Although black bears are not common in Alabama,
present in some areas. Remember that they are not
harmless cuddly teddy bears, as
this incident in New Jersey reminds us.
"It is time to admit the Endangered Species Act’s
penalty-based approach is a mistake, end this
country’s senseless 42-year war on its most vulnerable
species and chart a new, successful course for
endangered species conservation based on a new approach
that has been around for a long time."
It's too easy to grow trees for 30 years, only to make
disastrous choices at the end.
Watch this video from the University of Kentucky if
you're thinking of making a timber sale.
Some take-aways from last week's "omnibus" funding
"I think it is completely indefensible that the
federal government is America's largest landlord,"
Cruz said in
this video at The Westerner.
you might like this newsletter from the
Southern Christmas Tree Association. Note the ads in
the newsletter for equipment and supplies you may need
if you decide to grow Christmas trees.
According to the American Land Rights Association
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the enemy of
rural America, ranching, farming and private land
ownership." ALRA would like you to "Call your
Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Land and
Water Conservation Fund as a permanent Trust Fund. Call
any Congressman at (202) 225-3121."
recent email for details.
“After you have harvested several deer from your
ground blind, you might wonder why you don’t hunt
this way more often.” One hunter says ground blinds
offer safety, concealment, and ease of set-up.
Read the full story at
Georgia Forestry Today, page 27.
“Landowners may face different types of eminent
domain situations with local utility companies or
government agencies [called the “condemning authority”]
that will take private land for public use [think
power lines or pipelines], with payment or
compensation.” Here are tips to consider if you
find yourself in this situation (Source:
Georgia Forestry Today, p. 14):
- How did the
condemning authority arrive at its offer amount?
Request a written summary of the appraiser’s
- Request a drawing or
map identifying the land being acquired. Is the
location of the land being acquired established or
is the location subject to change?
- Is the land going to
be owned by the condemning authority, or is it
acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary
- What use limitations
will the landowner be subject to with regard to the
land being acquired?
- Did the landowner
have any plans to use his/her land for any
particular purpose?If so, will the acquisition
impact the future planned use?
- What impact will the
loss of land have on the value of the remaining
- If the land being
acquired does not abut a public road, how will the
condemning authority gain access to the land being
acquired, and is the landowner being compensated for
that access right?
- Most of all, contact
an attorney and a local appraiser with expertise in
condemnation law. This is a complicated area of the
law with many pitfalls for the unwary landowner.
If a gas tax increase is enacted, we hope rural
roads and bridges will get a fair proportion of the new
Hear an interview with DOT director John Cooper
about ATRIP, rural roads and bridges, and how this
affects you as a landowner.
Seedlings need to experience cold weather acclimation
to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures,
says an alert from the
Southern Forest Nursery Management Co-op. Warm days
and nights before a freeze can compromise dormancy,
especially in pine seedlings. Take special care with
your seedlings this winter, and
learn more about how to protect them with tips from
Message to Lawmakers and Government Procurement
Officials buying lumber and other construction
materials made from wood: Buy the best quality
products at the lowest possible prices. We have been
watching various “certification schemes” pressuring
government agencies and lawmakers to reject lumber and
other forest products not blessed by their particular
organization. Please ignore emotional pleas from
Forest Stewardship Council,
Sustainable Forestry Initiative,
American Tree Farm System, and others.
Buy the best quality wood product at the lowest
possible price, whether “certified” by one of these
schemes or not.
The Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU)
currently has 12 agents assigned throughout the state.
Click here for a map of agent location and contact
information. The stats listed below are for FY2015
ARCU (the timber cases only include Jan-Oct 2015, after
consolidation with Alabama Forestry Commission’s law
enforcement personnel). Editor’s note: If you called
ARCU to report a timber theft in the past 11 months,
were you satisfied with their handling of your problem?
Write to AFOA at
- Cases: Total 277
- Property Crimes
Cases – 200
- Animal Crime Cases –
- Timber Crime Cases –
10 (all of these cases were resolved by the parties
involved or turned out to be civil cases)
- Other Cases – 82
- Calls for
Service: Total 165 (calls phoned into the hotline
[1-855-75-CRIME] or ALEA dispatch)
- Property Crime Calls
- Animal Crime Calls –
- Timber Crime Calls –
- Other Crime Calls -
Thinking about a family trip to cut a Christmas tree?
Here are a few places in Alabama to choose and cut
your own tree. (Full
list at Southern Christmas Tree Association):
"The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the
mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street
piece about the “controversial” subject of forest
thinning and its impact on fire suppression simply gets
it wrong. In the article, journalist Jim Carlton
failed to discuss the myriad benefits that regular
thinnings have on the overall health of our forests and
their peripheral ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the
safety and economic wellbeing of the communities that
Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the
Treat your venison right: “Sometimes you’ll get a
gamey flavor if you don’t get it on ice and get it
processed right. If you process it right, you’re going
to get great flavor from your venison.”
Find out how to age venison for great flavor and other
tips here. Source: Outdoor Alabama.
outdoor essays from David Rainer.
Intended as a comprehensive and authoritative
history, "Forestry in the U.S. South
explores the remarkable commercial and environmental
gains made possible through the collaboration of
industry, universities, and other agencies."
Purchase directly from the Forest History Society here.
A new Aunt Fanny essay makes sense of housing reports
and Timber REITs.
Deer farmers and the state of Texas are battling
over actions taken to manage
Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer. CWD poses
a serious threat to deer species and hunting-related
activities and income in the
states where it is found.
submit comments here until December 11, 2015
Sabal Trails Pipeline Project, a 515-mile natural
gas transmission pipeline. “Roughly 86 of those miles
are located in Alabama. The current study corridor
affects four counties in Alabama, including Tallapoosa,
Chambers, Lee and Russell Counties.” Source: The South
Next Month, Jim Noles, Balch & Bingham LLP.
