Oct. 13, 2011 – TheLouisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Forestry Section has completed its annual Growth Monitoring Plot (GMP) surveys on Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).
Established in 1988, the GMP program allows biologists to gather a wide range of data on wildlife habitat, assess forest growth and health, and determine risks to WMA resources. After initial establishment of the GMP permanent plot, data is collected every ten years for analysis with the first year data.
The data collected for more than 20 variables provides managers the insight to understand the complexity of these forested systems, including growth rates, mortality, species change, invasive species encroachment, habitat characteristic and forest disease developments. Additionally, a baseline of knowledge is established for evaluating future changes and monitoring sustainability of the forest in each WMA.
GMP data results for both Loggy Bayou and Walnut Hills WMAs revealed fairly healthy forests, despite the continued drought in western Louisiana. The plantation area on Loggy Bayou is growing much faster than expected, with average growth rates exceeding five inches per decade. GMP plots on Walnut Hills identified several areas experiencing closed canopy conditions. These conditions limit growth, increase mortality, and have a negative impact on available browse and mast production. Due to these habitat conditions, LDWF is planning several thinning treatments on the area to enhance wildlife habitat conditions.
The GMP program will continue to help managers develop strategies for achieving objectives and sustaining forest health and vigor. The continued collection of GMP data will ensure that WMA forests across the state will remain productive and provide both social and economic benefits for future generations.
For more information on LDWF’s Forestry Program, contact Tommy Tuma at 225-765-2347 or firstname.lastname@example.org  or go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/wildlife/forestry-program  .
The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov  on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb  or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.