University of Missouri Extension offers a free series of four live webinars on basic woodland management. The weekly webinars are 6-8 p.m. beginning Thursday, MU Extension state forestry specialist Hank Stelzer said.
The webinars will be presented live in 16 Missouri counties: Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girardeau, Cole, Crawford, Franklin, Greene, Madison, Marion, Phelps, Putnam, Texas and Wright.
Register by calling the MU Extension center in the county where you will be attending (visit extension.missouri.edu/directory/Places.aspx for a directory of county extension centers).
“Not every county will be offering every session, so check with the county extension center to see what sessions they will offer,” Stelzer said.
The webinars will be recorded and offered in other county MU Extension centers. The live webinars let participants chat directly with presenters. Local foresters will be on hand for the recorded sessions.
Missouri landowners own roughly 85 percent of the state’s 15.6 million forested acres. “These same acres support a $10 billion forest products industry in the state,” Stelzer said. “Approximately nine out of 10 Missouri woodland owners do not manage their woodlands. This lack of management threatens the health and productivity of their trees. And the threat increases with each passing year.”
Stelzer urges landowners to think of their unmanaged woodland as an unweeded garden. “One doesn’t plant a garden and then walk away only to return at the end of the growing season expecting to reap the rewards of weeks of inattention,” he said. “The same can be said of one’s woodlands, if on a slightly longer time frame.”
Stelzer teamed up with natural resource extension professionals from across the southeastern United States and developed the four-session series.
Session 1: How natural and human factors shaped forests in the region and the importance of this knowledge when developing management plans and practices on forests.
Session 2: Characteristics of existing hardwood stands, how to evaluate their potential, and basic decisions on future management strategies to make them profitable and sustainable.
Session 3: Woodland threats, including insects, disease and invasive plants. Basic pest principles and simple practices to maintain woodland health and productivity.
Session 4: Basic wildlife management principles and concepts. Habitat requirements of various wildlife across the region.
“Sometimes the hardest step to take on a long journey is the first one,” Stelzer said. “But you do not have to take it alone. There are natural resource professionals in your backyard to help you. All you have to do is take that first step.”