NASF Photo Fellow: Documenting Florida’s Pulp and Paper Partnerships

By Leslie Robertson
NASF Photo Fellow

Today was another busy day, full of variety. We left our bed and breakfast to head over to the RockTenn mill in Fernandina Beach, where we toured around the exterior of the mill, focusing on procurement of raw materials to use in the mill. The mill specializes in making paper used in corrugated boxes.
 
Stops on the tour included the scale house, log yard and the chip truck unloader. The scale house is where the trucks are measured for weight before and after unloading the trucks. The mill can receive upwards of 425 truck loads a day. David Dubois, Area Manager, also told us that because they only have 180 degrees of land access, log trucks can come from up to 140 miles away!
 
One of my favorite parts of the tour, the chip truck unloader, reminded me of some sort of amusement park ride. Trucks full of pre-processed wood chips drive up to a machine which holds the weight of the truck, then hydraulics literally tip the truck up on an angle which dumps out the chips from the back of the truck. Definitely fun to watch!
 
Our second visit of the day was with Rayonier to get a quick board meeting shot and then see a few of the 470,000 acres of land Rayonier owns in Florida. Overall, the company owns a total of 2.7 million acres within the United States and New Zealand! We stopped with Jenn Hart of the Florida Forest Service (FFS) and several Rayonier employees Josh Shemill, Alexis Frank, and Kelli Norstrem to review the Silviculture Best Management Practices.
 
Private/public partnerships between the FFS and companies like Rayonier are vital for managing timber and water quality.
 
Next we went to a seed orchard which provides seeds for the nursery and improves overall genetics of the seedlings. The slash pine was about 25 years old and had already been through two cycles of genetic improvement. Finally, I photographed some of the technology that Rayonier uses at a longleaf pine stand, including a vertical hypsometer (essentially an electronic clinometer), a data logger, and iPads, used to record data.