Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pennsylvania Tree Farmers Win Outstanding Regional Tree Farmers of the Year

It has just been announced that Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy of Beckets Run Woodlands, the 2014 Pennsylvania Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year, are being recognized as the 2015 Northeastern Region Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year, by the American TreeFarm System (ATFS), a branch of the American Forest Foundation.
The American Tree Farm System also announced the other 3 regional winners of the 2015 Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year:
•          The Hoiland family of Montana
•          The Boutwell family of Alabama
•          The Becker family of Wisconsin
These four awardees, representing all four corners of the nation, have demonstrated hard work, dedication, resilience, and an excellence in stewardship in managing their land’s wood, wildlife, water, and recreation.

Read more about the finalists or join ATFS for upcoming webinars where the regional winners will talk about their Tree Farm and all the great work they are doing on their land and in their community:
•          The Hoilands: July 8th, 2015 at 3 pm ET
•          The Boutwells: July 9th, 2015 at 2 pm ET
•          Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy: July 23rd, 2015 at 2 pm ET
•          The Beckers: Stay tuned for date and time....

Please take a few moments to read their stories of stewardship and then cast your vote on who you think should be recognized as this year's National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year. Online voting will conclude on July 31st, 2015 and is limited to one per day.

The final selection of the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year will be decided by a panel of voters that includes the American Forest Foundation's Woodland Operating Committee, conservation partners, the senior staff of the American Forest Foundation and you. The Regional Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year with the most online votes will receive one additional vote.

In Addition, On Saturday July 18th beginning at 1PM Beckets Run Woodlands will host a tour to showcase their conservation efforts to restore the forest ecosystem by controlling invasive plants and promoting biodiversity and wildlife habitat in southern Allegheny County. If interested in attending or for more information please contact owners Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy by July 11: You can also find them on Facebook.

We wish Raul and Janet well in the competition to be the 2015 National Tree Farmers of the Year! Thanks for all you do to promote good forest stewardship through the Tree Farm Program. Best of luck!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Is Overharvesting a Threat to Our Forest?

What is biomass?

Recently, there have been a number of news stories published related to the growth of the biomass industry, particularly in the South. These articles often tell just one side of the story. They describe a narrow and inaccurate view of the threats to family-owned forests.

In an op-ed published this week in “The Hill” entitled "Top Threats to Forests do not Include Over-harvesting", the American Forest Foundation shared a different story, the real story of forest landowners. They point out the most significant challenges Tree Farmers face are development pressures, catastrophic wildfire, invasive plants, insects and disease. Ironically, these threats can all be addressed by increased markets for sustainable wood. With increased markets woodland owners are able to finance practices that create forest resiliency.

I hope you will take the time to read this article and consider sharing your story as well. The American Forest Foundation is always looking for forest landowners/Tree Farmers who actively manage their land to ensure forests remain as forests, in particular, working forests remain as working forests. If interested in sharing your story as part of their communications efforts, please email to learn more.

How Europe's Climate Policies Led to More U.S. Trees Being Cut Down (Washington Post)
UK Biomass Industry Must Show Fuel is Sustainable (

Monday, June 15, 2015

Update: Pennsylvania Deer Forest Study

Back in October of 2013 I first reported on a new deer forest study being launched by Pennsylvania's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. This research will help Pennsylvania’s forest and game managers better understand how deer affect forests so they can make better management decisions.

Deer-Forest Blog:
To keep up on the study findings check out their blog. posts are made periodically with some very informative findings. The first post was made to the blog in June 2013 and the latest being today. Today's post was entitled "So Why Did the Deer Cross the Road?"  You can also subscribe to the blog by providing your email address here.
About the Study:
Researchers from Penn State, U.S. Geological Survey, Pennsylvania Game Commission, and Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry will be monitoring deer populations and forest changes in Rothrock, Bald Eagle, and Susquehannock State Forests. By carefully monitoring deer populations and diversity and growth rates of forests in these areas, this study will lead to a better understanding of the complex relationships between our state’s deer herd and the forest.

Deer are an important part of Pennsylvania’s forests. However, too many deer can change forests in ways we may not like — for example, by eating too many seedlings of some tree species. But deer are not the only issue. Forest managers have to deal with problems such as invasive plants, insect outbreaks, soil acidity, and tree diseases.

Four study areas, ranging in size from 25 to 40 square miles, have been selected. One pair of study areas is in the center of the state, in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests, and one pair is in the north, in the Susquehannock State Forest.

Deer in these study areas will be managed differently with the help of hunters.  Forest conditions will be monitored to see how they respond to real-world deer and forest management activities. During the study, researchers from Penn State, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and the Pennsylvania DCNR Bureau of Forestry will carefully monitor deer populations and changes in the species mix and growth rates of plants in the study areas.

Fieldwork began in January 2013 with the capture and radio-collaring of deer. During May-August 2013, eight field technicians began collecting vegetation data on 200 permanent plots (50 per study area).  These permanent plots will be revisited every other year.  Additional monitoring of areas with planned timber harvests will begin in 2014.

Current funding will support the project for the period 2013-2017. We expect to start to detect changes in vegetation in years 3 and 4 of this study. Ideally, this project should be continued beyond the initial 5-year study period to better understand how forest management conditions respond to management actions over many years.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Timber 2015 Expo June 5 and 6

With live machinery demonstrations, as many as 85 commercial vendors and numerous business networking opportunities, the 2015 Forest Products Equipment andTechnology Exposition promises to provide professionals with a valuable trade show experience. But organizers of the event, known as Timber 2015, also have planned activities designed to entertain and educate the loggers, sawmill operators, value-added processors, forest landowners and members of the public who attend.

Hosted by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association, the biennial event will take place June 5-6 at Penn State's Ag Progress Days site, on state Route 45 nine miles southwest of State College.

A new attraction at this year's expo will be the Game of Logging national finals, a competition based on a world-recognized chain saw skills curriculum. The contest, with landowner and professional logger divisions, combines Scandinavian logging techniques with the latest systems for working safely around trees. Qualifiers from state-level competitions will compete on June 6 in categories such as Bore Station, Spring Pole, Big Stump, Precision Stump, Speed Cut and Tree Felling.

According to the Game of Logging website, "The 'game' refers not only to the friendly competitive aspect of the training, but also to the necessity of having a winning plan or strategy for felling trees and working safely. The program breaks apart saw work into steps that are practiced throughout the course. A fun scoring system helps focus participants' attention on the most important details and allows them to measure their progress."

Timber 2015 also will feature demonstrations by the Penn State Woodsmen's Team, which travels to compete in various regional and national collegiate events. Team members will demonstrate skills such as axe-throwing, underhand chopping and crosscutting on both days of the expo.

"These activities, which showcase the competitive talents of the participants, are fun to watch and emphasize the professional skills and safety expertise needed to be successful in the industry," said Timber 2015 manager Bob Oberheim, of Penn State.

In addition, the forest-product industry's charitable efforts will be highlighted by the "Log a Load for Kids" Truck Parade. The procession of vehicles around the show grounds will culminate with a check presentation to the Children's Miracle Network.

Nationally, the annual "Log a Load for Kids" campaign has raised about $20 million to help sick and injured children, noted said Paul Lyskava, executive director of the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association.

"Individuals and businesses in the Pennsylvania logging and forestry industries each year donate the value of a load of logs to support local Children's Miracle Network hospitals," he said. "This truck parade is a visual representation of our industry's commitment to the children of Pennsylvania and to the communities where we live and work."

The leading hardwood-producing state in the nation, Pennsylvania is home to more than 2,100 forest-product companies and 500,000 forest landowners. The forest-products industry has $11.5 billion in annual sales and generates about $19 billion a year for the state's economy.

Other activities on the schedule for Timber 2015 include the following:
--Woodlot management tours on both days will examine a 15-acre timber harvest that was performed in 2012 using the shelterwood regeneration method. Visitors will learn about harvesting and regeneration challenges, including shade tolerance, seed trees, exotic insects, invasive plants, competing vegetation and deer-browsing impacts.

--On-site and in-the-woods demonstrations will feature a range of forest-product technologies and machinery, including feller bunchers with processing heads, forwarders, log skidders, horizontal grinders and chippers. A ride-and-drive area will allow attendees to test-drive log skidders and forklifts.

--A Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative training course to be held on both days of the show will enable loggers to meet their annual PA SFI continuing education requirements. The course is free to attend, but there will be a $20 administrative fee for those who wish to register for continuing education credit. The educational sponsor for the event is Metzler Forest Products LLC.

--The Pasto Agricultural Museum will present new displays and hands-on exhibits focusing on timber and logging history. Visitors can hear stories of the history of timber, logging and forestry in the commonwealth in presentations at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day.

Primary sponsors for Timber 2015 include Forest Products Credit by AgChoice FC, Foster F. Wineland Inc., Pendu Manufacturing Inc. and Taylor Machine Works Inc.

For information on Timber 2015, including details on exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities, call 814-863-2873 or visit the show website.