The first silvicultural study of the Southern Forest Experiment Station
Photograph 1 [22423A]: When the USDA Forest Service’s Southern Forest Experiment Station began operating on July 1, 1921, the Station had its inaugural silvicultural research project already in the woods. In 1915, Samuel Trask Dana, C.R. Tillotson, and some others from the agency’s Washington office collaborated with Henry Hardtner and Urania Lumber Company to establish a series of plots on the Company’s lands in LaSalle and Winn parishes in central Louisiana (Wakeley and Barnett 2011). The plots were in young (10 to 20 years old), even-aged, oldfield stands of loblolly (Pinus taeda) and shortleaf (Pinus echinata) pines, a common forest condition across much of the southern US. These typically overstocked and often burned pine stands represented an opportunity for future timber production, although silvicultural options for them were virtually unknown. Hence, Dana, Hardtner, and colleagues sought to investigate the response of these old-field stands using thinning practices developed in Europe but adapted for American forests. This January 1915 photograph by Dana shows one of the quarter-acre plots established in Winn Parish, Louisiana, with all trees numbered for study tracking purposes.