Monday, September 28, 2009

Re-introducing the American Chestnut

Chestnut Trees, Once Nearly Gone, Thrive as Seedlings

September 24 – The Charlotte Observer reports that 500 blight-resistant American chestnut saplings are thriving a year after they were planted in three national forests—a milestone in the long-term effort to re-establish the tree in its native habitat.

In stands of tiny trees in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia bloom the hope of restoring a mighty giant, as scientists try to bring back the American chestnut from near extinction.  "Just developing a blight-resistant tree is not enough," said Bryan Burhans, who heads the American Chestnut Foundation in Asheville. The trees have to be planted in the forest to see if they can survive real-world conditions and competition with other plants.

To read the full sory go to:

Story edited from the Society of American Foresters E-Forester - September 25th edition.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Webinar - The Sweet Side of Maple Syrup

On Wednesday, September 23rd. a webinar will be offered at Noon and again at 7:00 PM entitled "The Sweet Side of Maple."  This webinar is offered through Cornell Cooperative Extension and their Forest Connect webinar series.

This presentation will address the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing private woodlands for the production of maple syrup. You may have asked yourself if syrup production is an option for your woodlot? Woodland owners will learn about their opportunities and trade-offs for either leasing their trees or direct production of syrup. Foresters will learn about considerations that owners will need to address and how to evaluate their options. Participants will learn about utilizing agricultural assessment laws (specific to NY) and considerations for developing leases and contracts between owners and producers. Much of this information will apply to producers in Pennsylvania and other NE states as well.

The webinar will be presented by Mike Farrell, Cornell University Cooperative Extension Department of Natural Resources. To register for the webinar go to:
Continuing Forestry Education (CFE) credits have been requested.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The State of Pennsylvania's Forest Economy

Forests are not exempt from the ongoing financial crisis. Pennsylvania's forest products industry clearly links to the general state of the economy as lumber, furniture, components, and cabinets depend on housing starts. Most wood-related mills in Pennsylvania have reduced or closed operations.

As an indicator of how bad things are, visit Penn State's Timber Market Report at Stumpage prices for most species are less than half what they were a few years ago. Across the US and globally, the state of the forest products industry is similar. The good news is that there are signs of recovery -- albeit slow. Experts predict a year or so before we are, pardon the pun, out of the woods.

While the economy is down there are emerging opportunities such as bioenergy, natural gas, and carbon offsets. High energy prices in 2007/2008 sparked interests in renewable energy and the potential of woody biomass as a viable alternative for heating, power, and ultimately ethanol (gas). The newfound interest in the Marcellus natural gas shale formation, underlying two-thirds of Pennsylvania, is another income opportunity for thousands of forest landowners. As the US Congress is poised to address the climate bill, forest landowners are in line to capture income from selling carbon credits to polluters. These emerging opportunities are not without risk, and caution is the operative word as these alternatives evolve.
Any decision a landowner makes, whether it is harvesting, reforesting, fencing, selling carbon credits, or gas leasing, has tax implications. As most people are pinching pennies, every taxable dollar saved from Uncle Sam is a dollar earned. With little effort, there are numerous ways forest landowners can take advantage of incentives and deductions provided by the IRS. Every forest landowner should know about concepts such capitalization (establishing basis), deductions/expenses, capital gains, reforestation tax incentives, cost share programs exclusions, and conservation easements.
What does the current economic outlook and emerging markets mean for forest owners, forestry professionals, and industry? First it suggests landowners need good timely advice on their options so as to make wise decisions about their property and resources. Forestry professionals and their advisors (e.g., accountants, financial advisers, attorneys, etc.) need up-to-date information about the forest economy.

In October and early November, Penn State Natural Resources Extension is offering workshops throughout the state on forest taxes, forest finance, and estate planning. All the above mentioned issues and more will be discussed. You can find information on the forest taxes and finance meetings at: Information on the estate planning sessions in Mercer County can be found at:

Written by: Dr. Michael Jacobson for the Forest Stewardship news release 9-16-09.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conservation Stewardship Program for Forest Landowners

There is a new federal payment program for forest landowners called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages landowners to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by: improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities; and undertaking additional conservation activities. In short, forest landowners are rewarded for maintaining sustainable practices and installing one additional practice during a five year contract.

Landowners who are accepted into the CSP will be paid between $6 and $12 per acre per year to maintain existing conservation practices on forest land.

Signups for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP2009) began August 10, 2009. CSP2009 will have a continuous open signup with periodic cutoffs to evaluate and rank applications. September 30, 2009 is the cutoff date for the first ranking period.

There are four resource concerns or eligibility requirements that must be addressed to be considered for funding. Two of the four must be met before application is made.
- Woodlot is “green certified” by the Tree Farm System.
- One or more improvements have been made to the forest in the past 10 years.
- There is no apparent erosion.
- Native trees are adequately stocked on the property.
It’s that first eligibility requirement that is so exciting. The Tree Farm Program, that we have worked so diligently on, is a requirement for the CSP.

To apply for CSP, potential participants will be encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation. It will be available on NRCS Web site ( and at NRCS field offices.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Announcing the Invasive Plant Management Field Workshop

The Invasive Plant Management Workshop: A Silvicultural Perspective is scheduled for Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at Shaver’s Creek Outdoor Classroom and Stone Valley Experimental Forest, Petersburg, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The program is scheduled from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Registration begins at 8:30 AM. The cost is $45.00 per person and includes refreshments and lunch.

Invasions of nonnative plants into our forests continue to go unchecked and unmonitored. Invasive nonnative plants infest forest understories and forest openings. Increasingly these plants begin to reduce forest productivity, hinder forest use and management activities, and degrade diversity and wildlife habitat. Invasive non-native plants occur as trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, ferns, and forbs. Some have been introduced accidentally, but most have been brought intentionally as ornamentals or livestock forage. These plants arrived without their natural controls (insects and diseases) that tend to keep native plants in balance. Most are able to increase across the landscape with little opposition.

This workshop is designed for natural resource management professionals, vegetation managers, land managers, and forest landowners and will focus on identification, impact, and control of the most severe forest invasive plants.

The workshop was developed in cooperation with the Penn State University School of Forest Resources, Penn State Stone Valley Experimental Forest, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, and Alenza. It qualifies for Pennsylvania certified pesticide applicator credits in Core and Categories 5, 10, 14, 18, and 23. It is also approved for Society of American Foresters CFE credits in categories 1 and 2.

Pre-registration for this workshop is required prior to Tuesday, September 29, 2009. For registration or additional information contact Penn State Cooperative Extension at 814-355-4897 or Space is limited so register early.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Webinar Presentation: Firewood from Woodlots

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center pleased to announce the September on-line program. Jim Finley, Professor, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting Firewood from Woodlots on Tuesday, September 8th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Warming our nation?s homes with firewood has a long tradition. To do it sustainably is challenging. Many firewood users harvest deadwood first, but this does little to improve the woodlot; in fact, it may be counter to meeting other objectives. Cutting live trees is often the best approach, especially when the focus is on providing growing space for the trees you leave and considering future management options. This presentation will explore ideas for sustainably cutting firewood from your woodlot. This seminar also counts towards 1.0 credit of Category 2 SAF CFE credits.

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 that you can receive reminders 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.
To register and take part in the live seminars or to view the upcoming seminars schedule, visit  We look forward to having you join these discussions and learning experiences. "See" you there on September 8.