Archived 2014 News, Issues & Information
As we understand it, beginning on January 1,
2015, law enforcement problems related to timber theft
and forest arson should be reported to the Alabama
Rural Crime Unit at 1-855-75-CRIME.
Based on a 12/28/14 article on AL.com, it appears
that our highways will receive a lot of attention from
the newly created
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, but we're not sure
if calls reporting timber theft or forest arson will be
handled effectively. We look forward to reports from
forest landowners --
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE FOR BALDWIN COUNTY to be
decided in a referendum set for MARCH 31, 2014.
Source: AL.com, 12/27/14. Total of 15 mills will
be on the ballot ($150 tax per year on $100,000 home or
forestland for several decades). See:
Proponents and opponents of Baldwin County's school tax
referendum keeping an eye on Gov. Robert Bentley's tax
"Federal Government Mandating Off-Road Vehicle Design:
Negative Effects on Safety & Performance."
"Polaris opposes [Comsumer Product Safety Commission's]
proposed mandatory standard because there are
significant gaps in the data CPSC is using to support a
mandatory rule, the proposed metrics and safety claims
do not apply across all categories and models of ROV,
and the proposed standard will actually lead to
unintended safety consequences in off-road conditions."
Background and comments at the CPSC website.
Based on October 2014 data, single family housing starts
were up 15,4%, year to year. Source:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
Today, Thursday, December 18, is the last opportunity
you have to comment on the proposed listing of the
Northern Long-Eared Bat as an endangered species. A
TAKE ACTION webpage that makes it easy for you
to send your comments to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service is available on the Forest America website. For
more information on the bat and the disease that is
causing its possible extinction, see:
Christmas Gift ideas from the Family Business Bookstore.
A few titles caught our eye: Family Meetings,
How Families Work Together, and How to
Choose and Use Advisors.
Practical Decisions and Applications of Finance and
Timber Prices in Forestry (from
Georgia-Pacific announced an investment of approximately
at its Thorsby, Alabama, engineered lumber operations to
expand production capacity of laminated veneer lumber
(LVL). Source: PR Newswire, 12/8/14.
Softwood Lumber Prices: "Prices for softwood
lumber imported to China increased this fall, while they
fell in Japan as the housing market weakened. In the US,
lumber prices were moving downward in the 3Q, while
still being close to their highest levels in ten years,
reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. In the
Nordic countries and Russia, lumber exports have
increased because of higher demand for wood in key
markets in Europe and the [Middle East and North Africa]
countries." Source: Wood Resources Quarterly,
How much is needed? "Between the four largest
landholding agencies (the Bureau of Land Management, the
U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the National Parks Service) the federal government
owns over 623 million acres. To
put that in perspective, it is larger than France,
Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom,
Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined."
Source: The Daily Signal, 12/5/14.
Christmas Gift Ideas: AFOA T-Shirts
and AFOA Caps.
"New study shows progress towards eradicating cogongrass
states an Auburn University Press Release dated
11/24/14. "Auburn University College of Agriculture
associate professor and Extension specialist Stephen
Enloe, along with Nancy Loewenstein, School of Forestry
and Wildlife Sciences research fellow, published a new
study that reports significant progress in the fight
against cogongrass. Cogongrass is ranked as the seventh
worst invasive plant species worldwide and is both a
significant economic and ecological threat to much of
Alabama. The results of this study offer land managers
several viable options in controlling the troublesome
The Complete Guide to Chain Saw Safety and Directional
Felling: Forest Applications, EBook [NOOK
Book], by Tim Ard, Mike Bolin (Director), and Laura Ard
(Photographer), $16.49. Tim Ard is a chain saw expert
who travels all over the U.S. teaching loggers and
landowners the safe use of chainsaws and the art of
directional felling. For those of you who do not have a
Nook, there are free Nook Apps for iPad and Android
Death Tax, Part II.
Anti-Environment Tax Rolls On: the State-Based Version
by Brian Seasholes, Reason Foundation Out of Control
Policy Blog, 12/2/14. Editor's note: Forest
owners who are considering an out-of-state move to be
closer to the children may want to consider state death
taxes before making a final decision.
"With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and
early winter across the continental U.S. — along with
last winter described by USA Today
as 'one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on
climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather
pattern is here to stay for decades to come. In fact,
Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA
consultant, is out with the provocative book,
Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell,
which warns that a radical shift in global climate is
The Westerner, 11/17/14
Good news on the Endangered Species Act front:
Federal Court Rules for Property Owners in Endangered
Species Act Case, National Center for Policy
Analysis, 11/24/14. Original source: Ron Arnold,
"For Once, a Court Sided With People Rather Than
‘Threatened' Rodents," Dailysignal.com, 11/18/14.
In a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance on
Governor Robert Bentley reported that an expected 2016
General Fund shortfall will be greater than he expected.
Instead of the $250 million shortfall he expected for
2016 fiscal year, "It's about $265 million now." The
Alabama Forestry Commission is funded from the state's
General Fund. (11/25/14)
Bentley calls for more revenue, but ‘No New Taxes’
campaign pledge leaves few options.
Tracking Forest and Landscape Change from Space Using
The Forwarn system
is an interesting webinar on a forest monitoring system
that may alert you to changes on your land, such as
tornado damage, timber theft, defoliations from insect
or disease, etc.
is a "satellite-based change recognition and tracking"
service made available by the U.S. Forest Service, NASA,
USGS and others.
"This proposed rule is patently unreasonable and
should be amended or withdrawn," wrote Pacific Legal
Foundation attorney Reed Hopper in
"Waters of the United States" -- the ultimate power
Source: Liberty Blog, 11/10/14. Editor's note:
Twenty or thirty years ago, we thought the whole idea of
calling perfectly dry land "waters of the U.S." was
crazy, but we've learned to never be surprised by the
folks who push for greater and greater control of
private property by the federal government.
Unfortunately, they continue to win the arguments on the
Alabama Hunting Incident Summary 2013-2014
Hunter Education and Hunting Incident Statistics,
both produced by the Alabama Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources, contain information that you may
find interesting, especially if you are a hunter or
lease your land to hunters. We notice in the Statistics report that, while firearms and treestand
"incidents" have generally decreased since hunter safety
courses were required of young hunters, the 2012-2013
hunting season saw a sharp rise in both, based on
incidents per 100,000 licenses sold. As a hunter or a
landowner, you can make a difference in the number of
hunting related accidents. Show the Hunting
Incident Summary to your friends and the hunters who
hunt on your land.
A new federal wildlife refuge for the
Paint Rock Valley in north Alabama? Dwight
Cooley, Refuge Manager,
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge will discuss the
possibility of a new Paint Rock Valley refuge at the
Clean Water Partnership meeting scheduled for 10 AM
on November 20. The meeting will take place at the
Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Decatur.
the upset folks in Brent when the feds tried to lock up
200,000+ acres along and near the Cahaba River?
Potlatch Corporation, one of the largest forest
landowners in the U.S. whose stock is publicly traded,
signed a purchase agreement for 201,000 acres of Alabama
and Mississippi timberlands. Source: Potlatch
Press Release, 10/20/14.
Avoiding ESA's Perverse Incentives, a letter
from Reason Foundation's Brian Seasholes to the editor
of The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/14. See also
Discussion of Amendments on Nov. 4th Ballot
offers an interesting perspective on the constitutional
amendments we'll vote on tomorrow. Source: The
Informed Voter. See also, 10/1/14,
"Daughters being chosen more often as successor."
"Although it was almost unheard of just a few decades
ago, it is predicted that one in three family businesses
will soon be headed by a woman." Source:
News from JamisonMoneyFarmer, 10/29/14. We
suspect that forestland businesses are experiencing the
same changes as other family businesses. Three
suggestions from the article:
- Expose your
children to the business at an early age, but don’t
- Be sure they get
the right education and experience
- Show support of
Our Hunting Land for Lease webpage,
www.HuntingLand.bz, has been really busy this fall.
Yesterday we posted two tracts. A 40 acre tract in
Crenshaw County with photos to prove trophy deer were
present ($25 per acre) and a 99 acre tract in Montgomery
County with excellent deer hunting potential and an old
farm house with power and water ($30 per acre). Both
were leased within 24 hours. If you have been thinking
about leasing your land for hunting, you probably won't
get those high prices, but you may well get $10 or more
per acre. It's just 3 weeks until deer season begins.
