Monday, March 2, 2015

Penn State March Renewable Natural Resources Webinars

Forest Stewardship:
PA Forest Stewardship Webinar: Remediation and Stabilization Strategies for Disturbed Forest Sites, March 10, 2015, noon and 7 p.m. ET.
Understanding the physical dynamics of your site and other limiting factors weigh heavily on restoring desired vegetation on disturbed forest sites. Natural gas development, timber sales, and other activities are projected to impact thousands of acres of Pennsylvania woodlands. Whether you intend to establish trails, wildlife food plots, or early successional forest species, having a plan of action and a list of available natural resource professionals to guide your efforts will increase the odds of achieving your desired outcome. Included among the issues we will explore are: Evaluating your Needs and Cost/Affordability of Restoration, Landowner Health, Natural Gas Lease Restrictions, Soil Compaction and Fertility Issues, Invasive Species and their Control, and Species Selection - Putting the Right Plants in the Right Place. Presented by Gary Micsky, Agricultural and Natural Resources Extension Educator, Penn State Extension – Mercer County.

Water Resources Webinar: Pennsylvania Groundwater: Individual Actions to Protect this Valuable Resource, Tuesday, March 10, 12 – 1 p.m. ET. Presented by Bryan Swistock, Penn State Extension (a special webinar in honor of Groundwater Awareness Week)

Water Resources Webinar: The Pennsylvania Master Watershed Steward Program, Wednesday, March 25, 12 – 1 p.m. ET. Presented by Erin Frederick, Penn State Extension.

Northeast Woody/Warm-Season Biomass Consortium Webinar: Can Cover Crops Play a Role in Shrub Willow Establishment for Weed and Nutrient Management, March 10, 1 p.m. ET. 
Controlling weed competition is a critical component of shrub willow establishment due to low planting density and initially poor competitive ability. Recommendations formed in the US fifteen years ago stress the need for cultivation and herbicides that leave the soil surface exposed for long periods of time, increasing the risk of soil erosion and nutrient losses. Very little work has been done to investigate the use of cover crops for improving the sustainability of shrub willow establishment. We initiated two trials in September of 2013 to test the effects of fall-seeded cover crops on weed suppression and nutrient availability in shrub willow planted the following spring. In one trial, we tested cereal rye and a brassica cover crop alone and in combination against a conventional field preparation control. In the second trial, we tested three fall-seeded cereal crops along with a conventional preparation control. Cover crop plots received no herbicides and cover crops were managed by rolling with a residue cutter/roller to produce a mulch layer. Fertility treatments were used to manipulate nutrient availability. Weed populations, nutrient availability and willow growth were measured over one growing season. Results from these two trials suggest that cover crops could have a role in improving the sustainability of shrub willow crop establishment, but important factors such as cover crop selection and management methods are important considerations. Lessons learned and suggestions for future research will also be discussed. Presented by Eric Fabio, Cornell University. 

Green Infrastructure:
Penn State Extension Green Infrastructure Webinar Series: Green Stormwater Infrastructure: an Overview of Villanova’s Research, March 9, 2015, 3 p.m. ET (please note the different time for this webinar only). Presented by Robert Traver, Ph.D., PE, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP), Villanova University.
Penn State Extension Green Infrastructure Webinar Series: Maintaining the Green Infrastructure Systems in Your Community, March 16, 2015, noon ET. Presented by Robert Traver, Ph.D., PE, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Director of the Villanova Urban Stormwater Partnership (VUSP), Villanova University.
Penn State Extension Green Infrastructure Webinar Series: Incorporating Green Infrastructure to Revitalize Your Community: Leading the Way in Lancaster, PA, March 31, 2015, noon ET. Presented by Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Director of Public Works, City of Lancaster.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Forest Steward Sign

Old "Stewardship Forest" sign
The old Forest Steward signs are being replaced by a newly re-designed, colorful "Stewardship Forest" sign. State forestry agencies can now purchase the new-style sign. The sign declares the property as a "Stewardship Forest" and includes the Forest Stewardship Program theme art that depicts the four primary values produced by private forests (forest products, watershed protection, recreation, and wildlife habitat).  
New "Stewardship Forest" sign

A statement at the bottom of the sign reads, "This forestland is being managed sustainably under a written forest management plan that meets Forest Stewardship Program standards in accordance with the state forestry agency and the USDA Forest Service."  The USDA logo and U.S. Forest Service shield are at the bottom of the sign with extra room for States to affix a sticker with their logo if desired. State agencies can contact Voss Signs, the sign vendor, directly for pricing and ordering information. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Importance of Family Owned Forests, Part II

On Wednesday, February 4th, I shared new research about the benefits of family-owned forests--and the challenges faced by private woodlands. It was based on the Huffington Post op-ed by American Forest Foundation (AFF) President Tom Martin who outlined the findings.

In this next report of the AFFs special edition on the "Importance of Family Owned Forests" they focus on the tremendous supply of wood family forests currently provide. If all this wood were used as fuel, it could power 67 million homes for a year. Or, looking at it another way, that wood supply includes enough high-quality, large logs to build 37 million homes. Yet much of this family-owned forestland is threatened and the benefits it provides could be lost.

Take a look at our latest post to learn just how much wood is available in family forests, what threatens these woodlands, and what benefits--including wood products, clean water and wildlife habitat--could be lost if we don't take action.

 February 18, 2015, by Tom Martin
When you turned on your lights today, did you think of a family forest owner? Or how about this morning when you walked across your dark-stained pine floors and opened the drawers to your maple bureau: did you imagine the family-owned forest where it may have come from? Or when you sneezed and reached for a tissue?

Because families care for more of America’s forests than the government or corporations, family-owned forests and the products produced from these lands are part of every aspect of our lives and most of us don't even realize it. These lands are an integral piece of America’s forest puzzle - without them, we wouldn’t have the same clean air and water, wildlife habitat, places to recreate, or forest products we all use every day.

New research from the American Forest Foundation, produced in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Family Forest Research Center, shows that the wood supplies in family-owned forests are abundant—these forests currently have more than 358 billion cubic feet of standing wood

To put this into context, if all this wood was low quality biomass and were used as fuel, it would create enough energy for 67 million houses for one year. Or, looking at it another way, that includes enough high quality, large logs to build 37 million homes. And could be renewed to build or power just as many in the future!

To read the rest of the story click here.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Report Released on Impacts of White-Tailed Deer in Northeastern Forests

Severe deer impact is shown with a exclusion fence.
I wanted to share this new publication from the US Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry.  They recently published an online report by Botanist Tom Rawinski titled "White-tailed deer in northeastern forests: understanding and assessing impacts."  This is a 31 page publication packed full of color photos and descriptions.

The table of contents is as follows: Introduction, The White-tailed Deer, Forest Vegetation, Of Moose and Rabbits, Fenced Areas and Other Inaccessible Places, Deer Impacts are Never Uniform, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?, The Element of Time, Classes of Palatability, Preferred and Staple Plant Species, Low-preference and Avoided Plant Species, Synthesis, and Mitigating Negative Impacts.

This publication is well worth printing and reading.

White-tailed deer in northeastern forests: understanding and assessing impacts

Introduction: The scientific evidence is clear. White-tailed deer overabundance is a threat to millions of acres of forest land in the Northeastern United States.1 As keystone herbivores, whitetails can have disproportionately large impacts on biodiversity and forest dynamics. Impacts may be obvious or may cascade through the ecosystem in ways not fully understood.

Human actions and inaction are the root cause of this problem. Consider the implications of this statement:
Unfortunately, fewer than half of Pennsylvania’s forest holds adequate numbers of young trees to simply replace itself.”
Without young trees coming on, deer-impacted forests face a bleak future. These forests have lost much of their capacity to withstand disturbance and to absorb change. The natural disturbances that once diversified and rejuvenated forested landscapes now simply accelerate forest disintegration (figures 1, 2). Forest management is no longer sustainable in many areas (figure 3). Few, if any, threat factors can inflict such damage to forest ecosystems and forest-related economies.

Click here to view the full publication.

 State and Private Forestry News, Jan 2015, Newtown Square, Pa.