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Objectives

The long-term goal of the project is to facilitate small and underserved forest landowners’ understanding of forest health, ecosystem services, and social and economic benefits. The specific short-term objectives of the proposed study are twofold:

  1. Collect information on underserved forestry landowners, loggers, mills, non-timber forest products processors, and related industries in selected States in the Southeast U.S.
  2. Increase collaborative partnerships with federal and state agencies, private sector, and non- profit organizations to identify and remedy small forest landowners’ knowledge and technology gaps to increase their market opportunities and access to information and capital.

Leadership Team Members

Team Leader: James Bukenya, Alabama A & M University
Email:  james.bukenya@aamu.edu

1890 LGU
Alabama A&M University
Alcorn State University
Fort Valley State University

INVESTIGATOR
James Bukenya

Franklin Chukwuma

Cedric Ogden

1890 ADMINISTRATOR
Lloyd Walker

Edmund Buckner

Ralph Noble/Mark Latimore

Activities and Results

a group of people standing in front of a tree

Outdoor Classrooms

Alcorn State University Outdoor classrooms were used to educate limited resource farmers and woodland owners (LRFWO) on how to cultivate shiitake log mushroom on waste wood substrates utilizing low-cost irrigation methods. In addition, participants were educated on the economic importance/opportunities of other agroforestry components such as alley cropping (e.g., medicinal plants), silvopasture, riparian buffers, and windbreaks including soil quality amelioration and forest health. 

Forestry Health and Agroforestry

Alabama A & M University uses fire to manage forest health and agroforestry with a special emphasis on underserved landowners. The AAMU Forestry, Ecology and Wildlife Program (FEWP) continues its partnerships with the USDA Forest Service, NSF, AL Forestry Commission and others. The Fire Dawgs Program, provides training and certification for students. A guiding principle of FEWP has been to continuously engage students in the practical aspects of the forestry profession and provide networking opportunities. This is being done by facilitating the active participation of students at national and regional professional conferences, providing opportunities for students’ interaction with experienced professionals, and visits to forestry operations throughout the Southeastern US. A high percentage of African American foresters are graduates of FEWP. 

Mushroom Production Demonstration

Four shiitake log mushroom production demonstration sites are established in selected Mississippi counties. This outdoor classrooms are used to educate LRFWO on how to cultivate shiitake log mushroom on waste wood substrates utilizing low-cost irrigation methods. In addition, participants were also educated on the economic importance/opportunities of other agroforestry components such as alley cropping, silvopasture, riparian buffers, and windbreaks including soil quality amelioration and forest health Figure 1 (Top, far right) shows hop to demonstrate to LRFWO that a small woodlot (1/4 acre) can be used as shade for shiitake log mushrooms

(A) Drilling logs, spawn inoculation and sealing inoculated holes with hot wax,
(B) Laying yard showing inoculated logs under woodlot shade
(C) Log mushroom irrigation system
(D) D2 =Water pumped from water reservoir to storage tank; D3 = Water tank; D4 = Sprinkler irrigate the mushroom logs C4.
(E) Four months after spawn inoculation, white color mycelium observed at the end of logs

a man sitting in a forest

Drone Technology

FVSU employs aerial imagery through drone technology to provide comprehensive insights and analysis of forest health using remote sensing. A current study led by Dr. Ogden investigates the use of pelletized timber by comparing the fuel analyses and combustion of wood with that of coal and switch grass for greenhouse heating. Combustion of the pelletized wood is monitored through fouling and slagging indicators as well as a gas analyzer at the exhaust. Heat energy is created and distributed into the greenhouse using ductwork (Figure 3). As an education & outreach tool, this research demonstration aims to develop new opportunities & economic benefit of forestry and biomass resources as an impact to small farmers and foresters interested in wood processing and reducing energy costs.

Teaching Arboretum

WVSUES is establishing a teaching arboretum on campus. Signage and an online tree tour provide visitors with additional information about campus trees. This arboretum provides an outdoor learning space for students and community members: a “living laboratory” setting for interdisciplinary projects. It is an extension of the online inventory of campus trees available from https://pg-cloud.com/wvsu/.  WVSUES is also extending this innovative technology of ArcGIS and remote sensing to landowners, giving them training and access to help them develop individual land management plans to improve conservation practices and forest revenue streams.

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