Send the information about your hunting land to
America at Work: Forestry, written by Jane
Drake and Ann Love and illustrated by Pat Cupples, is a
children's book (ages 7-10) which "examines all aspects
of the industry, from the planting of new seedlings to
the inner workings of a sawmill and a pulp and paper
mill." If you have read the book ($5.35
at Amazon.com) (or reviewed
the online preview), please let us know if you think
America at Work: Forestry would be a good book
for the Alabama Forest Owners' Association to give to
Alabama public libraries. The association has been
giving forestry books (both adult and children's) to
Alabama public libraries for many years. Send your
comments to Lee at
Ag and Forestry Museum Opens at Greater Gulf State
"The museum features historical and educational exhibits
that spotlight different segments of agriculture:
aquaculture; forestry and wildlife; row crops;
ornamental nursery and greenhouse; fruit, vegetables and
bees; and livestock." "The museum is located at 1035
Cody Road N., Mobile, AL 36608. It will be open during
all events at the fairgrounds. It will also be available
for school field trips." Source: alfafarmers.org,
2 states to have pro-hunting ballot amendments in
Source: www.guns.com, 10/25/14. For more
The Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus
lodingi) has been proposed for listing as a
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act by
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The black pinesnake is
a subspecies, currently known from Alabama and
Mississippi. Among other things, pine plantations are
thought to be leading to the extinction of this
subspecies. Your comments on the proposed listing must
be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on
December 8, 2014. Details about the proposed listing,
including information on sending your comments to the
USF&WS, are available in the
Federal Register, Volume 79, Number 194 (Tuesday,
October 7, 2014) [pages 60406-60419]. You may also
find interesting Dr. Terry Anderson's opinion piece in
the October 20 Wall Street Journal,
When the Endangered Species Act Threatens Wildlife.
19-25 is National Forest Products Week. "Since
1960, the seven-day period beginning on the third Sunday
in October in each year has been designated by
Presidential proclamation as a time to recognize the
many products that come from our forests, the people who
work in and manage our forests, the people who make the
products, and how forest products contribute to our
daily lives. The proclamation calls on all Americans to
celebrate the varied uses and products of our forested
lands, as well as the people who carry on the tradition
of careful stewardship of these precious natural
resources for generations to come." Source: Southern
Forest Products Association NewsNote, 10/21/14.
"Last year there were 14 treestand falls in Alabama,
including one that resulted in a fatality. Treestand
incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to
hunters." Source: Alabama Department of
Conservation & Natural Resources, 10/20/14. Editor's
note: Treestand falls are also a leading cause of
liability claims against forest landowners. Be sure to
remind your hunters to check safety straps and follow
the advice at
"...a reason for optimism." A research team may
be close to developing a cure for the deadly white nose
syndrome which has killed the Northern Long-Eared Bat by
the millions. Rules proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to help the bat species avoid extinction include
curtailing summertime harvest of timber in much of the
Eastern U.S., including Alabama. See also:
What is your opinion? Are you surprised that the
last of the
Key Findings of Chapter 6 of the
Southern Forest Futures Project (written by
salaried academics and bureaucrats) encourages "...increased monitoring of ownership changes and of
forestland transaction values to better understand the
conservation implications of economic trends."?
May we suggest that the federal government has many more
serious problems to solve than those regarding the
ownership of forestland in the only place in the world
where economic and political cultures encourage
long-term investment in private forests?
Perhaps forest management is not the primary reason
Gopher Tortoises could be listed as "Endangered"?
Florida man charged with smuggling protected tortoises
out of Alabama,
Timber Investments Cut Down Portfolio Risk -- an
essay by Robert Stammers at Investopedia.com.
Forest Management Specialists for leading us to the
A control method for some mosquito-borne diseases,
such as dengue and chikungunya, is available, but cannot
be used in the U.S. Source:
How Many Regulators Does It Take to Kill a Mosquito?,
Forbes, 10/8/14. AFOA thanks the
National Center for Policy Analysis for leading us
Would it give you great heartburn if laws against
hiring illegal aliens were strictly enforced? Would
your tree seedlings get planted? Would private
forestland go into decline? Chris Mathews, in an
interview with Andrea Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell
Reports, MSNBC, 10/8/14, described a
compromise on the "issue of immigration" that he thinks
would stop the huge influx of illegal aliens into the
U.S.: "There is a compromise...Simply say you can't hire
people illegally in this country."
Mathews' interview begins
(after the short ad) at 1:39 and proceeds on the
"immigration issue" to 3:32.
"Everything you need to know about voting in Alabama."
Deforestation Myths Debunked by Facts. Source:
F2M Market Watch, 9/16/14.
- Myth: Forests in the
United States are being depleted.
- Myth: The use of
wood for energy will lead to deforestation.
- Myth: Forest owners
clearcut trees to supply biomass markets.
"In a great victory today for property owners in Alabama,
the United States Supreme Court has issued an order
denying certiorari in Case number 13-1232, Lynch, India,
et al. v. the State of Alabama."
"...the plaintiffs were
seeking to show that Alabama property tax revenues fail
to adequately fund K-12 public schools and that this
shortfall unconstitutionally shortchanges black public
by the plaintiffs would have resulted in application of
existing state and local tax millage rates to the full
fair market value of all property. This would mean that
timberland and farmland owners would see an increase in
property taxes by at least a factor of ten, unless
millage rates were reduced by subsequent local or state
legislative action." Source: From the Weeds,
Also, see 5/15/14 and
Single-Family Housing Starts, a key driver of pine
sawtimber stumpage demand, still far below 50 year
average (Scroll down to page 10). Source:
Raymond James Real Estate, Industry Brief, Timber Topics,
10/14. There's lots more information in the 29 page
report - take a look around once you've opened it.
A FEW QUESTIONS asked at the end of the best
report on the Endangered Species Act that we have seen:
- What if landowners
treat endangered species like bluebirds and wood
ducks, instead of spotted owls?
- What if landowners
see endangered species as assets, not liabilities?
- What if landowners
voluntarily and willingly pick up the phone and call
their local Fish and Wildlife Service office to have
someone come out and survey their land for
- What if we draw on
Americans’ world-leading charity, voluntarism and
civic- mindedness for the cause of conserving
- What if landowners
no longer fear state and federal regulatory agencies
and instead view them with confidence and openness?
- What if landowners
are liberated to use their ingenuity and knowledge
of their property in order to conserve endangered
Fulfilling the Promise of the Endangered Species Act
by Brian Seasholes - Reason Foundation Policy Study 433,
Food for thought in
Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Red Hills Salamander, Eastern
Diamondback Rattlesnake, Eastern Gopher Tortoise,
Northern Long-Eared Bat...
Did You Know?
Five statewide amendments to the Alabama constitution
will be given an up or down vote on November 4.
There will be 4 local amendments, too.
The Alabama Forestry Association supports Statewide
Amendments 1, 3, 4, & 5, but not Amendment 2.
Fair Ballot Commission ballot statements approved with
Commission Comment on 9/2/14.
Alabama Candidates Endorsed by the National Federation
of Independent Business (NFIB).
U.S. Steel sells 70K acres in Alabama. Source:
Birmingham Business Journal, 9/30/14. Editor's
note. As we understand it, the 70 thousand acres did not
include timber rights which were purchased in a separate
SWF Birmingham, LLC. Other names of interest:
Valley Creek Land & Timber LLC,
Molpus Woodlands Group,
Claw Forestry Services.
The Alabama Hunting and Fishing Almanac will
be useful to you if you hunt on your land, and may help
you know more about the interests of your hunters, if
you lease your land. The Almanac is published by
Hunting Heritage Foundation.
While Alabama's General Fund is expected to take another
big hit next year (see 9/2/14 below),
we just learned,
"The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
(WFF) has purchased 3,649 acres that will be added to
the state’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system in
south Alabama. The land is located in Covington
County and will become part of the Geneva State Forest
WMA." Source: OutdoorAlabama.com. Editor's note: According to
The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests
(page 19), 3,649 acres of average Alabama private
forestland contributes about $897,654 to Alabama's Gross
Domestic Product; 3,649 acres of average Alabama
public forestland contributes only $18,245 to
the GDP. Annual cost of the state owning 3,649 acres
of forestland to the economy of the state: $879,409.
Pat Minogue: "Studies show early site prep yields best
"Don’t give gifts to your heirs until you’ve answered
With health-care costs rising, can you afford to be
Market Watch, 9/11/14.
"Byrne: EPA’s senseless regulations are hurting Alabama
farmers and foresters. Imagine this: a
thunderstorm rolls through Alabama and causes a small
puddle to develop on a farm. Under a rule proposed by
the EPA, this puddle could be subject to regulation
under the Clean Water Act. This is the epitome of big
government." Source: YellowHammer, 9/14/14
"Cameras in the [Oregon] woods replace forest fire
Source: Eugene Register-Guard, 9/10/14. Not
writing in response to the Register-Guard
article, but focusing on the same problem - out of
control western forest fires - forester Doug Turner
wrote in The Forestry Source, 9/14: "The money
that would be necessary to build the 'latest big gizmo'
would be better spent on road and trail maintenance,
improved safety gear for firefighters, and serious
reduction of existing fuel loads."
