLC experienced explosive


The staff of SLC are left to right, Todd Martin, Bill Jones, Maryan Domrose, Miranda Shumate, Lisa Dubois, Jason Slatten, and Shannon Williber

“Anytime you have something that does exactly what you say it will do, it grows itself!” — Todd Martin, Executive Director/CEO


growth. By the end of 2007, the SLC had grown to four stations in Louisiana, one in Texas and was opening the first station in Alabama at Pine Hill. With the growth potential recognized in the Southeast, Bill Jones was added to the team in May 2009 serving as the assistant executive director. The formula for continued growth involves coordination of guarantors, mills, and recruitment of new members within the forestry and agricultural industries. The SLC grew from 11 stations in 2011 located in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia to expand their reach further to over 20 stations in 2012 now including locations in South Carolina and Ohio. After this record year of expansion Clyde and Mary Todd had decided they were ready to retire. The SLC board brought in Todd Martin as executive director/CEO and Jason Slatten as chief operating officer. Both Todd and Jason have prior forest management, forest operations and trucking experience. When asked how they have been able to grow so quickly and efficiently, Todd Martin’s response is “anytime you have something that does exactly what you say it will do, it grows itself!” SLC prides itself on being fair and consistent throughout their business. Not only have they grown in the number of 17

Associate Spotlight

“100% of net profits are given back to our members every year.” — Todd Martin, executive director/CEO

fuel stations and states with a powerful presence, they have also grown their membership to an outstanding level of over 2500 members in the past 13 years. From the initial core of 9 who implemented their dream to now serving over 2500, the key is staying true to their original promise of cutting costs to do business. Membership is the way to do this. As Todd states, “Anyone connected to forestry and agriculture can join Southern Loggers Cooperative.” It’s that simple! It is only $100 for a lifetime membership. No monthly or annual fees. Simply join for $100, receive


fuel savings of .15–.20 on average on every gallon purchased and receive a dividend check at the end of the year. Shannon Williber was added to the team in 2012 as executive assistant and now serves as accounting manager. In the spring of 2014 Miranda Shumate joined the staff and by the end of the year she was asked head up marketing/member relations and outside sales including the national tires program, national parts program and insurance program. Lisa Dubois also joined in 2014 serving as executive assistant, charged with monitoring fuel inventory and new membership services while Maryan Domrose recently joined in 2016 serving as accounting clerk to assist with as many as 1700 fuel transactions daily. Dennis Aucoin, the current SLC Board president and owner of Slaughter Logging located in Clinton, Louisiana, indicated that leadership from the Board members and officers have played an important role in the success and growth of the SLC. In Alabama the SLC growth can be credited to past board members Ezell Castleberry, Ricky Carnes, and Tommy Lawler, and present board members Chris Potts and Corey Martin. Also our Board members in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Ohio have shaped our footprint and are optimistic that we will continue to grow but most importantly that we will continue to “cut the cost of doing business for loggers.” In order to continue to serve our members with the prompt customer service that they have come to appreciate from us here at the SLC and with the ever growing membership, we have launched a new mobile friendly website. This new website will allow our members to find the nearest fuel station to their current location, they will be able to have access to their individual invoices, access list to vendor locations, get up to date news and sign up for our newsletters. This interactive site will serve as an added benefit to a SLC member. We invite you to stop and visit one of our Alabama locations located in Pine Hill, Lafayette, Claiborne, Cottonton, Selma, Brewton, Pennington, and Moundville. Here at the SLC we strive to always work towards our founding principal “We’re on a cost-cutting mission!” s ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

