Hickory Creek Orchard Feasibility Study

Richard Brad Henley


The study investigates the suitability for a new pecan orchard within a 4,000 acre area of the Davy Crockett National Forest in Houston County, Texas. In this project, the study area was selected based on creeks and water sources in the region. After determining that the vicinity of Hickory Creek would be the most suitable geographic area-of-interest (AOI), the second level of research was to conduct two levels of GIS analysis on the soils within the area. The study takes an in depth comparison of the soil types in the AOI and a nearby existing pecan orchard. The existing pecan orchard contains 106 acres of planted trees that lies 3.4 miles to the southeast of the Hickory Creek study area, on U.S. Highway 7, adjoining the city limits of Kennard, Texas. In addition to the comparison between the AOI and existing pecan orchard soils, the study includes an analysis of the soil types that are recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) Soil Survey for Houston County, Texas. After performing analysis of the two variations of recommended soil types, the areas were reduced down to include only non-forested agricultural lands that may already host the potential for accommodating a pecan orchard. Then an analysis including the AOI and existing pecan orchard soil types were combined and reduced once again to a smaller AOI based on contiguousness of the soil polygons, in combination with preference to nearby creeks, streams, and road infrastructure. The final analysis included overlaying Houston County land ownership parcel data over the study area and selecting the tracts that offer the highest level of preference based upon the conclusion of this strategic analysis of soil types.


Geospatial analysis; Land-use; Agriculture

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