October 17 is Signup Deadline for Ala NRCS Conservation
Some wildlife and forestry practices on private land are
subsidized by these programs.
"The pulp and paper industry in the Nordic countries has
started to see a new dawn with a growing demand
for pulp and paper products made from long wood fiber
from the vast conifer forests in Northern Europe. Just
over the past few months, there have been a number of
announcements in investments made by forest companies in
Finland, Norway and Sweden totaling close to three
billion dollars, as reported in the
Wood Resource Quarterly.
"The primary end-products will be softwood market pulp
and virgin fiber-based container board, but major
investments are also being considered in increasing the
utilization of forest biomass for energy on a larger
scale. Although the investment decisions have not been
finalized for all projects, these ruminations are a sign
that the forest industry in this part of the world sees
the future in a much brighter light than just a few
Wild Fire Services, Inc., provides firefighting crews
and engines to help suppress forest fires for
state and federal agencies in the northwestern U.S. If
Alabama's General Fund Budget gets squeezed, as some are
predicting (see 9/2/14, below),
do you think private fire fighters would be an effective
supplement to a reduced full-time state employee staff?
According to their website,
Wild Fire Services, Inc., thins hazardous fuels and
conducts prescribed burns
along with Wild Land Fire Suppression and other related
See also, 6/10/14.
Announced Wood Bioenergy "projects in the South that
pass viability screens could consume 20.1 million
additional tons of wood per year by 2023."
Source: Wood Bioenergy US, June/July/August 2014.
Editor's note: Environmentalists who worry that
biomass harvesting may consume all the trees in the
South should read the periodic Wood Bioenergy reports.
20.1 million tons (the amount that might be additionally
consumed by all known southern biomass projects) could
easily be grown on 2 million acres (10 tons per acre or
less than 2 cords per acre). Alabama alone has 23
million acres of forestland and
Wood Bioenergy's southern regions encompass 12
"Firewood shortages hitting parts of Nova Scotia."
Firewood suppliers "on Nova Scotia’s south shore
used to get some of their hardwood from contractors that
worked for Bowater Mersey. Since the mill shut down and
the province bought the land, the source has dried up."
"Minnesota firewood shortage 'unprecedented,' timber
"Former junior firefighter charged in 3 Jefferson County
"Joshua Lynn Dodd, 23, of Bessemer, is charged with
three counts of intentionally setting a woodland fire,
said Jefferson County sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy
Christian. He is being held in the county jail with
bonds totaling $45,000."
Repeat photography in Alabama:
For lots more interesting repeat photography, go to
www.repeatphotography.org, a project of the Forest
"You Can Pay Me Now, Or Pay Me Later." Read the
editorial in the Summer 2014 issue of Alabama Forests
to find out why Alabama's forest industry leaders are
concerned about the rapidly rising costs of prisons,
Medicaid, and higher education. See also:
"Here's what every Alabama taxpayer's share of the
state's debt is, and why." Source: YellowHammer,
Bat-Friendly Forestry - a video to help you
create bat habitat on your land. We realize that
some of the management activties suggested in this
Minnesota video won't apply to the forests of Alabama,
and we realize that the real threat to the Northern
Long-Eared Bat (see below
8/25/14 and 6/13/14) is a disease problem, not a habitat
problem, but you may find something in the video that
you can do that will make you and your bats happy.
Florida Forest Service Sets Prescribed Fire Record.
"The Florida Forest Service oversees one of the most
active prescribed fire programs in the country in order
to reduce the risk of wildfires and keep Florida’s
natural habitats healthy and growing. During the past
year, the Florida Forest Service reports that more than
2.5 million acres across Florida were treated with
prescribed fire, one of the highest numbers ever
reported by any state in the country." Source: News
Release, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
GoPro camera gives a bird's-eye view from an Italian
Corpo Forestale dello Stato helicopter in action over
wildfires. At a recent meeting in Birmingham of
the Cahaba Chapter of the Society of American Foresters,
foresters briefly discussed the pros and cons of the
Alabama Forestry Commission acquiring a small helicopter
for dousing fires and other reconnaissance work.
Should BP Oil Spill funds be used to remove private land
from productivity and the tax rolls? Source: Associated Press, 8/22/14
Northern Long-Eared Bat ESA Listing: Time to Comment.
"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s public comment
period on its proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared
Bat as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act
will conclude on Friday, August 29." Editor's note:
The Alabama Forest Owners' Association will not send
comments to the USF&WS concerning this issue. It is the
association's policy to keep you informed, but allow you
to speak to the issues of the day.
See 6/13/14 below.
"Reining in the EPA Through the Power of the Purse."
(see section 3) Removing the word "navigable"
from the definition of waters of the U.S. was made
meaningless many years ago when "navigable waters" came
to include dry land long distances from water that would
be incapable of floating a canoe. The overreach by our
regulators (our owners?) must be stopped and
pushed back. Don't you agree?
"Pay your protection money. Do the secret handshake. And
kiss the ring."
An interesting perspective on forest management
certification schemes - in particular, the Forest
Stewardship Council, FSC. Source: The Daily Signal,
To make them easy to remember, AFOA has created
special web addresses for our most popular web pages.
Not something you'd expect to find up on a hill in
your woods, but watch out when you're wading a creek in
the bottoms. A 1,012 pound alligator was pulled from
"a creek several miles above Millers Ferry Dam..."
For the full story and photos, visit
Timber Market Update (for North-Northwest
Alabama) from the
Forest Management Specialists, Volume 1, Issue
- Pine pulpwood:
The bad news is that this product still has
relatively low prices but the good news is that it
is moving better than it was 3 months ago as area
mills have eased their restrictive quotas.
- Pine chip-n-saw &
Not much movement in the price paid for this
product. Prices paid for softwood lumber in China
have fallen this quarter. However, most experts
predict that the overall prices paid for this
finished product will slowly continue to increase.
Hopefully, the prices paid for standing timber will
soon reflect this optimistic outlook.
pulpwood: Prices paid for this product in the
heart of the Tennessee Valley continue to be low.
However, standing timber sales in northeast Alabama,
southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and central
to south Alabama indicate relatively good prices
paid for this product. Prices in east Mississippi
and west Alabama are also improving.
- Hardwood blended
These products continue to be in high demand. Even
hickory and poplar tracts have brought good prices
recently. Tracts that can be harvested in wet
weather are still bringing a premium.
- Hardwood high
The past six timber sales that we have coordinated
have brought much higher than anticipated prices for
high quality hardwood, especially white oak. Prices
for ash and cypress have improved recently and
specialty products like cherry and black walnut
Timber Mart-South: Alabama State-wide Average Prices.
While furniture imports from China, Vietnam, India,
and Indonesia have been on the rise and some U.S.
furniture manufacturers have closed their doors, "...it
is not necessarily bad news for the American hardwood
lumber industry. The U.S. hardwood forest is
sustainable and the forest products industry has the
infrastructure in place to manufacture the resource. The
U.S. is a leader in the world with more than $765
million in timber exports in the first six months of
2014, up 32% from the same period in 2013." Source:
US Furniture Industry Update by Tom Inman, President
of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers,
Tennessee Forestry Association TreeLine, August
2014 (scroll to page 9)
What do we mean when we say, "I own this piece of
property."? "Ownership is nothing less than the
right to shape, use, and dispose. Even if you have legal
title to something, you wouldn’t think you really owned
it if the government told you what you could do with it,
how, and when; in that instance, the government would be
the de facto owner. In a real sense, ownership is
control and the actual owner of anything is the
Clichés of Progressivism #16 - Ownership Must Be
Tempered by Sharing
by Lawrence W. Reed, 8/1/14.
Published in 1976, "The
Genetics and Breeding of Southern Pines, is
used as a text and reference book all over the world."
For a bit of background information about the author,
Keith Dorman, read the 8/7/14 Compass Live
The Olustee Experimental Forest: From naval stores to
southern pine genetics.
The Service Forester's Toolkit, based on the
old U.S. Forest Service's Service Forester's
Handbook, is now available as a free app for
iPhone or iPad. The main menu includes the following
topics: Financial, General Measurements, Site Index,
Stand Measurements, Tree Measurements, and Volume
Measurements. Among the many interesting tables in the
Toolkit is one titled: Comparison of Log Rules.
Did you know that a 16 foot long log with a 12 inch
diameter inside the bark at the small end scales 64
board feet (Doyle Scale), 79 board feet (Scribner
Scale), and 95 board feet (International Scale)? Chew on
"Once hailed as one of the world’s most progressive
climate measures, Australia’s carbon tax is now dead and
buried. Will American policy makers take note?"
