Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fixing the Estate Tax

Earlier this month, President Obama signed a law that provides a two year decrease in the estate tax and a higher exemption level (35% and $5 million), compared to the tax that would have been imposed if Congress and the President had done nothing (55% and $1 million). This helps family forest owners across the country hang on to their land. There is a great article that appeared in the Baltimore Sun on December 17th that provides a good overview. The article gives a lot of credit to the American Forest Foundation. We need to thank them for their efforts.

We still need to get a special provision passed specifically for family forest owners but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Continue to encourage your congressional leaders to consider the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010 (S.3664). This bill would remove the estate tax burden on family-owned forests, if the land stays in the family and is managed sustainably. S. 3664, would provide family forest owners with an exemption from the estate tax, if they keep the land in their family and manage it as a forest.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Trees - The Real vs. Fake Debate

With christmas just a few days away I thought I would share this article with my readers.  The debate over which type of christmas tree to buy "real" or "fake" continues.  Which tree is "greener?"  When you look at the evidence, there's only one environmentally friendly option.  A real tree is the best choice!

O Tannenbaum! Which Christmas Tree to Trim: Real or Fake?
 
Christmas tree farms employ 100,000 people in America, an acre of Christmas trees supply enough oxygen for 18 people, and Christmas trees are a renewable resource.  A fresh-cut balsam smells wonderful and when the holidays are over they make excellent habitats for birds and rabbits in your back yard.
 
To read the rest of the story click here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Firewood Value

Written by: Michael Jacobson, Associate Professor of Forest Resources, Penn state School of Forest Resources

Wintertime is here, which means acquiring firewood and stoking the fire. The firewood market is fairly robust these days. Just open the newspaper and you'll see lots of firewood ads. My local paper today has six vendors selling firewood. This is an industry that provides part time work and extra cash for families. Many landowners enjoy cutting firewood for their own use. It requires very little expense other than a chainsaw, safety equipment, wedges, splitting maul, and truck or trailer. The firewood market also provides landowners with a market for low grade wood if they don't want to use it themselves.

For the rest of the story click here.

In addition, the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension has released a new publication entitled "Heating With Wood in Maryland."  This is an excellent 12 page publication which includes valuable information that will help you make the decision to heat with wood or improve your current wood burning situation. Topics include:
•How wood burns
•Improving woodfuel efficiency and emissions
•Comparing wood to other fuel
•Seasoning wood
•Burn wood safely
•How to buy firewood
•Selecting trees for firewood
The fact sheet also contains several illustrations that help explain how wood burns as well as many complete tables of information including comparisons and guides.

Monday, December 6, 2010

History of Deer Management in Pennsylvania

I came across this interesting article on StateCollege.com.  With the Pennsylvania deer season in full swing I thought it was fitting to share it with my readers. 

By Gary Lewis Jr. (November 29, 2010)
From the urban centers of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to the ridge and valley region of central Pennsylvania and the hardwood forests of the Allegheny plateau, the landscape of Pennsylvania is incredibly diverse. Equally diverse is the history of deer management within the commonwealth. To examine this diversity, this article is divided into distinct periods of differing deer management practices. By the end of this article, the reader should develop a deeper understanding of the historical management of Pennsylvania’s deer population.

To read the full story click here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tree Farm Video Puts Pressure on Congress to Fix Estate Tax


The American Forest Foundation (American Tree Farm System and Project Learning Tree) has produced a video that helps show the public some of the reasons America's family forests are important to us all. Family owned forests provide all Americans with valuable resources such as clean air, water, wildlife habitat, and wood products. The estate tax will be a threat to many family forests.

If the estate tax is not reformed before 2011, a 55 percent tax will be collected on all estates valued over $1 million, the levels of 2001. This will affect many family forest landowners, and may force some of them to sell their land or harvest their timber unsustainably to pay the tax debt. If the estate tax is not changed the threat of permanent loss of forests will increase.

Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 3664, the Family Farm Estate Tax Deferral Act of 2010. This bill would remove the estate tax burden on family-owned forests, if the land stays in the family and is managed sustainably. S. 3664, would provide family forest owners with an exemption from the estate tax, if they keep the land in their family and manage it as a forest.

You may want to urge your Senators to act on the estate tax for family forest owners before time runs out and urge them to support S. 3664. Write to your Senators here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment Released

The Nature Conservancy-Pennsylvania Chapter, Audubon Pennsylvania, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy just released an extensive report entitled Pennsylvania Energy Impacts Assessment  (Financial support was provided by the Heinz Endowments, RK Mellon Foundation and the William Penn Foundation).

The report examines the impacts of both Marcellus Shale natural gas development as well as wind energy development.  I have listed some of the key findings as they relate to Marcellus Shale natural gas development below.  To view the full report click here.

* About 60,000 new Marcellus wells are projected by 2030 in Pennsylvania with a range of 6,000 to 15,000 well pads, depending on the number of wells per pad;
* Wells are likely to be developed in at least 30 counties, with the greatest number concentrated in 15 southwestern, north central, and northeastern counties;
* Nearly two thirds of well pads are projected to be in forest areas, with forest clearing projected to range between 34,000 and 83,000 acres depending on the number of number of well pads that are developed. An additional range of 80,000 to 200,000 acres of forest interior habitat impacts are projected due to new forest edges created by well pads and associated infrastructure (roads, water impoundments);
Impacts on forest interior breeding bird habitats vary with the range and population densities of the species;
* Watersheds with healthy eastern brook trout populations substantially overlap with projected Marcellus development sites;
* Nearly a third of the species tracked by the Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program are found in areas projected to have a high probability of Marcellus well development;
* Marcellus gas development is projected to be extensive across Pennsylvania's 4.5 million acres of public lands, including State Parks, State Forests, and State Game Lands;
* Integration of conservation features into the planning and development of Marcellus gas well fields can significantly reduce impacts; 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Family Forest Owners Take Good Care of Land

A follow-up story to my blog post from October 21, 2010 entiteld Forest landowners Encounter New Challenges appeared in the Portland Insight on November 4th (see below).  I thought I would share this with my readers.  Granted, this is written in Oregon, but again, the same applies for much of Pennsylvania.  We have more that half a million owners of forestland in the state.  Many of our owners are very concerend about proper land management, they seek out information and guidance from professionals, and they practice proper stewardship of the land. 

