Friday, November 17, 2017

Managing for Healthy Diverse Forests



A new multimedia project from the Natural Resources Conservation Service highlights practices to promote golden-winged warbler and other species that depend on young forest habitats. Featured in the project are a couple of our Pennsylvania woodland owners.

Natural Resources Conservation Service, Working Lands for Wildlife

Close your eyes and imagine you're in a forest. What does it look like?

You may be picturing a very old forest with big trees and an open forest floor that is easy to navigate.

But as you know, we have forests of all shapes and sizes. And that's a good thing. Healthy forests, just like healthy human populations, are sustained by a diversity of ages and types.

In many parts of the United States, forests are becoming largely homogeneous, or uniform, and in places like the Appalachian Mountains, young forest and mature, old growth forests are in short supply.

A lack of diverse forests has negative impacts on wildlife and the economy, as different age classes support higher biodiversity and provide a more sustainable source of income for forest landowners.

Landscape-level clearing of forests in the late 1800s and early 1900s created a landscape of even-aged forests. Nowadays, unsustainable logging, mineral extraction, development, fire suppression and invasive plants continue to threaten the diversity and health of Eastern forests.

Historically, fires, storms, floods and other disturbances altered forests, making room for new, younger to sprout.

To view the full multimedia site and read the rest of the story click here.

Monday, November 6, 2017

2017 Timber Tax Tip Sheet Available




Dr. Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, with the U.S. Forest Service has just released her annual 2017 tip sheet for forest landowners. This is a one page tip sheet loaded with information. I don’t see any specific language regarding changes to the timber tax codes from 2016, but in any event, this is the most current on the subject. For additional information go to National Timber Tax Website, timbertax.org.

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2017 Tax Year
by Dr. Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, U.S. Forest Service
Specific federal income tax laws and rules apply to timber-related income and expenses. The tax tips provided in this bulletin is intended to assist timber owners, foresters, loggers and their tax preparers in filing the 2017 tax returns. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction. The information is current as of September 30, 2017.

For the full "Tip Sheet" click here and you will be directed to the National Timber Tax Website.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Getting People to Talk About Climate Change



Penn State’s Sustainability Institute announced the release of a curriculum guide and an upcoming speaker, both aimed at getting people to talk about climate change. Both events were spurred by the release on the institute’s short film “Climate Stories,” which invites viewers into a conversation on climate change.

The curriculum guide, titled “Climate Stories: Connections for Discussion,” works in concert with the film. It is available to faculty and community members interested in using the film to explore climate change in their courses and communities. The guide, part of the Field Guide to Teaching Sustainability, teaches basic climate change science, the sociopolitical context of climate change in the United States, methods for communicating about the topic and ways to develop listening and speaking skills. The guide also directs users to relevant resources.

Additionally, Seamus McGraw will speak and read from his book “Betting the Farm on a Drought,” which informed the making of the film. The event will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Foster Auditorium, Pattee Library. McGraw will talk about the importance of storytelling, listening and the need for good dialogue about climate change in a polarized political environment.

“Political division, some bad actors, a lot of passion and misinformation have prevented people from taking the action needed to address climate change,” said Peter Buckland, academic programs coordinator at the Sustainability Institute and author of the guide. “But with a common understanding of the science, by focusing on common values and by sharing and listening, solutions can be developed.”

In the film, McGraw; Richard Alley, notable climate scientist and professor of geosciences; Janet Swim, professor of psychology; and Steve Sywensky, a local fly fisherman, discuss the challenges of human-caused climate change and the importance of people talking about it.

“Climate change is one of the most polarizing subjects, but if our democracy is going to tackle the problem of climate, then we have to really talk about it,” Buckland said.

For more information on the film, curriculum guide or McGraw’s talk, contact Buckland at pdb118@psu.edu.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Japanese Barberry and Lyme Disease


The below story was aired in New Jersey, regarding the relationship between Japanese barberry and Lyme disease. It is done in a typical sensational network news style, but nice for helping to spread the word. A couple of great videos are shown in the original piece.  Click here to go directly to the full news story.  The below video is from the University of Minnesota.  It tells a similar story.







Why One Plant May Be Fueling the Spread of Lyme Disease

Japanese barberry, an invasive plant species banned for sale in New York and Connecticut, could be making an already bad Lyme disease problem in the tri-state worse. Brian Thompson reports in the fourth edition of a five-part series on the fight against Lyme disease.

According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the United States

Ever heard of a Japanese barberry plant? It's a small shrub, common in home and commercial landscaping. Acres of it grow wild in tri-state woods. Deer avoid it. Ticks, however, do not.

Japanese barberry shrubs are warmer and more humid than other plants, creating an environment where ticks can thrive and reproduce, increasing the risk of transmission of Lyme and other potentially dangerous infectious diseases, experts say.

Ticks have to be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme in order to transmit it. White-footed mice, which are common carriers of that bacteria, often hide in the barberry's dense and thorny branches. One infected mouse passing through can transfer bacteria to any number of ticks, which then pass the infection to their next host.

Dr. Scott Williams, the lead researcher on Japanese barberry for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES), told NBC Connecticut that the barberry is "the ecological perfect storm for tick-borne diseases." His team's research showed an acre of forest containing Japanese barberry averages a Lyme disease-carrying tick population 12 times higher than an acre with no barberry.


What to Know:
•Japanese barberry is an exotic invasive shrub that is well established in home and commercial landscapes; it's been seen in 31 states
•The environment it creates is conducive to ticks and white-footed mice; Lyme-causing bacteria is easily transferred from mice to ticks, then to next host
•One leading researcher says that makes the barberry "the ecological perfect storm for tick-borne diseases"



Source: Why One Plant May Be Fueling the Spread of Lyme Disease - NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Japanese-Barberry-Plant-Lyme-Disease-451879453.html#ixzz4x0n9bh00
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Published at 7:39 AM EDT on Oct 27, 2017