Source: http://energyfairness.org/blog/, 8/4/14.
Editor's note: It is important to keep an eye on
carbon taxes and mandates, since a growing wood pellet
market in the South is highly dependent on European
Google Maps Area Calculator Tool by Daft Logic
was sent to AFOA yesterday by AFOA member Steve Dyess,
Sylacauga. Steve wrote, "It’s free, simple to use, and
I’ve found it to be very accurate. I’ve checked behind
areas that were surveyed and gotten similar numbers, and
I use it often to determine acreage for various projects
on the farm. There’s no reason to guess at how many
acres are in an opening or a tract of timber anymore;
just measure it and find out."
Alabama's Lee County Forestry Judging Team recently
placed first overall in the National 4-H Forestry
Invitational held in Weston, West Virginia.
"Events included tree identification, tree measurement,
compass and pacing, insect and disease identification,
topographic map use, forest evaluation, the forestry
bowl and a written forestry exam. Alabama was
represented by Lisa and Polly Barron, both from Auburn,
and Gavin and Seth Rankins, both from Cusseta. The team
was coached by Greg and Angela Nichols from Lafayette.
Lisa Barron ... received the high point individual
The $400,000 Decision. Are you nearing retirement
age and planning to use Social Security to help you
enjoy your forestland? Economist Larry Kotlikoff, NCPA,
reported to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on
Social Security on July 29: "A 62-year-old couple
that has contributed the maximum amount to the Social
Security program would be eligible for benefits at age
62. If they take their benefits then, their lifetime
benefits will be $1.2 million. However, if they wait
until age 70 to collect their benefits, lifetime
benefits will total $1.6 million."
indicators enable reasoned assessment of the
environment: guest opinion"
by John Hill, senior policy analyst at the
Alabama Policy Institute (API) on
7/30/14. Highlights of
Alabama's Environment 2014 are found at the
API website, including a summary paragraph on
Forests & Land.
Editor's Note: While we are glad that API has
put together this positive report, you should be aware
that the summary paragraph on Forests & Land and
bulleted items on pages 3 and 54 of the report
understates the forest cover of Alabama at only 53%,
about 11% lower than 64% reported by the Forest
Inventory & Analysis data gathered by the Alabama
Forestry Commission and the US Forest Service. That's a
difference of almost 4 million acres, an area 5 times
larger than the state of Rhode Island. See page of 3 of
Forest Resource Report 2013.
"Some people will say, 'We don't want to go to Alabama.
It's just rivers and forest.'" Source: AL.com,
Creek Timber Company, Inc. (PCL) rating reduced by
Raymond James from Outperform 2 to Market Perform 3.
"While we maintain a positive long-term view on Plum
Creek, we believe PCL shares are likely to remain
range-bound near-term given our view that the current
'consensus' housing outlook for 2015 remains overly
Eleven new Champion Trees were recently registered in
Alabama's list of big trees. "One of the new
champions, a southern shagbark hickory, has a good
chance of being declared
a national champion later this year!"
Champion Trees of Alabama 2014 contains
measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in
Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama
We don't know how you might acquire one, but we know
some of you will want to own the 2-wheel drive
motorcycle featured in a video on YouTube.
Check here for more information and
According to David Peterson (see
1/20/14 below), the "'Friends of the Delta' are
attempting to resurrect the attempt to Federalize the
Delta." To stay up-to-date on this issue, visit (and
Save the Mobile/Tensaw Delta Facebook page.
Forest Road Construction - an interesting,
though dated, video from The Alabama Cooperative
Resource Management Apprenticeship available at
Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Newton,
No more government trucks for rural fire departments.
Because surplus military vehicles don't meet EPA air
pollution standards, "The federal government has ended a
program that provides millions of dollars worth of
equipment to thousands of rural fire departments... the
federal government will send surplus vehicles — even
those with only 1,000 miles — to depots and supply yards
to be crushed or scraped." Source: EnidNews.com,
The Hill reported on 7/11/14,
"The change may not have been intentional, as the EPA is
now working with the DOD to clear it up."
Direct seeding southern pines was a common practice
40 years ago, and can be used today by landowners
who take the time to make it work. A recent report by
James P. Barnett, entitled
Direct Seeding Southern Pines: History and Status of a
Technique Developed for Restoring Cutover Forests
will give you a little background on the science and use
of the technique. A Mississippi State University
publication you may find useful is
Direct Seeding: A Forest Regeneration Alternative.
Louisiana Forest Seed Company sells treated,
stratified (ready for sowing) loblolly pine seed for
about $55 per pound. They said you will need to put out
about 1/2 pound per acre. The seed needs to touch
mineral soil to germinate and survive, so preparing the
site will be your biggest problem. If you try direct
seeding and are successful,
send AFOA a few photos.
Chubb Urges Homeowners in Wildfire Areas to Use
Fire-Resistive Construction Materials.
Selling the Right to Access Private Land for Hunting and
Recreation, in Oregon and Washington, threatens
their "way of life." "...a flood of frustration and
disgust basically came over me when I heard that"
Weyerhaeuser will begin charging access fees to their
land. Source: Timber Giant Begins Selling Seasonal
Permits, But Some Push Back, Northwest Public Radio,
"Several of the housing market indicators exhibited
marginal increases in April – this is not
typical for spring. Historically, March, April, and May
are the best months for housing starts and sales (new
and existing). It appears as the overall market is
muddling along." Source:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
"Calling for Alabama Tree Farmer of the Year
Nominations. Each year, the Alabama Tree Farm
Committee recognizes superior stewardship of its Tree
Farm members through the Alabama State Tree Farmer of
the Year Award. These landowners are chosen for their
remarkable efforts to demonstrate, communicate and
spread sustainable practices. The winner will be
recognized at the annual Alabama Natural Resources
Council Awards Banquet scheduled for February 6, 2015.
To nominate a Tree Farmer for their outstanding efforts,
www.alaforestry.org/treefarm and download the State
Tree Farmer of the Year Nomination Form. The deadline
for nominations is September 1, 2014."
Sawfly Update for Northwest Alabama: "A sawfly
monitoring flight made by the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC) last week indicated that the sites
infested by the pine sawflies are recovering with new
needle growth. It does appear that the sites that
have been attacked for multiple years are recovering
more slowly. No new sites were found during the flights.
Since the trees on the infested sites are stressed, the
AFC will continue to monitor them for other issues,
mainly Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) activity. A
regular SPB detection flight for the entire North Region
will occur in July." See 5/28/14, below.
Being pushed to the brink of extinction by a fungal
disease (WNS), the
Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB), which
lives in Alabama,
has been proposed for listing as an endangered species
by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Leaders of the
Society of American Foresters from Indiana, Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Minnesota wrote
a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service on June 10, 2014
agreeing that the bat is threatened with extinction
because of the disease, but questioning the logic of
imposing forest management restrictions unrelated to the
cause of the possible extinction. They wrote, "...populations of NLEB were at or near peak levels
prior to the outbreak of WNS — indicating that sound
habitat management has been taking place in our managed
Further information and possible ways of dealing with
the disease from Forest Resources Association, Inc.
Land Market News from
Matre Forestry Newsletter, June 4, 2014
In our core market of southwest Georgia,
activity has improved, but timberland dirt prices
are only very slowly trickling up. But, improved
timber prices along with ample rain increasing
productivity has pushed the value of timberland
tracts up measurably. Irrigated farmland seems to be
stagnate or receding, as chatter about a potential
farmland bubble and concerns about declining
commodity prices have increased.
We most all know by now that recreational and
higher and better use (HBU) value sharply declined
in this recession. We are starting to see some
improvement there. Several of our clients from
middle Florida have indicated that middle Florida is
building homes again, and we here Atlanta is to. As
a result, we are seeing more recreational land
buyers back in the Georgia land market, which is one
of the strongest recreational land markets being a
favorite hunting destination for Floridians and
Atlanta suburbanites. But, sellers should not get to
excited yet, the recreational land buyers are more
grounded and cautious than they were prior to this
recession, and they are looking for deals - not
looking to over pay. As more and more come into the
market, we will see recreational values increase.
After sustained housing starts improvement, we will
see HBU values rise as well.
Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products (Cahaba
Timber Co.), "the largest single site round wood
processing plant in the world" in Brierfield, Alabama,
has recently announced plans to expand its operation
to include wood crossties. Source: Cahaba Timber
Press Release, 5/27/14.
Insurance-funded wildfire fighting crews are being
deployed in Colorado for high end property owners.
Is this a model that might be used to fight eastern
forest fires when crews are not conducting prescribed
burns, planting trees, building fire lanes, painting
property lines, etc., etc.?
"Work with, not against, the state's landowners."
"We hope the federal government ... is learning it can
better protect wildlife and endangered species by
working with, rather than against, Alabama and its
property owners." Source: Montgomery Advertiser,
"Jack Daniel's Cooperage hiring for new Lawrence
County[, Alabama] barrel-making plant." North
Alabama forest owners with stave-quality white oak might
want to learn more about the cooperage market before
making their next timber sale.
"It's time for a final policy on biomass,"
states the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) in
a 6/3/14 press release. NAFO urges the EPA to produce a
"clear, affirmative policy" that treats biomass as a
renewable fuel, not a fossil fuel as some would prefer.
Editor's note: Do we detect a bit of conflict between
those who say, "Carbon (CO2)
is not a pollutant," and those who say, "If carbon is a
pollutant, than let's minimize the fossil fuel problem
by burning more 'renewable' biomass."? Can we have it
both ways? Do we want it both ways?
Lack of forest management, not climate change, is
likely cause of wildfire numbers & size, reported
Auburn University Emeritus Professor David B. South in
his June 3, 2014 testimony before the Senate
Subcommittee on Green Jobs & the New Economy.
Be sure to review the transcript of Dr. South's
testimony - Figure 1. and Figure 6 are
a C-Span video of his testimony is available on the web
-- South's 5 minute testimony begins at 1:25:06. You
might also find the testimony of Dr. David R. Legates
interesting, as well. It begins right after David
South's at 1:30:09. Humorous addition (6/6/14):
Washington Governor Inslee: Fires will worsen without
Another Biofuel Plant Bites the Dust? "KiOR has
expressed 'substantial doubt' regarding its ability to
restart its Columbus, Mississippi facility. According to
the company’s recently released quarterly report, design
and reliability issues have caused the facility to run
'significantly below' its capacity of 500 bone dry tons
of biomass per day. KiOR has the funds necessary to
operate through August but will require additional
capital to continue past that time." Source:
F2M Market Watch, 5/27/14. KiOR, a biofuel
hopeful, given a $75 million loan by the Mississippi
Legislature in 2010, "owes the state $69.4 million and
cites debts of $279.5 million as of Feb. 28." Source:
Mississippi Watchdog.org, 3/18/14.
Editor's note to Alabama legislators: Fix the roads
Candidate Endorsements for the June 3rd Primary
Election are available from the
Alabama Forestry Association's ForestPAC and
Alabama Farmers Federation's FarmPAC.
Editor's note: Although I don't follow AFA's and
Alfa's recommendations for all my personal election
choices, their lists are a good place to start for a
forest landowner. If you would like AFOA to post other
endorsement lists, please send details to
"During the last few weeks, there have been numerous
reports from Northwest Alabama about dying pine trees.
Most of the visible damage is [surprisingly] occurring on reasonably healthy, mature loblolly pines,
growing in well-managed stands. According to
officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC),
the apparent culprits are larvae of the loblolly pine
sawfly, feeding on and defoliating pine needles. With
infestations reported in Colbert, Marion, Franklin,
Lamar, and Fayette counties, the AFC is in the
process of conducting aerial surveys of the affected
counties. Infestation notices are being prepared for
landowners where problems are detected, along with stand
management recommendations." Source: AFC Press Release,
Contact your local AFC county office to let them
know you would like to receive an alert if sawfly damage
is detected on your land.
Images of Loblolly Pine Sawfly.
If the Retirement System of Alabama goes broke,
as predicted by a think tank at Troy State University,
do you think there will be pressure to raise property
taxes? Source: AL.com, 5/19/14.
More on this subject from
Alabama Citizens for Media Accountability, May
Alabama Voters: "If you wish to vote an absentee
ballot in the 2014 primaries [June 3], your application
must be received by your local registrar - either hand
delivered or by postal service - by May 29, and your
completed absentee ballot must be hand delivered or
postmarked by June 2.... If you will be voting at your
assigned polling place, be aware that all voters will be
required to present a photo ID to election officials
prior to casting a ballot." Source: ARSEA/APEAL
Weekly Update, 5/16/14. For complete details about
voter registration, voter ID, and absentee ballot
information, go to
AlabamaVotes.gov, The State of Alabama's Official
Property Tax Case (Lynch Lawsuit, Part III) may be
finished by October 6, 2014, reports From the
Also, see 4/16/14, below.
In Europe: "The freedom to roam, or everyman's right is the general public's right to
access certain public or privately owned land for
recreation and exercise."
A short read on the Public Trust Doctrine may be
enlightening, as well.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
A Crack in the Consensus on Global Warming. It's
important to remember that the market for wood pellets
manufactured in the southern U.S. comes primarily from
European government mandates that limit the burning of
fossil fuels. If enough of these "cracks" develop in the
"consensus," those mandates may disappear -- as will the
market for fuel wood shipped across the Atlantic to
No Net Gain in Federal Land. That's not the name
of Virginia Congressman H. Morgan Griffith's legislation
Acre In, Acre Out
(HR 4423), but the results will likely be the same
if the legislation were to be passed into law. "This
bill would require the Federal Government to sell an
acre of land it already owns for every new acre of land
that it acquires. Proceeds from the land sales would go
towards paying down our national debt."
"As in previous months, the near-term outlook on the
U.S. housing market remains unchanged -- there
are potentially several negative macro-factors or
headwinds at this point in time for a robust housing
recovery (based on historical long-term averages). Once
the economy improves, we should expect to see housing
activity increase as well." Source: Virginia Tech's
March 2014 Housing Commentary.
Last week the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S.
House of Representatives
"approved four bills that will improve and modernize the
Endangered Species Act (ESA)." The measures seek
to improve scientific and litigation transparency,
enhance states’ role in species restoration, and cap
government-paid attorneys’ fees under ESA-related
litigation. Source: The Westerner, 5/2/14.
American Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots
to bring attention to its concerns regarding the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Waters
of the U.S. rule and how it will negatively affect
farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau wants members to get
involved in its new
“Ditch the Rule”
More on the same subject
American Land Rights Association:
"The EPA and Corps of Engineers continue their effort to
bypass the word “Navigable” in the Clean Water Act
thereby expanding the lands and waters they can regulate
to nearly all waters and lands in the United States.
"If successful, the EPA and Corps will effectively
undermine the word “Navigable” in Clean Water Act so the
EPA and Corps of Engineers will have wetlands
jurisdiction over all waters of the United States and
“all activities affecting all waters of the United
private property, ranching, farming, mining, logging,
recreation, rural roads and many other uses. That
includes nearly all land in the U.S. also.
"Congress must take away the money (defund) the
EPA and Corps can use for new Clean Water Act
"You can stop the EPA and Corps by getting both
your Senators and your Congressman to support taking the
funding away from the EPA and Corps for their proposed
new Clean Water Act regulations.
"This is important because the EPA just released their
proposed new Wetlands Jurisdiction Regulations and a
new report on Wetlands and the jurisdiction of EPA and
the Corps of Engineers over most of the water and land
in the US.
"Call your Senator at 202-224-3121 for a copy of
the new EPA wetlands jurisdiction report. That is
important to engage them in a dialogue about the term
“Navigable” and Wetlands Jurisdiction. You can also
Congressman at (202) 225-3121 and make the same
request. It idea is to get both your Senators and your
Congressman up to speed on this issue and taking action
to protect you. That means taking the money away from
EPA and Corps for these new regulations.
Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots to bring
attention to its concerns regarding the proposed Waters
of the U.S.
rule and how it will negatively affect
farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau wants members to get
involved in its new “Ditch the Rule” grassroots
Property Tax Increase to be voted on in Macon County
Soon. “A referendum allowing a 7.5% increase in
property taxes will be on the ballot soon in Macon
County. The bill (SB468- Act 14-310) was a local bill
and the proceeds from the increase will go to fund the
Little Texas Volunteer Fire Department. If this measure
prevails at the ballot box, we will most likely see
similar initiatives in other areas of the state.”
Source: Legislative Session Wrap Up, From the
Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have
doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons
in 2013 with the U.S. South accounting for 63% of the
volume, according to the North American Wood Fiber
Review. There are about a half dozen wood pellet
mills in Alabama.
“It is simplistic to assume that people will
blindly use up what sustains them without regard to the
incentive structures they face; if they have incentives
to conserve, they will do so.” And yet, some members of
our society fear that we’re running out of natural
resources and that government must manage those
Clichés of Progressivism #2, 4/22/14 by Max
Borders. “Private property is a powerful incentive to
conserve resources. You lose if you squander what’s
An interesting video series on Forest Farming Non-Timber
Products focuses on Growing Ramps - a wild onion
or leek - was produced by Research Forest Products
Dr. Jim Chamberlain, Southern Research
The Longleaf Alliance, in collaboration with the
Regional Forestry Extension staff at the
University of Georgia, has developed a self-taught
web-based course in the Economics of Longleaf.
