DVIDS – News – District foresters see the value in trees

DVIDS – News – District foresters see the value in trees

Trees are not the first subject that comes to mind when describing the Louisville District mission. Working on the real estate division’s forest team are Barry Tucker, a certified ranger, and Martin Wilson, dedicated professional rangers with a “can do” attitude.

As part of the Real Estate Department’s mission, Foresters manage the management and disposition of real estate for both civilian works and military projects. In this case, real estate is trees and the disposal is in the form of timber sales. The USACE Forestry Team ensures the implementation of the Army’s forest and land management goals through various disposal and real estate operations.

“It’s not about the lumber sales or the revenue generated,” said Barry Tucker, Louisville District forest warden. “It’s about enabling the Army’s mission to train troops, protect the environment, and contribute to the quality of life by providing goods and services to the American people for present and future generations.”

Foresters in the Louisville District manage timber sales at military installations in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. But that’s not all they do. They have also crossed district and divisional boundaries to undertake forestry tasks such as trespassing timber assessments, wetland mitigation, and land purchases. They have even been called to help with large forest fires.

“Our forest program at Fort Knox has a solid and professional partnership with the District of Louisville,” said David Jones, forest program manager, Fort Knox Directorate of Public Works. “The experience and expertise of the US Army Corps of Engineers makes our forest program work well.”

Although timber sales make up a large part of a USACE ranger’s job, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they are rangers with extensive skills. These skills are used to advise and assist the Department of Defense and state governments on matters affecting timber as a property, land management, forest inventories, forest insects and diseases, forestry trends and market conditions, and implementation of wildland and mandated fires and risk assessment.

“During a lumber sale at the Fort Knox Wilcox Range project, we were able to identify 1,000 loads of harvestable lumber from an impact zone,” Tucker said. “Metal from range munitions embedded in the trees was causing the wood to fail to harvest. By identifying the clean wood, we were able to save 2.1 million board feet of lumber and 9,000 tons of pulpwood.”

Another important aspect of wood sales is the proceeds from tree disposal. With annual logging revenues in excess of $13 million, the Army has the largest forestry program in the Department of Defense. Of that total, annual revenue from lumber sales at military installations in the District of Louisville has averaged more than $1 million over the past decade, ranking the district fourth out of ten districts. State and county governments receive forty percent of the net revenue from timber used for schools and roads.

“The Army Corps of Engineers is a great resource for the Camp Atterbury forestry program,” said Devin Fishel, Camp Atterbury Chief Forester. “It’s a win-win situation for us. We prepare the wood and USACE takes care of the sale.”

In addition to selling wood, the district foresters also manage agricultural land on military installations. This serves the dual purpose of reducing the mowing and tending of many acres of land to fixed assets and provides a source of income for farmers who use the land to grow hay or crops. Projected farm lease revenue this year is more than $600,000, ranking Louisville district third out of 15 districts nationwide for 2022.

“Not only does the District of Louisville’s forestry program support the military mission, it also provides environmental benefits such as improving wildlife habitat, improving timber quality and increasing forest regeneration,” said Nancy Davis, assistant director of the District of Louisville’s real estate division.

Whichever way you look at it, District Foresters have the important job of managing timber, supporting the Army’s mission, and maintaining a healthy forest through good land management practices.

“Army forestry work,” Tucker said. “For the mission – for the environment – for the people.”

Date of recording: 04/26/2023
Release Date: 04/26/2023 20:27
Story ID: 443463
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