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Winter 2017


Keville Larson: A life in Consultation Chris Potts: Logging for Half a Century Jo Bonner: Dedicated to Public Service IFCO: Helping Grow Trees for 40 Years


W i nter 20 17 | Vo l um e 61 | Nu m b er 1

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 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

Delta District Golf Tournament at Deerfield




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

FEATURES Timber Titan Keville Larson



Logger Chris Potts


Jo Bonner


Focus on International Forest Co.


In Memoriam: Fran Whitaker



Especially for our tree farmers/landowners: 23

Green Horizons



From the Executive Vice President

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


Dean’s Notebook


Log A Load Update


Wildlife & Outdoors


Advertisers’ Index


ON THE COVER LaFayette Logger Chris Potts smiles as he exits his Tigercat cutter. Chris has been logging for almost 50 years and loving every minute of it. See story page 13.





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


From Executive Vice President

The First 100 Days: Buckle Up and Hold On! riginally coined by President Franklin Roosevelt, “the first 100 days” has come to measure the successes and accomplishments of a president during the period of his term when his power is the greatest. If the first seven days of the new Trump administration is any measure: BUCKLE UP AND HOLD ON! During his first week, President Trump has: ended the Trans Pacific Partnership, signaled his intent to renegotiate NAFTA, announced his intent to complete the wall along the US’s southern border, stepped up deportation of illegal immigrants and ordered the review of regulations impacting American manufacturers with the intent to lessen the regulatory burden. Like many candidates before him, President Trump talked about these actions during the campaign. But, unlike most, he is making good on those promises. In addition to these actions, President Trump has ordered agencies to freeze action on all recently adopted and pending regulations to give his team an opportunity to review and either rescind or revise 11th hour actions taken by the Obama administration. Among these rules, the White House has suggested the need to “eliminate” both the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Also discussed is the need to end “closed door settlements” between plaintiff groups and



friendly federal regulators as a means to bypass the policymaking process. So what will all these changes mean to forestry and the forest products industry in Alabama? The truthful answer is, “I’m not sure”—at least not yet. What I am sure of, however, is that the changes being ushered in by President Trump’s “America First” policy will impact our industry on many fronts. Following are 3 key areas that I’m watching: Trade—President Trump’s early actions indicate he plans to take a hard line on trade issues to ensure U.S. industry and workers are not harmed. This stance may cut both ways for the forest industry. Decreased imports may mean stronger domestic markets for U.S. goods but it might also result in retaliatory actions that drive up the cost of exports, making them less competitive. The softwood lumber dispute between Canada and the U.S. is one example of a trade issue that will likely be impacted. From 1995-2015, Canadian-produced lumber held an average 31% market share. For context, a 1% market share equals 500 million board feet. As a result, even a small shift in market share can have broad impacts both in the U.S. and Canada. Regulatory Reform—President Trump’s cabinet appointments (Jeff Sessions – Justice, Scott Pruitt – EPA, Ryan Zinke – Interior and Andy Pudzer –

Labor) portend a significant slowdown if not reigning in of the federal overreach we have witnessed over the last 8 years. His January 30th “Two-forOne” executive order requiring agencies to eliminate two regulations for every one it promulgates reinforces this shift. Although it is unclear exactly how this will be implemented,

Chris Isaacson

“The changes being ushered in by President Trump’s “America First” policy will impact our industry on many fronts.” any change that drives down compliance costs will improve the economic outlook for our industry. Tax Reform—This topic has been on the Republican Congress’s agenda for several years but with an Obama administration there was little hope of passing anything of substance. President Trump, however, has clearly stated he supports reform of our tax system, although there is little agreement about the specifics. This may be a mixed bag for forestry. A reduction in corporate and/or personal tax rates and a simplification of the tax code would be a plus. On the minus side, reform may include the elimination of deductions, credits, or other rules favorable to companies and landowners. You may recall that we were in full defense mode several years ago to prevent deductions for

timber growing costs, capital gains treatment for timber sale revenue and deduction/amortization of reforestation costs from being targeted by Congressman Camp in his tax reform proposal. Based on President Trump’s cabinet selections and some of his early actions, I have great hope that the business climate in the U.S. is about to change for the better. Hmmm.… HOPE…CHANGE…has a nice ring to it. That might be a good slogan: HOPE and CHANGE. On second thought, I think that’s already been taken. Perhaps we could use “HOPE and CHANGE version 2.0.” At this point, I have far more questions than I have answers. One thing I know for sure, however, business as usual inside the Washington Beltway is being turned on its head and CHANGE is coming. STAY TUNED. s 3

It’s more than your land. It’s your legacy. We respect your land as much as you do. That’s why so many landowners choose us as their partner when selling timber. Our network of professional foresters will work directly with you to develop a sustainable harvest plan that achieves your timber management objectives now and in the future. Our timber procurement program is rooted in sustainability and respect. Call us now. Ben Smith Region Supply Manager Mahrt Region 334.855.5627 ben.smith@westrock.com westrock.com

Dean’s Notebook

Preparing Forestry Students for the Biobased Economy he biobased economy, which includes wood processing, construction, chemicals & energy, bioplastics, and packaging, will be our next economic wave. By contributing over $21 billion dollars, the forest production and processing industry is already a significant player in the economy of Alabama. With several other wood-related industries on the horizon, its impact on the state’s economy and employment will grow further. For example: l Between 2010 and 2015, wood pellets consumption grew from 16 million tons to 37 million tons (more than 100% increase). By 2020, it is expected to grow to 59 million tons. l The use of cross laminated timber (CLT), a newly-engineered wood product, in mid-and-high rise residential and non-residential constructions, is on the rise. Although it was initially developed in Europe, it is now gaining attention in North America and other countries. For example, the nation’s first all-CLT hotel was built on the site of a former Army troop barracks at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. At the 2016 Association of Consulting Foresters’ National Conference in Mobile, Alabama, Michael Green, an architect from Vancouver, encouraged architects, engineers and designers to demonstrate economic and environmental benefits of using CLT for tall and large buildings. l Packaging is the third largest industry in the world. With an annual growth of 4%, this industry is booming even during times of economic decline. In a few years, it is expected to become a trillion dollar industry, inspiring several forward looking forest product companies



to expand their operations in packaging and cardboard. Furthermore, since 30% of municipal waste comes from packaging, there is a growing preference for biodegradable wood-based packaging. l Wood-derived polymers, specialty chemicals and novel materials also play a key role to the success of a bio-based economy. Nanocellulose materials such as nanofibrils and nanocrystals offer a great promise for high added

Dean Janaki Alavalapati, Auburn University

Alabama is poised to be the go-to place for high quality materials that will be needed to support the growth of current and emerging industries. value applications. Such applications range from tissue engineering, active ingredients carriers, stabilizers for emulsions and coatings, as well as polymer reinforcing agents and biobased packaging materials. l Traditional forest products production will continue to grow and is still one of the largest industries within the state. It is anticipated that emerging industries will open the door for other substitute or complimentary products such as composite lumber and oriented strand board in non-residential construction. Fire resistance is currently a hurdle for many of our conventional forest products, but innovations in fire resistant chemicals will be useful in opening new possibilities. l Our resource availability has reached new levels with a growth to harvest ratio of 1.5 in our state. This means that for every tree harvested, 1.5 trees are being grown. As such, the state of Alabama is poised to be the go-to place for high quality materials that will be

needed to support the growth of current and emerging industries. Our market research and personal inquiries with a range of stakeholders suggest that the demand for graduates to support biobased industries is expected to grow. Therefore, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS) has developed a proposal to create a new undergraduate degree program in sustainable bioproducts. By working with Auburn’s College of Agriculture, College of Engineering, College of Architecture, Design, and Construction, and College of Business, this program is aimed at providing students with the knowledge, expertise, and hands-on experience in (1) biomass production, harvesting, transportation and other logistics; (2) biomass processing and products/packaging development and testing; and (3) business marketing and sustainability. Assuming the proposal approval process goes forward as expected, we hope to have this new degree program by the fall 2018! 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 Keville Larson.

