Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Timber theft Awareness

Having recently answered a number of questions from a landowner concerning timber theft I thought I would share a few resources with my readers that may be helpful in the event timber theft happens to you.

The best prevention is to make sure your property lines are well marked with surveyor ribbon and tree marking paint.....ribbons can be pulled down and moved but paint it more permanent.  Most paint last 3-5 years so be sure to freshen the markings often.

Here are some good resources I came across while doing a search.
Timber Trespass by Mark Bodamer, Forester, DCNR Bureau of Forestry
Timber Theft in Tough Times: A Growing Concern for Landowners and Farmers by Richard Triumpho, Farming Magazine, June 2010.
Timber Theft and Trespass by Jeff Stringer, University of Kentucky, Department of Forestry

Lastly, here is an interesting article that appeared on NorthCountryNow.com on February 16, 2013.
Timber theft a fact, but aware St. Lawrence County forest land owners can protect themselves by Paul Hetzler.

Only the crunch of gravel mars the predawn quiet as a truck, headlights off, rolls to a stop. Working quickly, professional bandits round up your unsuspecting timber. As your herd of prized trees is prodded toward the tailgate ramp, their soft mewling is barely audible amidst all the rustling…

While it does at times parallel cattle rustling, with skilled thieves whisking away a few exceptionally valuable trees in an early-morning or weekend raid, timber theft encompasses more than outright banditry. How much more, exactly, is a matter of debate. There are still law enforcement agencies which view a clear-cut (so to speak) timber theft, even one that amounts to tens of thousands of dollars (According to a 2007 SUNY ESF survey, the average value of timber in NYS stolen per event was $10,650.), as a civil matter akin to a boundary dispute. On the other hand, some foresters believe that every timber sale not conducted by an honest forester is theft. All agree, though, that this crime is a theft that keeps on taking, in that it can undo years of good management, and require decades for recovery.

To read the rest of the story click here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Opportunity for Woodland Owners

Unprecedented Offer for Forest Landowners: Registration Now Open!

On May 10 and 11, 2013 there is an unprecedented opportunity for Pennsylvania’s woodland owners to participate in an enlightening and entertaining conference on forest land use, conservation, and best management practices for woodlots of all sizes. The Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners are hosting the 2013 Private Landowner Conference at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA. The event offers nationally recognized experts on virtually all matters of concern to woodlot owners. With an expected 1000 participants, nearly 100 seminars, field trips, exhibitions, and interaction with fellow landowners, this event will offer all you need to undertake the best practices and enhancement of the myriad values you hold for your property.

In Pennsylvania, nearly 750,000 landowners make decisions on 11.5 million acres of forestland, or 70% of the nearly 17 million acres of forestland in our state. Many of these owners (approx. 500,000) hold 10 acres or less (the average is about 3 acre) but together they make decisions for one of every eight acres of our state’s private forests. While, many of the small woodland parcels are likely part of a residence, these wooded acres contribute to backyard habitat, water quality, and woodland diversity, for example. Although these parcels seem small ("Why should we worry about what happens on only 2 acres?"), cumulatively these lands account for much of our urban and community forests and provide many more public and individual values than just a setting for a home.

The remaining 250,000 holders of larger parcels really affect all citizens and wildlife of the state through their land-use decisions – think water, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, clean air, and forest products. Many of these woodland owners can be passive about their property stewardship. Sure, they occasionally engage in an active way, perhaps with building a road or trail, harvesting some firewood or even conducting a timber sale. They often believe that Mother Nature does not need help. Yet, human impacts have introduced threats that our forests have not adapted to. Think about invasive pests such as the emerald ash borer that came to our woodlots as a result of global trade, or about invasive plants that started as ornamentals around our homes. These threats were introduced where the conditions were right for them to thrive at the expense of native species.

If you are a woodlot owner in PA and are concerned about the future of your investment and “The Future of Penn’s Woods,” visit http://ecosystems.psu.edu/private-forest-conference/ or call 1-800-235-9473 to learn more.

The conference costs $75 for the day and a half event. The fee covers two breaks on Friday, two breaks and lunch on Saturday, a nationally-known Saturday morning keynote address, and access to information and resources from respected presenters from across the region. Optional events include Friday morning field tours and a Friday evening keynote banquet with Doug Tallamy, Professor and Chair of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, and author of "Bringing Nature Home." Conference exhibitors include educational, resource, and service-providers with tools and information to help you undertake good practices on your woodland.

Remember that you, the landowner, are the greatest resource that our forests have… The better informed you are, the greater the value you bring to your property, to the environment and to the legacy that our forests produce for those who follow.

Please call or go online to register now; you will agree that you need to be there!

Monday, February 4, 2013

PA DEP Report Confirms Minimal Impact of Silvicultural Activities

I wanted to share with you the 2012 Pennsylvania Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is required to file with U.S. EPA.  Specifically, the report states that nearly 20 percent or 16,599 miles of streams in Pennsylvania do not meet water quality standards.  Of this, 19 miles of impaired streams are attributed to silviculture and 2 mile are attributed to forest roads.  Combined, that is 21 miles total --- meaning that less than 0.13% (thirteen one-hundreds of a percent) of the state’s impaired stream miles are attributed to forestry activities.  This is great news in light of efforts out west to enforce a ruling that logging roads be treated as point sources of pollution.

For comparison; agriculture contributes 34% of the impaired stream miles, mine drainage contributes 34% of the impaired stream miles, and urban run-off 15% of the impaired stream miles in Pennsylvania.  Even golf courses are the source of more stream impairment that forestry.

This report demonstrates the overall negligible negative impact that timber harvesting has on water quality and the effectiveness of state forestry Best Management Practices taught by the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative and others.  It reflects the continued efforts of the many loggers, timber buyers, and forest landowners to implement BMPs and protect water quality during forestry operations.