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 ( 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.