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