News Filed Under Natural Resources
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forest products have set record production values in nine of the last 10 years, but the best word to describe the industry is "maturing."
"Mississippi's forestry industry is beginning to mature and has established a firm hold on the national market," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
The South has met an increased share of the nation's softwood lumber needs in the last five years, and this has benefitted Mississippi's economy.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Rains provided some relief to Mississippi's dry conditions, but cattle producers were the main benefactors. Row crops will reap minimal profit or damage from the water.
Rankin County agricultural agent Houston Therrell said cattlemen and wildlife enthusiasts were the big winners.
"Pastures were extremely short. Most had stopped growing a month before the rains arrived," Therrell said. "These rains will help the winter grasses come along as well as help pastures gain some grass before the first frost."
PICAYUNE -- Already boasting a presence in every county in the state through the extension service, Mississippi State University now has another significant presence in South Mississippi.
In a Sept. 15 ceremony, the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune formally became part of MSU. Valued at $5 million, the arboretum was established in 1980 as a living memorial to L.O. Crosby Jr., a South Mississippi timber pioneer and philanthropist.
By Amy Woolfolk
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Leasing the hunting privileges to land provides a way to raise revenue and help protect the value of the land.
Dean Stewart, extension wildlife specialist at Mississippi State University, said many people who lease hunting rights generate enough revenue to cover property taxes and still make a profit. Lease prices in Mississippi range from $1.50 to $25 per acre annually.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Enthusiastic dove hunters should not let the excitement of the first major fall hunting season cloud their judgement for a safe and legal hunt.
Dove shoots traditionally trigger the beginning of the fall hunting season.
Mississippi is divided into two hunting regions with three different dove seasons each. Dove season will be legal in the northern portion of the state from Sept. 6 through 27, from Oct. 11 through Nov. 9 and again from Dec. 27 until Jan. 3.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The average angler fishing along a river probably doesn't realize this pastime is profitable business in Mississippi and a great use of natural resources.
The most recent statistics show that in 1991, anglers spent $236 million to fish in Mississippi, or about $360 a person. This amount includes everything from fishing licenses and bait to equipment, travel expenses and memberships. Sixteen percent of Mississippians fish each year, compared to 14 percent nationwide.
By Rhonda Whitmire
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi's forestry industry set a production record in 1996 of almost $1.2 billion as actual figures released in July exceeded the previously estimated values.
"Mississippi's forest industry recorded an all-time high for timber production," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University. "Due to a strong fourth quarter, the figures were higher than originally estimated.
"The actual figures of $1.18 billion for 1996 were 7 percent higher than in 1995," Daniels said.
BILOXI -- Mississippi shrimpers are enjoying the benefits of higher prices and a 1997 harvest coming in two waves.
Dave Burrage, extension marine resources specialist in Biloxi, said opening shrimp landings should be similar to June 1996 landings of 2.6 million pounds of tails-only shrimp. Comparable figures for this year are not yet available.
However, Biloxi, which has 80 percent of the state's processing capability, landed 749,500 pounds of heads-on shrimp the first week of the season. In 1996, shrimpers landed 624,100 pounds in Biloxi the first week.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Erosion is more than an unsightly nuisance because if left unattended, it can wash away vast amounts of soil.
Larry Oldham, extension soil specialist at Mississippi State University, said erosion is simply soil being moved by water or wind. Some degree of erosion occurs nearly everywhere.
"Anytime you scratch up the surface of the soil, you're going to have the potential for erosion if you don't put some type of cover over it," Oldham said.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many Mississippians don't see the forests for the pines. Pine trees are not the state's only timber resource, just the most noticeable.
As Mississippians drive along state highways and see acre after acre of planted pines, some wonder if the state is losing its hardwoods. However, the majority of trees growing in Mississippi are oaks, hickories and other hardwoods.
By Allison Powe
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Homeowners must face continuous efforts to keep their houses in good condition, and when animal invasions occur, people struggle to win a battle against nature.
Mississippi residents often face small intruders, such as mice, wanting to share their homes, but other unwelcome guests may also become home invaders.
"Squirrels, raccoons, bats and birds will occasionally come into homes that have unsecured vents, chimneys or other small openings," said Phil Mastrangelo, state director of Animal Damage Control.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Whether hunting for turkey or a better way to manage forestland, a project underway at Mississippi State University can help.
The Mississippi Gap Analysis Program is collecting data to provide a complete picture of the state's natural resources. The program will provide a wealth of information on how to better manage Mississippi's natural resources.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Keeping a good, productive pond is a constant battle against natural processes that keep habitats in an ever-changing state.
"All ponds and lakes are born to die," said Dr. Marty Brunson, Mississippi State University extension wildlife and fisheries specialist. "If given enough time without intervention, they fill up with silt, become shallow, then turn into a bog, marsh and finally dry land."
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A common sight around the state is a piece of farm equipment or an old out-building barely visible under a covering of kudzu.
Because it spreads rapidly, people fight an uphill battle to control the vine. But new studies have found that goats, with their tendency to eat anything green, may help destroy this weed.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Battling nature and people, trees that endure are genetically strong and environmentally lucky.
"Fire, lightning, construction projects, disease and insects are some of the main obstacles a tree must overcome to achieve a long life," said Dr. Andy Ezell, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
Recent storms packing high wind gusts have taken their toll on long-standing trees across the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippi River flooding and an open spillway northwest of New Orleans may spell disaster for the 1997-98 oyster harvest.
Oysters grow in the brackish (part salt) waters of the Sound, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico along the coastline. As the water is diluted to become freshwater, they die, said Dr. David Veal, director of the Mississippi State University Sea Grant Advisory Service in Biloxi.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turkey hunting can be exciting because of the skills required, but it shouldn't be exciting because of the risks involved.
Turkey hunting is one of the most dangerous sports because hunters are heavily camouflaged, make turkey calls and sit very still. From March 22 to May 1, hunters will take advantage of the gobblers-only season as they try for the one gobbler per day, three per season bag limit.
STARKVILLE -- Final figures for Mississippi's 1995 timber harvest show southern counties continue to lead the state in production levels.
Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University, compiled the harvest data based on severance tax reports from the Mississippi State Tax Commission.
By Jennifer Miller
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Timber production brings millions of dollars into Mississippi each year. But unfortunately, pine trees are falling victim to an unlikely predator -- kudzu.
Malcolm Montgomery, a Claiborne County resident, knows the damage kudzu can cause.
"I have 200 acres of seven-year-old pine trees that are planted next to a patch of kudzu," he said. It is difficult to control and if it is not stopped, it will eventually kill the pines."
By Dawn R. Hanna
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Mississippians have more than a billion reasons for celebrating Arbor Day on Feb. 9. Forestry is more than an asset to the state's environment; it's an asset to Mississippi's economy.
"Timber has been an important asset to Mississippi's economy, but in the last two years our forests generated more than a billion dollars in harvest value," said Dr. Bob Daniels, extension forestry specialist at Mississippi State University.
Mississippians begin celebrating tree planting week on Arbor Day, Feb. 9.