Handbooks and Reports

CFEOR researchers have produced a number of documents from their projects. These range from information on various restoration activities to land, forest and water management and recreational visitor management. Also included are student theses and dissertations that received research support from CFEOR.

Groundcover Restoration Handbook

Jennifer Trusty and Holly Ober

The Groundcover Restoration Handbook provides a summary of what has been learned by land managers and researchers about groundcover restoration through trial and error. It includes chapters on implementing a groundcover restoration project, tailoring restoration strategies to initial site conditions, and costs associated with groundcover restoration. Additionally, the handbook includes locations of current ground cover restoration projects, contact information for individuals involved in these restoration efforts, descriptions of different types of forest communities, lists of plant species found in forest communities of the southeastern US, and a comprehensive bibliography.


Stewardship Ecosystem Services Survey Project

Francisco Escobedo and Nilesh Timilsina, Editors

The Stewardship Ecosystem Services Study assessed several key ecosystem services provided by Non-Industrial Private Forests enrolled in the Forest Stewardship Program, economic values of these services, and attitudes and knowledge of NIPF landowners and land management agency personnel about ecosystem services.


Woody Biomass for Electricity Generation in Florida

Frederick J. Rossi, Douglas R. Carter, & Robert C. Abt

The Florida legislature’s proposed Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) mandates that 20% of the future retail electricity sold in Florida must be generated from renewable sources. The Woody Biomass report examines the bioeconomic impacts of this policy on the forestry sector in Florida by simulating increased demand for timber resources and observing the resulting effect on prices, harvests, and inventories of merchantable timber derived from private owners of forestland.


2009 Adaptive Management Project Report

Melissa M. Kreye, Shibu Jose & Kimberly Bohn

A large proportion of conserved forests in the Southeast have an even-aged structure either due to historic fire suppression or due to conversion to plantations. In addition to research related to the proper restoration and management of uneven-aged longleaf pine ecosystems, this project focuses on managing sites better-suited for slash pine using uneven-aged methods. A range of uneven-aged reproduction methods with two different fire frequencies (reproduction matrix) are examined in order to achieve a sustainable multifunctional ecosystem that can provide a number of commodity (timber production and carbon sequestration) and non-commodity (biodiversity enhancement, wildlife habitat quality, and recreational value) services.


2010 Adaptive Management Project Report

Ajay Sharma, Kimberly Bohn & Melissa M. Kreye

Three replicate study sites were identified at Tate’s Hell State Forest, and locations and borders for six treatment plots were installed at each site. Using GPS mapping technologies a grid (50 x 50m spacing) was laid over each treatment plot and the locations of five observation plots were randomly selected at grid intersections. The observation plots are 25 x 25m in size and oriented in a north-south direction. Locations for the different sized gap openings in the group selection plots were randomly selected and recorded using GPS. Starting in spring 2009, baseline data on the observation plots to characterize preharvest stand conditions, including tree dbh and height was collected as well as percent cover of ground vegetation and shrubs. Vegetation sampling and microenvironment data continued through June 2009.


2011 Adaptive Management Project Report

Kimberly Bohn & Ajay Sharma

Harvesting of the research plots began in August 2010. One research block was harvested before wet conditions halted operations, and is expected to resume in June 2010. Other research studies, not dependent on the harvesting, were initiated in 2010. This includes the development of a modeling study which will use the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Vegetation Simulator to simulate the cutting treatments that will be applied at Tate’s Hell State Forest. The model will evaluate forest structure and productivity over repeated cutting cycles.


2012 Adaptive Management Project Report

Kimberly Bohn & Ajay Sharma

Harvesting of all 3 research blocks at Tate’s Hell State Forest was finally completed in December 2011. Ground cover responses were observed in June 2012, with several grasses and forbs emerging, particularly in the more open shelterwood treatments where shrub cover was minimal. An additional component of the project included a modeling study using the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Vegetation Simulator to simulate various cutting treatments over a 100 year time frame, some of which mimic those applied at Tate’s Hell State Forest. Only cutting type, residual basal area and cutting cycle had main effects on results. At the end of the simulation, structural diversity measures between all scenarios were within 10% of each other.


Assessment of Groundcover Response and Tree Regeneration Following Harvesting: Developing Adaptive Management Strategies for Ecosystems in Transition

Ajay Sharma & Kimberly Bohn

We evaluated the effects of five different harvest methods (group selection, shelterwood, third row thin, ‘cut 2-leave 3’ row thin, and staggered third row thin) on natural regeneration of slash pine and groundcover as compared to an uncut control after one growing season following harvesting. Differences in regeneration responses were observed between the thinned and uncut portions within each harvest treatment. Harvesting treatments also resulted in reduced, though functionally diverse, groundcover compared to the control. Although, the harvest treatments resulted in considerable decreases in shrub cover as a result of the mechanical operations, the shrub component still dominated ground cover in all of the treatments after one growing season. The stands are scheduled for a prescribed burn in January 2014, and the early regeneration and groundcover dynamics are expected to change considerably following burning. The post-burn assessments will examine the role of a harvest treatment and prescribed-fire in leading to the multifunctional management of these ecosystems.


Conservation Design & Planning Studio

School of Landscape Architecture & Planning

Over a seven-month period in the academic year 2012-13, advanced graduate students in planning and landscape architecture developed a framework to quantify land-use and spatial decision-making against a metric of carefully articulated values. Those values were identified through background research and discussion, meetings with the client, site visits, lectures, and workshops on environmental ethics, conservation planning and the Florida landscape.

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Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Visitor Assessment: Ocala National Forest

Rachel Albritton & Taylor Stein

Until recently, much OHV recreation has gone unmanaged, and current use has caused severe environmental degradation as well as decreased visitor experiences. The purpose of the Ocala National Forest OHV Visitor Assessment study was to investigate and describe who OHV riders are within Ocala National Forest and assess their willingness to pay for OHV recreation opportunities within the forest.


Croom Motorcycle Area Economic Impact and Visitor Assessment Report

Gregory D. Parent, Janaki R. Alavapati, Taylor V. Stein & Alan W. Hodges

This study aimed at exploring visitors’ motivations and preferences for OHV recreation activity at the CMA and estimating economic impacts of their visitation in the four counties of Hernando, Citrus, Pasco, and Sumter. The study found that the family nature of OHV recreation is a recurring theme. Results also indicated that family related motivations are central for visitors’ involvement in OHV recreation. Results suggest that by managing adequately for the diverse benefits of OHV riders, Florida Forest Service is generating significant economic impacts to local communities.


Florida National Scenic Trail Visitor Assessment

Rachel Albritton, Bin Wan & Taylor Stein

The purpose of the Florida National Scenic Trail Visitor Assessment was to determine reliable use estimates of annual trail visits to 27 segments of the FNST and gather information on who FNST visitors are and develop a continual understanding of why they visit the trail. Following baseline data collection from 2003-2007, the visitor counts and visitor information has continued to be gathered in order to evaluate trends in visitation numbers as well trends in visitor characteristics.


Effect of Fire Size and Severity on Subsequent Fires Using Differenced Normalized Burn Ratios in Pine Dominated Flatwood Forests in Florida

Sparkle L. Malone

The Osceola National Forest in north Florida has experienced high wildfire occurrence for a number of years. Vegetation communities within the Osceola are fire dependent and require regular burning for ecosystem health. Although prescribed fire has been used to reduce wildfire risk and maintain ecosystem integrity across much of the forest, managers are still working to reintroduce fire to long-unburned units. The objective of this study is to use differenced Normalized Burn Ratio (dNBR) to evaluate the relationships between previous fire severity, size, and historical frequency to inform prioritization and timing of future fire use. The results showed that using dNBR as a method of analyzing past fire severity is a useful tool for managers to determine the lasting effects of prior fire severity and maintain the optimum level of wildfire protection.


Maximizing Wiregrass Reproduction for Restoration Purposes

Emily L. Rodriguez

Maximizing viable seed yields of wiregrass (Aristida stricta) is an important goal of land managers attempting to restore this species across large landscapes. Field trials were used to examine the effect of growing season burn month and seed harvest date on wiregrass seed production and viability. Overall, May and June burns resulted in the greatest seed quantity and quality, while viability and germination rates were highest from seed collected in early December. Optimal viable seed yields were obtained after June burns in north Florida and May burns in Central Florida. In a separate greenhouse study, the effects of mechanized seed cleaning and coating on germination and establishment were examined. Three to six percent more uncleaned seeds germinated on the flat surface than cleaned seeds, indicating that cleaned seeds should not be broadcast without taking additional steps to bury the seed, such as seed bed cultivation.