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

lionfish

FWC Attempts to Reduce Lionfish Population

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is concerned with the growing population of lionfish, a destructive species of fish. The FWC hopes to start up new efforts to prevent the further spread of lionfish and work on extraction. Extraction [...]


Former governor Bob Graham (left), Jon Mills (center) and David Hart (right) from the Florida Chamber of Commerce discuss how Amendment 1 would affect Florida in front of an audience at Pugh Hall Sept. 4. Graham, a supporter of the amendment, said Florida should be viewed as a treasure to be protected instead of a “commodity,” while Hart said that passing this amendment could cause some serious implications for balancing the state budget.

Natural Resources Amendment Secures Environmental Funding But Raises Concerns

With almost one million signatures from Florida voters, Amendment 1 – also known as the Florida Land and Water Conservation Amendment – will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot, though not all parties are pleased by this development.


Signs like this one show residents of Hawthorne have serious concerns with Plum Creek Timber Company's plans for development in the area.

Hawthorne Residents Voice Concerns With Development Plans

Southeast Alachua County landowners discuss Plum Creek Timber Company’s proposal to develop parts of the city and express their concerns.


Citrus Greening

Saving Florida Orange Juice: The Search For A Cure For Citrus Greening – The Greening Series, Part 3

Nutrient supplements, root stock additives, genetic modification, heat therapies and a bacterial killer are just a few of the proposed solutions to what has been called the worst disease in history to hit Florida orange groves. Citrus greening, a bacterial [...]


Citrus  Greening

How A Fourth Generation Citrus Farmer Fights To Save His Grove – The Greening Series, Part 2

Steve Futch, UF IFAS Extension agent, and family farmer, Mac Turner, right, tour the new orange tree plantings on Turner’s family farm in Arcadia, Fla. in April 2014. (Heather van Blokland/WUFT) Citrus farmer Mac Turner is fighting to keep his [...]


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