NEWS & VIEWS Alabama Tree Farm Committee

Ahh, Is that Smoke I Smell? s spring happened upon us, I couldn’t help but think of this article. Actually, I could write three or four articles on this one topic. For me, as a resource professional and avid outdoorsman, spring means SMOKE. I could talk about the smoke from a .12-gauge barrel as that ol’ tom, so majestically struts in, but perhaps we will re-visit that after April 30th. For now, I want to talk about smoke from the prescribed burn that will likely aide in luring that big gobble to where I hunt. Fire has been around and use as a management tool as far back as the day when Indians used it to manage the landscape. They used fire to improve hunting opportunities, control underbrush for access, and clear land for farming. Unmanaged, noncontrolled fire probably caused many foresters to abandon burning early on and eventually led to a national campaign of fire prevention. This thought process has also attributed to the hundreds of thousands of acres consumed by fire, particularly in the western U.S. each year. Those once wild, raging, un-tamed fires do need to be controlled, but “prescribed fire” still has a place in my toolbox. Prescribed fire is a cheap, effective tool for hazardous fuel reduction. The accumulation of pine needles, leaves, weeds, and grasses all increase the threat of destruction particularly to young stands in the event of a wildfire. Low value, poor quality hardwoods also cause problems for pine stands. Most of the time, when unmanaged by fire, hardwood species will compete for water, nutrients, and sunlight causing a pure pine stands to have overall diminished vigor. Fire is also effective as a site preparation tool to eliminate logging slash, undesirable hardwoods, and natural pine of lower quality that has seeded in to a stand. Fire can be useful in managing and reducing some diseases as well. Diseases such as brown spot needle blight as well as other fungal fruiting bodies


State Chairman

Tim Browning



Lamar Dewberry


Program Administrator

Leigh Peters


Database Coordinator

Jena Hillman


Financial Chair

Todd Langston


Awards & Recognition Chair

Nick Granger


Certification Chair

Lamar Dewberry


Tree Farmers

Dianne Saloom Felicia Dewberry

251-867-6464 256-396-0555

At Large Directors

Salem Saloom John Boutwell

251-867-6464 334-365-9221


Brigetta Giles


Capital District

Walter Cartwright


Delta District

Benji Elmore


Longleaf District

Jeremy Lowery


Mountain District

Todd Langston


Piedmont District

Amy Gaddy


Valley District

Johnnie Everitt


Vulcan District

Jason Dockery


Warrior District

Tim Browning


Wiregrass District

Nick Granger



are often consumed by fire when fallen needles or leaves are burned up. Fire improves access and the aesthetic appearance of pines as well as some hardwood stands. Timber marking and cutting access are both much easier in a well burned stand. Lastly, prescribed fire can greatly increase hunting

and wildlife viewing opportunities. Burning generally increases the yield and quality of forage. Legumes and browse from fresh hardwood sprouts provide wildlife with a preferred natural food source. Fire also creates openings for turkey dusting and bugging, as well as travel corridors. The insects and plants that return after a prescribed burn will have a much higher nutritive value and be more palatable than pre-burn vegetation. As you can tell, I like the smoke and all the benefits that follow a well-executed prescribed burn. My advice for you is get educated, get your burn permit, and get busy! Maybe we can talk about fried turkey breast over an open fire next time. Until then, gobble-gobble!

Tim Browning, RF #1874 Alabama Tree Farm Chairman 21

Green Horizons

Natural Resource Champions By Leigh Peters

The Alabama Natural Resources Council, the Alabama State Tree Farm Committee and the W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Awards Program, recently held the sixth annual Alabama Natural Resources Council Awards Banquet and Symposium. n February 17, 2017, landowners and natural resource professionals from across the state joined together to celebrate and recognize the achievements of those who have made an exemplary contribution to the management of Alabama’s natural resources. In conjunction with the award program, the Council also sponsored a pre-banquet symposium that provided interested landowners and professionals an opportunity to learn new and applied forest and land management techniques. After the reception, guests were treated to a banquet meal and program, recognizing those who have made exceptional contributions to natural resources. Before dinner was served, Chuck Sykes kicked off the evening and introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Salem Saloom. After dinner, Dr. Dick Brinker, Dean Emeritus of Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, emceed the award ceremony. Tim Browning, Alabama Tree Farm Committee Chair, and Nick Granger, Awards and Recognition Chair, presented the following Tree Farm awards:


Keynote speaker, Dr. Salem Saloom, Tree Farmer of the Year 2009

Dr. Dick Brinker, Dean Emeritus of Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, emceed the award ceremony.

