Three Essays on Pine Straw in Alabama: Needlefall Yields, Market Demands, and Landowner Interest in Harvesting
Type of Degreedissertation
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
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Forestry in the South is undergoing a paradigm shift in which timber production is not necessarily the major ownership objective for landowners. As pulp and other forest products markets wane and smallholders are increasingly cut out of traditional markets, landowners are turning to alternative forms of income. Agroforestry and production of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) offer ways for landowners to generate income while allowing timber to remain standing. In Alabama, pine straw is one NTFP with strong potential, but an undeveloped market as compared to other states. This dissertation explores the market potential of pine straw in Alabama from three perspectives. First, quantitative analyses were performed on data of needlefall in longleaf stands throughout the Southeast. Relationships were observed between pine straw yields and several independent variables (basal area, age, site index, and tree density). Second, a mail survey was conducted of buyers of pine straw (e.g. retailers and landscapers) to gain an understanding of consumer demand and characteristic preferences. Findings provide insight to management demands of landowners interested in selling pine straw. Third, a mail survey was conducted to assess willingness of landowners to engage in alternative forestry enterprises, including pine straw harvesting operations.