Rotarians acknowledge ‘treasured’ forests

Published 3:00 am Friday, June 16, 2017

William Green, executive director of the Alabama TREASURE Forest Association (ATFA), was the program guest of Carol Dorrill at the Brundidge Rotary Club Wednesday. Dorrill, a Brundidge Rotarian, is president of the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association.

“Anyone who owns more than 10 acres of forestland can quality for TREASURE Forest Certification,” Dorrill said. “Pike County is blessed with beautiful and abundant forestland and with landowners who are good stewards of the land.  I wanted our club to hear about the programs that are offered that help us protect and enhance our “treasured” forests.”

Green said Alabama’s forests are truly among the states most valuable resources.

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“Alabama has about 23 million acres of forestland,” Green said. “Forty percent of those acres are privately owned, much of it for stewardship and sustainability.”

Contrary to what some landowners might think, it is not necessary to own a large tract of forestland to receive TREASURE Forest Certification.

The TREASURE Forest Program was initiated in 1974 to recognize landowners who promote sound and sustainable forest management, Green said.

“TREASURE is an acronym that stands for Timber, Recreation, Environment, Aesthetics for a Sustained Usable Resource,” he said. “TREASURE Forest Certification is earned by private forest owners who support the principles of the TREASURE Forest Program by managing their land according to prescribed practices.”

To qualify to apply for TREASURE Forest Certification, a landowner must identify one primary and at least one secondary management objective based on timber production, wildlife, recreation, aesthetics or environmental education.

The landowner must also have a multiple-use management plan for the designated property and actively implement sound multiple-use management practices on the property.

“To receive certification, the property must be nominated and inspected by a registered forester and a wildlife biologist,” Green said.

“Their findings must be submitted to the TREASURE Forest Committee of the Alabama Natural Resources Council for review and final approval.”

TREASURE Forest Certification has been awarded to the families of two Rotarians, Carol and John Dorrill and the Dickert family of which Don Dickert is a member.

Green said the ATFA’s overall focus is on education and the Pike County TREASURE Forest Association does an outstanding job of promoting the state’s “treasured” forestlands through the TREASURE Forest Certification program, its Tree Farm program and the Classroom in the Forest program.

“All fifth graders in Pike County are invited to Classroom in the Forest day where they learn about multiple-use management of our forest resources and how important private landowners are in the management of these valuable resources,” Green said. “ The students learn about tree identification, wildlife habitats, recreational opportunities, prescribed burning, pond management and have an opportunity to spend a day in the great outdoors.”