Wednesday, November 28, 2018

New Research Publication: Management Implications of Large-Ungulate Herbivory

moderate/high ungulate herbivory risk
I wanted to share a recently released Forest Service Northern Research Station publication.  The publication entitled, Subcontinental-scale patters of large-ungulate herbivory and synoptic review of restoration management implications for midwestern and northeastern forests provides an in-depth overview of browsing impacts by deer and other large ungulates across a wide range, from the NE to the mid-west. Researchers concluded that 59 percent of the 182.4 million acres of forest land inventoried across that area was estimated to have moderate or high browse impacts.  All of this relates to greater challenges in the successful regeneration and management of these forests.

The study findings confirm the following for forest regeneration management within areas stressed by high herbivory:
1.) Browse impacts have extensive and long-term implications. Large ungulates still impede regeneration management in problem areas identified by Leopold and colleagues 70 years ago. Leopold did not predict that control or reduction of large ungulates would become a perennial challenge, but he did correctly anticipate that problem areas would expand.
2.) Less palatable tree species will continue to have a competitive advantage during the regeneration stage, potentially resulting in a future canopy composition that is different from the existing canopy-dominant species.
3.) Monitoring composition, structure, and browse will be critically important for success. Planning for regeneration management is made difficult by the interactions of multiple factors, such as the size and condition of the forest tract, dominant tree species, degree of alien plant or pest intrusion, and the population dynamics of the browsers, as influenced by birth rate and losses from predation, disease, and starvation.

Here is the full abstract:
Browse of forest understory vegetation by deer and other large ungulates alters ecosystem processes, making it difficult to regenerate forest land in herbivory-stressed areas. Seventy years ago, Aldo Leopold identified problem areas in the United States where overpopulation of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was likely to lead to overbrowsing of nutritive plants. Species of plants with little or no nutritive value would thereby gain a competitive advantage. Recent measurements of browse impacts on regionwide forest inventory plots in the midwestern and northeastern United States provide the opportunity to review the work of Leopold and others. A visualization of the probability of browse impact levels that warrant consideration during regeneration planning is presented for comparison to historical maps. Currently, 59 percent of the 182.4 million acres of forest land inventoried in the Midwest and Northeast was estimated to have moderate or high browse impacts. The Mid-Atlantic region had the highest proportion of forest land with moderate or high browse impacts (79 percent). The oak/hickory (Quercus/Carya) and maple/beech/birch (Acer/Fagus/Betula) forest-type groups each had percentages of forest land with moderate or high impacts above the regional average, 69 percent and 65 percent, respectively. The problem areas described by Leopold and others persist and new areas have emerged in the Central/Plains, Mid-Atlantic, and New England States. The study findings confirm three realities of forest regeneration management for forests under herbivory stress in the Midwest and Northeast: 1) The scope and persistence of large-ungulate herbivory has long-term wide-ranging implications for regeneration management; 2) less palatable tree species will continue to have a competitive advantage during the regeneration phase and are likely to be different species from the current canopy dominants; and 3) successful regeneration management of these forests requires more emphasis on ungulate-compatible prescriptions, novel approaches, and adaptive science.

You can view the full PDF of the publication by clicking here. (3.0 MB)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Webinar series offered on using herbicides to manage unwanted forest vegetation

Out of necessity, forest landowners and resource managers are increasingly turning to herbicides to manage undesirable vegetation. A number of factors are increasing the need for vegetation management including; vegetation interfering with forest regeneration, poorly planned and executed timber harvesting practices, a profusion of invasive plant species, and over-browsing by deer shifting species composition.

The Herbicides and Forest Vegetation Management Webinar Series will teach participants how to use herbicides safely and effectively to manage problem vegetation through a series of three one hour “live” online lectures that can be viewed from the convenience of your home or work computer. Sessions run for three weeks on Wednesdays, January 2, 9, and 16, 2019 from 2:00-3:00 PM. All lectures will be recorded and can be viewed later if “live” sessions are missed. The series is brought to you by Penn State Extension and Arborchem Products.

These live online sessions will examine the use of herbicides to manage forest vegetation and provide information to address some misconceptions concerning herbicide use in forests. Forestry labeled herbicides are effective and environmentally sound; however, their use remains controversial.

Topics covered include:
  Personal and environmental safety of forestry herbicides
  Herbicide application equipment and techniques
  Managing competing and invasive plants in forests and fields

Forestry labeled herbicides are a low risk, economical, and effective means of controlling undesirable vegetation in forests. They can be used for achieving many objectives. Listen in on the live sessions and learn from the experts. Pesticide recertification credits will be available for all sessions.

For more information and to register go to: or call 1-877-345-0691. Registration deadline is Friday, December 28, 2018. For questions contact Dave Jackson at or call 814-574-1132.

The Pennsylvania State University encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Dave Jackson at 814-355-4897 in advance of your participation or visit.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Warbler Habitat to Hardwood Floors
I wanted to share a "neat" story about one of our local Pennsylvania landowners, Mark Ott.  Mark is one of our Pennsylvania Forest Stewards and well as a certified Tree Farmer.  He has been involved with many forestry activities over the years, including the Woodland Owners of Centre County and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative of Pennsylvania.  I recently had a chance to visit Mark's property where he was getting ready to have a section harvested to create habitat for golden-winged warblers. Golden-winged populations have been declining in numbers for quite some time now and have one of the smallest populations of any bird NOT on the endangered species list.  For more information on golden-winged warbler click here.

Mark was able to add an interesting twist to his story, he was able to find a wood products company to make flooring from the trees harvested from his property. To create golden-winged warbler habitat a specific kind of forest condition needs to be created, one with a few mature trees in the overstory and young tree regeneration in the understory.  By using the harvested trees to make hardwood flooring Mark was able to take a little piece of his woodland and incorporate it into his home at the same time he was creating habitat for a declining songbird species, great story.

You can view his story on You Tube.

Steller Flooring: Mark Ott's Inspirational Hardwood Flooring

We are thrilled to be a part of Mark's journey to incorporate trees from his property into his own hardwood floor. Mark harvested the trees earlier this year for a Golden-winged Warbler conservation project in central Pennsylvania, and he's going the extra mile for sustainable land management. Check out our hike, Mark's site, and why he decided on Steller Flooring!
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More information on Golden-winged Warblers: