Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Farm Bill Update

Today the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill by a 251-166 vote.  This new Farm Bill is a huge win for woodland owners nationwide as it stands as the as the strongest Farm Bill yet for forests.

It includes the following:
  • New market opportunities and further research on additional opportunities.
  • Protection from unnecessary permit requirements on your forest roads.
  • Protection from the threat of forest invasive pests.
  • Improved access to tools and resources for forest stewardship.
Although today was a big step, the bill still has to go to the Senate.  The Senate could vote as early as this week.
To read the full release go to the American Forest Foundation's news page.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Have a Say in Pennsylvania's Deer Management Program

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, Board of Commissioners will hold its first quarterly meeting of 2014, from Jan. 26 to 28 at the agency’s Harrisburg headquarters.  On Sunday, Jan. 26, beginning at 1 p.m., the commissioners will hear public recommendations for 2014-15 hunting and furtaking seasons and bag limits. Doors will open at noon. Individuals interested in offering public testimony – limited to five minutes – may register beginning at noon on a first-come, first-to-speak basis.

This is a great opportunity for you to voice your opinion...for or against...current deer management practices in the state.  Your Game Commissioners need to hear from you.  Are you happy with the way things are going?  Do you want to see the program changed in any way?  Well, this is your opportunity.  Public comment is important in forming the seasons and bag limits that are rolled out later in the year.

For more than 20 years a group called the Society of American Foresters (SAF) Deer/Farm/Forests Committee has met to work on deer issues.  This is an "umbrella" organization under which all members of the forestry/wildlife community come together, share observations about how current deer management policies are affecting deer and their impact on forest habitat, and, when necessary, carry that message to the public, scientists, or decision makers with a unified voice.

Over time, the Committee has sponsored national level meetings about the science of deer management, hosted meetings and tours for more local audiences, including Game Commissioners, legislators, funders, and NGOs.  More recently, the activities of the Committee have focused on providing annual testimony to the PGC Seasons and Bag Limits Hearings in Harrisburg.  I wanted to provide some of the main points of this year's letter to my readers.  You may not agree with all the points but the ideas may serve as a foundation for you to craft your own letter to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

SAF Deer/Farm/Forests Committee 2014 Testimony to the 2014 PA Game Commission Season and Bag Limits Meeting, January 26-28, 2014 

1.   Requesting DMAP availability to all landowners statewide.
2.  Support continuation of Concurrent Buck and Doe Firearms Season for the full firearms season with a Saturday opener and Sunday hunting in all WMU’s.
3.  For increased hunter retention and recruitment we recommend a reconsideration of Sunday hunting and Saturday opening day which especially benefits youth and parents with more time afield. 
4.  Fully support maintaining these efforts including: Deer Management Assistance Program, concurrent buck & doe seasons, antler restrictions, early antlerless season, and the youth mentored hunting program.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Presentation: Are Deer Changing our Forests?

Recently, a link was posted to a presentation delivered at the 2013 Wildlife Society National Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin October 5-10, 2013.  The presentation is entitled
This presentation is a great follow-up to my post entitled White-tailed Deer Population Dilema from January 3, 2014.  In this presentation Dr. Waller, Professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, states the conditions he describes from research in Wisconsin are largely mirrored throughout the Northeastern US. 

I wanted to share with you Dr. Waller's final quote from the presentation.  He states, " Interestingly, no hunters have suggested, and not even wildlife managers in this state, that the reason deer numbers may have gone down in the last couple years in because they're eating themselves out of house and home."  Take a moment to view this 20 minute presentation.

Newly Revised Northeastern Forest Regeneration Handbook

The revised (2013) edition of the Northeastern Forest Regeneration Handbook published by the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry has now been posted online.  In the face of higher deer populations, increasing numbers of competing and invasive plants, and poorly implemented cutting practices I thought I would share this resource with my readers.  The Northeastern Forest Regeneration Handbook is an excellent resource for forest managers and landowners

The handbook helps forest practitioners develop an appreciation of how northeastern forests regenerate and develop over time.  This includes the important role that disturbance plays in forest development.  The information provided in the handbook will help landowners, land use decision makers, and professional foresters make informed decisions about forest regeneration options tailored to management objectives.

The handbook is divided into five sections:
1. Northeastern Forests - Yesterday and Today - provides a context for the issues surrounding the natural regeneration of our forests.
2. Environmental Factors - explains basic concepts in forest regeneration, including the importance of different combinations of light, moisture, and soil in determining its success or failure.
3. Disturbance - The Agent of Change - examines the role of disturbance in maintaining habitat and species diversity.
4. Forest Management for Regeneration - introduces different methods (prescriptions) of forest management and discusses the influence of each management style on the availability of light, moisture, and growing space for new regeneration.
5. Species Regeneration Notes - details requirements to successfully regenerate specific species,
oak, maple, white pine, birch, American beech, and spruce are covered.

This resource should be bookmarked on everyone's computers or better yet printed and readily accessible on your desk.