As crude oil gets scarcer and biofuels become increasingly important, UF/IFAS researchers Alan Hodges and Gary Peter are seeking to update Florida’s historically lucrative pine oleoresin tapping industry to meet the needs of an energy-hungry world. New, less labor-intensive, more cost-effective harvesting technology featuring tractor-mounted hydraulic drills can tap 80 to 90 trees per hour, roughly twice what a crew with handheld power tools can do in the same time. The new technology should allow landowners to harvest oleoresin from their existing stands of slash pine and supply not only the current chemicals industry but also a new biofuels industry that will produce jet fuel. Researchers are concurrently developing higher-yield slash pine cultivars so that when existing forests are tapped out, landowners can replant with the more productive trees. This video explains the research and what it could mean for landowners in Taylor County and throughout the state.
UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones