The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) has launched the 2023 Discover Alabama Extension campaign to highlight the stories of real people whose lives and livelihoods have been improved with the help of Alabama Extension. I am incredibly proud of the work researchers and extension specialists at the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment have done to help ACES continue to provide practical solutions and resources for Alabama’s citizens.
Throughout the year, our team of forestry, wildlife and natural resources (FWNR) extension specialists have conducted learning events, hosted webinars and written publications to translate the scientific knowledge we develop here at Auburn into real-world problem-solving.
I’d like to take a moment to draw your attention to a couple of our team members whose work has made an estimated combined impact of more than $5 million in Alabama.
Adam Maggard, the Harry E. Murphy Associate Professor of forest systems management and extension specialist, heads up the Forest Business Resources Program. His work focuses on forest management techniques and practices with business education for the private forest landowner.
In his workshops, Maggard educates landowners on management techniques along with the value—economically and environmentally—of healthy forests. His programs include a focus on short-term opportunities to earn revenue that can be factored into a landowner’s long-term plan for management and income. Some of these opportunities include the sale of timber and nontimber forest products, portable sawmills and current market trends.
Maggard’s forest business resources programs reached 1,629 participants in 2022. That number represents approximately 574,445 forestland acres owned or managed by those participants, and an estimated $4.3 million in improved forestland value, recovered loss, economic development and financial decision-making.
Mark Smith is our extension program coordinator and the Mosley Environmental Professor of wildlife management, and his efforts to educate landowners about wild pig management have been ongoing and highly successful. Smith is one of the country’s leading experts on mitigating and preventing wild pig damage to property and crops.
Some of Smith’s extension activities include the “Landowner’s Guide to Wild Pig Management, a YouTube series, and the Wild Pig Education Unit that he uses to educate landowners and demonstrate the trapping system that has proven to be the most effective way of removing or reducing wild pig populations. Aside from the $55 million in agricultural and forestry damage wild pigs cause in the state each year, they also critically decimate water quality and reduce the number of wild turkeys in areas where they are present.
Smith’s efforts have reached more than 500 landowners and provided an estimated $1.25 million in damage reduction on farms and forestland in the Southeast.
Learn more about the Discover Alabama Extension campaign and the people whose lives have been enriched by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at https://www.aces.edu/discover/.