Prior to the awards banquet, the Council hosted a reception where attendees were invited to visit with sponsors and exhibitors from the following organizations: Platinum Sponsor University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences Gold Sponsors Alabama State Tree Farm Committee and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee Silver Sponsors Alabama TREASURE Forest Association, First South Farm Credit, and USDA Forest Service Exhibitors Association of Consulting Foresters and Arborgen SuperTree Seedlings



Alabama Tree Farmer of the Year: Glenn and Scarlett Riley

Tree Farm Inspector of the Year: Todd Langston

Doug Link Leadership Award: Leigh Peters

Glenn and Scarlet realize that it is important to be good stewards of the land and protect it for future generations. The couple takes pride in conserving the abundant natural resources throughout their property and are constantly seeking ways to fine tune their management techniques. Their Tree Farm is an excellent example of stewardship. It is their hope that their land will continue to be a legacy that will bring forest education, recreational enjoyment, and spiritual growth for years to come. The Riley’s are a great example to other landowners, and are willing to share their knowledge and experience with all.

Tree Farm Inspector of the Year recognizes inspecting foresters with high activity over the past year, as well as activity in outreach and education. The Inspector of the Year serves as an inspiration and leader for other inspectors in the Tree Farm program. In 2016, Todd performed over 26 inspections. In addition to re-inspections, he conducted initial inspections which included field visits and the development of management plans which resulted in adding new acres to Alabama’s Tree Farm program. For the past 11 years he has served as Tree Farm Mountain District Director and is currently serving as the Finance Committee Chairman.

In her current role as Director of Landowner Programs for the Alabama Forestry Association, Leigh works with forest landowners to promote sustainable forestry practices and forest certification as the Program Administrator for the Alabama Tree Farm Program. She also serves as an Inspector and a Facilitator, training Tree Farm Inspectors across the state.

2016 Outstanding Forestry Planning Committees

North Region The Winston County Natural Resources Council

ecosystem, and reasons to consider for planting shortleaf pine on private lands. Central Region The Autauga Forestry & Wildlife Stewardship Council

This group’s most significant project for the year was conducting a Shortleaf Pine Field Day where 87 landowners gathered to learn about its silviculture and the importance of its restoration to the landscape. Shortleaf pine-related topics included its restoration on the Bankhead National Forest, its unique relationship with prescribed fire, wildlife and ecological benefits of the ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

This group offered a Landowner Field Tour with over 160 in attendance. Topics presented on the tour included Going from Kudzu to Longleaf; Hardwood Management; Nuisance Critters: Wild Hogs, Raccoons and Coyotes; Trees for

Aesthetics, Wildlife Orchards; Using Drones in the Forest; and a live Harvesting Operation: Marking Trees to Harvest Versus Operator Select. South Region The Covington County Forestry Committee

This group organized county support from local forestry and agricultural organizations and businesses, contacted


Green Horizons legislators, and obtained support from other statewide organizations that employed forestry technicians and overwhelmed and convinced school administration that keeping the Lurleen B. Wallace Forestry Technical Program was the appropriate decision and in the best interest of the school. LBW is a great source of technical forestry training in the state. Mark Smith then presented the following awards:

Central Region Recipient: Bill and Janet Dark The Pike Place of Coosa County

W. Kelly Mosley Environmental Award Major Lee Stuckey

South Region Recipient: Glen and Scarlett Riley of Henry County

Helene Mosley Memorial TREASURE Forest Awards North Region Recipient: Ronnie and Brenda Prince of Randolph County

Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop

4 days + x educators on + 40 hours continuing educati ning Lear ject Pro us + Numero Tree activities —–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

These awards began with a generous endowment to Auburn University. This endowment is used to publically recognize individuals whose activities and achievements have resulted in the wiser and better use of Alabama’s natural resources. The Alabama Natural Resource Council consists of professional educators, state agencies, federal agencies, and professional and private associations with a common goal of promoting sustainable stewardship of Alabama’s forest resources. s

Got the rainy day blues? Earn CFEs & PLMs while you wait for the sunshine.




