Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 Farm Bill Passed

On June 21st your Senators passed the 2012 Farm Bill, also known as the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, with a bipartisan vote of 64-35.  Programs for forest owners were protected in this bill.

The Senate's Farm Bill includes:
• Consolidated, streamlined working lands programs that make sense for forest owners
• Improved access to important conservation programs, like the Conservation Stewardship Program
• Continued support for programs that combat invasive species
• Continued support for cooperative forestry and extension programs
• Strengthened direction for the forest inventory and analysis program, which researches market and forest health trends
• A Fix to the Biobased Markets Program that allows the inclusion of forest products, strengthening markets for home-grown, American products.

Access to conservation tools and technical assistance is very important to helping you keep your forests healthy, intact, and working.  Farm Bill programs like the Conservation Reserve Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program and Forest Legacy provide important technical and financial assistance to forest owners, giving them the tools they need to implement important forest mangement practices on the ground.

For more informationon the 2012 Farm Bill go to the American Forest Foundation's web site.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beech Control: Options for Management

I had the opportunity this week to meet with a number of foresters from Land Vest in NW Pennsylvania.  The meeting was to discuss options for American beech (Fagus grandifolia) control in black cherry stands.  Beech is a shade tolerant, root suckering species that is dominant in northern hardwood forest understories.  With beech bark disease moving south across Pennsylvnia it has only compounded the problem.  The disease kills the parent tree increasing the amount of root suckering.

We were particularly interested in manual herbicide methods of control, in particular using a method called "Hack and Squirt."  This method uses a hatchet to chop frill cuts through the bark at a convenient height conpletely around the tree.  A concentrated herbicide solution in then squirted into the frills.  By leaving spaces between our cuts or essentially leaving phloem cells intact the thought was that we might get better translocation to the roots thus increasing our success at controlling understory root suckers from the parent tree.

Here is a link to a short video we produced demonstrating the method while at the site.
Beech Control, Three Trees, With Hack and Squirt

We hope to collect some preliminary results from these applications by the end of the growing season to determine if a more detailed study is waranted.

In looking into this a bit further I came across a research paper put out by a number of US Forest Service research foresters.  The researchers utilized two manual chemical treatments, hack & squirt and basal bark, to study their effectiveness and cost at controlling beech.  The results showed that both treatments were very effective at controlling beech.  However, when comparing the cost of application they found the basal bark application to be much more expensive in labor and chemical costs.
Preharvest Manual Herbicide Treatments for Controlling American Beech in Central West Virginia

Lastly, here is another great publication put out by the same US Forest Service researchers.  This publication illustrates the many methods of manual herbicide applications and provides herbicide specific treatment information.  It is a very useful publication for any land/vegetation manager.
Manual Herbicide Application Methods for Managing Vegetation in Appalachian Hardwood Forests

If anyone had experience in managing beech root suckers using the hack and squirt method please let me know what your experience has been and if you felt it was effective.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Impacts of High Grading Your Forest

High graded forest with inferior
 quality oak left following harvest
What is high grading?  High grading is harvesting only those trees that will give the highest immediate economic return; harvesting those trees with the highest economic value.  It is also often referred to as select cutting or diameter limit cutting where all trees above a specified diameter are harvest.  Whatever you call it the effect is the same....a decline in long term forest health and productivity.  High grading removes important seed sources and decreases long term income potential.  No concern is shown for the species composition, quality, and density of the remaining forest.

Extension has been telling this message for years, yet the practice continues.  I just came across an article that was published on-line by the University of Missouri Extension.  The article provides information on the impacts of high grading and how we need to be marketing low value, small diameter trees from our timber sales.  The author also provides valuable input on how to select a reputable forester and logger to guide you through the timber sale process.

High Grading Brings Down Health, Value of Woodland
by Hank Stelzer, University of Missouri Extension
May 25, 2012
Unsuspecting woodland owners selling timber often fall victim to a practice known as "high-grading"—cutting the best trees and leaving the rest.  "It’s like a rancher selling a prize-winning bull and keeping the losers for breeding," said Hank Stelzer, University of Missouri Extension state forestry specialist. "You’re cashing in your best assets and investing in your worst."

To read the full story click here.