Pennsylvania also runs a program entitled the Forest Stewarsdhip Program.  This program provides funding for landowners who wish to receive a forest managment plan.  This program is administered by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service with technical advice provided by the Bureau of Forestry (BOF).  For information on this program contact your BOF service forester.

Pennsylvania now has 27 Forest Landowner Assiciations.  These associations plan many education events, host workshops, and field days.  Joining a landowner association is a great way to get educated about forest management.  For example, if you are in need of information or recommendations on a consulting forester, landowner association members certainly can help you out.  For a map and a complete list of landowner associations in your area click here.

My View • Article gave wrong impression; private forests are doing fine:

Last month’s Sustainable Life story, “Tree farmers encounter new eco-challenges” (Oct. 14), could leave the reader wondering, “Why be a family forestland owner?” The story gloomily recounts that harvested lands sometimes aren’t replanted; that the timber sometimes is harvested and the land sold for development.  To read the full sory from the Portland Insight, November 4, 2010, click here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Webinar: Forest Access Road Best Management Practices

The Pennsylvania Forests Web Seminar Center announces the November on-line program. Tony Quadro, Assistant Manager, Technical Programs Director, and Forester, Westmoreland County Conservation District, will be presenting Forest Access Road Best Management Practices (BMPs) on Tuesday, November 9th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour.

Roads and trails through forestland represent one of the major causes of erosion and sedimentation of any forest practice. Forest access roads require proper planning to ensure a long, useful life with minimal negative impact. This presentation will cover the benefits of having roads in the woodlot, considerations for best locations (layout), road construction considerations, and BMPs (e.g., slope, water bars, dips, cross drain culverts, rubber belt deflectors, etc.), stream crossings, permits, erosion control plans, road retirement and maintenance, soils, PNDI searches, where to go for assistance, municipal issues, and other concerns including wetland crossings, the PA Fish and Boat Code and PA DOT. The webinar also qualifies for 1.0 SAF CFE credit hour, Category 1-CF.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center's Previous Seminars page along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process.  Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.

To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit the Pennsylvania Forests Web Seminar Center.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Forest Landowners Encounter New Challenges

Invasive plants and exotic insects are posing severe complications for today's forest landowners.  Today we are dealing with hemlock wooly adelgid, emerald ash borer and a host of exitic plants.  Twenty years ago many of these problems did not exist, today they are directing our management activities and costing lots of money in the process. 

Many people think you can simply grow the trees and harvest them when they are mature, that the trees will take care of themselves.  Or worse yet, that the forest is better off if simply left alone.  This is a real misconception, with the global issues we are dealing with today forests must be managed to be healthy and productive.

Many landowners purchase land today that was not properly managed.  They often find out that to turn it into a thriving, complex, and productive forest is going to take time, energy, and money.  This type of forestry is referred to as restoration forestry, restoring the forest landscape to a more productive and viable state.

To read an interesting article that appeared in the Clackamas Review (October 14, 2010) concerning one Oregon landowner dealing with these issues, click here.  These same concerns and issues are part of forestry in almost all states and most certainly in Pennsylvania.  Just a point of clarification, the fact that the property was clearcut had nothing to do with the problems the landowner is dealing with.  When done properly and under the right conditions, clearcutting is a sound form of forest management.

The Society of American Forester's E-Forester (October 15, 2010)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tax Tips and One-Day Courses for Forest Landowners

Tax time will be upon us before you know it.  The 2010 tax tips sheet is available from the Cooperative Forestry unit if the US Forest Service.  The tip sheet is provided by Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, and John Greene, Research Forester, Southern Research Station. 
The tip sheet can be acccessed by clicking here.  This year the sheet includes information on such topics as Timber as Personal, Investment, or Business Property; Timber Sales; Timber Management Expenses; Reforestation Costs; and more.  A useful aspect of the tip sheet is that it provides real life examples of how calculations would be made.

Penn State Cooperative Extension is also offering a number of One-Day courses across the state on Timber Taxation.  These one-day workshops are for financial advisers including attorneys, accountants, financial planners, foresters, tax preparers, and small-business owners.  Interested forest landowners are also invited to attend.  For a copy of the brochure with all the dates and locations click here.

For all your timber tax questions go to http://www.timbertax.org/.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Webinar on Using GIS and GPS

On Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at noon and again at 7:00 PM the PA Forests Web Seminar Center will be hosting a webinar entitled  Acquiring Property Maps, Boundaries and Attributes for Private Properties Using GIS and GPS.  Brent Harding, Senior Land Management Forester at Penn State School of Forest Resources will be presenting. 

Quick digital acquisition of private property attributes is becoming more accessible every year. Armed with a fast internet connection, a contemporary computer and a willingness to explore federal, state and local websites a landowner or natural resource professional can rapidly investigate a private property from a home or office computer. Within minutes of obtaining a private property tax parcel ID one can obtain a property’s county & township location, size, access, hydrology, notable topography, dominate vegetation, points of interest, lat/long, soils and driving directions. This quick baseline data search is a potential increase in efficiency for a natural resource professional and a potential reduction in cost to a private landowner.

The webinars generally last approximatly one hour and qualify for 1.0 SAF CFE credit hour, Category 1-CF.  To view the webinar you will need to register on the Pa Forests webinar Register Now page

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Web tools for woodlot owners

Pete Smallidge of Cornell Cooperative Extension brought a couple of really nice web sites to my attention recently.  They may be useful and informative to a number of my readers.
Forest and Range .Org
This site has on-line learning modules for woodland owners and interactive resources for educators.  The modules span a variety of topics including forestry, wildlife, and rangeland.  The forestry modules are excellent and include timber sales and contracts, certification, inventorying your woods, estate planning, woody plant identification and more.  Most of the modules have activities and video clips that will assist the user in learning the content of the module. The site is managed by the University of TN with individual modules created by specialists from throughout the land grant university system.

Forest A Syst
The goal of this site is to encourage landowners to manage their land for recreational activities, wildife habitat, and timber production while protecting the quality of water resources.  The site provides general information on timber and wildlife management, recreation, forest health, and management planning.  The site will also assyst landowners from throughout the US collect baseline information about the location of their property, soils information, and connect them with agency / extension specialists in their region. It is possible to view and print soils maps and aerial photos.  The site was developed by the University of Georgia.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New USDA Report on the Role of Ag in Reducing GHG Emissions

A new report entitled The Role of Agriculture in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, EB-15, has recently been released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.  The report was prepared by by John Horowitz and Jessica Gottlieb, September 2010.  The document also includes forestry activities.

Agriculture could play a prominent role in U.S. efforts to address climate change if farms and ranches undertake activities that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. These activities may include shifting to conservation tillage, reducing the amount of nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops, changing livestock and manure management practices, and planting trees or grass. The Federal Government is considering offering carbon offsets and incentive payments to encourage rural landowners to pursue these climate-friendly activities as part of a broader effort to combat climate change. The extent to which farmers adopt such activities would depend on their costs, potential revenues, and other economic incentives created by climate policy. Existing Federal conservation programs provide preliminary estimates of the costs of agricultural carbon sequestration.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Naturalist Marcia Bonta to Speak in State College

Marcia Bonta, author of nine books, over 300 magazine articles, and writer of the “Naturalist’s Eye” column for the Pennsylvania Game News,  will be presenting a program in State College at the Foxdale Village Auditorium on Wednesday, October 6th beginning at 7:00 PM.  Marcia will be joined by her son Dave Bonta as they share their photographs, beliefs and knowledge of the natural world around them.  The program is free and open to the public.

The Bonta’s live on a 648 acre mountaintop property outside of Tyrone, Pennsylvania, called Plummers Hollow, where she gets most of the inspiration for her writing.  Their over-all goal for the property is to preserve as many elements of biodiversity as possible, and to recover currently extirpated species.  They feel the proper environmental stewardship of two keystone species: white-tailed deer and human beings is critical for achieving property ownership objectives.

Marcia began her writing career based on her daily explorations of the natural world. She had written weekly columns for local newspapers for ten years before changing her career emphasis to books, magazine articles, lecturing and slide shows on nature and natural history topics. Her work has been reproduced in a number of anthologies, and she has received several awards for her writing. She treasures most the letters, calls and conversations with people who have been moved by her writing or slide shows.  You can follow Marcia's writings on her web log site.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

PA DEP Revises E&S Plans for Timber Harvesting Operations

Timber harvesters and practitioners will see requirements for additional information in timber harvesting Erosion & Sedimentation plans as early as November of this year. The changes are part of a significant revision to Pennsylvania’s Chapter 102 Erosion and Sediment Control and Stormwater Management regulations, which were recently finalized and take effect on November 9, 2010.

Additions to E&S plans includes additional information on the location of surface waters, the location of riparian forest buffers, geologic features and certain thermal information. It is the intent of DEP that this information and the E&S plans for timber harvests can still be completed by trained loggers and practitioners. The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has invited PA Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association (PFPA) to participate in the necessary revision of the Timber Harvesters Action Packet. This new information and any associated revisions to Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be incorporated into PA SFI training courses.

To read the full story go to the SFI of PA Summer 2010 newsletter.

Click here for the PA DEP booklet entitled Timber Harvest OperationsField Guide for Waterways, Wetlands, and Erosion Control.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

American Chestnut Web Seminar

The PA Forest Web Seminar Center sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension and the School of Forest Resources is back from summer break!

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center ( http://rnrext.cas.psu.edu/PAForestWeb/) is pleased to announce the September on-line program. Sara Fitzsimmons, Northern Appalachian Region Science Coordinator, The American Chestnut Foundation, will be presenting on the American Chestnut, Tuesday, September 14th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Efforts to breed blight-resistance into American chestnut appear to be successful and attempts to study reintroduction to its original range have now begun. From the prior dominance of American chestnut to current efforts to restore the species, the seminar will follow Castanea dentata over its history in North America. The seminar will also cover what it will take to re-introduce a new variety of American chestnut into the Appalachian forests and beyond. Through this presentation, learn about the basic requirements for planting and maintenance that should ensure a healthy grove of American chestnuts in the near future.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the "Previous Seminars" page along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.

Upcoming PA Forests Web Seminars:

October 12
Acquiring Property Maps, Boundaries and Attributes for Properties Using GIS and GPS, Brent Harding, Senior Forester, Penn State School of Forest Resources, Noon and 7 p.m.

November 9
Forest Access Road BMPs for Forest Landowners, Tony Quadro, Assistant Manager, Technical Programs Director, and Forester, Westmoreland Conservation District, Noon and 7 p.m.

December 14
Ruffed Grouse and Woodcock, Mark Banker, Senior Biologist, The Ruffed Grouse Society, Noon and 7 p.m.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Biomass Controversey Continues

Following the release of the Monamet Center for Conservation Science's report on woody biomass for energy a storm of controversey has been brewing.  Forest 2 Market, a private organization that provides participants in the wood supply chain with business solutions that support decision making and planning, wrote a very effective and deliberate commentary that was published in the Society of American Foresters Forestry Source August 2010.  The commentary was written by Suz-Anne Kinney.  Suz-Anne is the Communications Manager for Forest 2 Market.  Suz-Anne provided me permission to use the article.  I have provided it to my readers below.

From the Editor: It’s Time for Long-Term Energy Plan
By Suz-Anne Kinney
From the June 2010 Forest2Fuel newsletter.

