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MSU Extension launches new app for landowners

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Landowners who manage pine plantations can simplify tree thinning by using a new app created by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Guide to Thinning Southern Pines, or Pine Thin, was developed to allow landowners and foresters to quickly determine if a pine stand needs thinning by taking advantage of smartphone technology.

James Henderson, associate Extension forestry professor, said thinning is a way to maintain timberland growth rates.

“If the pine stand becomes too dense, growth rates will slow,” he said. “In pine plantation management, the goal is to produce sawtimber-sized trees in 25 to 35 years after planting.”

John Willis, assistant Extension forestry professor, said the smartphone app also helps to combat a potentially devastating insect pest in pine plantations.

“Indirectly, this app serves as an early warning system for southern pine beetle, which is one of the most economically damaging insects in pine production,” he said. “This is due to the fact that an overly stocked stand is more susceptible to southern pine beetle attack.”

Pine Thin directs the user to collect data on the stand’s density by counting the number of trees in a plot and measuring tree diameter. Evaluations from the app improve as the user provides more plot measurements.

“Once plots have been entered into the app, the user can request an evaluation of the pine stand’s density,” Henderson said. “The user will be provided with the stand’s average diameter, trees per acre, a measure of stand volume and a graphical description of the stand’s density showing if the stand is either understocked, well stocked or overstocked. Prior to the app, these calculations would have to be kept on a tally sheet. The app can provide the answer while in the woods right after the last plot measurement is taken.”

Pine Thin is available through the Apple App Store.

For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/pine-thin.

Released: February 12, 2016
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