Planting southern pines: Wakeley envisioned economic potential

The period from 1900 to 1920 marked the “golden” era of lumbering in Louisiana; an era when the state’s old-growth forests were harvested with a “cut-out and get-out” attitude. Large and small sawmills harvested these forests with no thought of reforestation. Many of these companies abandoned their cutover lands and ownership of them reverted to the state when taxes were not paid. The lumbermen were cutting stands of trees that were up to 250 years old and they had no concept that new stands were economically feasible. However, a few people began to see the economic potential of reforesting the cut-over land. Henry E. Hardtner of the Urania Lumber Co. led this effort. As early as 1905, he be

Fourth time is charm for Aaron Jorden

The third time is the charm, the old saying goes. For Aaron Jorden, however, it’s the fourth. He was a nominee in 2014, 2015 and 2016, but this year Aaron Jorden of Benton is the winner and has been named the 2017 Outstanding Louisiana Logger. There were several nominations for this year’s award, which is judged each year by a panel of three. This year the judges included Dr. Neils de Hoop of LSU, Holly Morgan with U.S. Forest Service Kisatchie office and Kevin “Man” Martinez, last year’s Louisiana Logger of the Year. Like many logging operations, Aaron Jorden Logging is a small, family business. It downsized in 2010 because of the economy, Jorden said. “I have five woods guys and all the tr

Tree Farmer of Year: Hanna Gamble takes up where her dad left off

Hanna Lucia Gamble’s father sowed the seeds of his daughter’s future when he taught his little girl how to plant pine trees on the family’s beloved DeSoto Parish land and enrolled her as a lifetime member of the Louisiana Forestry Association at the tender age of 9. “My dad did a lot of molding,” Hanna said, as Jack Gamble Jr. made it plain to her “you are going to be a pine tree farmer.” Though Jack died in 2013, Hanna has continued the family land stewardship legacy; she and her mother, Carol, co-own and manage the plantation, a set of contiguous, forested tracts that stretch across the parish from north to south. At 28, Hanna oversees the 1,833-acre farm known as St. Lucia Plantation and

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