July 10-13, 2017 Auburn, Alabama

The Hotel at Auburn University

• Learn the important role of forests for the environment and economy of Alabama. • Receive valuable classroom resources. • Earn 40 hours of CEUs (STIPD title TCW341).

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www.alaforestry.org/cfe 24


Forest Health First the Drought and then the Bark Beetles

Inset: Larva in chip cocoons

By Dana Stone, Alabama Forestry Commission


The lack of rain for several weeks during the summer of 2016 caused noticeable drought-related issues by early fall. Forest stands and residential trees were vulnerable to a range of problems. By October, wildfires were ravaging forest stands throughout the state, especially in the northern counties. In the latter part of November, however, Alabama started receiving some relief from the drought. Periodic rainfall occurred throughout the state and continued for the next several weeks. Alabama was finally recovering from the drought and problems associated with it, so we thought. Starting in December, there were reports from landowners about pines of various ages and sizes dying. Identifying the Pest Stressed, injured, or dying pines are quite susceptible to a bark beetle attack. Southern pine beetle, Ips engraver beetle, and black turpentine beetle are very common opportunistic pests of low-vigor trees. When bark beetles attack pines, numerous white to

25 25

Green Horizons The Drought

Pitch tubes

Red boring dust in bark crevices,

Ips beetles and their galleries

Black turpentine beetle

26 ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

pinkish pitch tubes on the bole are usually present. The location of the pitch tubes is based by the type of bark beetle infestation. The southern pine beetle is the most aggressive, spreading to neighboring pines as the population increases. The black turpentine beetle attacks pines on the lower 8-foot area of the trunk. The southern pine beetle and the Ips engraver beetle vector blue stain fungi into infested pines accelerating the rate of mortality. These dead pines will typify brown needles in the crown. Other less noticeable pests like root bark beetles and the deodar weevil will also attack stressed pines. The deodar weevil will commonly attack declining pines already infested with bark beetles. In some cases, the root bark beetles and the deodar weevil will create wounds that will allow fungi to enter infested pines causing additional harm.

Unfortunately, the severe drought during the summer created the condition of stressed and dying pines. Most of these affected pines died from an Ips engraver beetle infestation. Pines that appeared dead with sloughing bark in the upper area of the bole is the main symptom of a small Ips engraver beetle attack. Some of the dead pines, however, did succumb from infestations caused by the black turpentine beetle, southern pine beetle, or the deodar weevil. Many pines or stands were infested with two or more pests simultaneously. Some of the smaller affected pines died directly from complications of the drought with no noticeable sign of a pest. Pines growing on less desirable sites such as rocky shallow soils on steep slopes died rapidly from drought-related problems. Many of the larger mature pines that were already less vigorous also succumbed to a drought-related beetle infestation rather quickly. Pines that were under stress prior to the drought were most susceptible to a beetle attack. Mortality from bark beetles due to the drought is most noticeable during the first year. Even after soil moisture returns, some severely stressed trees will still be susceptible to a beetle attack several months after the drought. Nevertheless, some of these affected trees will recover from the drought, improve their vigor, and thrive as usual. The current winter climate may also impose a negative effect on the situation. Warmer than normal temperatures that resulted in the lack of consecutive cold days may not curtail beetle populations. More specifically, warmer winter days may increase the survival of overwintering insects, thus causing more generations per year resulting in a larger than normal population.

