Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Announcing the 13th Annual Central Pennsylvania Woodlot Management Workshop

Penn State Extension-Centre County is pleased to be offering the 13th Annual Central Pennsylvania Woodlot Management Workshop hosted by Joel Myers, tree farmer and forest stewardship landowner. The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 2014 from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM at Joel’s woodlot located just west of Spring Mills, Centre County, Pennsylvania.

This workshop is designed for forest landowners and others interested in the outdoors to help them understand how our forests can be managed for a number of objectives. These can include timber, wildlife, water quality, recreation, aesthetics, and diversity, as well as the conservation of unique areas or any combination of the above.

In 2011 Joel made a large timber harvest on his property located on the south side of Egg Hill in an attempt to diversify the property and create young forest conditions. Since that time Joel has taken on one of the largest tree planting and reforestation projects known in this area.  He has also seeded roads and log landings for wildlife, created food plots, developed early successional habitat, and controlled numerous invasive plants. 

This workshop will be a walking tour of Joel’s property visiting and discussing the timber harvests and much of the work that followed. Foresters and wildlife biologists will be leading the tours and available to answer your questions.

Come prepared to walk woodland trails and roads rain or shine. There will be some moderately difficult walking.  If you think you may have difficulty or need accommodations please be sure to contact the Extension office.

To register go to: http://extension.psu.edu/forests/events or call Penn State Extension at 814-355-4897.  Participants must be pre-registered by Monday, August 18, 2014.  A $15.00 fee is being charged per person to cover program costs, including lunch.  For questions please contact Dave Jackson in the Centre County Extension office at 814-355-4897 or e-mail CentreExt@psu.edu. 

Penn State encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities.  If you anticipate needing any type of special accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Dave Jackson, Penn State Cooperative Extension-Centre County at 814-355-4897 in advance of your participation or visit.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

How to Save the Forest

I was sent an article the other day that was written by a local logger/forester.  The article was published in the May/June 2014 edition of the Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation.  I know the author personally.  The article was so insightful and was so well written that I wanted to share a few excerpts from the article with my readers.  Enjoy! 

"How to Save the Forest: Cutting the Right Trees is Better than Cutting No Trees at All." by Martin Melville

To be fully productive, forests need proper management, and that means cutting the proper trees. The issue must become not whether to cut all trees, the best trees, or no trees, but the right trees.

As a society and as individual landowners, it is crucial that we make the shift from resources extraction and allowing the forest to heal itself to intentional resource management.

The cutting of trees is the primary tool foresters use to manage what a forest becomes. In cutting the right trees, forest productivity increases, diversity is maintained, and wildlife thrives. In cutting the wrong trees, and sometimes in not cutting any trees at all, productivity suffers, regeneration often fails, and diversity and habitat are lost.

The de-facto method of determining which trees will be cut and which will be left practiced by many landowners is know as "diameter limit harvesting," or D-cutting.  In this practice, all trees larger than a given limit are cut to make way for the future forest to grow. This method may have more aesthetic appeal, but it is not grounded in the science of forest management.

The concern of a D-cut is only about what resources can be extracted, not what can be left for the future. Often there is thought about wildlife food or habitat. Diameter limit harvesting also ignores the spacing of the trees that remain. 

"We cut the best and leave the rest," one forester said, speaking of practices such as D-cutting that degrade the forest.

Clear-cuts are controversial. They are a tool. There are times when a clear-cut is the best tool; there are times when it is not. The immediate result of a clear-cut may not be aesthetically pleasing. But, it is often the best way to increase forest productivity, diversity, and sustainability.

The message is not that cutting trees is wrong, for trees are one of the few truly renewable resources we have on this earth. The message is that if we cut the "right" trees, forests are a renewable, sustainable resource that can help society meet its resource needs and maintain diversity and habitat while providing landowners with healthier forests.

Martin Melville lives in central Pennsylvania where he practices logging, forestry, tree climbing, philosophy, and writing (among other things). More of his writing can be found at: www.martintrees.wordpress.com

To read the full article click here and go to page 17.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tree of Heaven: Causing Trouble in Our Forests

The USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station has released the latest edition of their “Research Review” publication. The Spring 2014 issue addresses the status of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) in our forests.  The publication is entitled Ailanthus: A Nonnative Urban Tree Is Causing Trouble in Our Forests.  The publication documents its growth and spread into a wide range of environments since it was first introduced to eastern North America in the 18th century.  Since that time it has expanded throughout farms and woodlands displacing native plant species.

The publication also covers the new research connected with Ailanthus control and eradication. One promising bit of research includes a new biological control method based on a wilt-inducing fungus called Verticillium nonalfalfae.  Some of this work was done by a researcher at Penn State by the name of Dr. Don Davis.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pennsylvania 2015 Private Forest Landowner Conference Announced

University Park, PA – June 20, 2014 -- Mark your calendars for the 2nd Private Forest Landowners Conference: The Future of Penn's Woods, March 20-21, 2015 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA. The biennial conference, hosted by The Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners, focuses on helping private woodland owners understand how to steward their lands for a mix of values and needs.

Pennsylvania has almost 750,000 woodland owners making decisions on 11.5 million acres of forestland. Seventy percent of the nearly 17 million acres of forested land in the state is owned by private individuals. Many of these owners (approx. 500,000) hold 10 acres or less (the average is just 3 acres), but big or small, the decisions all private woodland owners make about their forests affect the well-being of our state’s namesake -- Penn’s Woods.

From suburban backyard habitat to large properties with a focus on hunting or income, woodland owners want to do well by their land. Opportunities to learn and understand our options and possibilities help ensure that good decisions demonstrating care for the land are made.

Whether your woodlot is one acre or several thousand, we hope you will join us for this day and a half conference where you can learn about your property and how it contributes to habitat, water quality, and woodland diversity. Your land is part of a larger landscape where we connect with each other and together we care for Penn’s Woods.

The conference will include options such as field tours and a banquet, outstanding keynote addresses from nationally-renowned speakers, and myriad presentation and workshop opportunities to learn more about the values you hold for your woods and the goals you've set for your property. The conference has also been designed so that you will have significant opportunities to meet new and old friends who share your passion for woodland values.

If you are a woodlot owner in Pennsylvania or beyond and want to learn more about your woods click here.