The course seems easy to open and use and allows
users to back up and listen to the presented information
several times, if needed. A spreadsheet calculates
“economic metrics like Net Present Value
and Internal Rate of Return from longleaf
investments. These spreadsheets can be manipulated by
the user, offering the opportunity to alter costs,
returns, and timing of management and harvests at the
user’s will.” The course and spreadsheets can be
http://lleconomics.sref.info/, or, for Continuing
Education Credit, at
The Longleaf Leader, Spring 2014.
"A property tax case [that could significantly raise
forestland ad valorem taxes in Alabama] has taken a
new turn when the plaintiffs filed a petition asking the
U.S. Supreme Court to hear the property tax case.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange representing
Alabama taxpayers won the case in the Alabama Northern
District Court and also at the U.S. 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals. The attorneys for the plaintiffs argued
Alabama’s property tax system is unfair to public
schools attended by children in Alabama’s rural black
belt. The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court
to scrap Alabama’s property tax system. Attorney General
Luther Strange will file a petition with the U.S.
Supreme Court in response to this petition.” Source:
National Federation of Independent Business Legislative Links, 4/16/14. See also,
Forecasts by Forisk Consulting were announced
U.S. housing starts projections (Feb. 2014
projection of peak demand was lowered since Forisk’s
Feb. 2013 projection), and the
Panama Canal expansion and its implications for the U.S.
(“…no material, measurable implications to timberland
investors, forest industry firms, and timber prices.”).
An archive of past Forisk Newsletters is at
Preventing Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) outbreaks
by encouraging landowners to reduce the susceptibility
of their pines to beetle infestations is the announced
purpose of the Alabama Forestry Commission’s (AFC) SPB Prevention Cost-Share Program. Applications are
local AFC offices.
The deadline to apply is May 30, 2014. The
$160,000 was provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
Alabama Voters this fall will get to decide
right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife should
be further "enshrined" as an amendment to the Alabama
will really be amending a previously passed amendment
(#597 approved back in 1996).
HB322 was sponsored by
state Representative Mark Tuggle, (R, 81). The bill
passed the House, 90 to 2 on March 13 and passed the
Senate 32 to 1 on April 3.
Don’t take away our right to treat timber income as
capital gains and our right to deduct tree planting and
forest management expenses.
That’s the message the Forest Landowners Association
urges you to carry to your member of the U.S. House of
Representatives while he or she is home April 11 through
Find your representative
Corky Pugh, former Director of the Alabama
Freshwater Fisheries Division, in Great Days Outdoors,
4/14, recommends three books
and urges readers to consider science and common
sense when state rules and regulations are initiated.
The books are
Common Sense Wildlife Management by
Nathaniel R. Dickinson,
A Matter of Context (Pugh suggests reading
Chapter 8, “Et Up With the Dumbs”) by Tom Kelly, and
The Wild Turkey in Alabama by Steven Barnett
and Victoria Barnett.
Woodstoves have been in the news lately, thanks
to new rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). Paul LePage, Governor of Maine,
The Wall Street Journal, 4/4/14, “An EPA
proposal may end up increasing the amount of harmful
smoke in the air.”
The Southeast Missourian, 4/2/14, reported,
“Members of the Missouri House of Representatives came
together in a bipartisan effort … to approve a bill that
prohibits the implementation of regulations on
wood-burning heaters.” A woodstove that won a recent Popular Mechanics contest is the
Soapstone Ideal Steel Hybrid. The Ideal Steel Hybrid
draws “exhaust gases into a second chamber where
temperatures reach 1800 F – hot enough to incinerate all
The Transformation of Timberland Ownership and Markets
in North America – a lecture by Mike Covey, CEO of
Potlatch Corporation at the University of Montana on
March 12, 2014. Covey’s whole lecture should be
interesting to forest owners, but if your time is
limited, be sure to listen to the question and answer
session from 54:15 to 56:45.
upland hardwood forests of the Southeastern U.S.,
prescribed fire is increasingly used by land managers citing objectives that include
hazardous fuels reduction, wildlife habitat improvement,
promoting oak regeneration, or restoring forest
composition or structure to an historic condition.”
Source: Prescribed Fire in Upland Hardwood Forests,
US Forest Service Science Update – 99.
The American Farm Bureau is not happy with EPA’s
proposed ‘Waters’ rule, released March 25, 2014.
“The EPA proposal poses a serious threat to farmers,
ranchers, and other landowners. Under EPA’s proposed new
rule, waters – even ditches – are regulated even if they
are miles from the nearest ‘navigable’ waters. … The
American Farm Bureau Federation will dedicate itself to
opposing this attempted end run around the limits set by
Congress and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has
ruled repeatedly that Congress meant what it said:
‘navigable waters’ does not mean all waters. This
proposed rule shows that EPA refuses to accept those
If you are planning to build a trail or road on your
land, you may want to review the information
Trail Design for Small Properties by
Baughman and Serres and
A Landowner’s Guide to Building Forest Access Roads
by Wiest. You may also find it useful to listen to road
and trail discussions from past issues of Capital
Ideas – Live!:
Troy Scott Parker,
Tom Sauret, and
$250 million in legal costs – that’s the
financial cost of Arizona’s
Yarnell Hill Fire that resulted in the deaths of
19 firefighters last June. While it would be highly
unlikely for 19 forest rangers to ever work together on
one fire in Alabama, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea
if legislation similar to that being debated in Arizona
were discussed in Montgomery. The entire annual budget
of the Alabama Forestry Commission is around $21
Environment of Uncertainty Undermines Economic Growth.
The EPA Administrator is a prankster by
Reed Hopper in
Liberty Blog 3/26/14
The State of Oregon is making plans to sell state-owned
We are told there was a large ad in The Wall Street
Journal, 2/26/14, describing the sale. We suspect
this land sale may be in some way related to the
concerns of the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate in
Oregon. See 3/18/14 below.
Mineral Documentary Tax: If you own mineral
rights that have been “severed” from the surface rights,
you can pay the ad valorem taxes in a one-time lump sum
of 15 cents per acre instead of paying an annual tax.
Thanks to landman
Mark Chapman for the information.
Joe Hopkins, President of the Forest Landowners
Association, will be leading the "My Vision for
My Forestland" panel discussion at the
2014 Annual Meeting.
Read his testimony on the Endangered Species Act
given today, March 26, 2014, to the Subcommittee on
Conservation, Energy, and Forestry of the U. S. House of
Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
disc a green field? Can it mow roads and fire lanes?
We wonder what would stop it from running over a child
“Black Smoke on the Horizon.” The Alabama Senate
Bill (SB411) that would have merged the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC) with the Alabama Department of
Agriculture and Industries is dead, reports the Alabama
Forestry Association in its March 21 blog, From the
Weeds. BUT, the really interesting news in the blog
is not the possible merger of the AFC into
non-existence, but the budget cuts the Commission will
face next year – 4 percent in FY2015 – and even bigger
cuts, possibly 15%, in FY2016. If you were the State
Forester, what would you cut? Fire suppression,
prescribed burning services, Alabama's Treasured
Forests magazine, wildfire prevention campaigns,
Forest Inventory & Analysis, landowner advice and
services, Champion Tree program, Tree Farm inspections,
water quality complaints, Treasure Forest Certification
The National Timber Tax Website contains
everything you ever wanted to know about federal income
and estate taxes related to forestland. Previously
hosted by Purdue University, the site is now hosted by
the University of Georgia.
"Boatright Companies to sell Montevallo railroad tie
treatment facility" to Montreal-based Stella-Jones.
Pine Sawtimber Prices Depend Heavily on Single-Family
Unfortunately, while housing starts are projected to
increase for the next six to eight years, the numbers
slowly decline after that. Get more details by listening
Kansas City Fed Economist Jordan Rappaport on AFOA's
Capital Ideas - Live!, 3/19/14.
Oregon GOP Candidates for U.S. Senate are sending a
strong message to those who might believe federal
forestland ownership is a good idea.
Is there a message here for Alabama, where 94% of the
forestland is privately owned? Source: The Westerner,
3/18/14, quoting from the Portland, Oregon
Herald and News, 3/18/14.
Letters were sent by AFOA to three candidates for
Secretary of State
asking the candidates to respond to a need for the
Secretary of State’s website to publicly announce
dates of Property Tax Referenda throughout the
state. Property tax votes are usually held on odd dates,
announced in local newspapers just days in advance, and
experience very low voter turnout. We asked that special
elections, primaries and runoffs also be accurately
posted to the SOS website. The three candidates are
Judge Reese McKinney,
Judge Jim Perdue, and
Rep. John Merrill (we did not find address
information for Lula Albert-Kaigler). The first response
to our letters is from Judge Reese McKinney: “Informing the public about election matters should be a
priority for our chief elections official…As Secretary
of State, I will see to it that we develop a first class
web-based platform that becomes the source for election
information on local, state, and national issues for the
citizens of Alabama.”