Controversy erupted last week with the publication of a report prepared by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The report, some say, leaves the impression that the carbon footprint of biomass electricity is worse than that of energy produced by oil and coal. As biomass has almost universally been considered carbon neutral to this point, this statement has raised more than a few eyebrows--and voices. The Biomass Power Association (BPA), for instance, has requested a correction of misinformation contained in the report. Environmental groups will no doubt pick up some of the conclusions reached in the report and use them to oppose biomass power plants going forward.

To read the full story click here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

PA Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Expanded to 43 Counties

Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Expanded to 43 Counties; Tree-Killing Pest Found in Cumberland, Union Counties

Forty-three counties are now under a quarantine that is intended to prevent the spread of the invasive, tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today while reminding travelers not to haul firewood between counties.  Click here to view a copy of the quarantine map.

The Emerald Ash Borer has now been found in 17 counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Butler, Centre, Cumberland, Fulton, Indiana, Juniata, Lawrence, Mercer, Mifflin, Somerset, Union, Washington and Westmoreland.

The Agriculture Department has expanded its quarantine to include 31 counties, including the six where the beetle has been found this year and others that are contiguous.
 
To read the full news release: Harrisburg, PA Dept. of Agriculture, Aug. 10, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pennsylvania Team Competes at National 4-H Forestry Invitational

Pennsylvania was among the 15 state teams that participated in the 31st annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational from Sunday, July 25, through Thursday, July 29, 2010.


At the Invitational 4-H members compete for overall team and individual awards in several categories. Events included a forestry written exam, tree identification, tree measurement, compass and pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, the forestry bowl and forest evaluation.

The invitational was held at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia. The Farm Credit System, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and the Cooperative Extension Service sponsored the event.

Pennsylvania was represented by Luke Beardsley and Stephanie Beardsley of Glen Rock, Madeline Erickson of Stewartstown, and Phillip Rooney of York. The team was coached by Alma Rooney.

Louisiana won the event. Arkansas and Tennessee placed second and third, respectively. The Pennsylvania team placed ninth. Megan Farmer of Louisiana received the high-point individual award. Second place high individual award was given to Stephan McBride of Louisiana and third place high individual award was given to Amy Brandt of Illinois.

4-H is a youth education program operated by Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state land grant universities. More than five-and-a-half million young people participate in 4-H, and nearly 100,000 are part of the 4-H Forestry Program.


For more information on the National 4-H Forestry Invitational, go to: http://4hforestryinvitational.org/.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Penn State Natural Resources Extension Newsletter Available

The summer issue of Penn State's Natural Resources Extension newsletter entitled Forest Leaves is now available.  This newsletter is a quarterly newsletter that is sent out electronically.  You can view the lastest edition here.   Past issues can also be viewed on the PSU Natural resources Extension, Forest Leaves site.

This is a great newsletter that you may wish to subscribe to.  There is no charge to subscribe.  If you wish to be added to the distribution list contact Allyson Brownlee Muth, Forest Stewardship Program Associate, The Pennsylvania State University.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New USGS Land Cover Maps Available

This appears to be a very good reference for you to consult before doing on-site visits. Take a moment to check out your lands to get a first hand impression of how well it works.  It is available for anyone with computer access.

From: E&E PUBLISHING SERVICE, July 14, 2010
Laura Petersen, E&E reporter

Decades of mapping, advances in satellite imagery and a dedication to scientific decisionmaking has resulted in the first comprehensive, interactive land cover map of the United States.

"It's the best imagery we have right now, the best characterization of land cover that exists as far as I know," said John Mosesso, manager of the Gap Analysis Program (GAP), a project of the U.S. Geological Survey that created the map.

The map depicts the extent of forests, grasslands, wetlands and other habitats from coast to coast. USGS has made it searchable by state and region at three different levels of detail using eight, 43 or 590 classification categories. That means a user can view the map as broadly as forest or shrubland, or as specifically as Mediterranean California Lower Montane Black Oak-Conifer Forest and Woodland.

The habitat information can be combined with maps of species distribution and protected areas to see where there are conservation holes. While this can be used for endangered species, GAP's motto is "Keeping common species common." USGS makes no specific recommendations, but the hope is that resources managers will use this information to proactively fill in conservation gaps before habitats are fragmented by development and wildlife pushed toward extinction.

To access the land cover viewer click here and go to the Land Cover Viewer at the bottom of the page.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gulf Oil Leak & Backyard Birds

I received this message from the Cornell Ornithology Lab.  Thought I would share it with my readers.  If you are a bird watcher you may be interested in assisting by monitoring nesting birds in your area, particularly those that migrate through the Gulf area.

Will the Gulf Oil Spill Affect Birds That Nest in Our Backyards?

NestWatch Needs Your Help
We've seen images of oiled pelicans, plovers, and other shorebirds and wading birds from areas affected by the recent spill. Species that nest on beaches and in coastal marshes, like plovers and terns, are being monitored by state wildlife officials. But many birds that nest in backyards all across North America, such as Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows, may winter in the coastal and marsh environments along the Gulf of Mexico where they could potentially be affected by the oil spill. We need your help to track nesting success of these birds in your own backyard and neighborhood.

Call for Data:
Birds passing through the Gulf region could carry contamination with them, creating an "oil shadow" of declines in bird reproduction hundreds of miles away from the coast. NestWatch accepts data for all North American birds. We are asking you to focus on these five backyard bird species and other migratory birds that may use the Gulf during some part of their annual cycle and could potentially be affected by the oil spill.

Citizen-science participants have been helping the Cornell Lab monitor the success rates of nesting birds for 45 years. Now, it’s especially critical to capture data on nesting birds to reveal the health of birds before they encounter the oil spill—as well as in the years ahead, to detect possible long-term effects.

If you would like to be part of this effort, please visit http://www.nestwatch.org/. Thank you for helping the birds!

Laura Burkholder, project leader
NestWatch
nestwatch@cornell.edu

Friday, July 2, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer Making Headlines in PA.....Again!