Keville Larson Baptism in Forestry Came from both Branches of the Family Tree By Sam Duvall

Keville Larson, a longtime member and past president of the Alabama Forestry Association (1993-94) made his career as a leader in forestry consulting for over half a century by following the path cleared by his forebears who adopted sustainable forestry practices before sustainable forestry was cool. hat path carried Keville through a long and illustrious career. Although he retired as owner of Larson and McGowin in Mobile, Barrett and Alexander McCall, who bought the firm from Keville in 2002, maintain an office for him at company headquarters in Mobile. “I come to the office or go to the woods nearly every day,” he said. In addition, Keville also loves conducting prescribed burns and other management activities on his or his family’s properties. And although officially retired, Keville Larson is still listed at the top of the “management team” for Larson & McGowin. Through his long life as a consulting forester in an industry that has seen substantial ups and downs, Keville has kept his keen sense of humor and a healthy aversion to government


The big one that didn’t get away. Keville with a nice catch on a fishing trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin.



intrusion into the lives and forests of private landowners who own most of the timberlands in the U.S. Southeast. In particular, Keville loves poking fun at politically correct environmentalists who blather on about “green” this and “organic” that. “In Mobile my longleaf is all naturally regenerated, I haven’t planted anything. So I’m going to advertise them as ‘free range, non-GMO, organically grown pine trees,’” he said, with a laugh, adding, “Hey, they’re just growing where they want to grow, and they are free!” Despite his easy manner and humorous outlook, Keville Larson is a true believer in keeping the government footprint on privatelyowned forests as small as possible. It is a conviction he got honestly from his family and from his years working in the woods as a practicing forestry consultant.

The McGowins, left to right, Earl, Nick, Estelle, Floyd and Julian. Below: Young Keville Larson, his hand on the tiller, sailing with two childhood buddies. Inset: Keville Larson as a wee lad.

In the Beginning Was the Family Keville’s father, also named Keville, but known as “Keve,” was a longtime executive with Weyerhaeuser. Keville’s mother, Estelle, was sister to the four McGowin brothers, Earl, Floyd, Julian and Nick, who ran the McGowin family sawmill (W.T. Smith Lumber Co.) at Chapman, Alabama for over 50 years. For their era and time, these men and their sister were extremely well educated. Earl was a University of Alabama Keville Larson’s dad, affectionately graduate, a Rhodes known as “Keve,” in his office at Scholar and Oxford Weyerhaeuser Company. University graduate. His brothers Floyd, Julian and Nick, nephew Greeley and grandnephew Peter, all attended Oxford University. So when it came to education and culture, the McGowin family had a very deep bench. The McGowin brothers, their sister Estelle and mother Essie ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

Proud Papa Keville Larson sits with his daughter Jessica (left) and his two granddaughters (Jessica’s girls), Catherine (next to Jessica) and Lillian. To the right of Keville is his beloved wife Weezie and son Christopher.


Timber Titan Keville Larson

The Essential Keville Larson Keville Larson, like his good friend the late Harry Murphy who co-founded Resource Management Service in Birmingham, started out as a consulting forester when the profession was vaguely recognized but just starting to catch on industrywide as a major element in the practice of forestry. Because of his grit and hard work, Keville received numerous awards and recognitions over the year. One of the greatest acknowledgments came in 2007 when he received the Forest Landowners Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. This is not an annual award, but is given “to those who have given a lifetime of service to private landowners and to the FLA.” Keville has been a member of the FLA for almost 60 years, served on its board of directors, and held several offices, including president. Other groups and/or boards on which Keville has served includes: • President and Board Chairman of the Alabama Forestry Association (President, 1993-94). • Association of Consulting Foresters. • Forest Industries Committee for Timber Valuation and Taxation. • Forest Farmers Association. • Society of American Foresters. • Alabama Forest Resources Center, Inc. • Practicing Foresters Institute Trust. In addition to his engagement in a broad range of forestry-related organizations, Keville also has been served his community, particularly in the arts the penchant for which he picked up from his mother Estelle. He served such groups as Greater Mobile Concerts, Inc., the Mobile Symphony and the Allied Arts Council of Metropolitan Mobile. He has also worked with the City of Mobile Museum and the Rotary Children’s Foundation.

Stallworth McGowin also played a plethora of musical instruments, often performing chamber music to the delight of guests at the family home at Chapman. The McGowins’ music teacher was a fellow named Georges Ryken, a distinguished Dutch musician who traveled

from Montgomery to bring music lessons to the McGowins. Once asked, “how well do the McGowins play chamber music?” Mr. Ryken respond, “For sawmill men, not bad!” The McGowin brothers and Estelle were the children of Greeley and Essie McGowin. Greeley was roughhewn and largely self-educated while Essie was outstanding in musical affairs in Alabama and director of the National Federation of Music Clubs. Greeley brought the business acumen and strong work ethic to the family business; Essie brought culture to their home. Greeley and his brothers had bought W.T. Smith Lumber Company at Chapman in the early 1900s. The “lemon” which W.T. Smith told his lawyer he had unloaded on the McGowins was in fact a diamond in the rough that the McGowins turned into one of the largest, most successful sawmills in the United States. The family bought the company in 1905 and sold it, and tens of thousands of acres of affiliated timberlands, to Union Camp in the 1960s.

A Double Dose of Forestry So Keville’s place in forestry was anchored both by his mother and his father. The elder Larson created the pulp 8

and paper division at Weyerhaeuser and worked for the company 35 years before retiring as vice president. Keville acknowledges this dual forestry connection by joking that he “got propaganda about growing trees from both parents!” Being an accomplished musician, Keville’s mother wanted to impart her love of music to her son. But while he soaked up a love of forestry, Keville never took to seriously playing music. “My mother was a strong pianist,” Keville said. “She wasn’t a professional, but she did play two piano and solo concerts in various places including Alabama and New York. She gave me piano lessons, and violin lessons, and cello, recorder, bass, everything. It didn’t take as far as making me a musician. But it put me in a position of being able to appreciate music. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of my community service in Mobile supporting the opera, symphony and MOJO (Mobile Organization of the Jazz Obsessed).” Keville also started a soccer club and played until he turned 60 (“needed to save my knees for walking in the woods”) and has enjoyed a lifetime of boating and sailing. In another early familial connection, Keville’s dad met Earl McGowin while also attending Oxford University in England. “My father was a Rhodes Scholar in the same year as Earl. They went over to England on the boat together and became good friends. One time, when my mother was in college she was going to go up through Chicago and my father lived up in that area at the time. So Earl called and asked him to give her ‘some help getting around’ and that’s how my father and mother got together,” Keville recalled.

Other Familial Connections But the connection between the two families most related to Keville Larson’s career as a consulting forester, goes back to when his uncle Julian McGowin formed a partnership with L.K. Pomeroy in 1938 to start Pomeroy & McGowin, one of the first “forestry consulting” companies in America. ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

Keville in the tent he called home for part of his time in college.

Far left: The late Harry Murphy, brandishing a shillelagh beneath a nice epitaph supplied by his good and fellow consulting forester Keville Larson. Keville with one of the many student groups he has instructed over the years.

In 1957, a subsidiary of the original company was established and named Pomeroy & McGowin Forest Service Company. It had been Mr. Pomeroy who sold the McGowins on consolidating their sawmilling operations into a single large mill and employing select cutting at Chapman. “He came down and showed them. He said, ‘look, shut down outlying mills you are running and then you can run your main mill forever.’ With this advice, the McGowins started on that kind of a ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

program,” Keville said, adding that they also started selective cutting of mature timber, leaving the less mature trees to grow and regenerate the land naturally. “With the cost of railroad logging [which the McGowins perfected] you couldn’t afford to leave anything standing. But once they started to make roads and switched to trucks to haul wood, they would say, ‘we’re going to thin this, take a third of the volume, then come back 10 years later and take another third.’ This let them start managing more sustainably,”

Keville said. This was also a far cry from the “cut out and get out” days prevalent as the McGowins transitioned their company to sustainable forestry.

