The Refuge has a new tool to help with long-term restoration of the legacy forest . . . a Tigercat.
One of the goals of the Lower Suwannee Refuge is to restore the forest in our part of Florida to a sustainable forestry model. Following on decades of commercial forestry, our region's forests had been altered greatly from their natural growth patterns. Under the guidance and leadership of Refuge Forester Daniel Barrand, our Refuge and others along Florida's Big Bend are being slowly, deliberately brought back toward their natural state.
Prescribed burning, under the leadership of Refuge Fire Expert Vic Doig, is a major tool applied to this goal. Replanting of native tree species is another.
Now the Refuge has acquired a large piece of heavy equipment that can assist with the program to improve and restore the forest habitat. The new Tigercat will be shared with several other refuges in our region. It can be used to create firelines, maintain trails, cut large trees and overhanging limbs, trim roadsides and cut lanes through dense mid-story forests to enable the staff to selectively apply herbicide to undesireable plants using a large herbicide sprayer.
In combination, the application of herbicide and fire has proven to be the optimal technique to kill rootstock of the pervasive dense vegetation tangles that took over from the native forest growth after commercial timbering ended and the refuge was formed.
Our new Cat is most welcome at the Refuge!