Thursday, May 27, 2021

Bees Are Essential

The USDA Forest Service and the Pollinator Partnership have teamed up to produce an excellent 40-page full color publication entitled Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees. It is authored by Beatriz Moisset, Ph.D. and Stephen Buchmann, Ph.D. with Illustrations by Steve Buchanan. This publication shares a close up look at this treasure of native bees. They provide an invaluable ecosystem service, pollination, to 80 percent of flowering plants. Bees pollinate approximately 75 percent of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables grown in this country.

Native bees are a hidden treasure, they can be found anywhere in North America, where flowers bloom. Native pollinators have been pollinating the continent’s flowering plants since long before the arrival of honey bees. Even in today’s altered landscapes, native pollinators continue to do the yeomen’s share of pollination, especially when it comes to native plants. The world as we know it would not exist if there were no bees to pollinate the earth’s 250,000 flowering plants.

Some native bees and other pollinators are experiencing population declines and range reductions. Many of the same factors affecting honey bee health are also affecting native bee species health as well. A number of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private individuals are creating pollinator gardens throughout the country that will benefit native bees and other pollinators. Helping native bees is essential to our continued survival, health, and well-being. These animals benefit us all because of the invaluable ecosystem services they provide to the environment and to our farms, forests, and gardens.

Get involved, observe bees with close focusing binoculars; plant a small pollinator garden; or help a neighbor, student, or family member drill small holes in scrap lumber to create a bee house. Do your share to make sure this precious legacy continues. Click here to read the full publication. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Timber sales publication will serve as a guide for landowners

Timber harvesting is an important management tool. When conducted with care and planning, it allows owners to manage forests to meet multiple objectives. Landowners choose to conduct timber sales for a variety of reasons. The decision to harvest may be recommended in a management plan or it may be unexpected.

Regardless of the reason, a successful timber harvest that meets landowner goals begins with a forest resource professional developing a plan. Timber harvesting is a time when landowners can improve their woods for what they value, such as enhancing wildlife habitat, or cause real damage from which the woods might not recover for generations.

A new publication from Penn State Extension titled, “Timber Sales: A Guide to Selling Timber,” is available to help landowners understand how timber sales are conducted. This 12-page publication outlines a seven-step process. “It will assist forest landowners in understanding how a timber sale is conducted and how to retain the services of a forestry professional,” said Dave Jackson, forestry educator and publication co-author. “It is not a definitive how-to guide as much of the process will depend on each specific situation.”

Timber harvesting is not a process to be entered into lightly. Harvests involve complex decisions across many issues, including ecology, forest operations, business, law, taxes, marketing and negotiation. Harvests have both short- and long-term consequences for the landowner and the forest. This publication is a first step in helping landowners understand some of these consequences and how they can ensure a successful outcome.

Selling timber is complicated and requires substantial investments in time and a thorough understanding of the industry. Timber sales have the potential to impact site productivity, wildlife habitat, water quality, aesthetics, income, taxes, estate planning — the list goes on. Those lacking the proper level of experience should use this publication as a reference to understand how foresters can help and what they strive to accomplish on the landowner’s behalf.

A satisfactory harvest experience is no accident; it is the result of thoughtful planning and hard work. Planning is critical to ensuring a positive outcome, one that meets landowner objectives and sustainability guidelines. To ensure a successful timber sale, landowners must have a clear understanding of the process, this new Extension publication can help.

The publication, “Timber Sales: A Guide to Selling Timber,” is available as a free downloadable PDF; printed copies are available for purchase. To view the full publication, visit or call 877-345-0691.