It apears as though the emerald ash borer (EAB) is rearing its ugly head in central PA again.  I am afraid it is here to stay and may have a significant impact on the ash resource.  Yesterday, July 1, 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of EAB in three new counties, Centre, Fulton and Somerset counties.  They are also awaiting confirmation from an area detected in Union county as well.  To protect PA's hardwood industry, the secretary of agriculture is urging the public to heed existing qauarantines and not move firewood.  Pennsylvania is the largest producer of hardwood lumber in the nation.  To read the full news release go to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's web site.

On June 25, 2010 Penn State Natural Resources Extension sent out a news release concerning EAB.  More specifically, describing the monitoring system in counties that are not yet impacted by the insect.  The use of what are know as purple panel traps is described.  These traps can be seen hanging in trees throughout the area.  To read this article go to Penn State Extension's Forest Stewardship News web site.

Lastly, Cornell Cooperative Extension will be hosting a live webinar on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 highlighting the work that Dr. John Vandenberg and Leah Bauer are doing to find biological control agents for this insect pest.  We are already implementing cultural and insecticidal controls but biological controls may be the best answer.  The webinars are hosted live at noon and again at 7:00 PM and generally last about an hour.  Anyone who has not previously registered [you only need to register once] can complete the registration via the WEBINARS link at http://www.forestconnect.info/.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Questions Answered about Woody Biomass

The Society of American Forester's E-Forester (June25, 2010) recently captured a New York Times (June 22) article by Tom Zeller Jr.  In the wake of the controversy surrounding The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences' recent analysis of the potential impact of using wood for energy.  Tom sent a number of questions about the study to Manomet Center President John M. Hagan and the study's team leader Thomas Walker.  The New York Times published the questions and answers.  It is worth a read!

Friday, June 18, 2010

More Controversey Concerning Woody Biomass?

Vermont does not think so!  Came across this article in the Society of American Foresters E-Forester News.  The Massachusets based Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences released a report last week indicating that biomass energy has a larger carbon footprint than buring coal.  The Massachusetts report was commissioned by the state's Department of Energy Resources as part of its Renewable Portfolio Standard program. 

In response to the report, Stephen Wark, the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, indicated there are many reasons why the Massachusets study doesn't apply to Vermont.  He likes the idea of biomass in Vermont and states that the technology is carbon neutral and is a justifiable energy resource.

To read the full story click here.

The Times Argus, June 17, 2010.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Guidelines for Sustainable Woody Biomass Harvesting

The Forest Guild just released their Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines for the Northeast. This work synthesizes and builds on two previously released companion reports: Ecology of Deadwood in the Northeast (May 2010, a review of the science) and Revised Assessment of Biomass Harvesting and Retention Guidelines (April, 2010, a review of current state and foreign country biomass harvesting guidelines). All three reports may be found at the Forest Guild’s website. 


Related, a report from Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences will soon be released – a note from the Florida Forestry Association’s Forestry Friday (5/28/10):

"The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences is scheduled to complete a "six-month study" of biomass energy very soon. All eyes are on Massachusetts where the state formally suspended the review and permitting of proposed biomass power plants for approximately one year to allow time for the Manomet report. The thrust of the questions Manomet would answer: Is biomass—specifically, power produced from burning wood (and, in some cases, construction and demolition debris)—renewable, sustainable and carbon-neutral? Early reviewers on the draft say the soon-to-be-released study by conservation scientists could be a game-changer and deliver a serious blow to the woody biomass industry."

(D. Jenkins, The Nature Conservancy - June 3, 2010.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

American Chestnut Restoration Celebration

The new Raystown Restoration Branch of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the  American Chestnut Foundation (TACF®) is requesting your support to help get the community and youth involved in the restoration of this the American Chestnut. The branch is hosting a chestnut restoration celebration, fundraiser, and educational tour on Saturday, August 21st that will help establish the Branch. The celebration will begin with a 4:30 p.m. tour of the active American chestnut breeding orchard followed by a social hour, speakers, raffles and auctions.

TACF is embarking on one of the most exciting restoration projects in recent history. From the early 1900’s to 1940’s, an exotic blight attacked and killed over 4 billion American chestnut trees. American chestnut was the dominate tree species across the east and were considered more important than the oaks we have today. Growing over 100 feet tall and more than 4 feet wide, this majestic tree provided not only great forest and wildlife benefits but also provided a way of life for residents throughout the Appalachian Mountains and beyond.

Event tickets are now available. Couple tickets are $ 80.00 and individual tickets are $60.00. Event tickets include one membership and an event invite. You may forward your name, address and ticket choice or membership request along with payment by check, payable to PA-TACF – Raystown Branch to Lori Krause at 7478 Country Hill Drive, Huntingdon, PA 16652. Questions can also be directed to tacfbranch2@comcast.net or 814-643-2372.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harvard University Report: Forest Cover Declining

The following news release appeared in the May 21, 2010 Society of American Forester's E-Forester News.  The article highlights a report authored by 20 scholars in forest science and was produced by the Harvard Forest of Harvard University.  The report highlights a common trend across most states; the permanent loss of forest land.  Even though this report focuses on the New England states, the same can be said for Pennsylvania and many other states as well.  Read on......

New England losing forest cover -- scholars call for accelerated conservation

New report seeks to retain 70 percent of the region in forest

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- New England forests are at a turning point. A new study released today by the Harvard Forest reports that, following almost 200 years of natural reforestation, forest cover is declining in all six New England states. The authors of the Wildlands and Woodlands report call for conserving 70 percent of New England as forestland, a target that they say is critical to protecting vital natural benefits that would be costly, and in some cases impossible, to replace.

"We've been given a second chance to determine the future of the region's forests. This report calls attention to the pressing need to couple New England's existing conservation capacity and shared land ethic with a vision for the next century in which forests remain an integral part of our livelihoods," said David Foster, lead author of the report and director of the Harvard Forest. Foster points to clean water, climate protection, and renewable wood supply as examples of the forest's many benefits to society.