"For the fourth consecutive year, shipments of Southern
Pine lumber recorded an increase from the previous year.
Shipments in 2013 totaled 15.026 billion board feet
(Bbf), an increase of 5% over the volume shipped in 2012
(14.279 Bbf) and 27% above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf)."
Source: Southern Forest Products Association NewsNote, 3/6/14. The good news doesn't stop: In
Woodworking Net, we read on 3/7/14,
"U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled a record 1.463
billion board feet in 2013, besting the previous
one-year high set in 2006 by 11%. Record shipments to
China and Vietnam, and the strongest shipments to Mexico
in seven years, offset a 2% decline in exports to Canada
and the slowest exports to Europe since 1986. It marked
the fourth consecutive annual increase since exports
bottomed out at 802 million board feet in 2009.”
A Primer on State and Local Tax Policy published
by Mercatus Research: Alabama is at the low end
of Total State Tax Collections per Capita in the U.S.
(page 32), BUT Alabama’s Property Tax Collections per
Capita are much higher than our neighboring states
(page 38). Interesting, too, Alabama’s Sales Tax
Collections per Capita are lower than our neighboring
states (page 37) and our Individual Income Tax
Collections per Capita are higher than most of our
neighboring states (page 36). The information reported
by Mercatus Research is so different from what we
read in many Alabama news sources that it’s hard to
believe. Please let us know how it is in error. Thanks.
Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail now has a newsletter
and a scheduled event (May
31-June 1 Hatchett Creek Canoe Float).
The Trail consists of 34 birding sites in nine counties.
From the Weeds is a new political news blog
recently created by the Alabama Forestry Association
(AFA). The blog will “provide legislative, legal and
political matters of interest” to AFA members. We’re not
sure if the blog will be password protected in the
future, but it isn’t today. SB411,
the bill that would merge the Alabama Forestry
Commission into the Alabama Department of Agriculture
and Industries is the top story today. The 3/11/14 blog
contains links to
an analysis of the bill and
a copy of the bill.
“The Supreme Court sided today with a Wyoming landowner
who challenged the Forest Service's construction of a
bicycle trail on an abandoned railway that slices
through his property…. The ruling is a broad victory for
property rights activists. There have been many lawsuits
filed challenging so-called rail trails under the
Constitution's takings clause, which states that no
property may be taken without just compensation. …
potentially a third of the country's 270,000 miles of
rail lies on rights of way granted under the law at
issue in the case. Trails or highways built on that land
are now susceptible to legal challenges, potentially
putting the government on the hook for millions of
dollars in settlements.” Source: E&E Publishing,
Click here for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“The expansion of the February deer season to cover
most of Alabama south of Montgomery and a reduction in
the daily bag limit for antlerless deer statewide
were among the recommendations presented by the Alabama
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division to the
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) for the
2014-2015 hunting seasons.”
to see a map of the recommended February deer season
expansion. We thought you also might enjoy reading
an opinion piece on hunting regulations by “legendary
woodsman, author Tom Kelly:”
Why ending Alabama’s fall turkey season is so
Free Market Environmentalists are invited to participate
in "the 14th annual Enviropreneur Institute
sponsored by the
Environment Research Center (PERC). This two-week
professional development program for entrepreneurs and
conservation leaders will be held in Bozeman, Montana
from July 17-18, 2014. The application deadline is March
17, 2014. A young person who dreams of improving
wildlife habitat on family land, making possible
successful guided hunts, a busy lodge and cabins, and
even off-season trail riding and for-fee bird watching
might be the perfect candidate for the Enviropreneur
The Alabama Forestry Commission may become a Division
of the Alabama Department of Agriculture, Forestry and
Senate Bill 411 becomes law. SB411 (117 pages) was
passed out of the
Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee
today (with one amendment) to be debated at some future
date in the full Alabama Senate. We heard that no
comments from the public were allowed by the committee.
We also understand that there is no companion
legislation in the House. Send comments about the
legislation, pro or con, to
Aerogel, made from wood, may someday be used to
clean-up oil spills.
Watch Wisconsin Institute for Discovery video
North Alabama woodland owners may find the
Tennessee Forest Products Bulletin a useful
resource. Check out the price for Grade 1 White Oak
Stave Logs (for whiskey barrels) ($950+ per thousand
board feet (mbf),
Doyle Rule) (page 4) compared to Miscellaneous
Hardwoods, Region II ($167+ per mbf, Doyle) (page 6).
Moving the tree species that remain on the land after
thinning towards higher quality species holds
potentially big rewards for landowners and their heirs.
Talladega County passed a “Logging Notice Ordinance”
that will go into effect on March 10, 2014. “The
county now joins 15 others scattered across the state in
requiring notification before logging on farm-to-market
roads. Talladega’s version is basically a copy of that
being used in the other counties.”
Alabama Loggers Council believes this ordinance
violates state law
(Act No. 2012-257) and goes beyond “notification”
into the realm of “permitting.” If you would like to
help the Alabama Loggers Council stop unnecessary
regulations, contact Ray Clifton at (334) 265-8733 x
“Southern Pine exports finished 2013 at a volume
approaching 445 million board feet (MMbf), a jump of 13%
above the 2012 export total, according to the
latest trade data released by the USDA’s Foreign
Agricultural Service. That 2013 volume exported
represents an increase of 43% above the 312 MMbf
exported in 2010. The top three destinations for
Southern Pine exports in 2013 were the Dominican
Republic (69.9 MMbf), China (64.2 MMbf) and Mexico (60.7
MMbf).” Source: Southern Forest Products Association
News Note, 2/26/14.
"I shudder at the idea..."
Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that would
require a permit for development within contiguous
forest. The restriction on development rights is being
done “to curb [forest] fragmentation.” In
Colorado, a county government is using the power of
eminent domain to take private forestland
“to preserve open space.”
The Colorado case received national attention on the
February 21 Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren show.
“The United States’ high tax burden on capital gains
has long-term negative implications for the economy.
This non-neutral tax creates a bias against savings,
slows economic growth, and harms U.S.’s
competitiveness,” reported the Tax Foundation in a
February 11, 2014 paper entitled The High Burden
of State and Federal Capital Gains Tax Rates. To
make matters worse for forest owners, the
U.S. Congress is considering removing timber income from
long-term capital gains tax treatment.
High school students who want to learn about forestry as
a career are urged to sign up for
Auburn University Summer Youth Program Forestry Camp. The camp will run from July 13 –
18. Tuition is $605. For more information about the
camp, contact Dr. Becky Barlow at (334) 844-1019 or
email@example.com. If you would like to donate
a copy of the book,
Managing Forests on Private Lands in Alabama and the
Southeast, to be given to a camper upon
completion of the camp, send your check in the amount of
$60, made payable to Auburn University Foundation,
to School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Attn:
Heather Crozier, 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn University, AL
36849 or contact Heather at (334) 844-2791 or Sharon
Tatum at (334) 844-1983 or
now officially has a new State Forester. Greg
Pate was sworn in by Gov. Bentley on February 18th.
The demand for furs is increasing as the "buyers in
China, Russia, and Korea watch their incomes grow,"
reported The Missoulian on 12/26/13.
Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association
(ATPCA) reported to AFOA that there is a market
for Alabama wild fur, the reporter having recently sold
otter and beaver pelts. The ATPCA is planning to conduct
a 3 day
Trapper Education Workshop in
Greenville, Alabama, February 21-23.
AFOA has 10 copies (ALL HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED
3/14/14) of the
Forest Landowners Guide to the Federal Income Tax,
Ag Handbook No. 731, and will give them to AFOA
members who pay shipping costs of $3.75 each. Make your
check payable to AFOA and send to AFOA Tax Guide, P. O.
Box 361434, Birmingham, AL 35236. If you don't need a
hardcopy of the Guide, you can read it on line at
www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/42921. Last year the
Southern Research Station paid the cost of printing and
AFOA paid shipping costs to provide copies of the Guide
to more than 200 public libraries in Alabama.
Firewood Ministry begun by the men’s ministry of
the Ethelsville Baptist Church grows to cover several
counties. 75 pickup loads of firewood were recently
delivered to families in need. Source: McShan Plane
Dealer, February 2014.
“The greatest risk in timberland investing is paying
too much for a property and this is driven largely
by uncertainty around future timber volumes and values.”
For an interesting discussion on investment risk, read
Forest Research Notes, Vol. 10, No. 2. An
archive to all past
Forest Research Notes is at
In a conversation last week with Extension Agent Beau
Brodbeck, we asked him about Apps for iPhone or
Android that would help landowners navigate around their
properties – record paths where they walked or drove and
mark special places like property corners. He quickly
held out his smartphone with
showing us the last few trails he followed on his
morning exercise routes. If you know of an App that
other forest owners might find useful, please write to
AFOA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
bio for Beau)
Election results from February 4th.
Mike Holmes, Tree Farmer, won the runoff in Alabama
House District 31
(Elmore & Coosa counties) and, since there was no
Democrat Party opposition, will complete the term of
former Rep. Barry Mask.
Margie Wilcox won the District 104 (Mobile County)
special general election.
Anthony “Alann” Johnson won the Democrat Primary Runoff
for District 53 (Birmingham) and will face
Republican Willie (W.A.) Casey in a special election on
House District Map.
You are invited to assist the Forest Landowners
Association by nominating individuals for the following
Forest Landowner of the Year, Extension Forester of the
Year, and Young Forest Landowner of the Year.
a Litter-Free Alabama is the theme for this
(People Against a Littered State) Poster (K-6)
and Essay Contests (7-12). Litter clean-up
and prevention of trash dumping are important to forest
owners. If your child’s or grandchild’s school
participates in the contest, please take time to thank
the teacher or administrator who makes it happen. Thanks
too, to PALS.
Congress passed the $956 billion Farm Bill today.
The pony in the legislation (there must be one in there
“a provision preserving the treatment of forest roads
and forest management as nonpoint sources subject to
state-derived Best Management Practices (BMPs) under the
federal Clean Water Act (CWA).”
to go into effect in second quarter 2014, a new
biomass sustainability verification policy requires [UK]
electricity generators to offer proof that the biomass
they process originates in forests that are sustainably
managed. ... Because the vast majority of timberland
owners [in the US South] have small timber tracts—less
than 50 acres—and because they make harvest decisions
based on sawtimber markets in which no price premium for
certified wood is offered, few will be inclined to
submit to the certification process.” Source: The
Wood Pellet Manufacturer’s Guide to Biomass
Sustainability Verification by Suz-Anne Kinney, F2M Market Watch Blog, 11/25/13.
Special Elections (see below) scheduled for Tuesday,
January 28 were postponed to February 4 by Gov.
Bentley due to the winter storm.
Be sure to
Vote Tomorrow if you live in these counties:
• Mobile (Special General
Election for Alabama House of Representatives District
104, formerly held by Jim Barton)
• Coosa and Elmore (Republican Party Primary Election
for Alabama House of Representatives District 31,
formerly held by Barry Mask)
Jefferson (Democratic Party Primary Runoff for Alabama
House of Representatives District 53, formerly held by
“USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently reported
exports of Southern Pine to be approximately 41.3
million board feet (MMbf) for November 2013. This volume
represents an increase of 23% above the same month last
year, supporting a solid year-to-date boost of 16% when
compared with the first eleven months of 2012. Offshore
shipments during November roughly break down as follows:
23.9 MMbf dressed, 8.9 MMbf rough, and 8.5 MMbf treated
“Softwood lumber imports
to the U.S. during November were just over 985 million
board feet (MMbf), up 13% from the volume imported
during November of 2012. Canada shipped approximately
955 MMbf into the U.S. in November. For the first eleven
months of last year, the volume of imports remained
steady, running 15% ahead of the rate recorded during
the first eleven months of 2012.” Source:
Southern Forest Products Association
Newsletter, January 21, 2014.
How might a pine tree grown by a gray haired Alabamian
be related to a Chinese manufactured smart phone used by
a text messaging, 20-something Londoner?
I Pencil, The Movie, may help you appreciate
the small but very significant role we, forest
landowners, play in producing many important products
used here in Alabama and all over the world. You may
also find valuable
a series of video commentaries featuring, among
Samford University Professor Art Carden.
Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic
by architect/author Dale Mulfinger, is
available on Amazon.com. $24.59 hardcover, $15.39
Kindle. “In this new collection of 37 cabins, Mulfinger
rekindles his love for this treasured American icon with
fresh insight and seasoned strategies for the logic,
utility, and beauty of cabin design.”
Utah Prairie Dogs and Dusky Gopher Frogs in Louisiana
are protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under
the Endangered Species Act.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the
Gopher Tortoise are declared threatened or
endangered in South Alabama, can we expect different
behavior from the agency?
Watch Shoot, Shovel & Shut-Up.
Delta National Park Study Stopped. The
Save Our Delta
group was able to convince Rep. Bradley Byrne to
request removal of Alabama from H.R. 3131, The
National Park Service Study Act of 2013.
Listen to an AFOA interview with David Peterson,
head of Save Our Delta. On January 17, Peterson wrote on
the Save Our Delta Facebook page: “I urge any of you to
email Congressman Byrne and thank him for his efforts to
stop the attempted Federalization of the Delta. Click on
the following link and it will take you to his website
and click the contact link.
Tax reform targets include 1031 property exchanges,
NewsOK, 12/14/13, will worry you if you plan to
use the tax-free exchange provision of the tax code to
defer income tax from land sales. See also,
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Proposes Repeal of
Like-Kind Exchange Deferral and Other Changes Affecting
Real Estate, BakerHostetler, 1/7/14
Construction of a wood pellet mill is being considered
in Childersburg, Alabama. If built, the mill
will export wood fuel to Great Britain. Source: The
Daily Home, 11/27/13
Lynch Lawsuit Decision: Home owners and forest
and farmland owners will be happy to know that a
"federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit
challenging Alabama's property tax structure and has
kept intact one of the nation's lowest tax rates." Had
we lost this case, forestland property taxes could have
increased significantly. Source: Montgomery
More information is available from the Alabama Forestry
Let's not let this happen in Alabama. "A
Virginia county barred a landowner from allowing a
friend to camp on his 86-acre farm for a hunting
excursion... The county, in southeast Virginia, contends
that use of the camper would constitute an unauthorized
'campground' in violation of local zoning ordinances."
Source: WND Politics, 1/7/14
Prescribed Burning Insurance Available to Foresters.
“All certified or graduate foresters can apply for
commercial general liability insurance. A forester’s
special liability form is available with limits up to
$1.0 million. The forester’s special liability coverage
includes herbicide application, prescribed burn
liability, smoke liability, and professional errors and
omissions. Master policies can also be issued to
consultant foresters and wildlife biologists who burn
for multiple landowners.” Call Outdoor Underwriters at
1-866-961-4101. Source: The Longleaf Leader,
Under threat of elimination
by Congress as part of a tax reform discussion,
capital gains tax rates are also, unfortunately,
effectively boosted by inflation.
Source: Tax Foundation, 12/17/13
Sustainability with a Timber Sale Contract. The
way that timber is sold in the US South provides a
strong legal framework for ensuring that harvests are
being conducted in a sustainable fashion. The process
for selling timber and the documentation that
accompanies it — the timber sale contract — are critical
for demonstrating not only the legality of the sale but
that all laws and best management practices are being
followed as well.” Source: F2M Market Watch Blog,
“Drone for aerial photographs and video” to improve
service to clients was among the new investments made by
Tutt Land Company’s Sean Brown, as listed in an email
sent by Sean this morning.
For a demonstration of “drone for aerial photographs and
video,” make plans now to attend the
Alabama Forest Owners’ Association’s Annual Meeting at
Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge, April 25-26.
Make room reservations by calling (256) 505-6621 or
(256) 571-5540 (after hours or weekends). To receive our
special rate be sure to mention Alabama Forest
Owners' Association - market code 3654. Most
attendees will make room reservations for Friday night
only, but some will stay Saturday night to enjoy the
park for a few hours on Sunday.
Movement to Create a Mobile-Tensaw Delta National
Park could remove quarter million acres from property
tax rolls, timber production, and hunting.
“If they had done this in ’79 there would be no
ThyssenKrupp steel mill,” [David Peterson] said. “That
would come off our tax rolls, would take ad valorem tax
away from our schools, hunting and fishing would be more
restrictive, you would have to buy state and federal
licenses. There would be severe restrictions on where
you can and can’t run your boat and put massive
restrictions on what we can or can’t do.” Source:
Should the delta become a national park?, Lagniappe, 11/14/13
“Alabama is doing its part in utilizing renewable
including, of course, biomass. This is largely based on
the long practice of paper and wood production companies
using woody debris and wood waste to generate
electricity for their facilities. Among other
interesting facts noted by the U.S. Energy Information
Administration recently, is that Alabama ranked fifth in
the United States in net electricity generation from
wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass in 2011;
virtually all of that electricity was generated by
non-utility power producers.” Source:
AFA Newsroom, January 1, 2014.