After Graduation, Keville Picks Forestry During five of the six summers in Keville’s college career, he worked in the woods in Wisconsin; Chapman, Ala.; Sweden; France and forestry summer camp in Connecticut. But his undergraduate work covered a broad area as he reviewed possible tracks he might take for a career. After 9

Timber Titan Keville Larson earning a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, Keville’s education culminated in a master’s degree in forestry from the Yale University Forestry School in 1961. In 2000 he enjoyed being a visiting fellow and teaching a course at Yale on Understanding and Working with Private Forestlands. Once he completed his studies at Yale, Keville moved to Mobile and joined the firm of Pomeroy & McGowin in 1961. A short time later, Keville married his wife of 53 years, Eloise Echols of Greenville, whom everyone affectionately calls “Weezie.” They have a son Christopher who lives in Austin, Texas, and works in computers and a daughter, Jessica Larson Little, who works at Larson & McGowin, coordinating ad valorem tax processing for large timberland management clients. Jessica is mother to the Larsons’ two granddaughters, Catherine, 15 and Lillian, 12. Christopher also got his start working with computers at Larson & McGowin. “Weezie was a schoolteacher in Birmingham before we were married, which took place exactly one year after I started work for the company,” Keville noted. “She joked that I had been married to my mistress a year longer than to her! Of course, the family not only tolerated, but greatly supported my relationship with that ‘mistress.’” In 1969, Julian and Keville separated the Mobile office from Pomeroy & McGowin and changed the name to Larson & McGowin, which it retains today. Under Keville’s leadership, the company expanded from three employees to more than 20. He sold the company to Barrett McCall and Alexander McCall (not related) in 2002. The company is headquartered in Mobile with three other branch offices in Alabama and one each in Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia, and has been recognized as a leader in forestry consulting for many years, offering a broad array of

Over five decades and millions of acres of experience www.larsonmcgowin.com Main Office: Mobile, Alabama / 251.438.4581


services to forest landowners. When asked about the future of forestry consulting, Keville responded: “I think there’s always going to be a need for forestry consulting. It has always been a specialized field and has become highly technical. When I sold the company to Barrett and Alexander, they were both more business oriented than I was. I was old school traditional forestry. They bought a software company and they’ve developed all sorts of new things. They are up on all the latest technology. So I think the consulting business, while it’ll change based on circumstances, will always be needed.” Keville has two worries about forestry going forward. The first is government intrusiveness which just makes it harder and harder to strategically and profitably manage land. The other worry is that a whole lot more wood is being grown than is being used. “We’ve had a timber famine for part of our history. Now it’s gone in exactly the opposite direction to a timber glut. I’m curious about how long this is going to last because if it continues it could put pressure on private landowners to the point they might need to find other ways to get some return, like recreation or growing other crops,” Keville said. “But still, private ownership and management is extremely healthy and wood holds great potential from the chemistry and nanotechnology side to mass timber panels and other products and uses. I believe through adapting and innovating, we’ll figure out how to adjust to changes. I’m still very positive about the future,” he added. That’s good to hear from a man who learned forestry from both branches of the family tree and used his knowledge to help landowners successfully grow and manage trees for well over half a century! s Keville Larson (center) and several fellow forestry students at the Yale Forestry Camp in Arkansas.


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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.

Chris Potts A Logger for Almost 50 Years & Loving Every Minute of It By Sam Duvall

When LaFayette logger Chris Potts went to work right after high school, he chose an inside job at a plant that made tires in Opelika where he worked for four years. But it didn’t take Chris that long to figure out that working inside was not his cup of tea. o, Chris did what he had been conditioned to do as a child, he went to work logging with his granddaddy, W.P. “Bill” Barber. Mr. Barber ran a sawmill in Chambers County and logged for many years. “When Granddad was a peckerwood sawmiller, I would go over there as soon as I got home from school and work at the mill. I’d carry strips and slabs a lot of time in the evenings and watch them work. They used to snake logs with a mule. He used to move the mill from place to place. But he finally set it up on his property, and his loggers would bring the logs to the mill,” Chris recalled. Chris attended Five Points High School. He played baseball and basketball. The school did not have a football program or he would have played that as well. When Chris graduated from high school in ’64, he went to work for Uniroyal until the four walls of inside work started closing in on him.


Chris Potts’s beloved grandfather, Bill Barber.

Chris with youngest grandchild Pearl.

Just Couldn’t Stand Being Inside “I just couldn’t stand being inside. So I went to logging with my granddaddy in 1968. We were a threeway partnership with Mike, my older brother, and me getting a third each of the profits and Granddad getting a third. Then our grandfather got out of the business, and we ran it. We went to short wood logging until 1980. That’s when East Alabama Lumber Company started taking tree length logs. We then went to cutting tree length logs and pulpwood and I’ve been doing it ever since,” said Chris. ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017


Logger Chris Potts

Chris Potts in Brief One thing that stands out about Chris Potts is his lifelong involvement as a leader in both the logging and forestry communities and in his local community. This is a brief listing of current and past positions to which Chris has devoted his time and resources: • President-owner of Potts Logging, Inc. • Chairman, Board of Trustees, Penton Church of God, LaFayette. • 2002 Alabama Logger of the Year (Potts Brothers Logging, Inc.) • Chairman of the Alabama Loggers Council. • Board member of American Loggers Council. Serves on Executive Committee. Was Secretary/Treasurer, now 2nd Vice President. Will be President in 2019. • Board Member of Alabama Forestry Association. • Member, Vice President, Gideons International, Chambers County Camp. • Board Member of Southern Loggers Cooperative. • Member of Independent Logging Contractors of Alabama. • Served as Board Member of Chambers Academy, LaFayette. • Served as District Director of Piedmont District, Alabama Loggers Council. • Served on WSRI Committee. • Member of the ForestPAC Board of Directors • Appointed by then-Gov. Bob Riley to serve on Forestry Study Committee.

It is probably unusual in the everchanging wood industry, but Potts Logging (and Potts Brothers before that) has logged continuously for East Alabama Lumber Company since 1977. It was formerly owned by Byron Welch and since 2000 it has been owned by Dudley Lumber Company. That’s where they take their saw timber. Pulpwood is hauled to IP at Rome and Whitesburg, Ga. Some pine and hardwood pulpwood is hauled to Kronospan at Ohatchee and also to IP in Prattville. They also take some of their pulpwood to Resolute Forest Products at Talladega Chip and Jacksons Gap. “All of our logs go to East Alabama. We pretty much take our pulpwood wherever they want us to go with it, depending on where we are cutting,” Chris said. The only deviation from the company taking their saw logs to East Alabama came in 1992 when the sawmill burned to the ground. Fortunately, the late Jamie Miller, a West Point, Georgia, wood yard owner, “kept us cutting logs and hauling pulpwood. I’ve always thought a lot of Jamie for helping us out until East Alabama could rebuild,” Chris noted. It was in 1988 that Chris and Mike incorporated Potts Brothers Logging and they worked together until March of 2016 when Mike officially retired and Chris subsequently bought him out, changing the name of the firm to Potts Logging, Inc. Potts Logging runs all Tigercat equipment

for cutting, skidding and loading. The lone exception for his woods machines is the Komatsu dozier used to build roads. Having started on his lifelong career in logging in 1968, Chris has been working and doing what he loves for 48 years. The only longer commitment he has is to his beautiful wife Sheila with whom he will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on February 11, 2017. So Chris has enjoyed half a century with his first love, Sheila and his boys, and just about as much time with his second love, logging.

When Chris Meets Sheila Asked how he and Sheila met, Chris recalled, “Actually, we met in her front yard. My cousin and I were riding around in my car. He was dating a classmate of Sheila’s and knew that his girl was over at Sheila’s home. We stopped over there and Sheila and I met right there in her front yard in Penton, not far from the church where we got married. “We’ve got two sons, Brian and Greg, and five grandchildren. Brian has two boys, Trent and Trevor. Greg has two girls and a boy: Ginger, Jep and Pearl. Pearl’s the baby. Now, she’s a sight!” He said smiling. Chris proudly shows off a photo of him holding Pearl on the seat of one of his Tigercat skidders. In addition to forming a strong marriage bond, Chris and Sheila Potts are also a strong business team. Since her husband

Far left: Chris and Sheila have been together for 50 years. Center: Chris and Sheila Potts’s grandchildren, top row, L to R, Pearl, Trent, Trevor and bottom, Jep and Ginger. Right: Proud papa Chris with sons Brian (left) and Greg. 14


Far left: Standing in front of a brand new Tigercat skidder is Potts Logging’s crew, from left to right, Walter Hudson, Tim Sanders, Billy Wayne Holloway, Brian Potts (Chris’s son) and Boss man Chris Potts. Potts Logging truck driver Phillip McCarley. They call him Bonz and Chris says he gets the job done come rain or come shine! started logging, Sheila has kept the books and run the business end of the company; something she continues to do today. In addition to keeping the company’s financial affairs in order, Sheila worked for 30 years for the USDA Rural Development program, retiring in 2004, proving her skills in juggling a career, keeping the books for the logging company and caring for a growing family. In addition to all of the above, Sheila also continues to go to the woods once a month to hold safety meetings with Potts Logging employees. So Chris’s chance meeting with Sheila at her home 50 years ago was fortuitous, giving him a beautiful wife, a very capable business partner and homemaker to boot. “I couldn’t make it without her,” Chris acknowledged. “She’s good. She keeps me straight on everything!” Chris’s son, Brian, works for East Alabama Lumber Company, cruising timber and assessing tracts for merchantability. Son, Greg, is an account manager for an IT company called TekLinks in Birmingham.

