WUFT News

Marion County Land Owner And Conservationist Practices ‘Agriculture At Its Finest’

By on August 16th, 2013
This is a section of Baldwin's slash pine forest restoration project.

Alexa Davies / WUFT News

This is a section of Baldwin's slash pine forest restoration project.

Afternoons at Crones’ Cradle Conserve Foundation in Citra are busy for Co-Owner and Manager Jeri Baldwin.

Born and raised in Marion County, she saw large expansions in land development during the 1980s and felt compelled to buy some land to conserve.

After talking with a friend, they decided a hundred acres of undeveloped land would be perfect to conserve. Baldwin said finding undeveloped land even back then was a difficult search because there was not a lot of land in Marion County left undeveloped.

“I think if I had not been a native here and knew practically everybody, it would have been a lot harder,” Baldwin said, referring to the local response to her land conservation project.

Her search ended when she found the 80 acres where Crones’ Cradle Conserve now sits. Then, some nearby timberland was put up for sale because the new equipment the timber company used did not pay for itself on a piece of land smaller than 400 acres.

Baldwin and her friend agreed this land would be a good addition to their conserve. “Struggled, and got busy, and found the money to pay for it, so we had a lot more land than we meant to have, but at least we’ve kept it from being developed.”

According to 2010 Florida Forest Service statistics, about 16 million of Florida’s acres are timberland. Baldwin said acquiring 80 of those acres gave her the opportunity to begin a major forest restoration project. The project includes restoration of a former slash pine plantation to native yellow pine forest.

That work is ongoing.

“We’ve still got a little bit of planted pine to timber out, and some maybe, oh, 10 or 12,000 yellow pine seedlings to get planted,” Baldwin said. “The forest restoration has been a lot of fun, and I’m not going to see the end of it, but it’s certainly been fun to see a lot of it get started over the last four years.”

Meanwhile, Jib Davidson sees the business benefits of timber production. He is a local forester and co-owner of Columbia Timber & Environmental Services and United Country Land & Lifestyle Properties. Part of his business focuses on the timberland real estate market.

“We have a lot of competition, there’s a lot of land in Alachua County, a lot of land in Northeast Florida,” said Davidson, referring to the hundreds of other timber companies in the area. “There’s of course plenty of business to go around. It’s a huge industry.”

Timber is grown similar to crops, from the way it’s planted in rows, fertilized, cared for, and harvested.

“This is agriculture, this is agriculture…at its finest, I guess you might say,” Davidson said.


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

The invasive air potato vine has met its match with the introduction of the air potato leaf beetle. This beetle could control the aggressive plant.

Air Potato Beetle Becomes Big Help To Florida Farmers

With the controlled release of the air potato leaf beetle in Florida and around the U.S., the aggressive air potato vine finally has a predator.


Attendance at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park increased by more than 100,000 visitors in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

US Forest Service Proposes Requirements for Photography in Wilderness Areas

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a rule that would require media to get a permit before filming or photographing in wilderness areas, or else face a fine. The proposed rule has been met with opposition on the grounds that it violates First Amendment rights.


Water-Saving Technologies And Conservation Goals Cut Confusion

According to a recent survey, most people are confused about water conservation. Small efforts add up, but awareness of water consumption is most important, according to GRU.


Only a few areas of the Alachua Sink have open-water surfaces. Rangers believe the cooler, dryer weather typical of Florida winters will kill off some of the vegetation growing on the surface.

Paynes Prairie Trail Undergoes Reclamation Project

Construction on the La Chua Trail in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park began Monday as part of an effort to re-establish the area of Paynes Prairie as a wetland ecosystem.


Florida-Friendly Landscaping Saves Water And Fertilizer

According to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Center for Public Issues Education (PIE) website, many Floridians are willing to do their part in conserving water.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments