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The Brender Demonstration Forest also known as the Hitchiti Experimental Forest occupies 4,735 acres of land in Jones County, Georgia about 18 miles northeast of Macon. It lies on the east bank of the Ocmulgee River in the lower piedmont. The areas first known inhabitants were the Hitchiti Indians. They used fire to clear land for planting and to herd game animals during hunts. Through time, timber and cotton were the area's primary crops early in the twentieth century. However, the heyday for cotton was short-lived when the boll weevil and an agricultural depression struck. In 1946 the Federal Government established the Hitchiti Experimental Forest that now makes up the Brender Demonstration Forest. Today the Forest is an active research facility of the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station.
Some of the subjects now under study or demonstration on the Forest include:
- The effects of varying intensities of site preparation on survival and growth of loblolly pine
- Effects of prescribed fire under mature loblolly pine
- Interplanting of Loblolly Pine
- Precommercial thinning of natural Loblolly Pine
- Natural regeneration systems for loblolly pine in the lower Piedmont
- Comparison of Winter & Summer prescribed fires
- Demonstration of methods of site preparation before planting Pine
- Methods for maintaining red-cockaded woodpecker habitat and endangered bird species
- Planting of mountain variety of Longleaf in Piedmont of Georgia
- Forest insects & diseases
- Wildlife plantings on utility line
- Proper logging road construction
The U.S. Forest Service and the Southern Industrial Forest Research Council established the Brender Demonstration Forest cooperatively. The Brender Forest is a place where people can learn about the forests of the Southern Piedmont Plateau. They can also learn about the many options for managing these forests to conserve and utilize this valuable natural resource.