Control Methods A control recommendation for stands is based on many factors such as the identification of the bark beetle, the location of affected pines, the current timber

ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017 26

market, the landowner’s management objectives, and other related influences. The general management recommendation is to maintain tree vigor. There are insecticides that can be applied to unaffected or recently attacked pines as a preventative method, but this control activity may not be practical or economically feasible for trees in forest stands. If there are scattered dead trees on residential or commercial property, consider salvaging them for safety reasons. Identifying the pest accurately is very important when recommending a control method. The landowner should also know the economic impact of a salvage before implementing a control activity. If a pine stand is being attacked by southern pine beetles, salvage infested trees. Also, cut a buffer of uninfested pines around the circular spot to halt the spread of the infestation. For other bark beetles, take

an inventory of dead trees in the stand. If there are scattered dead pines in a rural forest, the landowner may want to leave the trees. These existing dead pines can help brood natural predators and other biological agents that are needed to offensively attack these bark beetles. If the mortality of pines in a stand is significant, then a harvest may be considered to remove sections of dead trees in the stand. However, be cautious in implementing this control activity. With a compromised root system, the use of heavy equipment during a harvest may cause additional harm and stress to residual trees. If the percentage of tree mortality is high, then a clearcut of the stand may be warranted. If pines continue to succumb a year or two following the drought, review the control options again. Implementing a thinning or a harvest of the stand at that time may be a viable management option. s

A dead pine with chip cocoon. References Caldwell, Ainsley, City of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development. Drought and Urban Trees. http://nputatlanta.org/ droughtandtrees.pdf. Kujawski, Ron, UMass Extension Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Programs. Long-term Drought Effects on Trees and Shrubs. Lipford, Robert, North Carolina Forest Service and Bill Pickens, North Carolina Forest Service. Considering Long Term Drought When Prescribed Burning. North Carolina Forest Service Technical Resource Bulletin, February, 2017, TRB-010. Vansant, C. (2006, summer). Drought and How It Affects Trees. Alabama’s TREASURED Forests, 7-9.

Tell Us Your Story!

Another Tree Farm Certified!

oes your Tree Farm have a story worth telling? Send us the story of your Tree Farm property and you could be featured in the next issue of Green Horizons. Submit your ideas to treefarm@alaforestry.org.

Longleaf District Chair and Inspector Jeremy Lowery presents a Tree Farm sign to new Tree Farmers Jeffery and Karen Knotts.



Is Your Tree Farm Information Current?

Tree Farm #:

Tree Farm County:

If not, we need to hear from you.

GPS coordinates if available:

Tree Farm Name:

Tree Farm Organization (if LLC, etc.)

Contact Name:

Contact Address:


Cell Phone:

Email: Non-contiguous tracts?  Y  N


ZIP: If yes, how many tracts?

Please return to Alabama Tree Farm Committee 555 Alabama Street Montgomery, AL 36104

27 ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017 ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017


Forested acres change?  Y


If yes, estimated forested acres:

Email: treefarm@alaforestry.org Phone: 334-265-8733

ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017 27 27

e r u t a N o t s id K g in t c e Conn Nature is a grreat teacher! Try this activ ity – it’s safe, fun, and educational. 8VH3URMHFW/HDUQLQJ7UHH® 3/7 DFWLYLWLHVWRJHWFKLOGUHQ

Tree-tective Trouble Guide



Broken branches attached

Broken branches on ground


Problems with staking

Insect feeding

Stakes bent, wires loose, t tree nott secured d

Many leaves missing or f ll off holes full h l

Trunk damaged

Dead tree

Rotten spots

Split trunk


Prrotecting Trees and Forests • Investigate g e the similarities and differen nces between an unhealthy tree and healthy trees nearb by

Hit by car or lawn mower

• Adop pt an unhealthy tree as a communitty project • Revisitt an u unhealthy tree over time to do document ocument any change or decay • Invite a tre ee expert from a garden centter or forestry departmen nt to help









