Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Art of Managing Longleaf

The Art of Managing Longleaf: A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach

Paul S. Sutter
Albert G. Way
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 224
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Art of Managing Longleaf
    Book Description:

    Greenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that once covered close to ninety million acres across the Southeast. The Art of Managing Longleaf documents the sometimes controversial management system that not only has protected Greenwood's "Big Woods" but also has been practiced on a substantial acreage of the remnant longleaf pine woodlands in the Red Hills and other parts of the Coastal Plain. Often described as an art informed by science, the Stoddard-Neel Approach combines frequent prescribed burning, highly selective logging, a commitment to a particular woodland aesthetic, intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and its processes, and other strategies to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem in a sustainable way. The namesakes of this method are Herbert Stoddard (who developed it) and his colleague and successor, Leon Neel (who has refined it). In addition to presenting a detailed, illustrated outline of the Stoddard-Neel Approach, the book-based on an extensive oral history project undertaken by Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way, with Neel as its major subject-discusses Neel's deep familial and cultural roots in the Red Hills; his years of work with Stoddard; and the formation and early years of the Tall Timbers Research Station, which Stoddard and Neel helped found in the pinelands near Tallahassee, Florida, in 1958. In their introduction, environmental historians Sutter and Way provide an overview of the longleaf ecosystem's natural and human history, and in his afterword, forest ecologist Jerry F. Franklin affirms the value of the Stoddard-Neel Approach.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4075-3
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION Forestry beyond One Generation
    (pp. 1-26)
    Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way

    We first met Leon Neel in, of all places, a parking lot. It was a radiant morning in downtown Thomasville, Georgia, in the spring of 2004. Just two miles west of us lay some of the most beautiful land in the southern coastal plain, land that we knew contained prime examples of an endangered longleaf-grassland biome that once stretched for tens of millions of acres in all directions. We had been invited by the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway to discuss undertaking an oral history project centered on Leon’s life and work with the southern longleaf pine....

  5. CHAPTER 1 Growing Up in the Woods
    (pp. 27-58)

    One of the most important tenets of the Stoddard-Neel Approach is a deep appreciation of the woods that one is managing, an appreciation born of intimate experience working and being in the woods. While the approach itself is the product of my experience working with Herbert Stoddard and of professionally managing the woodlands of the Red Hills over more than half a century, much of my appreciation for this landscape and its history was a product of my childhood in the region. I grew up in this landscape, and that has forever marked it as significant for me in ways...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Time Well Spent with Mr. Stoddard
    (pp. 59-102)

    When I was growing up during the 1920s and 1930s I was only vaguely aware of a man over in Grady County doing research on the bobwhite quail. My father, of course, was the land manager for his own property, and he was a quail hunter, but he was not a member of the Cooperative Quail Investigation, which had brought Mr. Stoddard to Thomasville. Nor was he acquainted with Mr. Stoddard personally. We were not part of the quail plantation group, and it was mostly the owners of the large plantations who funded and were members of the investigation. I...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Early Years of Tall Timbers Research Station
    (pp. 103-147)

    During the 1950s, after I came to work for Mr. Stoddard, there slowly emerged a conversation about creating an institution for scientific research that would carry on the work in the Red Hills that had been initiated by the Quail Investigation in the 1920s. Mr. Stoddard was obviously the key to that, as so much of the management knowledge we were working with had resulted from his careful experiments and observations. But with Ed and Roy Komarek, we also had two other good scientific minds to add to the mix. The idea was to find a way to house and...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. CHAPTER 4 The Stoddard-Neel Approach: Managing the Trees for the Forest
    (pp. 148-193)

    I learned most of the techniques, principles, and approaches of my forestry practice from Herbert Stoddard, who was a true pioneer in coming to understand how longleaf woodlands worked. The Stoddard-Neel Approach that I have practiced throughout my career has evolved somewhat, to incorporate new scientific findings and contend with new social and economic trends, but it is still recognizably the legacy of Mr. Stoddard’s work. The Stoddard-Neel Approach resists easy summary, and I cannot hope to provide a simple manual of easy-to-follow steps that anyone can use. Some people get frustrated by that aspect of my approach, but it...

  10. AFTERWORD The Legacy of Leon Neel
    (pp. 194-198)
    Jerry F. Franklin

    The incredibly rich and complex longleaf pine ecosystem of the southern coastal plain is without parallel in the diversity of its ground cover, with hundreds of species of herbs and grasses often present within a single stand, sustaining an incredible array of wildlife—birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians—with some, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker, functioning as ecological flagships. Perhaps mostly importantly, the longleaf pine–grassland system is a temperate forest type unique in the degree to which it is attuned to, and dependent on, a hyperfrequent cycle of fire. It is one of North America’s extraordinary forest ecosystems. And...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 199-204)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 205-211)