Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Biological War Being Waged on Emerald Ash Borer

Came across this news story in the Society of American Foresters e-mail update.  The story was written by Mike Seilski and posted in the Wall Street Journal on August 23.  The article is very well written and gives a great overview of where scientists are at with the introduction of tiny wasps being used for biological control against the emerald ash borer.  Bio-control measures such as this may be our only hope of saving the ash tree.

The Bugs Rescuing the Baseball Bats
LAKE KATRINE, N.Y.— A blue beer cooler at his feet, John Vandenberg stood at the lip of a grove of ash trees here earlier this month and clasped his hands together in anticipation. The next phase of a great conflict was about to commence at his word. Inside the cooler, beneath a bag of Styrofoam peanuts, rested four clear plastic soda cups, and inside those cups buzzed 482 bugs that might just rescue an iconic instrument of American sport: the baseball bat.

Soon, Vandenberg, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, would release the insects—two species of wasp, to be specific—into these Hudson Valley woods. By doing so, he would initiate an entomological tete-a-tete between the wasps and the emerald ash borer, a green-winged, torpedo-shaped beetle that looks at the gleaming shaft of wood in Alex Rodriguez's hands and sees a scrumptious meal for its children.

To read the full story click here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Assessment of Available Natural Gas Resource in Marcellus

On Wednesday, August 23, the USGS posted a news release greatly increading the potential amounts of undiscovered and recoverable natural gas and natural gas liquids.  The estimates were increaded by 4100% over previous estimates...from 2 trillion to 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas!! 

The Marcellus play is found in the following states: KY, MD, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV.  What does this mean for landowners in the Appalacian basin?  How will the resource be accessed and removed with roads, pipelines, and other infrastructure?  What about the potential impact on water quantity and quality?  How about interior forest habitat lost?  Will the timber industry become secondary?  Will landowners still be interested in selling timber?  There are lots of implications here and something that will play out for many years to come.  It is important that things are done right and with much forethought.

To read the full release click here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pennsylvania Dealing With Exotic Woodland Pests

Pennsylvania woodland owners are dealing with numerous forest health issues including, insects, diseases, invasive plants, and overabundant deer.  Now one more forest health concern may be added to the list.  While landowners figure out how to deal with hemlock wooly adelgid and emerald ash borer another exotic insect pest is knocking on our doorstep, the Asian longhorned beetle.  The State's Department of Agriculture is scrambling to keep this insect from entering the state.

While we try to keep the longhorned beetle from entering our state, many landowners are trying to figure out how to deal with their ash resource and emerald ash borer.  The state of Minnesota is dealing with the introduction of the ash borer just as Pennsylvania is.  The University of Minnesota has recently published an excellent resource that appears to be an excellent management guide.  

State Working to Keep Longhorned Invader Out (WHPTV 21 8-16-11)
Agriculture Secretary George Greig today asked the public to help keep the Asian Longhorned Beetle from entering the state, saying the non-native, invasive wood-boring pest could severely harm Pennsylvania’s $25 billion hardwoods industry.

To read the full story click here.

Emerald Ash Borer and Your Minnesota Woodlands: Management GuidelinesAsh Management Guidelines for Private Forest Owners is a new resource for family woodland owners in Minnesota who have ash trees on their land. This guide book is a thorough overview of the ash resource in Minnesota including: ash’s history on the landscape; ash tree identification; information on the emerald ash borer (EAB); how to identify native plant communities on your property; wildlife impacted by ash; and other related implications of ash forests and EAB. (University of Minnesota)

To read the full release click here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Experienced Insight Into the Deer Management Issue

Came across a well written article on Outdoor Life's Big Buck Zone.  The article was written by Craig Dougherty and is entitled "Are We Killing Too Many Does."  It provides some great insight into the current deer issues many states, including Pennsylvania, are currently facing with their deer management programs.

Craig is a well known authority on deer management.  During his 25 years in the hunting industry Dougherty has held senior management positions at the Crosman Corporation, Golden Eagle/Satellite Archery and Bear.  He and his son Neil founded NorthCountry Whitetails a wildlife consulting and recreation real estate company.  He has published in numerous outdoor publications, co authored a book and served as a hunting TV consultant and has consulted with numerous hunting industry companies.  He served on the Board of Directors of the National Bowhunter Education Foundation, The Archery Trade Association, and recently stepped down as Chairman of the Board of the Quality Deer Management Association after four years of leadership and growth.

I would like to share one quote from the article that to me says a lot about where all hunters need to work towards in understanding the issue:
"The possibility of too many doe tags being issued for a given area is very real. But, no one is forcing hunters to squeeze the trigger. Ultimately it is the hunter who makes the final management decision to take the numbers down, leave them as is, or let them increase. Hunters can count, hunters can see if deer are eating themselves out of house and home and hunters can figure out how to impact herd dynamics. We can’t lay this all at the feet of the professional deer managers."
Hunters need to be the managers at a given property level not the broad brush of the wildlife management units.  If we could apply this simple management strategy to our own hunting grounds, wether they be public or private, many of the deer problems we face would be erased.  I encourage all deer hunters to seek out information and educate themselves to the level that they become the managers.

Are We Killing Too Many Does?
Deer harvest numbers have been trending down in recent years and some hunters aren't at all happy about it. While deer herds are healthy and bucks are plentiful around most of the country, there are certain pockets where whitetails seem to no longer exist. "The deer just aren't there" has become the battle cry of more than one sportsman's group nationwide. As one Pennsylvania hunter lamented, "There were no deer when my grandfather was a kid, so nobody shot does. We grew the herd and were told to start shooting does; everybody had a pocket full of doe tags. Now we're back to where my grandfather started. What the heck happened?"

To read the full article click here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

10th Annual Central PA Woodlot Management Workshop

Penn State Extension-Centre County in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy is pleased to be offering the 10th annual Central Pennsylvania Woodlot Management Workshop. It is scheduled for Saturday, September 24, 2010 at the Nature Conservancy’s West Branch Forest located in northern Clinton County, not far from Hyner View State Park. The workshop is scheduled from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

This full day workshop will tour the West Branch Research and Demonstration Forest. The Forest is situated within the Pennsylvania Wilds Region in the heart of the High Allegheny Plateau. The Forest serves as one of the Conservancy’s primary research and demonstration properties and is used extensively for developing and demonstrating sustainable forestry techniques.

Morning presentations will provide an overview of the property and introduce the landowner’s objectives. Two driving tours will examine various aspects of the property, including woody biomass harvesting, rehabilitating degraded timber stands, herbicide treatments, laurel control, mowing & burning, tree planting & protection, deer management program, and American chestnut restoration.

This workshop will assist forest landowners in making good decisions about the management of their woodland. The information provided will help them achieve desired outcomes when implementing land management practices for both forestry and wildlife. The day will be spent outdoors learning from natural resource management professionals and discussing specific aspects of forest land management. Come prepared to be outdoors in the woods rain or shine.

To register click here or call Penn State Extension toll free at 877-489-1398. Participants must be pre-registered by Monday, September 19th. A $25.00 fee is being charged per person to cover lunch and other program costs. For questions or additional information please contact the Penn State Extension office in Centre County at 814-355-4897 or e-mail