What about Another Generation for Potts Logging? Of course, talking about family always brings up the possibility of passing the logging company baton to a third generation of the Potts family. Chris said he brought both sons to logging jobs when they were youngsters and they both loved the work. Brian chose a field that keeps him in the woods, often working areas alongside his father. About 10 years ago, Chris went to Mr. Bob Dudley, president of East Alabama ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

One of Potts Logging’s two military “pullout” trucks hefting a load of fine logs up the hill on a site in Texas, Georgia. Lumber Company, and told Mr. Dudley he wanted to hire his son Brian to work for Potts Brothers Logging. After ruminating over it for a while, Mr. Dudley told Chris that he couldn’t do without the work that Brian does for East Alabama. Chris took great pride in the assessment by Mr. Dudley who soon gave Brian a raise to show his appreciation for the job he was doing for East Alabama. Still, Chris is interested in keeping the company in the family and has talked about that with Brian and Greg. “They have expressed an interest,” Chris said, with a smile. “So we will see how it goes.” But in the immediate future, Potts Logging is all about Chris Potts and the crew he has assembled to keep the family tradition

going. On the day of this interview Potts Logging was cutting a nice spread of 30year-old pine on Georgia land owned by Hancock Timber Resource Group. Having logged for almost 50 years, Chris was asked if he might do it another 50 years before retiring, prompting the 71-year-old logger to quip, “Something like that!” “I’m going to work as long as I’m able. I love it, or I wouldn’t be doing it. I just love it,” he said, gazing around the large tract of timber his crew was harvesting in undulating hills near Texas, Georgia. By eschewing the confinement of inside work 48 years ago Chris Potts discovered the second great love of his life and has never looked back. In doing so, he built a fine legacy for himself and his family! s 15


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

Josiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr. A Down-to-Earth Public Servant

By Tom Saunders osiah “Jo” Robins Bonner, Jr. is probably best known to the world at large for having served southwest Alabama in the U.S. Congress for over ten years. However, to those who know him best, he will always be “Jo” and remembered as a down-to-earth public servant who worked tirelessly for his constituents without the arrogance that sometimes accompanies public officials of his stature. Born in Selma (raised in Camden) in 1959 to Josiah Robins Bonner, Sr. and the former Imogene Virginia Lyons, Bonner has never forgotten his Wilcox County roots. Home already to several Alabama political giants, United States Senator Jeff Sessions (soon to be the next U.S. Attorney General) and Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey, it should have come as no surprise that Wilcox County would also birth a congressman. Bonner’s immediate family includes his sister, Judy, who retired last year as the 28th president of the University of Alabama, and a brother, Jim, who now resides in Camden after a career that included working for MacMillan Bloedel and James River Paper. The three of them collectively own and manage their land holdings in Wilcox



County. The land was originally acquired by Jo’s father. “After World War II, my father and his two brothers believed that owning land was not only a wise investment decision but also allowed them to become shareholders in helping their community and county grow and prosper,” Bonner said. “We try to carry on that tradition today.” Their timberland is managed by Jimmie Travis with Wilco Timber Company. Bonner is also proud to be a member of the Alabama Forestry Association. “Being a member of AFA is important to me. It is not only one of the most respected organizations in the state that does incredible work on behalf of private landowners, but AFA does so much, often behind the scenes to promote proper stewardship of Alabama’s forestlands, the vast majority of which are owned by Alabama families,” Bonner said. As a student at the University of Alabama, Jo got his first taste of politics when he ran for president of the Student Government Association and came in third. He graduated from UA in 1982 with a degree in journalism and two years later began working as press secretary in former State Senator Sonny Callahan’s first campaign for Congress. Callahan won the nomination to replace retiring 17

Public Ser vice Profile Congressman Jack Edwards and took Bonner with him to Washington. A few years later, Bonner was elevated to chief of staff. After the birth of their daughter, Lee, Jo and his young family moved back to Mobile in 1997 where he became one of only a few chiefs of staff who lived in their congressional district. In early 2002, Callahan announced that he would not be seeking re-election to Congress and it did not take long for Bon-

Bonner led the primary with 40% of the vote and Young, receiving 20%, finished second. In the runoff Bonner prevailed with 62% of the vote and went on to defeat both a Democrat and Libertarian candidate in the general election, with over 60% of the vote. “Looking back, with the strong support of both Congressman Callahan and Edwards, we were extremely blessed. All of the others who ran that year were

BP Oil Spill in 2010 were major disasters that he had to address that impacted his district. All of them required significant interaction with the federal government to address the rebuilding that would be required to make the district functional again. “The oil spill was an extremely scary and trying experience. Early on, we didn’t know if the leak had been fully contained. All we knew was that oil was washing up on our beautiful beaches. We had an issue

Jo Bonner (right) surveys Hurricane Ivan damage on the Alabama Coast with President George W. Bush (center) and U.S. Senator Richard Shelby.

Jo at a Washington D.C. luncheon hosted for Monroeville native Harper Lee after she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Bush at the White House in 2007.

Jo and his family: left to right, daughter Lee, wife Janée, son Robins and Jo, celebrate his re-election to Congress in 2004.

ner to announce he would run for his former bosses seat. “Initially, I didn’t know whether or not we could win, but I was sure we could hit the ground running on day one if we were fortunate enough to win. So many wonderful people literally came out of the woodworks from all over Southwest Alabama, many of them prominent AFA members, to help us,” Bonner said. The field for the election quickly became crowded as many prominent Republicans joined the race. Tom Young, chief of staff to U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, then-State Senator Albert Lipscomb, then-State Representative Chris Pringle, current Alabama State Senator Rusty Glover and then-Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone sought the coveted spot. Between Callahan and his predecessor, Jack Edwards, the First Congressional District had only been represented by two men in over 38 years.

friends; any one of them would have made a good congressman. But we took nothing for granted and once the votes had been counted, we did just what we’d promised we would do by keeping our great staff together and immediately began serving the people of South Alabama with the promise to always serve with honor, integrity and humility,” Bonner noted. Bonner would win re-election five times before resigning from office in August of 2013, eight months into his sixth term. His 2012 election was probably his most difficult as he faced significant opposition from three “Tea Party” candidates including Dean Young whom received support from a national super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability. In spite of this opposition, Bonner won the primary with 56% of the vote. His tenure in Congress included many significant challenges. Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the

that literally was affecting the livelihoods of a majority of the district and I was keenly aware that they were relying on me to do the best we could for them,” Bonner said. Bonner was widely acclaimed for his constant challenges to Ken Feinberg, the government appointed administrator of the BP Oil Spill Disaster Victim Compensation Fund. He questioned the number of oil spill claims that had been denied, the criteria for judging claims, the progress made toward an audit of the agency and the statistics Feinberg constantly used to defend his work. Bonner was quoted at the time by the Mobile Press Register stating, “Ken does a good job of using numbers to his benefit, but what he ought to be doing is what he said he’d do from day one—work for the people of the Gulf Coast.” Two years later, Bonner led the effort in the U.S. House to get the RESTORE Act



passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The RESTORE Act redirected, for the first time ever, penalty money, in this instance from BP, to the affected coastal counties and states instead of the federal government. Prior to being sworn into the 108th Congress, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, named Bonner as an Assistant Whip. The appointment made Bonner one of a handful of freshmen who were part of weekly leadership meetings with Blunt, the second-ranking member in the Republican Leadership behind only the Majority Leader. In 2008, he was appointed to the powerful Appropriations Committee with a pledge to help fix a broken system that had been plagued by earmark abuses, scandals and even criminal investigations of some lawmakers. Bonner’s appointment won praise for his reputation for transparency and integrity.. He was also the top Republican on the Ethics Committee, serving a term as chairman, and oversaw the investigation into Representative Charles Rangel, D-NY which resulted in censorship in 2010 for numerous ethics violations. In addition to his capable management of the disasters that affected the Gulf Coast, Bonner is most proud of his accomplishments in the area of economic development for the region. Bringing Airbus, ThyssenKrupp and other major projects to South Alabama, as well as helping to secure Navy contracts for Austal to construct the Littoral Combat Ship, has provided huge employment benefits for the area. Upon his resignation in 2013, Bonner accepted an appointment with the University of Alabama System becoming Vice Chancellor of Governmental Relations and Economic Development. Then-UA System Chancellor Robert Witt said Bonner is, “a native son of Alabama, he knows how to advocate persuasively with elected officials and sell the merits of our state to global audiences.” Since accepting that position, his responsibilities are now focused exclusively on economic development which he says is, a “dream job.” “I get to go out every day and work for the people of Alabama to try to help build a better state. And in so doing, I am given the incredible opportunity of showcasing the many talented faculty, staff and students on our three campuses. Bringing their talents and expertise to the negotiating table can be Alabama’s secret weapon in helping us seal a potential deal.” Jo is married to the former Janée Lambert of Mobile. They are parents of a daughter, Jennifer Lee, a junior at UA and a son, Josiah Robins III, a freshman at the Capstone. The Bonners currently make their home in Tuscaloosa. “Given that I was away from the children for so much of their young lives, traveling back and forth to Washington three weeks out of every four, it has been an incredible blessing to get to spend some time with them during their college years,” Bonner said. s




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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

International Forest Company

part of the AFA family.

For over 40 years International Forest Company has been practicing its original mission statement of “Helping People Grow Trees.� The company was originally started as International Forest Seed Company in Birmingham, Alabama, where it specialized in tree seed processing and seed sales. n the early 1980s, the company headquarters were moved to Odenville, Alabama, where a new state of the art seed, nursery, and research facility was built. During this period, the forest industry was making some tremendous changes by questioning land ownership and forest landowners were discovering the opportunity to invest in forestry as less productive agricultural lands were being taken out of agriculture. This proved to be a turning point for International Forest Seed Company. The company started commercial production of container seedlings in 1983 and entered the bareroot nursery market in 1985 by using excess capacity in industry nurseries to produce and sell seedlings. During this time of change, it was decided to change the company name to International Forest Company (IFCO). In 1992, Wayne Bell along with two partners purchased IFCO. Production grew to over 140 million container and bareroot seedlings in five locations. IFCO became one of the first private companies that owned a nursery business as well as a seed orchard that produced genetically improved seed. When the forest industry began selling its lands at a rapid pace in the 1990s and the government started decreasing its cost share program, the demand for tree seedlings changed as well. By the early 2000s, the tree planting efforts were fifty percent lower than the past decade. In 2003, Patrick Mobley of Mobley Plant Company acquired IFCO, and the headquarters were moved to


Control mass pollination (CMP) in action: all of this takes place 30 to 80 feet in the air! inset: Only the best female parents are bagged for CMP production.



Moultrie, Georgia, where Wayne Bell continued serving as chief operating officer. At the acquisition, the company’s focus changed to container seedlings. The decision was made to suspend the bareroot seedling since demand for container seedlings increased rapidly. Landowners wanted less risk of seedling failure while gaining more productive genetics. Since 2003, IFCO’s annual container production has increased from 20 million initial seedlings to a current 2016 level of 94 million. This expansion has been a big driver in the adoption of containers as a major seedling stock type option in the Southeast United States. Currently around 200 million, or 20%, of the total seedlings planted each year in the Southeast United States are container stock. IFCO plans to increase its capacity further in 2017 because continued container adoption is likely since genetics and survival assurance increasingly empower the plantation investment. Another company, International Forest Genetics & Seed Company (IFG&S), was established by IFCO in 2012 with the intent of focusing on the development of the best genetics available to landowners for loblolly, slash, longleaf, and shortleaf pines. IFG&S now participates as full members in three tree improvement cooperatives along with four other silvicultural research cooperatives, and IFG&S works in nine seed orchard complexes to bring seed for any area in the Southeast United States. These factors enable IFCO’s nurseries to offer a range of genetics from the best open pollinated families to control mass pollinated (CMP) seedlings to landowners as well as to provide genetic data for their seedlings purchased. IFCO currently has nursery production facilities in Moultrie, Georgia; DeRidder, Louisiana; and LaBelle, Florida. IFCO recently acquired facilities at Pine Hill, Alabama; Shubuta, Mississippi; Jesup, Georgia, and Washington, North Carolina to produce bareroot seedlings again. All locations are equipped to offer seedling deliveries throughout the South. The company is constantly working to develop technologies that will deliver less risk options for seedlings to landowners. These include pest protected seedlings and nutrient enhanced options. IFCO has a staff of professional forestry genetic investment advisors to help landowners make a smart decision on how to start their forest investment. Transparency is the objective so that landowners will know the potential of the seedling genetics and stock type treatment of whatever choice they make. With a focus on educating landowners with valuable information they can use to apply to their forest land, IFCO and their partner company, Dougherty and Dougherty Forestry Services, has worked with the Forest Landowner’s Association to host forestry conferences to bring the latest in tree growing expertise from leading silvicultural and genetics scientists from around the world. The third annual Eastern Forest inSight Conference was recently held in Watkinsville, Georgia, in October of 2016 with two future conferences already being planned for April 26-27, ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

2017 in Alexandria, Louisiana, and October 2017 in the North Carolina or South Carolina regions. More information on the Eastern and Western Gulf Conferences is available on the website at www.forestinsight.com and landowners of all sizes are welcome. If you would like more information on any of IFCO’s products or services, you can visit its website at www.internationalforest.co for complete information on how you can make your forest land a smarter investment regardless of your objectives. s

Each bag is pollinated with the pollen of the desired male parent.

Inspection by Auburn University Research

Continued container adoption is likely since genetics and survival assurance increasingly empower the plantation investment.


NEWS & VIEWS Alabama Tree Farm Committee

What Good Are Your Blessings? hat good are your blessings — if you never share them? That is something I have pondered recently. It’s the last quarter of the year 2016 and wow, I am simply amazed. It’s still officially, Christmas break — to me anyway. I was supposed to have gotten my article/thoughts written down and turned in before now. I thought of at least a dozen things to write about but none of them appealed to me or made sense when I began to type. I picked up the laptop and had no clue that I would take you through a period of fast rewind. The 2016 family calendar (you know, the one that hangs on the fridge), in its used and marked-up state, was lying here on the laptop. It was a reminder that I was supposed to have gotten a new one for 2017. My wife lets me pick the calendar, and then she gets to edit the days and weeks with various scribblings and markings of assorted colors of ink. As I reflect on 2016, I find that it truly was a masterpiece — the year and marked-up calendar! I had picked a Ducks Unlimited calendar for last year to keep our many appointments. (I think it was a Mississippi State one the year prior.) I remember looking at the back and thinking, Wow! It was beautiful! There was a beautiful sunrise picture for first scene. It was a “Missouri Sunrise,” depicting what appeared to be a feeding frenzy of ducks in an open field. Of course, you had the beautiful lab pictures for a couple months. A sunset just as spectacular as the sunrise, which had started the calendar, was stuck in the middle amongst some familiar staple images. Canvasbacks, pintails, ring necks, a lone merganser, bufflehead, redhead, teal, mallard, and of course my favorite, wood duck, all had been chosen for particular months as artwork. It was a beautiful set of images for any calendar. However, reflecting back, all of my wife’s markings made it even more spectacular. The first couple of months have red and orange reminders of various birthdays and notations, of trips to Pigeon