F r

pt d



News & Views

Students Learn about Building with Wood on 2017 Architect Tour By Ashley Smith


ach year for many years the Alabama Forestry Association has been sponsoring a tour of wood production facilities and forestry activities, such as logging, for the students at the Auburn University School of Architecture. During the Sustainability and Forest Products Tour, students visited Structural Wood Systems in Greenville, Ala., and also a forest where employees of Resource Management Service talked about sustainability and conducted a tour at a logging operation. The group also stopped at the AFA office so they could view a good example of wood being used in an urban environment. s

Students get a close look at the wood products produced by Structural Wood Systems of Greenville, Ala.

RMS employee Jeff Green talks about forest sustainability with Auburn architect students.

Justin Stringfellow, of RMS, explains the functions of the different pieces of equipment on a logging job.

McKinley & Lanier Forest Resources, Inc. 507 Energy Center Blvd. Suite 303 Northport, AL 35473 Phone: 1 (800) 247-0041 • Fax: (205) 344-6950 www.mckinleyandlanierforestresources.com

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News & Views

Alabama Forestry Commission Picks Rick Oates as New State Forester


he Alabama Forestry Commission voted recently to select Rick Oates to be Alabama’s new state forester. Oates’ appointment was confirmed by Gov. Robert Bentley shortly after it was made the afternoon of April 3. Oates, 49, will begin his new duties on Monday, April 10. He formerly served as director of the Alabama Farmers Federation’s forestry division, was executive

director of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association and was director of the AFF’s catfish and wildlife divisions. Prior to his work at AFF, Oates served on the Alabama Forestry Association staff as director of the Alabama Loggers Council and the Alabama Pulp and Paper Council. As state forester, Oates will oversee approximately 240 AFC employees with an annual budget of approximately $22 million. Chris Isaacson, executive vice president of the Alabama Forestry Association, said of Rick’s appointment: “The Alabama

IN MEMORIAM Mr. John Robert Dudley, Sr.


ohn Robert Dudley Sr., a longtime resident of Opelika, Alabama and a major player in the wood business for many years, died on the 22nd day of April at the age of 84 at his home. John Robert and his brother, Berry, began their sawmill career in 1951 with a portable sawmill John Robert Dudley, which they had in Lee County. In 1961, the brothers decided to start a permanent sawmill. a sawmiller for life. They chose the small community of Salem in Lee County in which to build their mill. Today, Dudley Lumber Company continues on the same site. Mr. Dudley was born on June 13, 1932 in Crawford, Alabama, and was preceded in death by his parents Berry Clifton Dudley and Bertha Lane Dudley. He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Martha Jo Smith Dudley. His children are 3 daughters Linda Dudley Epperson (Virgil), Ellen Dudley Gaberlavage (Tommy) and Vicki Dudley Massingill (Joey) and 1 son John Robert Dudley Jr. Mr. Dudley also has nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Mr. Joe McCorquodale, Jr.


oseph Charles “Joe” McCorquodale, Jr. of Jackson, Ala., passed away on Monday, April 17, 2017 at the age of 96. Joe was preceded in death by his beloved wife Betty, who died in 2009 Joe McCorquodale and his lifeafter a 67 year marriage. Joe, who long secretary Kathy Brown in owned a forestry company and an Joe’s office in Jackson. insurance business in Jackson, Alabama, served 24 years in the Alabama House of Representatives, the last eight as Speaker of the House. While he served in the House, Joe was responsible for passing legislation that created the ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

