Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pennsylvania's Woodland Owners Associations

Woodland Owners Associations (WOAs) are excellent resources for landowners. Landowner associations provide an opportunity to fellowship with other landowners.  They also provide educational information including presentations, tours, and other educational opportunities.  WOA's provide an opportunity to network with your peers – other private forest landowners. For a new landowner or if you are not quite sure where to start on a particular project, members of a WOAs can be a great place to start asking questions. You can get to know other landowners in your region, get recommendations on natural resource professionals, and attend talks on subjects of interest to you.  Many WOAs are currently located throughout the state and new ones continue to form.  With a total of 27, associations can be found in almost every county. (Forest leaves, Summer 2009)

To find out more about WOA's and see if one is located in your area check out two very good articles from Penn State Cooperative Extension and it's partners.

The Woodlander (Winter 2010) - Woodland Owner Associations

Forest Leaves (Summer 2009) - Woodland Owners Associations: Forest Stewardship Through Peers

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Owned Forests On Green Building Radar Screen

What follows is a summary of the American Forest Foundations President and CEO, Tom Martin.  Recently Tom had an opportunity to present at the Greenbuild convention in Phoenix.  Many of the key decisionmakers were in attendance.  The current standard fails to recognize the largest block of woodland owners....that being private non-industrial owners.  Currently it is estimated that there are now more than 750,000 woodland owners in Pennsylvania alone.  The standard also treats wood less favorably than any other building material.  This is a concern since wood is the most "renewable" source.

At the forum I had the opportunity to speak and reinforce that message to 15 members of the USGBC Board of Directors and members of the technical advisory committee. I also raised other concerns like:

• how under their system, wood, the most renewable building material, was treated more poorly than any other building material.
• their failure to recognize that the three certification systems in the US - Tree Farm, SFI and FSC are substantially equivalent in creating sustainable forest practices and LEED should just recognize them all.
• the landscape-scale management requirements that would be unrealistically imposed on small woodland owners.
• the blanket prohibition on the use of GMOs which might inadvertently create a market disincentive to use genetics to fight invasive pests and pathogens.

The meeting ended on a couple of positive notes. First, it's likely that there will be another proposed revision to the standards --- and thus another chance for them to get it right. Second, USGBC will pilot test a life cycle analysis tool in 2010 for the major building materials group - which if done with scientific integrity can demonstrate the outstanding value wood brings to green building. Finally, I invited the chair of the technical committee working on this to visit an American Tree Farm System woodland to see sustainable practices at work.

You will no doubt hear from us in the months to come as we continue to battle on this issue, but I wanted to let you know your work on this issue is having an impact.

We also sent a formal letter to USGBC's President, which you can read by clicking here.
(Edited from the American Forest Foundation 12/16/09)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

American Tree Farm System Forest Certification Program

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) has announced that its board of trustees has adopted new, revised standards for the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), its woodland certification program.

Designed especially for small woodland owners, who provide nearly two-thirds of the wood fiber used for paper products in the United States, the new standards require adoption of a woodland management plan that will ensure conservation of multiple resources—water, wildlife, timber, scenic views, and recreation. The new standards also require certified woodland owners to consider and minimize adverse impact of timber or other activities on places of unique historical, cultural, or wildlife value.

For more information, visit the American Forest Foundation website.

(edited from the E-Forester, November 2009)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Webinar: Managing Community Natural Resources

The PA Forests Web Seminar Center is pleased to announce the December on-line program. Bill Elmendorf, Associate Professor, Penn State School of Forest Resources, will be presenting Managing Community Natural Resources: Suggestions for Commissioners and Other Citizen Advocates on Tuesday, December 8th at noon and again at 7 p.m. Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.

Based on the Cooperative Extension publication, Managing Natural Resources: A Guide for Municipal Commissions, this talk will focus on a number of issues and opportunities surrounding the planning and management of community natural resources. Topics will include: the misunderstanding of nature/ecosystem benefits; the role of planning, environmental advisory, and tree commissions in resource conservation; comprehensive plans, street tree, zoning, and other planning and regulatory policy; the importance of a community tree and park plan; and the role of volunteers. Qualifies for 1.0 SAF CFE, 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 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.

We look forward to having you join these discussions and learning experiences. "See" you there on December 8, 2009.