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

Hydroponic Farm Finds A Cleaner, More Natural Way To Grow Crops

A farm that uses Blue Grotto Spring water is finding a cleaner and more natural way to grow produce through hydroponic farming, a method that grows plants without soil.


Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell points to a map of the county’s surface water. Some believe fracking deep underground could cause pollution up on the surface in water sources. “We need to make sure we have protections in place to protect the water supply,” Cornell said.

Alachua County Approves Resolution In Support Of Statewide Ban On Fracking

The Alachua Board of County Commissioners approved two bills that could help keep the water supply safe. The resolution supports the statewide ban of fracking, which opponents say could contribute to underground water pollution.


Strawberry fields at Brown's Farm are covered for the cold weather Thursday night, February 12, 2015.

Cold Front Threatens Strawberry Crops

Twenty minutes outside of Gainesville, farmer Roy Brown, runs the family-owned Brown’s Farm. Their 4-acre strawberry field was covered Thursday, as Brown prepared for a wind chill around 20 degrees.


In 2009, the Gainesville City Commission unanimously agreed to a 30-year Purchase Power Agreement in order to provide more sustainable energy. In the agreement, GRU would purchase a portion of its energy from the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, a biomass facility that uses waste wood to produce energy.

Gainesville Regional Utilities Customers Pay More To Use Less

Gainesville residents using less energy means generating less money for Gainesville services such as police and parks. To offset the loss, the average bill for a GRU customer increased about $6 in October, resulting in the second highest ranked residential bill in the state.


Florida Forever Program Confirms 2015 Priority List

The Florida Forever Program, a land acquisition program, hopes to obtain 119 new properties, many of which located in North Central Florida. The lands are assessed based on several criteria to determine their environmental value.


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