Southern Regional Extension Forestry (SREF) group

by David Coyle

Dr. David Coyle

Dr. David Coyle

Dr. David Coyle is working with Dr. William Hubbard and the Southern Regional Extension Forestry (SREF) group to develop a Forest Health and Invasive Species Education Program. This program was initiated under the auspices of SREF, the University of Georgia’s D.B. Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and the USDA Forest Service. David is working to create materials for extension education for southern forest health, primarily focusing on non-native plants, insects, and pathogens, and pine stand management to mitigate potential insect and disease issues.

Emerald Ash Borer

Emerald Ash Borer

Forests are extremely important components of the southeastern U.S., and recently there has been some controversy regarding certain factors and their impact on southern pine health.  Further, non-native pest species, including insects, such as the emerald ash borer, whose adult form is pictured on the left, fungi, and plants, are prevalent across the southeastern U.S.  Knowledge among federal and academic personnel who actively work on pine health and non-native pest management in the Southeast could be more effectively communicated to state and local extension personnel, particularly those who work with constituents on a regular basis.  In addition, certain perceptions regarding southern pine health issues may be prevalent among some educators, potentially impeding the dissemination of accurate information.  As a result, education efforts at state and local levels may fall short of their potential efficacy.  Thus, there is a need for a centralized source of information and materials that can be disseminated among state and local extension agents for use with the general public.

cogongrass

Cogongrass

The SREF Forest Health and Invasive Species Education Program will create a template and materials for extension education for southern pine health, primarily focusing on pine stand management to mitigate potential insect and disease issues, as well as for several non-native plants, insects, and pathogens, such as cogongrass, pictured to the right.  Our target audience will encompass both rural and urban communities, including “absentee” landowners and underserved and underprivileged populations.  We will integrate workshops, town hall-type meetings, traditional publications and hardcopy material, along with new technologies (including webinars, social media, and other eLearning materials) in order to reach a broad audience. Our goal is to create materials and curriculum that can be disseminated across the southeastern U.S., and to ensure consistent education among state and local extension agents regarding to pine health, non-native species ecology, and forest pest management in the southeastern U.S.

We are currently developing new and updating existing materials, organizing webinars, and compiling existing information. Field days and in-person training sessions will occur during spring 2016, and our project website (www.southernforesthealth.org) will be online in a few weeks. This portal will hold all the aforementioned materials, and we expect this to be a regional resource for forestry professionals.

For more information, please subscribe to the Southern Region Extension Newsletter or contact:

David Coyle, Extension Associate, Forest Health
706-542-3665
dcoyle@sref.info

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