Forestry Commission plays a vital role in the forestry community in monitoring forest health, protecting Alabama’s forests from wildfire, and educating landowners to enhance the forest resources of the state. Rick’s close working relationship with AFC staff over the years and his knowledge of the Commission’s activities and programs will serve him well as he steps into this important role. We will continue to work proactively with Rick and his team to ensure that AFC can effectively accomplish its mission.” s

two-year college system in Alabama. He was also the prime sponsor of bills designed to curtail rising property taxes, including the co-called “lid bill” and “current use,” so important to practitioners of forestry and agriculture. Joe was a World War Two vet who flew 22 bombing missions in a B-29 over Japan. He is survived by his sons Joseph C. “Mac” McCorquodale III (Diane) and Gaines C. McCorquodale, as well as four grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Mr. Hal Johnson Relatives and friends of Hal Johnson gathered in Grove Hill, Ala., on May 3 to pay their respects and to celebrate the life of the retired logger, who died April 30 Hal Johnson standing atop Mt. Suribachi following a period of declining on Iwo Jima, where he fought as a Marine. health. He was 94. Johnson’s career in the timber business spanned some 70-years. He was the only logger ever to serve as president of the Alabama Forestry Association (1980-81). Hal was also named Alabama Logger of the Year in 1994. A native of Mississippi, Johnson worked at his daddy’s portable sawmill before shipping out for 38 months of duty with the Marine Corps during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater with the 4th Marine Division—the ‘Fighting Fourth’— which in 13 months made four major amphibious assaults and suffered more than 17,000 casualties. After the war he returned to Mississippi and founded a pulpwood dealership that eventually took him to Grove Hill, Ala. Later, he founded Hal Johnson Timber Co., which he turned over to his son, and subsequently set up shop as Whatley Timber Co., taking in longtime foreman Billy Jackson as his business partner. Hal was admired for his gentle manner. Billy Jackson remarked to an interviewer in 1993: “If you can’t work for Mr. Hal, you can’t work for anybody.” Survivors include two sons, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 31


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Log A Load Raises $228,000 for the Kids in 2016


lthough we reported a smaller number in the last edition, Log A Load for Kids raised $228,027.08 via fundraising events held last year. The funds were divided between Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital, $198,140.19; Mobile’s Children’s and Women’s Hospital, $22,275.59; and Pensacola, Fla.’s Sacred Heart Hospital, $7,311.30. Congratulations to all Log A Load volunteers and those who took the time to attend and fund these events. These hospitals do a great job of keeping sick, injured and abused children alive.

What About 2017? Just like last year, this year’s fundraising got off with a bang with the Piedmont District annual sporting clay’s shoot taking place on April 22, 2017 at the Oaks in Lafayette. This was the first major event of 2017. The math is still being worked out on this event and will be reported once received. Contact Mandy Cain: woodchoptimber@gmail.com. Following the Piedmont event on the 22nd was the Longleaf District event at the Brewton Country Club on April 27th. Despite threatening rain, this was also very good event and well attended event. As with the first event, the numbers are still be added up. Contact Brooke Hartin with T.R. Miller at bhartin@ trmillermill.com.

Remaining 2017 Events Include: The Capital District Golf Tournament on May 16, 2017 at Lagoon Park in Montgomery. It will begin at 8:30 am with a shotgun start. For more information, contact Terry Bussey: terry.bussey@ MWV.com. The Delta District on May 18, 2017 will hold their 2017 golf event. As always, the Delta event will be held at the Deerfield Golf Club at Chatom, Ala., which is owned by event sponsors, the Chuck ALABAMA FORESTS | Spring 2017

Ray is in the bus! Sitting on a metal chair, Ray Clifton is about to shoot at the Piedmont District event, shooting a true pair (two clays launched at the same time) past the open back door of a bus. This was one of several very challenging shots! Piedmont District event chairman Mandy Cain stands with top shot Brian Brown who hit 48 out of 50 targets. Brian shot with Brown’s Commercial Tire Team, shooting in memory of Chris Adams.

Reynolds family. Contact: ksansing15@ gmail.com. The Piedmont District Golf Tournament will be held at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham June 6. Contact Jeff.gossett@resolutefp.com. 33

Log A Load Golfer sends one off the tee and toward the club house at the Longleaf District golf event at the Brewton Country Club.

