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Forestry

Shortly after Longwood received Hull Springs Farm, it was apparent that management goals for approximately 400-acres of forestland were needed. Prior managers of the farm focused only on revenue generation, while new management saw the forested tracts as having potential for wildlife habitat, research locations, and education, as well as a source of revenue.

Before determining what to harvest, what to preserve, and what to modify for educational purposes, the farm conducted a thorough inventory and assessment of biotic and abiotic factors, including: current forest conditions, plant species composition, and soil types; as well as other parameters such as access to sites and adjacent landowners.

Hull Springs Farm then worked collaboratively with professors and graduate students at Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) to develop a new Forest Stewardship Management Plan based on innovative applications of cutting-edge research. The plan calls for several demonstration plots to create varied environmental conditions, so differences in habitat use could be studied. The plan incorporates new directions in forest and wildlife management. The systems employed may include: natural regeneration (leave tree, shelterwood, seed tree, group selection and single tree selection); prescribed burning; successional models; intensive management; timber production for revenue; wildlife habitat practices; invasive species management; and reintroduction of Atlantic white cedar and bald cypress. The establishment of an Atlantic white cedar community is a significant ecological endeavor and will showcase a community that may have been present when the first European settlers arrived here.

Sunset through the trees at Hull Springs Farm