The report, "Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the New England Landscape," was produced by the Harvard Forest of Harvard University, and authored by 20 scholars in forest science, policy, and finance from across New England. It examines forest trends and promotes strategies for permanently retaining 70 percent of the New England landscape in forest over the next 50 years.  The vision would triple the amount of conserved land in New England while still leaving ample room for future development.

To read the full story click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer in Bedford County PA

Below is the announcement made Tuesday, May 18, 2010 by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's Secretary, Russell Redding.  If you see this insect in your area call the EAB hotline: 1-866-253-7189 
Emerald Ash Borer Found in Bedford County; Quarantine Expanded

Campers Again Urged Not to Haul Firewood from Place to Place

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emerald Ash Borer beetles have been found near Graceville, Bedford, County, bringing to 12 the number of Pennsylvania counties where the ash tree-destroying pest has been identified, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today.

In response to this latest discovery, Redding said a state-imposed quarantine is being expanded to include Bedford County. He reminded residents and visitors to use only locally harvested firewood, burn all of the firewood on-site, and not move it to new locations.

"Our survey crews are acting swiftly to assess the extent of infestation in Bedford County and surrounding areas," said Redding. "As we enter the summer traveling and camping season, the department urges all Pennsylvanians to heed the imposed hardwood firewood quarantine – not just in the specified areas, but throughout the state to prevent any further spread of the beetle."

To read the full story click here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Announcing Sustainable Forestry I Courses

Penn State Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Penn State School of Forest Resources, and the local woodland owner associations are proud to provide you with an opportunity to learn about sustainable forestry through our Introduction to Forest Management course. This is a two part course that is being offered in two locations. To complete the entire course attendance at two evening sessions is necessary.

The first offering will be at Laurel Haven Conservation and Education Center in Julian (Centre County), PA on the evenings of June 2 and 9 from 6-8:30 PM. The second offering will be at Mount Pisgah State Park, Nature Center in Troy (Bradford County), PA on June 16 and 23 from 6 PM-8:30 PM. This course is designed for private forest landowners, professional timber harvesters, and sportsmen and women who are interested in learning more about sustainable forest management. This is an opportunity to talk to natural resource management professionals who have experience in managing forest resources.

Pennsylvania has nearly 17 million acres of forests covering 60% of the state’s land area. The largest share of Pennsylvania’s forest is privately owned, accounting for more than 70% of the forested acres (12.5 million acres). Estimates put the number of private forest owners at more than 750,000. Families own forests for diverse reasons including values such as aesthetics, wildlife, privacy, and family legacy.

The course will cover such topics as forest history, ecology, management techniques, and best management practices. It includes both indoor lecture and outdoor discussions. This course will strengthen your knowledge of sustainable forest management. Without sustainable management forests will not provide future generations with the same quality resources we have today. A follow-up course entitled SF-II, Advanced Forest Management will be offered in the near future.

To register or for more information on the Julian program contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in Centre County at 814-355-4897 or e-mail CentreExt@psu.edu. For the Troy program contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in Bradford County at 570-265-2896 or e-mail BradfordExt@psu.edu. The registration fee is $20.00 per person and includes refreshments and educational materials. The deadline for registration is Friday, May 28th. Participants must be pre-registered. To download a printable copy of the brochure click here.
(Diagram based upon information from Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program, Reforestation: Growing Tomorrow's Forests Today®, © 1998, 2000, American Forest & Paper Association, Inc.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Web Seminar - Migration Madness: Identification of PA Migrant Songbirds

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center is pleased to announce the May on-line program. Margaret Brittingham, Professor of Wildlife Resources, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting Migration Madness: Identification of Pennsylvania Migrant Songbirds on Tuesday, May 11th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Every spring Pennsylvania forests come alive with the sounds and sights of migrant birds returning to breed in Pennsylvania. Our forests are summer homes to a variety of birds including warblers, vireos, tanagers and thrushes. This webinar will cover the basics of bird identification and will provide information on the life history, ecology, and identification of many of the migrant songbirds that commonly breed in Pennsylvania forests. This webinar qualifies for 1.0 Society of American Foresters CFE, Category 2 credit.

Live seminars are scheduled for the second Tuesday of every month at noon and 7 p.m. Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Web Seminar Center along with a copy of the presentation and any handout materials. So, if you are unable to participate in the "live" session, a recording of it will be available for you to view at your convenience. Of course, none of the interactive elements will be available when watching the recording.

To participate in the live seminars you must register and have a "Friend of Penn State" user ID. The "Register Now" page on the website will walk you through this process. If you are a member of the Penn State community, you already have your User ID, but we would ask you to register on the website so you can receive up to date notices of upcoming programs.

Participation in the web seminar does not require any special software. To view live and previously recorded seminars all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and sound.

Looking Ahead:
June 8, 2010: Spreading Forest Stewardship to Youth, Sanford "Sandy" Smith, Natural Resources and Youth Education Specialist, Penn State School of Forest Resources, Noon and 7 p.m.

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Deer in Pennsylvania?

On April 20, 2010 the Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioners gave final approval to sweeping changes to the Pennsylvania deer seasons that will inevitablly increase deer populations across the state. 

The Commissioners gave final approval to add an additional 4 Wildlife Management Units (WMU's) to the split 5 day antlered and 7 day concurrent season.  That makes 8 WMU's (2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D, 4E) now that do not have a concurrent season during the first week of the regular gun season.  Hunters with Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP) may still use them to harvest antlerless deer during any established deer season.

The Commissioners also made the final decision to reduce antlerless license allocations in all WMU's except 2B and 5D, where the allocation remained the same as last year.  In total, the antlerless allocation was reduced by a total of 54, 577 permits.  Central PA's WMU 4D was reduced by nearly 10,000 antlerless permits. 

