Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Great Forestry Includes Low-Grade Timber Markets for Biomass

I wanted to share the below editorial with my readers. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, I was just reiterating this fact while teaching at the New Forest Stewards Training this week. Strong markets for low grade, whether paper, energy, firewood, or something else, allow us to practice proper forest management. 

I have been blessed over my forestry career to experience both, strong low grade markets and virtually no low grade markets. Where there are no markets our ability to practice proper forest management is severely compromised. It has also been shown that strong markets for forest products help keep forests as forests. In other words, landowners are less likely to sell land and conversions to others uses, like development, are less likely to happen. How do we develop a strong biomass market in our state?

This story was originally published in The Commons, Voices and Letters from Readers.

As a consulting forester helping landowners manage thousands of acres of forest land across Massachusetts, I support more utilization of forest biomass because without low-grade timber markets, we cannot practice great forestry.

This movie Burned is nothing more than anti-forestry propaganda. We do not clear-cut forests for biomass. Only junk wood is chipped. Biomass is, in essence, stored solar energy and is a byproduct of our forestry operations, all of which allows us to grow more high-quality saw timber, which is the main product.

Increased markets for forest biomass have produced more forest-improvement cuttings that help landowners:
• manage their woodlots to a high standard by greatly improving timber quality and species composition;
• improve wildlife habitat;
• generate income;
• increase property values as well as timber values;
• encourage landowners to keep their land in forest.

Biomass markets and improvement cuttings also provide many real green jobs right up the wood-supply chain and help to provide many forest products for consumers and a source of clean, locally produced, renewable energy.

The use of wood for energy is carbon neutral as long as the forests are growing faster than they are being cut. Here in Massachusetts, that is the case. There are numerous studies that show the great carbon benefits of biomass utilization.

We need more markets for forest biomass, especially in those areas that have no access to any significant low-grade timber markets. We need to stop all renewable energy credits for forest-and-field-destroying, made-in-China toxic solar “farms” and mountain-ecosystem-destroying and bird-shredding wind “farms.”

Those credits should be redirected to locally produced and sustainable biomass so we can create more local jobs and improve more of our forest land.

By Mike Leonard

Friday, September 8, 2017

PA Tree Farmer Profiled in Conservation

Centre County, Pennsylvania, Tree Farmer Susan Benedict is highlighted in the Profiles in Conservation by the Forest Service NE Area State and Private Forestry. 

Profiles in Conservation 
Susan Benedict
Keys to keeping land in the family — reaching consensus, diversifying revenue

By Glenn Rosenholm

Most forest landowners are not certified accountants; Susan Benedict is. She can do the math, and that gives her a huge advantage in keeping their Pennsylvania land in the family for generations to come.

Benedict has a B.S. in Accounting from Penn State, and she works as the controller for a local real estate group. Accountants typically possess excellent math and planning skills, both of which are very important to managing real estate, including forest land.

She spent a lot of time on her family’s extensive forested landholdings. She grew to love their woods, almost as much as she would love a relative. Her family shares her affection for their land. To them, it’s not just a patch of dirt waiting to be developed; it is much more.

“We discussed this as a family, and we consider our land to be a partner or member of the family. So all the decisions we make consider the land and its health, just like you would consider a member of the family,” Benedict said. “My grandfather purchased it in 1943. We didn’t live there, but we spent a lot of time there as kids and adults. My dad, every spare minute he had he was on the property, and he took us along.”

She and her brothers later inherited the land from their father, Lewis Shoemaker, in 2006. Today, she and her brother Michael Shoemaker own 2,078 acres of forested land—an enormous family estate.

Benedict owns it in a 50-percent partnership with her brother. There were three siblings initially, though her middle brother passed away after their father died.

Today, she is 58 years old, and her husband, Leroy, is 65. They have three adult sons—Lewis, Jacob, and Zachary Benedict. “My husband and I are currently residing on the property; we moved in last November,” she said. Her living brother and partner, Michael, 55, is married to his wife, Connie.
To read the rest of the story click here.

Read about the Benedict family as 2012 Pennsylvania Outstanding Tree Farmers at the Pennsylvania Tree Farm Program Web site.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Spotted Lanternfly Update #2

I received the below update from a one of my Extension colleagues in Southeaster PA. Interesting information but not looking good for us to eradicate this insect. It is yet to be seen what kind of damage if could do to the forest, only time will tell.
See previous posts dated September 6, 2016
and November 26, 2014 

In addition, below is a great suggestion posted by a friend of mine on Facebook:

Please help me get the word out. If you've got Spotted Lanternflys and you just don't know what to do about them get this fly tape! It's called Catchmaster Giant FlyTrap. It is exactly that, a giant 10-inch wide, 30-ft long roll of fly tape. Nothing to spray, don't have to worry about kids or pets getting near it and it certainly will not contaminate your property with insecticides!

Catchmaster Giant Fly Trap
Every time I am out replacing the tape (because the last one was filled), people driving by pull over and ask what it is, does it work, and where they can get it. I originally purchased them at TSC in Gilbertsville. Needing more, I found that HomeDepot.com sells them for the same price $6.99 per roll. I ordered 7 to get to the free shipping amount ($50) and they arrived soon after.

PLEASE share this information. They are an invasive insect with no natural predators here and they continue to spread. They suck sap from trees and slowly kill them. This insect has the potential to greatly impact the grape, hops, and logging industries.

Penn State Extension Update on Control Options, September 1, 2017
As the result of a mild winter, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) population is enormous this year. In many areas in early August, trees were completely covered with feeding nymphs. Unsurprisingly, reports of Spotted Lanternfly from locations previously considered uninfested are significantly on the rise in southeast Pennsylvania.

Photo: Emelie Swackhamer
There is limited information on pesticide options for control of Spotted Lanternfly because is it a new pest to this area. This year, Penn State Extension is conducting efficiacy trials on products that are available to the homeowner for control on their property. Early this month, we began testing contact insecticides including horticultural oil, neem oil, insecticidal soap, and products that contained spinosad, carbaryl, bifenthrin, or pyrethrin as the active ingredient. Additionally, we included two systemic insecticides (both applied as soil drenches and one as a bark spray) in our preliminary trials.

Our initial observations suggest that some active ingredients produce better control than others. For those products with active ingredients of bifenthrin, pyrethrin, and carbaryl (from what was tested so far), we saw an immediate effect on caged lanternflies (see image above). There was some effect from neem oil and insecticidal soap, but results were variable. Also, the insects were not killed immediately with these products; it took several days to see the full effect. For the systemic products, the bark spray (active ingredient = dinotefuran) appears to outperform the drenches (dinotefuran and imidacloprid). We speculate that the drenches may do better if applied to the soil earlier in the season and may consider changing our study design for next year. Regardless, our 2017 study is a preliminary effort. Moreover, we have not completed collecting our data for the season.

Adult Spotted Lanternflies started emerging in early August. The female lanternflies are not reproductively mature at emergence. It is believed that they must feed on the Tree-of-Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) at some point in order to complete the life cycle. However, it is important to understand that the number of hosts on which the insect can complete its life cycle is unknown at this time. Other researchers are involved with determining primary and secondary host plants from opportunistic/accidental feeding. However, Penn State Extension is also monitoring the population for general reproductive status in order to adjust control tactics (if appropriate) to target pesticide applications prior to the onset of oviposition in the majority of the population in order to make additional control suggestions that may reduce the population of the following year.

Always use pesticides carefully. Read the label to ensure your safety as well as that of the environment.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s (PDA) Spotted Lanternfly Program, please see the PDA’s website: http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/protect/plantindustry/spotted_lanternfly/Pages/default.aspx

Penn State Extension will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Amy Korman amk6396@psu.edu
Emelie Swackhamer exs33@psu.edu