The Art of Managing Longleaf
A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach

Leon Neel, with Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way
Afterword by Jerry F. Franklin

A holistic approach to forestry and land management explained by one of its pioneers


"It is about the trees, but it also is about wildlife and the economics of lumbering. A bonus is a 30-page photo essay section that illustrates and expands upon the text. Readers will find much to learn and admire in this work; it embraces more than directions for good forestry. In the end, it gives readers new eyes with which to see the ecological impacts of human actions."

"Herbert Stoddard and his acolyte Leon Neel made a revolution in forestry among the longleaf pines of Georgia's Red Hills. More than applied scientists, they were artists and designers of genius, makers of ecologically balanced landscapes that were also gorgeous parks and hunters' paradises. Now Paul Sutter, Bert Way, and especially Neel, himself, bring us the comprehensive narrative, which is not only enlightening but irresistably charming."
—Jack Temple Kirby, author of Mockingbird Song: Ecological Landscapes of the South

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Greenwood Plantation in the Red Hills region of southwest Georgia includes a rare one-thousand-acre stand of old-growth longleaf pine woodlands, a remnant of an ecosystem that once covered close to ninety million acres across the Southeast. The Art of Managing Longleaf documents the sometimes controversial management system that not only has protected Greenwood’s “Big Woods” but also has been practiced on a substantial acreage of the remnant longleaf pine woodlands in the Red Hills and other parts of the Coastal Plain. Often described as an art informed by science, the Stoddard-Neel Approach combines frequent prescribed burning, highly selective logging, a commitment to a particular woodland aesthetic, intimate knowledge of the ecosystem and its processes, and other strategies to manage the longleaf pine ecosystem in a sustainable way.

The namesakes of this method are Herbert Stoddard (who developed it) and his colleague and successor, Leon Neel (who has refined it). In addition to presenting a detailed, illustrated outline of the Stoddard-Neal Approach, the book—based upon an extensive oral history project undertaken by Paul S. Sutter and Albert G. Way, with Neel as its major subject—discusses Neel’s deep familial and cultural roots in the Red Hills; his years of work with Stoddard; and the formation and early years of the Tall Timbers Research Station, which Stoddard and Neel helped found in the pinelands near Tallahassee, Florida, in 1958. In their introduction, environmental historians Sutter and Way provide an overview of the longleaf ecosystem’s natural and human history, and in his afterword, forest ecologist Jerry F. Franklin affirms the value of the Stoddard-Neel Approach.

A Wormsloe Foundation Publication

Page count: 256 pp
16 color photos, 10 b&w photos, 1 map
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $24.95

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Leon Neel is a forestry consultant and land manager who lives in Thomasville, Georgia. Paul S. Sutter is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia and editor of the Press’s Environmental History and the American South series. His books include Environmental History and the American South: A Reader. Albert G. Way is a postdoctoral fellow in southern studies at the Institute for Southern Studies, University of South Carolina.