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Archived 2008 News, Issues & Information


(11/25/08) General Forestry Course offered by the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service. Both online and traditional paper versions are available. Registration opens January 2 for the spring semester.

(10/29/08) Land trusts must pass muster under new easement process. "Nonprofit land trusts [in Colorado] charged with overseeing thousands of acres of scenic lands will have to be state certified next year in order to continue accepting lands, under a new review process." Before the conservation easement business gets further out of hand, we suspect Alabama and other states will develop easement oversight commissions as is being done in Colorado. Source: Rocky Mountain News 10/28/08.

(10/17/08) Where do the presidential candidates stand on issues of interest to small business. Scroll down to the section on taxes and look at the estate tax and capital gains tax boxes. There is a difference that affects owners of forestland. Source: National Federation of Independent Business.

(08/23/08) Wildland Fire Courses Now Available Online. The S-190 course if frequently a required prerequisite to certified burn manager courses.

(08/12/08) BigDog -- pack mule or ATV of the future?

(07/01/08) Burn Wood In Fireplace? Attend "Wood Smoke Awareness Course." Southern California Air Quality Management Board Rule 445. Wood Burning Devices.

(06/27/08) Schools & Roads Subsidy From Federal Forestland Voted Down by U.S. House. Back when National Forests grew and harvested timber, a portion of the sale income ("hundreds of millions of dollars") was given to local counties in lieu of property taxes (which the federal government does not pay). We suspect this decision by the House will impact counties in Alabama such as Winston, Lawrence, Talladega, Bibb and others (39 states with 700 counties affected). The federal government's policy of not selling timber results in pressure on private landowners to pay higher property taxes. Also, see: Property Tax Lawsuit Threatens Alabama's Forest Industry.

(04/01/08) Forest Finance: Keeping Records of Forest Management Activities. A Penn State publication that will be useful to many forest owners.

(03/26/08) "Pellet Fuel: A Renaissance of Heat and Energy Solutions
"Three new wood pellet plants in the U.S. South will more than double North American pellet production capacity. Dixie Pellets, L.L.C., and Green Circle Bio Energy, Inc., are slated to begin production at plants located in Selma, Ala. and Cottondale, Fla., respectively, during the first half of 2008. At full capacity, Dixie Pellets will produce 500,000 tons of wood pellets annually, and Green Circle Bio will produce 550,000 tons. Plans for a third plant, located in Jackson Alabama and operated by DG Pellets I, LLC, are well under way. Upon completion, the DG Pellets facility will add another 600,000 tons of capacity to the North American wood pellet supply.
     "According to the Pellet Fuels Institute, approximately 80 pellet plants in North America produce 1.1 million tons per year. Much of the additional 1.65 million tons of wood pellets from the three new plants will be shipped to Europe. European demand for wood pellets has soared since the 1997 ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by many nations, including the European Union as a single body. The United States has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, but, as political and public demand for green energy solutions amplify, wood pellets for energy and heat will likely enter a new renaissance."
Source: Forest2Market e-newsletter March 2008

(03/08/08) AX MEN is a new series on the History Channel that will begin Sunday, March 9 at 8 PM. According to the Southern Forest Products Association Weekly Newsletter, "The History Channel bills the show as the first-ever non-fiction series about the treacherous life of timber-cutters in the Pacific Northwest. The series is expected to educate viewers about the logging profession and does not appear to bash forestry or logging from an environmental standpoint."

(02/27/08) Post Your Photos on Google Earth -- Great Tutorial. You might want to post photos of each of your property corners (perhaps from several angles or with you holding a sheet of paper with the corner name or description on it). Or you might want to post pictures of the arrow heads you've found at the exact spot on the earth where you found them. The process is called geotagging.

(02/18/08) "Era of Mediated Nature" Upon Us? Listen to this NPR interview and ponder if (a) nature-based recreation may decline; (b) forestland prices driven higher by hunters and outdoor recreationalists might decline; (c) regulatory climate surrounding land management activities may cool. Also listen to Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, and consider his concerns about youth and the outdoor world. The Conservation Departments across the U.S. aren't sponsoring programs like Becoming An Outdoors Woman because of their altruistic love of nature. On the brighter side: Could surveys of public-land based recreation be inversely proportional to private-land based recreation? Are more people buying their own land and avoiding public land and all its rules and congestion?

(02/07/08) The Significance of Private Forests in the U.S. has been added to the Forest History Society's Education Curriculum for Middle School Students. On February 22, 2007, Keville Larson led a landowner discussion on improving the middle school segment on Private Forests (see: AFOA Calendar of Events 2007) In a 1/31/08 email message to AFOA, Keville wrote: "The final version of Module 10 on The significance of Private Forests that you hosted a teleconference on and for which we provided feedback to the Forest History Society, is now out. Because of our input this is much more balanced than the version we critiqued. It may not be as strong as we would have written it, but much better than it was."

(02/06/08) Message on Climatic Change from Newsweek magazine: "The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality." Meteorologists "are almost unanimous in the view that the [cooling] trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century...the resulting famines could be catastrophic." Source: The Cooling World, Newsweek, 4/28/1975.

(01/10/08) Birmingham City Council voted on Tuesday to terminate its support for the Jefferson County Storm Water Management Authority. The Authority taxes rural Jeffco forest owners to pay for clean-up of storm water originating primarily from urban, developed property. Bessemer, Hoover, Graysville, Fultondale and Leeds pulled out of the Authority last year. Source: The Birmingham News, January 9, 2008.

(01/04/08) "The New Year demands an admission that some good has been achieved, not by the wave of a politician's magic wand but through many daily hands at work in the nation.
     "A reader of this column, Richard A. Fazzone of Potomac, Md., recently got these matters as well focused as I could, so with the presidential trenches waiting, he gets the final speech:
     " 'There is no Great Depression, no WWII, no Cold War, no racism as it was in the 20th Century or before -- no really big problem or solution. Unless something changes, voters want practically nothing from government, or more precisely, relatively few want the same thing, and without political consensus, a democracy does little or nothing new. In one respect, Mr. Henninger is correct to observe that 'in American politics, ambiguity is all you get,' but that may say enough. As another new year begins, we might consider ourselves fortunate for ambiguity, rather than the opposite and what would accompany it.' "
Source: The Pre-Election Paradox by Daniel Henniger in The Wall Street Journal, 1/3/08. Write to henninger@wsj.com.