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



Forge, Arkansas, Seattle, and Mobile. Then there was a note that my daughter had surgery, of which I am still thanking God for the success. There was a crappie tournament, spring break, vacation Bible school, more birthdays and anniversaries, ball games, concerts, a reunion, and numerous other minor reminders that she puts up there for me. See, she has a great memory, so I think the calendar is for me. That’s why I get to pick it each year, right? Nonetheless, I am blessed and thankful as I sit here and review. God has really shown out this year in my life, and I am not ashamed to proclaim it! I also need to thank my wife, Dawn! Thank you, dear, for understanding me and my crazy schedule. Thanks for writing it all down for me to keep up with. Thanks for raising the kids when work calls me away for a week at a time, multiple weeks of the year. Thanks for being my biggest supporter! As I end this rambling and apologize to my readers for this less informative article, I ask that you also reflect on your year and life. Look at the accomplishments that you have made, friends you have shared life with, and blessing you never expected but somehow fell in your lap. Thank you, Alabama Tree Farmers and Alabama Tree Farm Committee for a record year! I look forward to serving and sharing in 2017 with each and every one of you. Please call on me if ever I can help you! s

Tim Browning, RF #1874 Alabama Tree Farm Chairman 23

Green Horizons

2016 Alabama Tree Farmers of the Year by Nicholas Granger, Alabama Forestry Commission

he Rileys enjoy sharing their property with many Henry County residents, whether they are young or old. Mr. and Mrs. Riley’s Tree Farm has been an integral part of the Classroom in the Forest Program since it began in Henry County nearly a decade ago. Glenn and Scarlet have also hosted the Forestry PLM Training program at their property, and they have been a valuable ACES and Alabama Forestry Commission partner. Their land has aided the training efforts of local foresters and forest industry workers. The Rileys also invite the Henry County 4-H program to bring approximately 225 students to their property each year. The young people are engrossed with educational programs on wildlife and natural resources presented by Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Forestry Commission, and Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This partnership has been fruitful and very important in training Henry County students to conserve our natural resources for future generations. Additionally, church groups from the area attend a fall hayride on the Riley’s property and local Boy Scout troops visit the property to earn their forestry-related merit badges. One of the many features that make this area unique is the signage installed throughout the property. Glenn and Scarlet chose to honor their children and grandchildren by naming the roads throughout the property after their descendants. As visitors approach the intersections throughout the property, they will see wooden signs with a loved one’s names. In addition to providing access throughout the property, the roads also serve as file lanes to protect against wildfires and assist with prescribed burns. Another special feature of the property are the designated spiritual areas that allow Glenn and Scarlet to pray, reflect, and grow closer to God. One area in particular is located in close proximity to a natural spring. The property owners installed a bench nearby that makes this spot the perfect place to strengthen their relationship with God. Mr. Riley spends a great deal of time on the property and has done much of the work to enhance the property independently. He maintains water diversion along his roads, and he has designated bottomland hardwoods as streamside management zones to reduce erosion and protect water quality. Therefore, the zones are excluded from timber harvesting and prescribe burning activities. The streamside management zones consist of good mast producing trees along the creeks which provide cover, travel corridors, roosting sites, and a winter food source for wildlife.


Located in eastern Henry County is the property of Glenn and Scarlett Riley, Alabama’s 2016 Tree Farmers of the Year. The 283acre certified Tree Farm is located in the Barnes Community and consists of planted loblolly pines, various ages of planted longleaf pines, bottomland hardwoods, wildlife openings, and a pond stocked with bass and blue gill.



The property contains planted loblolly and longleaf pine stands that are prescribe burned every 2-3 years. Mr. Riley is able to identify and eliminate invasive species. He has treated approximately 12-14 acres of kudzu over the years. Because of his efforts, the kudzu acreage has been reduced to just a few small spots. Another area that makes Mr. Riley’s management practices exemplary are his actions to promote gopher tortoise habitat. For example, in one longleaf pine stand he has marked gopher tortoise burrows with stakes so that they can exist without interference from heavy equipment. 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. s

Mr. Riley’s management practices help promote gopher tortoise habitat. Not only does he manage their habitat, but he also takes the time to locate and mark each gopher tortoise burrow he finds on his property. These markers are easily visible, and are used keep all heavy equipment away from these sites.

Mr. Riley has installed and maintains roads around each stand. These roads are also used as fire lanes to protect from wildfires and to make prescribe burning easier. Their effectiveness was evident during a recent prescribed burn.



Green Horizons

~ C E D A R




D AY ~

AFF, Alabama Tree Farm Committee Help Landowners Protect At-Risk Wildlife Species On October 13th, in Greenville, Alabama, more than 175 people gathered at the property of John Boutwell for a field day. While field days are a regular event, this field day was a bit different. ohn, a Tree Farmer of nearly 50 years, has always been committed to sustainable forestry. Year after year, he manages his land, conducting thinnings, replanting and invasive species treatments, and he tends to a large creek that runs through his property. When he isn’t working on his land, John is active in his local Alabama Tree Farm committee, mentoring other landowners. But over and over again he has noticed landowners don’t know what is on their land. While this may seem simple, when it comes to forestry, there’s always much more than meets the eye on a single



parcel of land. What types of trees does a landowner have? What type of soil and rocks are in the ground? What critters swim the creeks and rivers? Are there any threatened or endangered species? Many can’t answer these questions. The same uncertainty that John hears was recently echoed in a report that came out from AFF, Southern Wildlife At Risk: Family Forest Owners Offer a Solution. The report included a survey of more than 1,400 Southern landowners, who stated that their biggest barrier to management was being unsure about what activities

to do on their land. Wanting to do something, John contacted the person he knew could help: AFF’s Southern Director of Conservation, Chris Erwin. Chris had been leading new projects in specific landscapes across the South to get more landowners actively managing for wildlife. A plan was hatched. Working with the Butler County Forestry Planning committee who led the event, they put together a different kind of field day. More than the typical technical how-to, this event would give landowners the tools to understand what was on their ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

Opposite: Jon Armbruster, Director of Auburn University Museum of Natural History, demonstrates a wildlife population survey and explains the benefits of an environmental DNA analysis.

land, in particular, what wildlife species. And they wanted it to be family-friendly. The field day was hosted and sponsored by several groups who all shared similar goals to help landowners get involved in active forest management. In addition to AFF and the Alabama Tree Farm committee, the Alabama Forestry Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Alabama Natural Resource Council, and Natural Resource Conservation Services were all part of the effort. Landowners from across the area were in attendance, with nearly half being women and children. At a first-of-its-kind station, two biologists from the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, walked landowners through a wildlife population survey. The biologists took samples from John’s creek and put them in small aquariums and discussed the benefits of an environmental DNA analysis and what it reveals. The children squealed with delight as they saw the various critters swimming around. A wildlife population survey is a key step in finding out the species that inhabit the land and waters on a forested property. Not only are they useful in determining needed forest practices for landowners, they also assist USFWS in their proactive approach to assessing the status of at-risk species. Already, USFWS has been able to prevent listings or protections for more than 70 species across the Southeast, thanks to the help of landowners and partners. With more than 290 other forest-dependent species on the candidate and petitioned list, more landowners conducting forest management practices for wildlife could help to prevent other listings. After the stations, families gathered back at the main cabin. Speakers, including Cindy ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

Inset: Dr. Jim Lacefield met with tour participants, educating them on geologic history and fauna in a stream bed located on the Cedar Creek Plantation.

Dohner, USFWS Director, thanked the landowners in attendance for being stewards of the land. She also shared their proactive approach to wildlife conservation of at-risk 27

Green Horizons

2017 Tree Farm Inspector Training Dates February 28 l Southern Region (Greenville, Alabama) March 7 l Central Region (Clanton, Alabama) March 9 l Northern Regional (Decatur, Alabama) he Inspector Training Workshop serves as an opportunity for new inspectors to be trained as well as inactive inspectors to be certified to the current 2015-2020 American Tree Farm System Standards of Sustainability. There is no fee for this workshop and 4.5 CFE are available to attendees. Register online at www.alaforestry.org/events. s

T One stop on the field tour was a visit to Foster species, in hopes of partnerBranch, located on the Cedar Creek property. ing with more landowners. Many of the landowners appreciated the opportunity to meet and open up dialogue with the biologists from USFWS. Some also noted it was one of the best field days they have attended. John and Chris, pleased with the event, plan to keep in touch with many of the landowners, and provide additional advice as needed. In the coming weeks, AFF and the other partners will conduct follow-ups as well, so that together they can help put landowners’ passion for stewardship into action. If your Tree Farm committee or organization is interested in getting involved in AFF’s placed-based work, visit the Current Projects page on AFF’s website www.forestfoundation.org/ current-projects. s

Southeast Regional Landowner Conference Held at the Beautiful Lakepoint Resort on Lake Eufaula, Alabama Join us for: • Panel Discussion with Industry Leaders • Classroom Sessions for Private Forest Landowners • Luncheon Celebrating the Alabama Tree Farm Program • Mill Tour Also featuring: Project Learning Tree Workshop AFA Wiregrass Regional Reception

Foresters & Loggers! 25-Year Recognition Signs Paul Hudgins presents 25-year recognition signs to Tree Farmers Mike and Annette Norris and Tree Farmer Tim Craig, at a recent field day held in Butler County. L-R are Mike Norris, Annette Norris, Paul, and Tim Craig.


Warm up this winter with some CFE & PLM credits.

www.alaforestry.org/cfe ALABAMA FORESTS | Winter 2017

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.

Tree Farm inspector, Bayne Moore presents landowner, Shon Walters with a Tree Farm sign, recognizing his recent Tree Farm certification.



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



Forested acres change?  Y


If yes, estimated forested acres:

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


e r u t a N o t s id K g in t Connec Nature is a great teacher! Try this outdoor activ ity – it’s safe, fun, and educational. Project Learning T Tree reeŽ activ ities build children’s creative and critical thinking skills while they learn what the env ironment needs to remain healthy and sustainable. Visit shop.plt.org for more.

How Big Is Your Tree? Trees come in various shapes and sizes. In this activity activity,, children will measure trees in different ways and become familiar with tree scale and structure. They will also learn the importance of standard units of measure and measuring techniques. Any time you are outside, select a tree for children to measure. Begin by asking youth how they might measure something without the proper tools. Then challenge children to measure small RXWGRRUREMHFWV OHDYHVEUDQFKHVURFNV XVLQJWKHLURZQERG\SDUWVDIRRWKDQGDUPRUÀQJHU Guide children to your selected tree and ask them to estimate the following: • • • •

Height Circumference Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) Width of Canopy (or Crown Spread)

Tree Fact Minerals WDNHQXSE\ IDOOHQ leaves are returned to the soil through decomposition, providing nutrients for other trees and plants.

'HSHQGLQJRQWKHDJHDQGDELOLW\RIWKHFKLOGUHQ\RXPD\ZDQWWRSURYLGHDVL[LQFKUXOHURUĂ€YHIRRW piece of string for assistance. You can request that calculations be estimated in body measurements (hand spans, arm lengths, etc.) or accepted units of measure (feet, meters, etc.) Ask: why might it be useful to measure trees? On a sunny day, day, show students how to measure shadows and use a ratio comparison to determine tree height. The mathematical proportions are outlined in the box below. Invite children to practice using the illustrated example.

Tree’s Height = x Tree’s Shadow = 63 feet Child’s Height = 4 feet Child’s Shadow = 6 feet

T Tree’ ree’s Height Tree’s Shadow


Child’s Height Child’s Shadow

OR Tree’s Height

Make Learning Fun! For more activity ideas and materials, attend a PLT PLT workshop: • Visit www.plt.org/alabama • Contact your PLT State Coordinator: Ashley Smith, asmith@alaforestry alaforestry.org, .org, 334-481-2128

ŠAmerican Forest Foundation. Adapted from


Child’s Height x Tree’s Shadow Child’s Shadow


In Memoriam

Fran Whitaker: The Voice and Face of AFA for 23 Years


t is with a great deal of sadness that we report on the passing of Fran Whitaker on December 4, 2016. Fran was the face of and a dominant presence at the Alabama Forestry Association for 23 years. Fran ran the AFA office, kept the phone lines manned and planned and executed the meetings and get-togethers for the Association starting in June of 1989 until her retirement at the end of 2012. Joe Twardy, past president and chairman of the AFA Board said of Fran: “In many ways, Fran was the voice and face of the Alabama Forestry Association. Fran was the point of contact for so many people around the state, with her pleasant smile and ‘can do’ attitude. As a past president, I can honestly say that Fran was the person behind the curtain who made all of us look good.” Fran served most of her tenure at AFA under the leadership of AFA Executive Vice President John McMillan, who now serves as Alabama’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries. McMillan acknowledged Fran’s contributions to the Association when she retired. “Fran was one of the hardest working people I have even seen and she was totally dedicated to the members,” McMillan said. “She also was never reluctant to take on big challenges. Meeting planning

had been Boyd’s (Boyd Kelly) responsibility before Fran was hired, but she also became a professional meeting planner.” Fran also took over a failing Tree Farm program and brought it to national prominence, including bringing the National Tree Farm Annual Convention to Mobile. Chris Isaacson, who became AFA EVP in 2006 after McMillan retired, acknowledged Fran’s help when he took the reins at AFA from the hands of McMillan who had held them for over 20 years. “It’s hard to overstate Fran’s contribution to the Association. For many of our members and friends, she was the face of AFA. When I started with the Association in 2006, Fran was my lifeline. She knew all of the key players around the capital and, more importantly at times, she knew the gatekeepers and how to get past them,” Isaacson said. “When Fran retired, 23 years of institutional knowledge went with her. To say we miss her is a gross understatement. Fortunately for us, she was only across town and all the staff had her cell number on speed dial! AFA is a stronger, more effective organization because of Fran Whitaker.”

Fran was also active in her community and in the political arena. She worked in various positions with the Republican Party in Alabama and helped such Alabama political luminaries as U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, U.S. Congresswoman Martha Roby and current Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey. During the time after her retirement, Fran served as president of the Capital City Republican Women and was past treasurer of the Alabama State Republican Executive Committee. Fran will be greatly missed by her friends in the political arena and by her friends and associates in the Alabama Forestry Association. She was one of a kind and irreplaceable! Fran is survived by her husband of 49 years, Robert Emery Whitaker; their children, son Steven and daughter Karyn, and granddaughters Ashley, Emery and Wren (Steven); Haley and Emily (Karyn). s

“We are not the new kid on the block. We have been handling the insurance for the forest products industry since 1969. If you want your insurance agent to be around when you have a claim, call us.” 1200 Elba Hwy., P.O. Box 448, Troy, AL 36081-0448 Office: (334) 566-1477 • Fax (334) 566-7986 Email: wig@troycable.net • AL WATS: (800) 239-1477



Log A Load Raises More

than $210,000 in 2016 Fundraising Year


he 2016 Log A Load for Kids program did an outstanding job in 2016, well outperforming the $200,000 goal set for the year. All of the participating districts did an outstanding job last year, as they do every year. The largest contributor was the Piedmont District that raised a total of $76,500 with two events. The largest of those, the Piedmont District annual sporting clays event held at the Oaks near LaFayette, netted $44,500 and was the largest single-day event of 2016. Kudos to Mandy Cain and her helpers on doing an outstanding job with their always popular event that includes a turkey shoot and a live auction. Contributing $32,000 to the total haul for Piedmont was the annual golf event at Greystone in Birmingham which was organized by Jeff Gossett of Resolute Forest Products, and his fellow volunteers. What a great year

Far left: Children’s Hospital Rep Emily Hornak is always happy at a Log A Load event. Above left: This crew of mostly Children’s Hospital and Westervelt employees did a great job of reviving the Warrior District annual golf event at the Indian Hills course in Tuscaloosa. Above right: Piedmont’s annual shooting event is a family affair, literally. Each member of this young family participated in all of the shooting events. Left: Golfer at the Delta District event in Chatom puts the ball in play.

for Piedmont! Other district standouts included Terry Bussey’s Capital District golf event which raised $32,800. Terry seems to build on each successive year with outstanding results. Also doing great last year was the Longleaf District which contributed $22,132 under the direction of new event organizers, T.R. Miller in Brewton. Way to go guys! Another killer event was the Black Belt golf tourney at Briarwood that raised $28,500. We are grateful that this event

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sponsored golf event at Deerfield in Chatom, and the Wiregrass District,which contributed another $9,380 to the kitty with their golf event, and another 7,000 from the Wiregrass Trail Ride. Our friends at Kronospan also came through with $3,200 contributed to the total from their annual golf tournament. Thanks to all of the participating districts and to the attendees for making 2016 a great year for the kids. We look forward to hopefully an even better year in 2017. s

was held (after a hiatus of a couple of years) because these results really helped put us over the top in fundraising last year. Bringing the Black Belt total to over $31,000 was the pairing up of Log A Load event with a hawking competition that Tommy Lawler put together. Tommy did a great job piggy-backing Log A Load onto another event and raising over $3,000. Rounding out the fundraising effort was the Delta District, which raised $12,000 last year at the Reynolds family-


