Fort Pickett forestry program benefits local schools

Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center foresters confer during a prescribed burn intended to reduce the fire load of MTC training lands. (Contributed photo)

Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center foresters confer during a prescribed burn intended to reduce the fire load of MTC training lands. (Contributed photo)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Proceeds from timber harvested at the Fort Pickett Maneuver Training Center near Blackstone support Department of Defense Forestry and Natural Resource Programs, and 40 percent is given back to local county school systems.

According to Brandon Martin, Fort Pickett-MTC forester, nearly $215,500 was divided up between Nottoway (57%), Dinwiddie (29%) and Brunswick (14%) Counties.

“Timber harvesting is a core component of the Fort Pickett-MTC Forestry Program,” Martin said. “Harvesting allows for proper forest stand dynamics, leading to healthy and productive forested ecosystems and beneficial early successional wildlife habitat. Trees harvested at Fort Pickett-MTC are used to make a variety of wood products; from paper and paper products to dimensional framing lumber and fine furniture.”

Martin said the mission of the Fort Pickett MTC Forestry Section is to protect and develop healthy, sustainable forest resources that meet present and future military training needs.

“They balance a healthy, abundant forest resource providing military training lands with environmental and economic benefits to the DoD and Virginia on a sustainable basis,” he said. “They are stewards of a resource whose scenic beauty enhances natural surroundings and whose forested resource supports military training, clean air, clean water and a diverse population of wildlife.”

Martin explained that the forestry program is part of an integrated natural resource management program, and it ensures a diverse forest resource as a part of ecosystem management.

“The end state is military training benefits in balance with the environmental values of the forest resource,” Martin said.