Conecuh County, Alabama
Dr. Salem Saloom and his family are not first-timers when it comes to growing trees. Their commitment to managing their woodlands has received several awards for outstanding sustainable forest management. “Soil is the substance of life and upon which life depends,” Saloom said. “Maintaining healthy soils and forests are dependent upon good stewardship practices.”
Saloom manages 1,000 acres of longleaf pine stands with soil health in mind and a focus on reducing erosion and enhancing habitat for the threatened gopher tortoise, the bobwhite quail, deer, wild turkeys, and other species. Saloom also manages for clean air and clean water on his 2,200-acre tree farm and advocates for policies that ensure family woodlands stay forested.
Over the years, Saloom has become convinced that longleaf pine promises better economic benefits. Healthy longleaf forests are more resistant to insect and disease infestation, wildfires, and storm damage than other pine species, he says, and offer a greater return on investment because of demand for longleaf straw and high-quality timber and wood for pole production.
As a certified “tree farm,” the Salooms have a written management plan that guides their harvesting activities and practices, including the creation and maintenance of skid trails, loading areas, and stream crossings. The family also uses required best management practices (BMPs) to ensure water quality is protected.