Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Penn State Extension Offers Timber Taxation and Finance Course

Financial advisors, such as attorneys, accountants, financial planners, foresters, tax preparers, and small business owners encounter many questions concerning the taxation and planning for forestry operations. This one-day course focuses on those very issues and is designed to help your clients maximize their individual goals. Interested forest landowners are also invited to attend.

The course is being provided at the Clinton County Resource and Education Center in Mill Hall, Pennsylvania on Thursday, November 10 from 8:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M.

Topics to be covered include:
•Forest valuation and appraisal •Cost basis •Passive losses •Operating and management expenses •Capital gains on timber sales •Depreciation methods •Cost sharing expenses •Reforestation expenses •Casualty loss •Conservation easements •Estate planning •Pennsylvania inheritance taxes

The full day course offers 8 hours of continuing education credits for: Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy, CLE Credits for Attorneys, and CFE Credits for Professional Foresters.

Register online here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is it possible to turn wood into gasoline?

Clay Wheeler, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Maine, has discovered a process that does just that in two simple steps.  This is important news because, up to this point, the process for extracting ethanol from wood has been a complex and expensive one.  The simple process Wheeler discovered does not use catalysts or bacteria as most bio-energy fuels projects do.  The process produces a hydrocarbon liquid that chemically mimics crude oil.  After refined and without any upgrading it makes 82 octane gasoline.  For every ton of cellulose processed, Wheeler is able to make about 1.25 barrels of oil equivalent, a unit of energy comparable to the amount of energy produced by burning one barrel of crude oil.

Unfortunately, at current wood biomass prices the process is not yet economically competitive with traditional crude oil refining.  But who knows, as fuel prices continue to rise this process may become competitive and a new market for wood could develop especially in wood rich states that have slowly seen their paper industry decline.

You can read the full story or watch a video on the discovery.
Edited from Ernest Scheyder, Reuters, ORONO, Maine
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heating with Wood

Rural low-income families are the new growth leaders in renewable energy production. Recently released US Census figures show the number of households heating with wood grew 34% between 2000 and 2010, faster than any other heating fuel. Electricity showed the second fastest growth, with a 24% increase over the last decade. (Kilwa Biomass Wood Energy News, October 14, 2011)

For more information on heating with wood take a look at the University of Maryland Extension publication entitled Heating with Wood in Maryland.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Webinar: Bat Biology and Their Relationship to Forested Habitats

Penn State Natural Resources Extension is please to be offering a webinar on Bat Biology and Their Relationship to Forested Habitats on Tuesday, October 11th at noon and again at 7 p.m.  Each seminar lasts approximately one hour.  The webinars will be presented by Dr. Jacqualine Grant, Adjunct Biology Lecturer at Southern Utah University, and Dr. Dan Riskin, Scientist & Television Host/Producer for Discovery Channel Canada.

With approximately 1200 species, bats are the only group of mammals that rival the rodents in diversity. the webinars will discuss bat diversity and many surprising and interesting features of bats.  The second half of the webinar will focus on North American bats and their relationship to forested habitats.  Do you know how your forest management practices are affecting your bats?  Please note: the webinars will not cover white-nose syndrome.

Each session is recorded and loaded onto the Pennsylvania Forests 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.  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.

If this one does not interest you, here are a few others that are coming up:

November 8, 2011
Management Plans. Gerald Hoy, DCNR Bureau of Forestry Service Forester, Noon and 7 p.m.

December 12, 2011
Small-Scale Logging. Peter Smallidge, New York State Extension Forester, Cornell University Department of Natural Resources, Noon and 7 p.m.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wood is Good!

UBC Forestry
On Friday, September 29, 2011, the USDA Forest Service release the findings of a study entitled Forest Service Report Documents Environmental Benefits of Wood as a Green Building Material.  Agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, announced that based on the resultsof the study wood should be a primary building material in green building.

The authors of the report, Science Supporting the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Using Wood and Wood Products in Green Building Construction, indicate that they reviewed the scientific literature and found that using wood in building products yields fewer greenhouse gases than using other common materials.

The study confirms what many of us have been arguing for years....that "Wood is Good!"  Secretary Vilsack writes, "Wood should be a major component of American building and energy design. The use of wood provides substantial environmental benefits, provides incentives for private landowners to maintain forest land, and provides a critical source of jobs in rural America."