A reduction in season length and a reduction in the number of permits allocated is sure to increase deer populations.  Unfortunately, these changes do not coincide with habitat recovery.  The units with the reduced allocations and season length have some of the poorest understory forest conditions in the state.  How the Game Commission plans on those areas supporting more deer without further habitat degradation is an area of concern.

Game Commissioner Thomas Boop, for no scientific or biologic reason, made the motion to reduce the antlerless allocations on all WMU's based on the number of DMAP permits issued last year.  This reduced number will then be set aside as a maximum number of DMAP permits that will be made available for landowners during the 2010-11 seasons.  In other words, no more DMAP permits will be made available this coming deer season than were allocated last year.

DMAP permits are made availavble to landowners who have an excessive number of deer on an individual property.  It allows the landowner to harvest additional deer based on the rate of 1 antlerless deer per 50 acres of forestland or 1 antlerless deer per 5 acres of farmland.  What it does is allow landowners to control localized heavy deer populations so that landowner objectives are able to be met.  Reducing the allocation available for this program could have a significant effect on certain landowners being able to meet their own objectives for land ownership.

To read the full story go click here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eastern US Forests Resume Decline

Came across this article in the Society of American Forester's E-Forester.  It provides links to two articles describing the decline in eastern US forests.  Well worth a read through both articles.

April 13 - A new study appearing in the journal Bioscience reveals that, since the 1970s, eastern forests have begun to diminish again; roughly 3.7 million hectares of forested land-an area larger than the state of Maryland-have been transformed into subdivisions, tree plantations, and lunar-esque landscapes resulting from mountaintop removal mining.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Early Successional Wildlife Habitat

Cornell's Forest Connect webinar series is offering a great program on Wednesday, April 21st entitled "Managing Early Successional Wildlife Habitat."  The webinar will be presented by Kristi Sullivan, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources.

Grasslands, shrublands, and young forest habitats (collectively referred to as early-successional habitats) have been declining in Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast for decades as have the wildlife species associated with  and dependent upon them. Many are listed as species of special concern in several northeastern states. The American woodcock has declined considerably over the past 30 years, and New England cottontails occur in only 20% of the area in which it was historically found. During this webinar, woodland owners, foresters, and natural resource managers will learn about tools to manage habitat for the benefit of early successional wildlife including ruffed grouse, songbirds, New England cottontails, and other wildlife.

Anyone who has not previously registered [you only need to register once] can complete the registration via the WEBINARS link.  Registration is quick and without cost.  Registration ensures you receive notice of the specific link to participate, first come first served, in each monthly webinar.  Webinars are live at noon and 7PM and typically run 60 minutes plus questions.  More information about the ForestConnect webinar series can be found by visiting the site.

Peter J. Smallidge, Ph.D., Cornell University, April 6, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recent Sudden Oak Death Detection in Pennsylvania

April 7, 2010
On behalf of the Pennsylvania State Plant Regulatory Official, Walt Blosser, this notice is intended to help "officially" clarify last weeks announcement of the detection of Phytophthora ramorum in Pennsylvania.  In addition to potentially serious environmental impacts, this organism threatens commercial timber production and the nursery industry. The presence of P. ramorum in the U.S. has already resulted in restrictions in foreign and domestic trade.


It is important to understand that P. ramorum has been detected on assorted nursery stock on several occasions in Pennsylvania and other eastern states since 2004 after originally being found in California in 1995. To date, swift action by state and federal personnel against infected plants has prevented the disease from escaping to become established in natural areas in the East. Unlike previous discoveries, the pathway of introduction for this latest Pennsylvania discovery is, as yet, undetermined.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sudden Oak Death Detected in Pennsylvania

On Feb. 18, 2010 the Penn State Plant Disease Clinic received a sample of Laurus nobilis (actual sample photographed at left), known commonly as bay laurel, true laurel, sweet bay, laurel tree, Grecian laurel, or bay tree. The tips of the leaves submitted were dead or dying and it was reported by the grower that 95% of well rooted plants in 12 or so flats exhibited the symptoms. The United States Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) confirmed the plants to be infected with Phytophthora ramorum, the Sudden Oak Death pathogen known to occur in trees and shrubs on the west coast of the U.S. and in Europe. Phytophthora ramorum can infect many important ornamental trees and shrubs under the right conditions. There is a great deal of concern that this fungus-like organism could cause significant economic damage to eastern forests and landscapes if not excluded from the region.

The’ bay laurel’ submitted was not Umbelluiaria californica, the California bay or California bay laurel that grows on the west coast and is a major host of Phytophthora ramorum that then spreads to oaks. However, Laurus nobilis is known to be a host of Ph. ramorum.

SO WHAT YOU SAY!!
Phytophthora ramorum has, to date, been excluded from the eastern U.S. but this occurrence may indicate that the plant pathogen is now or will soon be in the region from multiple sources. In 2009, Laurus nobilis was named as the Herb of the Year by the International Herb Association (IHA). Laurus nobilis seed can be purchased from a number of sources including through Amazon.com. Web information indicates that the seed is difficult to germinate. It is my understanding that people have been encouraged to grow this plant and that it has been used in various Master Gardener projects. If seed or tissue associated with seed is actually the source of the pathogen, it is possible that Phytophthora ramorum has arrived in the east with seed purchased by backyard gardeners, etc. Where is the ‘failed to germinate’ material discarded? Where are plants with dying leaf tips discarded?

"It is VERY important to note that the P. ramorum was detected on a plant growing in a GREENHOUSE. There is NO EVIDENCE that Phytophthora ramorum is anywhere in the east outside that greenhouse. Certainly there is NO EVIDENCE THAT IT IS IN THE GENERAL ENVIRONMENT OR FOREST in the east. The reason for releasing the info was to remind us that P. ramorum COULD be brought to the east on plant material. The growing of Laurus by gardeners is being encouraged. Let's hope Laurus is not actually an important source of P. ramorum." Dr. Gary Morman, Professor of Plant Pathology, Penn State University

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coyotes and Deer

Came across this interesting article posted on Penn State Live March 22, 2010 about the relationships between deer and coyotes.  I also wanted to let everyone know that the PA Game Commission just released the deer harvest figures from the 2009-2010 hunting season.  They reported that a total of 308,920 deer were harvested in the state.  This represents an eight percent decline from the previous seasons’ harvest of 335,850.


