Melisa Love’s forestry career spans 40 years


By Norma Kirkpatrick
Opelika Observer

The woodlands of Alabama are not only beautiful to see and experience, but are significant in many other ways.  Among the fifty states, the state ranks second in pulp production, seventh in lumber production and eighth in wood paneling; all this makes a significant economic impact on Alabama.
In 1976, a young woman from Washington, D.C. completed her studies at Virginia Tech with a Bacholers of Science degree in Forest Resource Management. Upon graduation, she worked five years as a senior forester for Georgia Kraft, now MeadWestvaco, in Waverly.   She then continued her education, earning a Masters of Science degree in Forest Economics from Auburn in 1995.
That is how Melisa Love came to live in Opelika and establish Forestry Consultants, Inc. Love did that because she wanted to be in control of her own schedule, to have time for family life and for her children.  That was a major priority to Melisa; known as “Lisa.” She knows who she is; what needs to be done; and how to get it done.
During the four decades of her forestry career, Love has spent a lot of time tromping through the woodlands, under every condition nature could throw at her. With the ups and downs of weather, rugged terrain, and often alone; she knows the meaning of self-dependence.  Love is aware that a situation could turn at any moment, presenting the unexpected. She also spoke of her appreciation of the beauty and grace found in quiet times deep in the forest; the sounds, the smells and the presence of God. Love said a person gets to know who they are, with a life such as that.
Love was appointed in 2003 to the Alabama Board of Registration for Foresters, and then, in 2006, to the Board of the Alabama Forestry Commission. She is a long-standing member of the Bradley/Murphy Forestry and Natural Resources Extension Trust, where she, along with other trustees, evaluate and approve funding for grants to be used in the Natural Resources field. Love also participates, and has been a leader, in the Association of Consulting Foresters of America and the Society of American Foresters; and has been a member of Alabama Natural Resources Coordinating Council; Longleaf Alliance; Alabama Forestry Association, and several other boards and councils.  Love is also a real estate land agent with Cyprus Partners, where she assists folks with selling or buying timbered properties.
As a forestry consultant who provides forest management, timber sales, appraisals, inventories and planning, she offers a multiple choice of services. A few are the planting of trees; spraying for prevention and/or invasion of unwanted and threatening plant life and insects; property value estimates; and also preservation and restoration of property lines. Love advises her clients about seasonal care, guidance in when to plant and when to cut and sell their stand of timber.  She will also provide oversight of hunting leases, with attention to liability insurance, financial and legal agreements and contract terms in behalf of the owner.  She has a variety of clients for this and all other services. Some live on their property, and some do not.  Some land is held in a family trust, managed by a board, and some land is held by investors. More than 90 percent of the woodland in Alabama is privately owned.
“I love to be outside in the beauty of God’s world and have the privilege of caring for the forests and land,” Love said. In her office there was an array of beautiful items of nature she had picked up while out working. “I also like people and want to help them care for their land; and protect their ownership and investments.”  She said she has learned to listen to people; who they are and what is important to them. “We often don’t listen well to one another,” she added.  Trees grow slowly. Lisa has been vested with their watch care by the owners; not only for the present; but also in the past, and often for the future of their heirs. Melisa Love understands that, and is the perfect person for the task.