FORESTS Fall 2016


Timber Titan Billy C. Bon


Logger of the Year, Freddy Tidwell Former Governor Fob James Carr, Riggs & Ingram




AFA Endorsed ◆ Member Owned ◆ Consistent Dividends ◆ Experienced Managers ForestFund participants have owned and controlled their workers’ compensation program since 1971. ForestFund participants are on the Board of Trustees that establishes policy and sets rates. An experienced administrator manages the program. Many companies offering workers’ compensation coverage have come and gone over the years, but ForestFund is the reliable source that has been here through good and bad times. ForestFund has paid a dividend for 18 straight years. No competitor has ever paid a dividend. No other program is endorsed by any forestry organization. The Alabama Forestry Association has endorsed ForestFund exclusively for 37 years. ForestFund is in its fourth decade of providing a stable workers’ compensation market 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 DQG6DIHW\"0DNHWKHFDOOWR¿QGRXW*HQHUDO/LDELOLW\TXRWHVDUHDOVRDYDLODEOH

For a quote, call Kelly Daniel at ForestFund: (334) 495-0024

Wildlife & Outdoors

Marine Resources Releases 18,000 Redfish Fry By David Rainer, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

his has been a particularly productive year for anglers who target redfish along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and the Alabama Marine Resources Division is doing its best to ensure it stays that way. When the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores was rebuilt from the ground up a couple of years ago, the first project for the included hatchery was to put it through a shakedown phase with one of the most popular species for inshore anglers. The red drum (redfish) is a species that is easily spawned in hatchery settings and can handle the rigors of being transported and released into the wild. The results of that effort are now being realized with the release of redfish fry into backwater estuaries, where the baby redfish can thrive in a protected area and then move into the general species population when they become large enough to fend for themselves. The largest release of redfish fry to date occurred last year when almost 18,000 fry from an inch to an inch-and-a-quarter were released into the marsh that is connected to Little Lagoon in Gulf Shores. We’ve been releasing redfish fry since we opened the hatchery two years ago,” said Chris Blankenship, Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD). “We are also working to spawn Florida pompano and flounder for restocking efforts.” “We’ve been releasing red drum fry at different locations around coastal Alabama, such as the Bon Secour River and Weeks Bay. This particular batch added 18,000 red drum into the marsh off of Little Lagoon. With it being the fall, this will give them a good chance to stay in the marsh grass and grow throughout the winter. After they overwinter here in the marsh, they can move into Little Lagoon and then go out the pass (Little Lagoon Pass on West Beach Road) into the Gulf of Mexico when they are ready.” Josh Neese, the hatchery manager at Claude Peteet Mariculture Center, said red drum was chosen as the initial hatchery species because of significant research done on the species and the success in spawning programs. “This is a Sport Fish Restoration project,” Neese said. “Basically, we started off with red drum because it is a hardy species. We used them for the prototype, or guinea pig, for while we were ‘kicking the tires’ of the facility and testing parameters and how we need to operate the facility.



“Also, the homework has been done on red drum. Hatcheries in Texas, south Florida and South Carolina have been producing red drum for decades. So there is not a whole lot of research that is needed on behalf of growing these guys. It’s all been done, so that’s the reason we used red drum as a starting species.” MRD has released multiple batches from the hatchery into the wild, but this week’s release was the largest to date. “With each new batch, we improve our process to fine-tune the hatchery operation to increase survivability,” Neese said. “Hopefully, this will get our production up to a million red drum fry per year very soon as well as lead to success with pompano and flounder.” Neese said the fry will reach 12 to 14 inches in about a year, and the female redfish will reach spawning age in two to three years and will likely be 16 to 18 inches long. “They will grow exponentially until they reach maturity, when their metabolic budget will be focused on reproduction instead of somatic growth (body size),” he said. “They’ll continue to grow, but it won’t be at the same rate as before they reached maturity.” The new Claude Peteet Mariculture Center could be a tourist attraction on its on with its state-of-the-art equipment and hatchery. The original mariculture center was built in 1973 on 45 acres on the Intracoastal Waterway for the purpose of raising striped bass to be restocked in Alabama waters. Since that introduction, Marine Resources has researched and reared a wide variety of fish and crustaceans at the facility. Saltwater corrosion and wear and tear from a number of tropical storms and hurricanes had taken its toll on that facility. Marine Resources used multiple funding sources to pay the bulk of the $9 million cost of the mariculture center. Funding was provided through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP), the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (oil production) and the Emergency Disaster Recovery Program (EDRP) associated with the Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. “At the hatchery, we are also doing multiple research projects with the University of South Alabama and Auburn University. We have a lot going on to improve fishing opportunities for the people in Alabama and beyond. And the best news is we are just getting started.” s





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SFI – 00111


Index to Advertisers INSURANCE AFA & AFFILIATED PROGRAMS AFA Advertising s 334-481-2120 .......................32 ForestFund s alaforestry.org...............................33 The Witherington Insurance Group AGRICULTURAL LENDING s witheringtoninsurance.com ......................31 Alabama Land Banks Associations s AlabamaAgCredit.com.................................2 LANDOWNERS (COMPANIES, INDIVIDUALS & TRUSTS) First South Farm Credit – South Division s firstsouthfarmcredit.com...........................19 Westervelt Company s westervelt.com ..............35 LOGGING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATES Alabama Living s alabamaliving.coop ...............11 Browder & Sons Veneer Co. s browderandsons@bellsouth.net................36 CONSULTANTS—FORESTRY Mid-Star Timber Harvesting, Inc. F&W Forestry Services s fwforestry.net..............36 s midstartimber.com....................................36 Larson & McGowin s larsonmcgowin.com..........10 LOGGING EQUIPMENT DEALERS – WOOD SUPPLIERS Thompson Tractor Choctaw Land & Timber s thompsontractor.com........Inside Front Cover s choctawlandandtimber.com......................31 PULP & PAPER MILL FINANCIAL SERVICES WestRock s westrock.com....................................4 Trustmark Bank s trustmark.com .......................16 SEEDLINGS FORESTRY EDUCATION ArborGen LLC s arborgen.com............................16 Alabama Forests Forever International Forest Company s alaforestry.org ...........................................22 s internationalforest.co ................................12 Forestry Continuing Education Meeks’ Farms & Nursery s alaforestry.org/cfe .....................................28 s meeksfarms-nurserys.com...Inside Back Cover Project Learning Tree s plt.org............................30 Rayonier s rayonier.com.....................................35 Weyerhaeuser s weyerhaeuserseedlings.com....35 FOREST PRODUCT MANUFACTURERS Cooper/T.Smith s coopertsmith.com .....Back Cover UTILITIES Jasper Lumber Company s jasperlumber.com ....35 Southern Loggers Cooperative s southernloggers.com.................................36

FORESTR FORES TRY SOL TRY SOLUTIONS UTIONS THAT MEET YOUR Y OUR OBJECTIVES. Fifty Y Fifty Years Year ears and Gr ears Gro owing www.f .fwf wfor wf orestry or estry.net BROCK MAY MAY Hamilton, AL 205.952.9369

T.R. CLARK LaFayette, AL 334.864.9542

browder and black sheep ads_Layout 1 8/4/16 9:36 AM Page 1

Browder & Sons Veneer Co., Inc. BART FURROW



Operational Manager



Plant Manager

Office Manager

P.O. Box 308 • 550 East Front Street Thomasville, AL 36784 Email: browderandsons@bellsouth.net 1-334-636-4356 • 1-800-636-4356 • Fax 1-334-636-0044

Frank Mozingo Linc: 185*338 Home: 251-843-5485 Cell: 334-456-2743 frank@midstartimber.com

Henry Lovette Linc: 185*201 Home: 205-673-2247 Cell: 334-456-2274

Justin Bonner Linc: 1*27565*20 Cell: 334-247-2427 justin@midstartimber.com

Jeremiah Russell Linc: 185*173 Home: 251-289-3082 Cell: 601-416-4889

251-843-5407 midstartimber.com 36


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Profile for Alabama Forestry Association

Alabama Forests Winter 2017  

Alabama Forests Winter 2017