The purposes of this project are to:
- Create young, bushy forest that is lacking in the area;
- Regenerate oak and hickory forest in areas where it is favored so that forest type is maintained;
- Respond to insect and disease threats; and
- Contribute to the local economy through commercial timber harvests. Local communities receive a portion of the revenue generated from timber sales to help support rural school districts and road maintenance.
The Sunny Oaks project will maintain forest where it is currently. The harvest proposal will remove the current tree canopy to allow new trees to grow back (oak will not regenerate under a closed canopy). Prescribed fire and targeted species removal will help ensure that oak and hickory regeneration is successful. Harvests, timber stand improvements, and construction activities will be staggered across a period of 20 years:
- Harvest forests with 1,675 clearcut acres and 1,160 shelterwood acres;
- Conduct timber stand improvements including prescribed burning of 2,000-4,000 acres per year and the manual girdling/felling or herbicide treatment of competing vegetation;
- Plant trees
- Create ~8.5 miles of permanent new roads for administrative purposes only (closed to the public); create log landings and skid roads; and reconstruct ~17 miles of existing roads;
- Create fire lines (areas cleared of vegetation) to help control fire in prescribed burn areas.
- Manage adaptively in order to respond to unforeseen events such as new insect pests/diseases, weather events, or inadequate growth.
Climate Change Impacts
Challenges and Opportunities
Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including: