In This Issue ...
1. In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up to Mud
2. Arizona: Forest Service Treats 300,000 Acres
3. Maine: Falmouth to Conserve Forests Valued at $900K
4. Oregon Worries It Will Lose Wildfire Insurance
5. North Carolina: Forest Users Debate Pros and Cons of Potential Wilderness Recommendations
6. Op-Eds by SAF Members
1. Wildfire Fighting Budget Gets Boost, but No Long-Term Fix
2. Daines Seeks Feedback on Forest Reform
3. Wyden, Merkely, Walden Pledge Timber Funds Renewal
4. Report Criticizes Expanded Drilling on Public Land
5. National Monument Designation Adds New Managers, Funding to Angeles National Forest
1. US Hardwood Exports Hit Nine-Year Peak
2. Jobs in Timbering, Wood Products Go Begging
3. The Future Is Here … and It's Made of Wood
4. Yurok Tribe Hopes California's Cap-and-Trade Can Save a Way of Life
5. MillerCoors, Pepsi, Wells Fargo Donate $1 Million to Colorado Forests
1. Portucel to Construct Pellet Plant in South Carolina
2. USDA Improves Forest Health by Harvesting Biomass for Energy
3. Texas Co-op Adds Biomass Capacity
4. Wood Resources International: US Pellet Exports Up in Second Quarter
5. ESF Receives $3 Million Grant to Support Bioenergy Development
1. Southeastern SAF Publishes Book: How Forestry Came to the Southeast; The Role of the Society of American Foresters
2. Save Money on Holiday Shopping with SAF AchieveLinks!
3. SAF Launches New Membership Portal
4. Recap of December SAF Board of Directors' Meeting
NPR.org (December 16) - Rainstorms continue to pound drought-stricken California, where dangerous mudslides have caused serious damage in areas burned by wildfires. This year, the state had one of its worst wildfire seasons on record.
Starting in September, the King Fire burned nearly 100,000 acres in the Eldorado. Now the pine trees are black and lifeless, and not one pine needle remains on the branches.
The potential problems from erosion are widespread. Reservoirs and hydropower dams are within the burn area. The Forest Service had hoped that California's drought would make mudslides unlikely. Now that the rains have come, the drought has made the danger of mudslides worse.
Payson Roundup.com (December 12) - US Forest Service restoration projects in northern Arizona have treated 300,000 acres since the launch of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) in 2010, according to the latest annual tally of the program's accomplishments.
The 300,000-acre figure comes from adding up a host of existing Forest Service thinning projects and controlled burns. The private contractor that landed the 4FRI contract has thinned about 1,800 acres.
The figures underscore the major shift in the Forest Service's approach to forest management and at the same time they underscore the slow start for the twice-changed private contractor.
TheForecaster.net (December 17) - Falmouth, Maine, is set to buy 100 acres of forestland for conservation, incorporating it into the North Falmouth Community Forest.
The land is from three different sellers and the total cost to purchase the parcels is $477,075. Most of the cost will be covered by grants from Land for Maine's Future and the US Forest Service. The town is expected to pay about $1,500.
As part of an attachment to the deed agreement, the parcels will not be developed-the deal has the same impact as an easement.
Moreover, in 18 places around the forests, there will be signs that can be scanned by smart phones that will bring users to a website explaining where they are and the area's historical significance.
Bend Bulletin.com (December 11) - After consecutive years of bad wildfire seasons in Oregon, the state may not get its unique fire insurance to help cover costs next year.
Similar to car insurance, Oregon pays a premium for fire insurance every year. The state then must pay the deductible, which last year was $20 million, before the insurance policy pays for up to $25 million.
Also like car insurance: premiums go up when drivers have accidents, so one thing is clear: If the state can land another policy through insurance giant Lloyd's of London to help with rising wildfire costs, it's going to have to cut a bigger check.
The prospect of missing out on wildfire relief has rural lawmakers talking about thinning and clearing fuels from forests and addressing the effects of climate change.
Smokymountainnews.com (December 17) - Out of the gate, the US Forest Service's first stab at listing potential wilderness areas in the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests has been met with criticism following its release in late November.
Though the list generated concern from multiple groups, it's just a first pass at narrowing down which areas of the national forest the Forest Service should recommend as federally protected wilderness in its new management plan for congressional designation.
Seeking the Key to Forest Management by Padlock
Statesman Journal.com (December 12)
By Mickey Bellman
"And so, another year passes, another US congressional session parades into history, and there is still no forest plan to address the management of our national forests."
RGJ.com (December 16) - Funding for fighting and preventing wildfires in Nevada and across the country got a healthy bump in the $1.1 trillion federal budget just approved by Congress.
But environmental, conservation, and forest product groups remain disappointed because they believe Congress missed an opportunity to provide a long-term fix to the budget problems caused by fighting forest fires.
That fix, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, would have created an emergency fund to provide a backstop to cover some of the costs in years where extreme fires have blown through the firefighting budgets of the Forest Service and the Department of Interior.
SAF Joins Broad Coalition Slamming Congress for Excluding Bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding from the Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Act
SAF (December 10) - The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Act released yesterday by Congress would fund most of the federal government through September 30. Although it was possible the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act (WDFA) would be included in the omnibus, the final text excluded it.
The Fire Suppression Funding Solutions Partner Caucus, a diverse set of international, national, tribal, and local organizations interested in sustainable land management on private, tribal, municipal, state, and federal lands, strongly supported the bill and hoped to see it passed through this Congress. Earlier this year, 236 organizations signed on to a letter supporting the legislation.
"Responsible budgeting for wildfires is an obligatory first step toward improving forest health and resiliency," said Dave Walters, President of the Society of American Foresters. "While we will continue to stress the importance of active forest management and community wildfire protection planning, Congress must have the fortitude to act. A new year brings new opportunities to build momentum and finally get this across the finish line."
For more SAF Forest Policy News, see item #1 under SAF News.
Great Falls Tribune.com (December 16) - In a letter sent this week to Montana elected officials, conservation groups, timber industry representatives, and sportsmen, US Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT) said he plans to support comprehensive forest management reforms next year and asked for input on ideas Congress should pursue.
In the letter, Daines says he is committed to finding solutions that restore active management to national forests. He also asks for thoughts on potential reforms to speed up environmental reviews of timber projects, reduce what he called "obstructive appeals and litigation," and giving the Forest Service latitude to meet harvest targets.
NaturalResourcesReport.com (December 12) - For the first time since the program began, Congress did not extend the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act, which expired this year. Last week, the House passed the energy bill with a provision in it to extend federal forest payments for four more years, but the Senate removed that provision.
Oregon's congressional representatives, including Sen. Ron Wyden (D), Sen. Jeff Merkley (D), and Rep. Greg Walden (R), have pledged to fight to get the SRS funding renewed when Congress reconvenes in January. Walden, who is a high-ranking congressional House Republican, has pledged to resubmit the renewal in the first quarter of 2015. More:
Oregon's Economically Pressed Timber Counties Once Again Contemplate Loss of Federal Aid
OregonLive.com (December 15)
Stateimpact.npr.org (December 11) - A new report from the environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment outlines the threats posed to public parks and forests by expanding natural gas development.
Nearly a third of Pennsylvania's 2.2 million acres of forestland is already available for oil and gas drilling. Earlier this year, Governor Corbett overturned a state moratorium on new leasing in public parks and forests to raise $95 million for this year's budget, but an environmental group challenged the move. That lawsuit is still pending.
For more on gas drilling in Pennsylvania's state forests, see "The Costs and Benefits of Fracking on Pennsylvania State Forestland" from the archives of The Forestry Source.
USFS Proposes Limited Leasing in Colorado National Forest
Natural Gas Intel.com (December 10) - Despite an industry full-court press in the past year to head it off, federal officials are proposing to limit future oil and natural gas development in the White River National Forest in northwest Colorado.
Conservation Groups Cheer White River National Forest Oil, Gas Plan
KVNF.org (December 9) - The White River National Forest released a "conservation-minded" plan for future oil and gas drilling. Conservation groups are cheering the plan, saying it proposes closing nearly all of the Thompson Divide to future leasing.
The long-awaited plan maps out where future oil and gas development can happen on the White River National Forest. The Forest covers two million acres, and includes places like the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness and the Flattops Wilderness.
SGVTribune.com (December 10) - Exactly two months after President Barack Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, federal, city, and non-government leaders said the attention has resulted in the hiring of 10 cleanup crews, new forest managers, and launched a fund-raising campaign expected to top $3 million.
Officials speaking at a San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments meeting said the presidential visit and signing has awakened the US Forest Service to the need for more resources in an area described as "LA's backyard."
Japan-News.com (December 17) - The next fiscal year marks the 10th since the Tokyo metropolitan government started working with forestry-related organizations to sell lumber from cedar and cypress trees grown in the Tokyo areas of Ome and Hachioji. The project aims to market the "Tama-made" lumber to spur the replacement of regular cedar with those that produce less pollen, while also revitalizing the forestry industry.
CIFOR.org (December 17) - In the Mekong River region, the concept of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) has gained attention as a cost-effective and innovative means of promoting sustainable environmental management while improving livelihoods. Yet, a comparison of schemes highlights emerging concerns over equity for participants, financial sustainability of initiatives, and the need to measure environmental and social outcomes.
A series of studies by the Center for International Forestry Research of PES schemes in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, found that far from being market-driven, most PES initiatives are primarily funded by government, donor, and civil society organizations.
Takepart.com (December 15) - China's Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts cover about one-tenth of the country's land, but they're responsible for a majority of the sand that inundates Beijing during gargantuan dust storms, making the city's polluted air even worse.
Thanks to centuries of overgrazing, deforestation, and bad water management, the frequency and severity of those dust storms has been on the rise. But since the late 1970s, China has been working to stop the dust invasion by planting trees-billions of them-as part of a project called the Great Green Wall.
Woodworkingnetwork.com (December 12) - Hardwood log exports from the United States went through a period of general decline from 2005 through 2013, falling from a record 2.41 million m³ to a 15-year low of 1.54 million m³.
US hardwood log exports have climbed dramatically in 2014, however, driven by vastly improved availability and robust demand, particularly from China and Canada. Shipments were up 31percent on the year through September, and are on pace to reach a nine-year high of 2.02 million m³ for the year.
Great Lakes Echo.org (December 16) - The woods are calling, and so are logging and wood products companies-calling for skilled employees, that is.
Experts say the labor shortage hampers economic growth.
Many experienced foresters and other workers in northern Michigan are retiring. At the same time, jobs in other industries such as mining, energy, and construction often pay higher wages than those at timber-related companies.
USDA.gov (December 17) - It's a good time for building with wood products. More architects and contractors are returning to this renewable, sturdy, all-purpose material after decades of what some might consider an undue reliance on concrete and steel.
WoodWorks, a nonprofit organization supported by a $1 million grant from the US Forest Service, hosted more than 350 architects and builders this year at the Wood Solutions Fair, which took place this past August in the District of Columbia.
The Forest Service and WoodWorks are also promoting the growing use of cross- laminated timber, a building product that can facilitate making high-rise structures with wood.
LA Times.com (December 16) - This winter, Yurok tribe forestry crews will be four-wheeling down muddy fire roads, hiking through steep slippery brush, and trekking across more than 20,000 acres of forest to count and measure trees.
Instead of preparing to sell lumber, as it has in the past, the state's largest Indian tribe is taking stock of its firs, redwoods, and tanoaks to make money in California's cap-and-trade program.
BizJournals.com (December 16) - MillerCoors, PepsiCo, and the Wells Fargo Foundation announced a donation of $1 million to The Nature Conservancy to help restore forests along Colorado's Front Range.
The money will help pay for the nonprofit to spend three years designing, implementing, and measuring the progress of forest restoration projects intended to "improve water security for the Denver metro area and also reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires."
Biomass magazine.com (December 16) - Portugal-based Portucel S.A. has announced plans to build a 460,000-ton-per-year pellet plant in Greenwood County, South Carolina. Construction on the $110 million project is expected to begin in early 2015, with operations commencing in the third quarter of 2016.
A statement released by the company indicates a 10-year fixed price supply contract is in place for approximately 70 percent of the proposed facility's output. Portucel also noted the plant's location is favorable in terms of wood availability and energy costs.
Hoosieragtoday.com (December 16) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that more than 200,000 tons of biomass was removed from federal lands through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). BCAP, reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provided incentives for the removal of dead or diseased trees from national forests and Bureau of Land Management lands for renewable energy, while reducing the risk of forest fire. This summer, 19 energy facilities in 10 states participated in the program.
These accomplishments helped the Forest Service meet or exceed its restoration goals for Fiscal Year 2014, including reducing hazardous fuels on 1.7 million acres in the wildland urban interface and sustaining or restoring watershed conditions on 2.9 million acres, resulting in 2.8 billion board feet of timber volume sold.
ECT.Coop (December 12) - Pine trees are now a power source in East Texas, and a co-op biomass plant is using the fuel to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of 35,000 homes.
Officials from East Texas Electric Cooperative say the new Woodville Renewable Power Project is generating about 50 megawatts of electricity from timber waste produced by local logging operations.
Biomass Magazine.com (December 16) - Total shipments of wood pellets from North America to Europe plateaued in 2014 after almost four years of continuous increases. During the first two quarters of 2014, exportation from Canada and the United States were slightly more than 1.3 million tons in each of the two quarters. This was down from the all-time-high of almost 1.4 million tons in the 4Q/13, according to the latest issue of the North American Wood Fiber Review.
ESF.edu (December 15) - The US Department of Energy has awarded up to $3 million to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) to develop and demonstrate ways to reduce the cost of delivering woody bioenergy feedstocks to biorefineries.
Specifically, the grant will be used to lower the delivered cost of short-rotation woody crops; rapidly, accurately, and reliably assess feedstock quality; and improve harvest and preprocessing operations to produce feedstocks that meet key biorefinery partner specifications. ESF will work with partners including Case New Holland Industrial, GreenWood Resources, University of West Virginia, Applied Biorefinery Sciences, Idaho National Lab, and others to complete the project.
Wired.com (December 16) - Big ol' Alaska. There's so much space, and so much of it inaccessible, that the US Forest Service-charged by Congress with keeping track of the nation's timber-readily admits that more than one-quarter of the state's forest has never been inventoried. But that's about to change.
This summer, the Forest Service joined some earth science geeks from NASA to find a way to map more of Alaska's woods-and the carbon stored within.
National Journal.com (December 17) - Two associations that together represent more than 200 American universities are complaining that the Federal Aviation Administration's confusing policies on commercial drones are harmful to academic research.
The associations made the complaint in a memo they submitted to the White House's Office of Management and Budget earlier this month, in which they argued that universities need access to drones for a wide variety of academic research, such as gathering data from storms, inspecting crops, mapping terrain, and recording sports practices.
Under current regulations, universities must get the go-ahead from the FAA to use drones for research. But the process of securing a permit is long and confusing, the memo says.
SUASnews.com (December 12) - The Federal Aviation Administration continues to revise interim unmanned aircraft regulations as it drafts the final set of rules for the rapidly emerging technology.
The FAA granted requests across the country December 10 for commercial unmanned flights by four companies for construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections.
Earlier this year, the FAA approved the film industry's use of UAS. To date, seven film companies have had their specific flights granted.
Photographing and surveying real estate, agriculture, and infrastructure (public and private) will likely be the next commercial approvals, although exactly when is unclear.
MU Research Center Gets Authorization from FAA to Fly Drones
AgProfessional.com (December 15) - Drones have been the topic of conversation a lot lately, unfortunately often in a bad light. But drones, properly called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) can have positive uses. Thanks to a recent certification, studies at a University of Missouri research center could find the uses for UAS in agriculture, journalism, and endless other possibilities.
With being granted a certificate of authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, the Wurdack Research Center has become one of a few locations in the country approved to fly UAS.
Gazette.com (December 17) - A recent spate of confirmed emerald ash borer infestations, including the first identified in rural Iowa, indicates the state has reached a tipping point in its efforts to contain the spread of the tree-killing pest.
The 13 previously confirmed infestations were all in cities and towns, where trees come under more frequent and regular scrutiny. The five most recent infestations-in the contiguous counties of Lucas, Appanoose, Mahaska, Marion, and Monroe-include three in rural areas.
That's significant in part because about 95 percent of the state's estimated 55 million ash trees grow in rural timbers and woodlots.
Iowa's Ash Tree Population Threatened
Ottumwacourier.com (December 15)
Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Five Counties in Southern Iowa
Heartlandconnection.com (December 15)
Oregonlive.com (December 15) - Scotch broom and Armenian blackberries might be costing the Oregon agricultural industry $79.6 million.
An Oregon Department of Agriculture study of 25 of the state's most devastating weeds found that the plants are ruining crops and timber on land that would otherwise be productive.
WiscNews.com (December 17) - Some find princess trees, also known as empress trees, desirable because they grow fast-up to 15 feet in the first year. They also produce big, beautiful purple blooms.
Unfortunately, they're illegal in Wisconsin-and the state Department of Natural Resources forestry experts are encouraging residents to remove the invasive trees from their property.
Montana.edu (December 12) - Mycologist Cathy Cripps doesn't seem to worry about the grizzly bears and black bears that watch her work, but she is concerned about the ghosts and skeletons she encounters.
The ghosts are whitebark pine forests that have been devastated by mountain pine beetles and white pine blister rust, said the Montana State University scientist who studies the fungi that grow in extreme environments. The skeletons are dead trees that no longer shade snow or produce pinecones.
Fortunately, she has found hope in a native fungus called Siberian slippery jack, or Suillus sibiricus.
Phys.org (December 12) - Using broad-leaved trees such as willow trees in the phytoremediation of contaminated soils constitutes a cost-efficient method for restoring mining areas and landfills, according to a research project led by the University of Eastern Finland. Funded by the European Union, the project studied willow tree growth in contaminated soils in Finland and Russia.
How the Fastest Warming City in the Country Is Cooling Off
Politico.com (December 2014) - Louisville is warming at the fastest rate of any city in the nation, causing summer temperatures in the urban core to be up to 20 degrees higher than surrounding areas.
As of late, the city has been more aggressive and comprehensive than any other city in tackling the problem. Recently, Mayor Greg Fischer established a tree commission two years ago to reverse the city's dramatic loss of tree cover due to storms, disease, and development.
Tropical Forests May Not Combat Climate Change
ScienceMag.org (December 15) - Tropical forests may not save us from global warming. Scientists have long believed that as atmospheric carbon dioxide rises, the greenhouse gas could boost photosynthesis, enabling tropical and other forests to take up more carbon and store it as wood. Some data suggest this "carbon fertilization" effect is already happening, and many climate models assume it will help slow the rise in CO2. But a new analysis of tree-ring samples collected in Bolivia, Cameroon, and Thailand finds no sign of increasing growth over the past 150 years.
Climate Change: Beavers Boost Emissions with 800 Million Kilograms of Methane Every Year
Ibtimes.co.uk (December 16) - Over the last century, there has been a worldwide conservation effort to save beavers from extinction. The consequence of this has led to beavers building more ponds, creating conditions for climate-changing methane gas to be generated in the shallow standing water.
JDNews.com (December 15) - Nearly 1,800 acres of undeveloped land in Onslow County, North Carolina, will be preserved in its natural state, protecting wildlife habitat and creating a natural buffer between military training at Camp Lejeune and surrounding development.
The Nature Conservancy has acquired a 1,050-acre tract of land in the Hubert area, closing out the second phase of a project known as the Horse Swamp Preserve.
High Plains Journal.com (December 12) - The tradition of putting up a real Christmas tree dates far back, even before the advent of Christianity. However, that tradition has been somewhat challenged as many Americans now purchase and display artificial Christmas trees.
In this article, Craig McKinley, retired Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension forestry specialist, gives a brief history lesson and timeline of the Christmas tree.
2015 North American Forest Ecology Workshop Call for Abstracts
NAFEW.org (undated) - The 10th North American Forest Ecology Workshop (NAFEW) will take place June 14-18 in Veracruz, Mexico. Organized by the Colegio de Postgraduados in association with Colegio de la Frontera Sur, the Mexican Academy of Forest Sciences, and the University of Veracruz, the workshop will offer forest ecologists from around North America a chance to share ideas, knowledge, experiences, and challenges on forest ecosystems of Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The program will include three days of oral and poster presentations, as well as one day of in-conference field trips. Oral presentations will consist of invited plenary speakers and volunteer presentations.
The deadline for abstract submission for both oral and poster presentations is January 15, 2015. The organizing Committee will work on making arrangements for a group of presentations to be published in a special issue of a top-ranked forest ecology journal.
For more information, see the Call for Abstracts on the workshop's website.
Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters Announces 21st Annual Conference
The Yale Chapter of the International Society of Tropical Foresters is proud to present the topic of their 21st Annual Conference: Conserving Biodiversity across Multiple-Use Landscapes through Strategic Governance and Land Use Planning.
For registration and program information, including the call for presentations, visit the conference website.
How Forestry Came to the Southeast; The Role of the Society of American Foresters, a new book published by the Southeastern SAF, offers a historical account of how forestry began in the United States and, particularly, in the Southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In addition to its review of the past 40 years of forestry in the Southeast, the book includes commentaries on five aspects of forestry in the region today.
Copies of the book can be purchased through Amazon.com. Proceeds will be used to fund forestry education programs in the region.
SAF members can shop for the holidays and get great deals through AchieveLinks, allowing them to save money and earn rewards at more than 1,000 online retailers. (Click here to see a full list of all merchants.)
This is just one of many benefits of being an SAF member. To renew your membership or learn about other benefits, visit the SAF website.
In response to members' concerns about the functionality of the SAF website, the Society has launched a beta version of its new Membership Portal. Naturally, we want to know what you think about it, so check it out and send us your comments.
The portal is designed to offer easier access to SAF member services, expedite the renewal process, give up-to-date information about members' involvement with SAF (e.g., CFE credits, subscriptions, and so on), provide the latest forestry news, facilitate giving, and more!
On the weekend of December 5-7, the SAF Board of Directors met in Bethesda, with members of the 2014 board joining the incoming 2015 members.
The afternoon of December 5 was devoted to incoming board orientation and the group worked on drafting a board policies manual (special thanks to guest speaker and facilitator Gregg Talley of Talley Management Group for assisting in that process).
On December 6, several guest speakers attended the meeting-Mary Wagner, associate chief of the US Forest Service; Lynn Wilson, executive director of the Association of Consulting Foresters; Tom Martin, chief executive officer of the American Forest Foundation; and Scott Steen, chief executive officer of American Forests-and engaged the board in a discussion about the future of America's forests and the forestry profession.
In addition, the board passed a balanced SAF budget for 2015, increased the total funding available from the Foresters' Fund annually for grants from $30,000 to $60,000, and celebrated the sale of the excess land at Wild Acres to Washington, DC-based developer EYA, Inc.
Be sure to keep an eye on the Source, state society newsletters, and social media for more board meeting outcomes.
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