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Art of Managing Longleaf

A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach

Leon Neel, with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way Afterword by Jerry F. Franklin

Publication Year: 2010

Greenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that once covered close to ninety million acres across the Southeast. The Art of Managing Longleaf documents the sometimes controversial management system that not only has protected Greenwood’s “Big Woods” but also has been practiced on a substantial acreage of the remnant longleaf pine woodlands in the Red Hills and other parts of the Coastal Plain. Often described as an art informed by science, the Stoddard-Neel Approach combines frequent prescribed burning, highly selective logging, a commitment to a particular woodland aesthetic, intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and its processes, and other strategies to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem in a sustainable way.

The namesakes of this method are Herbert Stoddard (who developed it) and his colleague and successor, Leon Neel (who has refined it). In addition to presenting a detailed, illustrated outline of the Stoddard-Neel Approach, the book—based on an extensive oral history project undertaken by Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way, with Neel as its major subject—discusses Neel’s deep familial and cultural roots in the Red Hills; his years of work with Stoddard; and the formation and early years of the Tall Timbers Research Station, which Stoddard and Neel helped found in the pinelands near Tallahassee, Florida, in 1958. In their introduction, environmental historians Sutter and Way provide an overview of the longleaf ecosystem’s natural and human history, and in his afterword, forest ecologist Jerry F. Franklin affirms the value of the Stoddard-Neel Approach.

Published by: University of Georgia Press


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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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INTRODUCTION: Forestry beyond One Generation

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pp. 1-26

We first met Leon Neel in, of all places, a parking lot. It was a radiant morning in downtown Thomasville, Georgia, in the spring of 2004. Just two miles west of us lay some of the most beautiful land in the southern coastal plain, land that we knew contained prime examples of an endangered longleaf-grassland ...

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CHAPTER ONE: Growing Up in the Woods

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pp. 27-58

One of the most important tenets of the Stoddard-Neel Approach is a deep appreciation of the woods that one is managing, an appreciation born of intimate experience working and being in the woods. While the approach itself is the product of my experience working with Herbert Stoddard and of professionally ...

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CHAPTER TWO: Time Well Spent with Mr. Stoddard

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pp. 59-102

When I was growing up during the 1920s and 1930s I was only vaguely aware of a man over in Grady County doing research on the bobwhite quail. My father, of course, was the land manager for his own property, and he was a quail hunter, but he was not a member of the Cooperative Quail Investigation, which had ...

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CHAPTER THREE: The Early Years of Tall Timbers Research Station

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pp. 103-147

During the 1950s, after I came to work for Mr. Stoddard, there slowly emerged a conversation about creating an institution for scientific research that would carry on the work in the Red Hills that had been initiated by the Quail Investigation in the 1920s. Mr. Stoddard was obviously the key to that, as so much of the management knowledge we were working with had resulted ...

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CHAPTER FOUR: The Stoddard-Neel Approach: Managing the Trees for the Forest

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pp. 148-193

I learned most of the techniques, principles, and approaches of my forestry practice from Herbert Stoddard, who was a true pioneer in coming to understand how longleaf woodlands worked. The Stoddard-Neel Approach that I have practiced throughout my career has evolved somewhat, to incorporate new ...

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AFTERWORD: The Legacy of Leon Neel

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pp. 194-198

The incredibly rich and complex longleaf pine ecosystem of the southern coastal plain is without parallel in the diversity of its ground cover, with hundreds of species of herbs and grasses often present within a single stand, sustaining an incredible array of wildlife—birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians—with some, ...


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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780820340753
E-ISBN-10: 0820340758
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820330471
Print-ISBN-10: 0820330477

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 16 color and 10 b&w photos, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010

OCLC Number: 740449411
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Art of Managing Longleaf

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Forest management -- Southern States -- History.
  • Longleaf pine -- Southern States -- History.
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