Picture here is Deb Schneider, director of the CHIPS Center at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham with Suzanne Fuller, daughter of Chambers County logger Todd Fuller. Suzanne is holding her niece Adalyn Clara Cater, Kimberly Fuller Carter’s daughter.

Pretty Log a Ladies at Brewton event, from left to right, Jo Davis a counselor at the CHIPS center, Deb Schneider director of the CHIPS Center, Brooke Hartin of T.R. Miller, and Nancy Calhoun of Children’s and Women’s Hospital of Mobile.

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Discounts ◆ Steady Pricing ◆ Dividends ◆ Low Overhead ForestFund works in three ways to save you money every day. First, administrative costs are lower than any competitor. Second, ForestFund helps you control costs related to your account by investigating serious or questionable claims. Professional claims adjusters work with employers and injured workers to expedite a return to work. Medical expenses are reduced because doctors and hospitals have agreed to discounted prices for workers covered by ForestFund. Third, drug-free workplaces and Professional Logging Managers qualify for discounts. ForestFund is QRWIRUSUR¿WVRDQ\IXQGVOHIWRYHUDIWHUH[SHQVHVDUHSDLGEDFNWRWKHSDUWLFLSDQWV1RFRPSHWLWRU has ever paid a dividend. ForestFund is in its fourth decade of providing workers’ compensation cost savings for employers and employees who harvest, transport, manufacture, buy or sell forest products. Sure there are other programs that provide workers’ compensation coverage, but do they measure up to ForestFund when it comes to Stability, Savings, Service and Safety? Make the call to ¿QGRXW*HQHUDO/LDELOLW\TXRWHVDUHDOVRDYDLODEOH For a quote, call Kelly Daniel at ForestFund: (334) 495-0024

Index to Advertisers INSURANCE AFA & AFFILIATED PROGRAMS AFA Annual Meeting s alaforestry.org..................2 ForestFund s alaforestry.org...............................35 The Witherington Insurance Group AGRICULTURAL LENDING s witheringtoninsurance.com ......................34 Alabama Land Banks Associations s AlabamaAgCredit.com.................................4 LANDOWNERS (COMPANIES, INDIVIDUALS & TRUSTS) First South Farm Credit – South Division s firstsouthfarmcredit.com...........................30 Westervelt Company s westervelt.com ..............30 LOGGING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATES Alabama Living s alabamaliving.coop ...............19 Black Sheep Woodlands s blacksheepwoodlands@yahoo.com ...............36 CONSULTANTS—FORESTRY Mid-Star Timber Harvesting, Inc. F&W Forestry Services s fwforestry.net..............36 s midstartimber.com....................................32 McKinley & Lanier Forest Resources, Inc. s mlforestresources.com............................29 SEEDLINGS Silvics Solutions s silvics.com .............................34 ArborGen LLC s arborgen.com............................36 International Forest Company DEALERS – WOOD SUPPLIERS s internationalforest.co.........Inside Back Cover Choctaw Land & Timber Meeks’ Farms & Nursery s choctawlandandtimber.com......................29 s meeksfarms-nurserys.com ...Inside Front Cover Weyerhaeuser s weyerhaeuserseedlings.com....30 FORESTRY EDUCATION Whitfield Farms & Nursery Alabama Forests Forever s whitfieldpineseedlings.com ......................32 s alaforestry.org ...........................................20 Forestry Continuing Education SAWMILL s alaforestry.org/cfe .....................................24 Louisiana Pacific s LPCorp.com...........................32 Project Learning Tree s plt.org............................28 TCW Workshop s alaforestry.org.........................24 SPECIALTY SERVICE PRT s PRT.com....................................................16 FOREST PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS Cooper/T.Smith s coopertsmith.com .....Back Cover UTILITIES Jasper Lumber Company s jasperlumber.com ....32 Southern Loggers Cooperative s southernloggers.com.................................18

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