Auburn Forest Nursery Management Cooperative’s seedling research guides planting decisions within southern U.S.

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A recent planting alert from Auburn University’s Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative has received overwhelming positive response, leading to wide-scale implementation of the research among cooperatives throughout the southern United States.

“Forty-eight years of forest-seedling nursery research has enabled us to provide scientifically based and tested recommendations that are rapidly adopted by the industry to improve seedling quality and survival once they are out-planted in field,” said Ryan Nadel, an assistant research professor in the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

The outreach management alert was titled, “Plant seedlings early as warmer and drier conditions expected.”

Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative Director Scott Enebak, the associate dean of academic affairs and the Dwain G. Luce Professor of plant pathology in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, said the response to the management alert has been overwhelming.

“The country’s two largest seedling producers, which help produce a large portion of the South’s 1 billion tree seedlings annually, have publicly adopted the recommendations and have emailed the alert to all their landholders, forestry consultants and tree planters, in addition to placing it on their website,” he said.

Among the swift responses to the alert: The Alabama Forest Owners Association placed the alert on its website and distributed the messaging through their social media accounts. Last fall the cooperative hosted a Zoom panel discussion with the North Carolina Forestry Association regarding the alert. Soon after, the North Carolina Forestry Association placed a recording of that discussion on its website.

Those are just two examples of numerous responses.

Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, said the nursery cooperative’s unique capabilities and expert management are not only serving other organizations, but are also putting Auburn research on the map—again.

This is great news for Auburn University, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the nursery cooperative, as it means that our research and recommendations are being adopted in addition to elevating our profile,” Alavalapati said.

The Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative currently has 17 members: eight forest industries, eight state forestry organizations and the U.S. Forest Service. Together, the cooperative membership produces approximately 70 percent of all the forest-tree seedlings grown in the United States annually. 

(Written by Teri Greene)

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The Auburn University College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment is a flagship institution for natural resources-based degrees including natural resource management, geospatial and environmental informatics and sustainable biomaterials and packaging. The school serves as the backbone for Alabama’s $30 billion+ forest, wildlife and natural resources related enterprises. Its mission is to create next-generation professionals and leaders, to develop new knowledge and disseminate science-based solutions to our clientele to improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of citizens in Alabama and beyond.