Click here for the full Game Commission news release.

Coyotes Not Decimating Deer Numbers According To Expert

University Park, Pa. -- It's a question that has captured the imagination of Keystone State deer hunters and wildlife lovers: Has increased predation on helpless deer fawns by an growing population of Eastern coyotes resulted in dwindling whitetail numbers across Pennsylvania's rugged northern reaches? The answer is no, according to a deer researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.


"It's a cruel world out there for wildlife," said Duane Diefenbach, adjunct professor of wildlife ecology and leader of the Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit housed in the college's School of Forest Resources, "but it's no crueler in Pennsylvania than other states."

There is no question the coyote population has grown dramatically in the Northeast in recent decades, he said, and everyone agrees that coyotes do prey on fawns, "but our data tell us that coyote predation is not an issue in Pennsylvania."

If you are interested in reading the rest of the story click here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Forested Buffers Focus of PA House Hearing

This article appeared in the Friday, March 13, 2010 issue of Lancaster Farming.  I thought some of my readers might find it interesting.  It deals with the prospect of mandating a specific minimum width forested buffer on all strreams of the Commonwealth.  Currently, there is no specific buffer width required by law.

Forested Buffers Get a Hearing in the House

Chris Torres, Staff Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. — When it comes to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, the discussion usually centers around a few solutions: getting wastewater treatment plants up to date and getting farmers to manage their nutrients better.

But at a meeting Monday at the Pennsylvania State Capitol, the discussion centered on something that often gets overlooked: trees.

The House Majority Policy Committee hosted the meeting, which included representatives from several environmental groups as well as the group representing the state’s building industry, the Pennsylvania Builders Association.

The talk centered on the importance of tree buffers in tributaries and whether or not the state should require minimum buffers along waterways.

To read the full story click here.
  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

PA Game Commission Audit Results

I realize this may be old news to some of you but I recently had an article sent to me highlighting some of this information.  I thought I would share it with my readers.  The Wildlife Management Institute, a non-political organization based in Washington, D.C, was contracted by the state to audit the Game Commission.  The findings were released Feb. 16 to the State Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.  You can view the entire report entitled "Deer Management Program of the Pennsylvania Game Commission a Comprehensive Review and Evaluation" by clicking here.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette ran a nice article on Sunday, February 28, 2010 that summarizes some of the findings.  It begins as follows:

A recent 2010 Whitetail Report by Quality Deer Management Association ranked Pennsylvania's deer management program second behind Vermont among Northeast states. Biologists from other wildlife management agencies have been generally supportive and complimentary of Pennsylvania's ambitious plan.  And while the Wildlife Management Institute's recent audit was critical of parts of the plan, its authors found nothing fundamentally wrong with the program.

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Deer Balancing Act

What does is really mean to “balance” the deer herd? Wildlife biologists use this terminology quite often. But how many of us really know just exactly what they are trying to accomplish, how we go about it, or how we know when we have gotten there. The natural resource educators from Penn State Cooperative Extension are offering a number of programs this spring that may help answer those questions.

Overabundant deer populations pose serious issues for many homeowners, agricultural producers, woodland owners, as well as the public at large. Safety issues such as Lyme disease and deer-vehicle collisions have impacted many people. A Maryland survey found that 1 in 6 citizens know someone who has experienced a deer-vehicle collision. Many agricultural producers suffer significant losses to deer. Homeowners suffer thousands of dollars in damage to their landscapes and deer have reduced the biodiversity of our woodlands by selectively browsing vegetation. Managing deer populations so they are in balance with the available habitat is essential.

To read the full story go to the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship News release.

A web seminar will be offered by Penn State Extension may help answer some of your questions. The webinar is entitled Deer Habitat Management is offered on March 9 at noon and again at 7:00 PM. For webinar details and registration go to the PA Forests Web Seminar Center.

Penn State Extension Educators will also be offering a number of hands on workshops entitled “Deer Density and Carrying Capacity Workshops.” These workshops are designed for those interested in learning more about white-tailed deer biology and habitat. The workshop teaches how to evaluate a given habitat and how it relates to deer biology, numbers, and carrying capacity. For a listing of dates and locations go to the Penn State Natural Resources Extension Web Calendar

Monday, February 22, 2010

Agriculture vs. Forestry???

Traditionally this has been a complicated relationship; two formidable forces vying for the landscape, resources and, of course, our hearts and minds. Well maybe it isn’t that dramatic but there definitely is a competitive, mutually exclusive distinction out there between forestry and agriculture. Having worked in both I have heard a fair share of choice words and derisive statements that both sides have leveled against the other.

The similarities and shared interest between agriculture and forestry are obvious though; most simply that both are working lands that we cannot do without. Much of our region’s forestland is located on farms too. I wish I could say that FFB was personally going to end this rift and bring both sides together. However, many people and institutions are and have been working tirelessly to promote a sustainable landscape of both forest and farms.

Agroforesty, as the name implies, is a practice of using both agricultural and forestry technologies together to benefit the land, its productivity and the diversification of the farm operation. Agroforestry includes practices like forest farming (ie. growing or gathering non timber forest products) and silvopasturing, which is a practice that uses trees in grazed pastures to enrich soil and provide cover to livestock and create a new income stream for the farmer. For a more thorough list of practices and descriptions click here and go to the About Agroforestry heading.

Agroforestry is not new or one of these “fringe” applications, however. Along with some traditional forestry practices, for instance, agroforestry projects have been accepted practices for several USDA conservation and cost-share programs.

To read the full story go to the Forestry For the Bay News site.
(Edited from Forestry For the Bay newsletter by Craig Highfield.  February 17, 2010.)