Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tree of Heaven: Causing Trouble in Our Forests

The USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station has released the latest edition of their “Research Review” publication. The Spring 2014 issue addresses the status of tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) in our forests.  The publication is entitled Ailanthus: A Nonnative Urban Tree Is Causing Trouble in Our Forests.  The publication documents its growth and spread into a wide range of environments since it was first introduced to eastern North America in the 18th century.  Since that time it has expanded throughout farms and woodlands displacing native plant species.

The publication also covers the new research connected with Ailanthus control and eradication. One promising bit of research includes a new biological control method based on a wilt-inducing fungus called Verticillium nonalfalfae.  Some of this work was done by a researcher at Penn State by the name of Dr. Don Davis.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pennsylvania 2015 Private Forest Landowner Conference Announced

University Park, PA – June 20, 2014 -- Mark your calendars for the 2nd Private Forest Landowners Conference: The Future of Penn's Woods, March 20-21, 2015 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA. The biennial conference, hosted by The Center for Private Forests at Penn State and its partners, focuses on helping private woodland owners understand how to steward their lands for a mix of values and needs.

Pennsylvania has almost 750,000 woodland owners making decisions on 11.5 million acres of forestland. Seventy percent of the nearly 17 million acres of forested land in the state is owned by private individuals. Many of these owners (approx. 500,000) hold 10 acres or less (the average is just 3 acres), but big or small, the decisions all private woodland owners make about their forests affect the well-being of our state’s namesake -- Penn’s Woods.

From suburban backyard habitat to large properties with a focus on hunting or income, woodland owners want to do well by their land. Opportunities to learn and understand our options and possibilities help ensure that good decisions demonstrating care for the land are made.

Whether your woodlot is one acre or several thousand, we hope you will join us for this day and a half conference where you can learn about your property and how it contributes to habitat, water quality, and woodland diversity. Your land is part of a larger landscape where we connect with each other and together we care for Penn’s Woods.

The conference will include options such as field tours and a banquet, outstanding keynote addresses from nationally-renowned speakers, and myriad presentation and workshop opportunities to learn more about the values you hold for your woods and the goals you've set for your property. The conference has also been designed so that you will have significant opportunities to meet new and old friends who share your passion for woodland values.

If you are a woodlot owner in Pennsylvania or beyond and want to learn more about your woods click here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More on Emerald Ash Borer

A number of items have come across my desk recently on emerald ash borer.  I wanted to share them with my readers.  The first in an article concerning ash seed preservation.  As with any species faced with the threat of being wiped out across it's range by an exotic insect, preserving seed from that species is of the utmost importance.  There may be a day when we have control measures in place, a biological means of controlling the insect.  If that becomes reality re-establishing the species where it once existed would be of huge ecological and economic value.  The article below pertains to how seed from ash is now being collected in Pennsylvania and preserved (it can store for up to 100 years) in the hopes of being used to re-establish the species at some point.

There are also a couple of new publications available online that I wanted to share. The first is a new edition (June 2014, second edition) of Insecticide Options for Protecting Ash Trees from Emerald Ash Borer. It was put together by the Northeast IPM Center. Another entitled Frequently asked Questions Regarding Potential Side Effects of Systemic Insecticides Used to Control Emerald Ash Borer is a fact sheet that was put out by Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio Extension Services.  It may help address concerns about treating trees. 

May 17, 2014 
DCNR preserving seeds of ash and other tree species that are facing threats

Inside the envelopes that are delivered to the Penn Nursery every fall is a future forest. The envelopes contain the seeds of ash trees, which are collected by staff from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and sent to the agency’s Penn Nursery during a brief two-week period each fall. The effort may be the last chance for ash trees in the state, which are being infested with the emerald ash borer.

Once the insect burrows into a tree and lays its eggs, death is imminent. But at Penn Nursery in Centre County, there is hope. That’s where the seeds are processed and eventually shipped to a U.S. Forest Service lab in Colorado, where they are placed in cryogenic storage. “A lot of the seed can be stored for 100 years,” said Tina Alban, forest nursery operations manager for DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry. “Someday, we’ll pull it back out and use it to re-establish the ash tree in Pennsylvania’s forest.”

The emerald ash borer, which is actually a beetle, has killed tens of million of ash trees since it was first identified in Michigan in 2002. It surfaced in Pennsylvania in 2007 and has been found throughout the state.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Top Ten Family Forestry Issues for 2014

In the Spring 2014 magazine "National Woodlands" published by the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA) they provided a listing of the Top Ten Family Forestry Issues for 2014.  This is something that NWOA provides annually and is important enough to share with my readers.  If you are a member of NWOA give the article a read through.  If not a member of NWOA you may want to consider joining

It was interesting to read that support for Extension Forestry Education and Service Forestry had bumped private property rights from #3.  I have provided the complete listing with a quick description of each below.  Give them a read and see if they match your own "top ten."

1. Timber Markets, Biomass, and Fair Trade
For the second time in 5 years, landowner's concerns over developing and maintaining markets for timber and forest products has moved up to number 1, indicating that a majority of NWOA national and affiliate members do manage their woodlands for timber and forest products.

2. Fair Income, Inheritance, and Property Taxes
With the recent proposal by the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI), to greatly simplify the federal tax code by removing most special tax regulations, including forestry, the issue remains a top concern.  These include the credit for reforestation expenses, capital gains treatment of timber sales, and limit some expensing of forest management costs.

3. Extension Education and Service Forestry
Since being founded in 1983, NWOA has been the most active and outspoken advocate of Forestry Extension with the byline: "Forestry Education Beats Forest Regulation." The leaders of the landowner associations voting these issues agree, raising the issue this year to the Top Three for the first time.  NWOA cautions that many landowners continue to favor face to face mentoring and demonstrations, especially with neighbor working groups.

4. Invasives and Forest Health
This issue examines the serious risks to landowners resulting from the growing number of invasive insects and diseases spreading into their woods.  The introduction of unwanted of unwanted plants, insects, and animals, the spread of disease and insect infestations, the implementation of new quarantines and grim prospects for damage control place this at #4.

5. Right to Practice Forestry and Private Property Rights
Respect and recognition of private property is guaranteed in the Constitution.  As rural American continues to transform from working farms and forests to home sites and workign landscapes, the character of the neighborhood changes. Newer rural residents often complain about unexpected logging on nearby lands, especially if it is within their view.

6. Water Quality and Quantity
Water, either too much of it or too little of it, is an issue of national importance.  Well managed forested watersheds are the easiest and most cost effective way of providing a continuous quantity of clean, good quality water.

7. Keeping Forests as Forests
Still in its infancy as a national concept, the idea is catching on with regional land use planners who see it as a tool to guide future development, including suburban subdivisions and location of industrial parks.

8. Stewardship Incentives: Cost-Sharing & Tax Credits
Federally forestry cost share programs have disappeared in the last two decades.  As a result largely to efforts by the "Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition" the new 2014 Farm Bill continued and even expanded programs available to woodland owners and even expanded programs available to woodland owners.

9. Wildfire: Suppression, Fuels, Prescribed Fire, Early Detection
Catastrophic fires, especially in the drought stricken west, are a serious and growing threat.  Congress reauthorized and expanded the Healthy Forests Restoration Act in the Farm Bill with the goal of reducing fuels and fire hazards.

10. Certification of Loggers, Foresters, and Forest Practices
Although the issue remains in last place, certification of loggers, foresters, and woodlands remains important.  NWOA has openly advocated the use and education of Certified or Trained Loggers. Be sure to only work with trained loggers on your property.