"A country’s long-term “potential” growth rate depends
on two things: the number of workers, and how productive
they are. Slower population growth directly
chips away at the number of workers." We thought this
was interesting in light of the housing reports this
This interactive Federal Footprint map is an
interesting, detailed look at land owned by the U.S.
government. "The feds control a lot of land and
shouldn’t be rushing out to add more territory and
responsibility. In these days of budget deficits and
spending cuts, the federal government clearly is
becoming hard pressed to manage what it already owns."
Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15
And another perspective on federal land ownership
from our friends at the Property and Environment
More housing numbers: "Forisk projects 12.1% growth over
"Georgia-Pacific last week announced plans for $110
million in upgrades to its Alabama River Cellulose (ARC)
mill in Monroe County." Work will begin in early
2016, and is expected to take 18 months. Source:
Yellowhammer News, 11/19/15
A new report says
wood pellet export markets pose no threat to the
sustainability of U.S. Southern forests
or the viability of other forest products manufacturers.
In fact, removals for export pellet production
represented .08% of the total forest inventory in 2014.
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.
“Alabama timber, forestry industry may get big worker
boost with new state grant.”
According to the European Food Safety Authority,
glyphosate/Roundup “is unlikely to cause cancer in
humans.” This news should bring relief to many
forest owners, who use Roundup for a variety of forestry
uses, after a
March 2015 World Health Organization report, based
on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity,” classified
glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Virginia Tech’s latest housing report remains dismal
and provides little hope for a quick upturn in sawtimber
stumpage prices. On the other hand, while American’s are
not building as many single family homes as they were
pre-recession, we are slowly recovering from the
recession lows –
lows that are very high for much of the rest of the
The EPA wants information from the public on any ongoing
efforts to address stormwater discharge from forest
roads to determine whether additional measures to
protect water quality are necessary. Since these
“additional measures” could include regulations or a
permitting program imposed on the owners of forest roads,
consider whether you want to take advantage of this
opportunity. Such input could very well shape any future
regulatory rulemaking on this topic. Submit your
comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–
OW–2015–0668, to the
Federal eRulemaking Portal.
Read the entire announcement from the
Federal Register. (1/5/15) Update: Comment period
has been extended to Feb. 11
The two biggest publicly traded forest landowners in
the U.S. will merge.
Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek for $8.4B to form
Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard
before for using goats and other livestock to control
unwanted vegetation. A Google search found
Goat, unfortunately based in North Carolina, but
with a focused message that will be of interest to
anyone in Alabama who is thinking about setting up a
prescribed grazing business. A 2010 WBHM story,
Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off, featured Todd &
Allison Sluiss. The Michigan couple were also featured
Farm Show article back in 2009. At that time they
charged $300 per day with a 2-day minimum.
Goat Busters were used in 2014 to clear privet and
other brush and vines on
Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park.
Could an organized, well-informed group of forest
landowners harm local wood markets? That is the
interesting situation described in Antti Kämäräinen's
recent Forest2Market Blog,
"The Cost of Market Power: When is Too Much Market Power
Detrimental to a Market’s Global Competitiveness?"
Cogongrass, a weed that burns hot enough to kill
mature pines, now infests over 65,000 acres in the South,
and is, unfortunately, common in south Alabama.
Herbicides applied in late April and late September have
proven to be the most effective form of eradication.
"The two herbicides currently being used are 41%
glyphosate [Roundup] and 52% imazapyr [Arsenal]. A good
tank mix is two quarts of glyphosate and 12 to 15 ounces
of imazapyr per 25 gallons of water. Adding a non-ionic
surfactant at one pint per 25 gallons, or AMS (ammonium
sulfate) at five pounds granular per 25 gallons can
increase herbicide efficiency." For more details about
identification and control, go to
Great Days Outdoors, 11/15.
The White Fringeless Orchid has been proposed
for the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. The orchid has been found in 8 Alabama
counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson,
Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. Since forestry
practices may cause modification of the orchid’s habitat
that could harm individual plants, forest owners may
want to learn more about the proposed listing, and
possibly send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service
before the November 16, 2015 comments deadline.
See 9/14/15 press release for contact information.
Timber Markets In a Nutshell: pine stumpage prices
down; hardwood stumpage prices up -- more or less.
Source: Forest2Market Blog,
US South Stumpage Market Trends: YDT 2015 Results and
Historic Data by Daniel Stuber, 11/15.
"US Department of Agriculture Terminates Consideration
of Hardwood Checkoff." "Based on comments
received, outstanding substantive questions and
significant proposed modifications from stakeholders,
USDA is terminating the proceeding." Many of the wood
processors were so unhappy with the proposed tax that
they created a website entitled
Editor's note: While stumpage growers (landowners) do
not directly pay the tax (the check-off is paid by the
wood processors), the burden of the tax falls directly
on stumpage growers, since payments for standing timber
tend to be the amount left over after costs of producing
lumber and plywood are covered. Stumpage growers would
not have been given a seat on the decision making board,
if the checkoff had been imposed.
Tree Identification webinar kicked off a series
of webinars designed for woodland owners in Kentucky.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
webinars will continue on October 29, November 12,
November 19 and December 1.
More details including registration information is
available on the UKAgNews website.
Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry: Managing Timberland as an
Investment "highlights the key obligations,
risks and metrics for owning and managing timberland
investments. The book serves any investor, from
individual to institution, interested in a tight and
entertaining tutorial for prioritizing what matters and
what does not when managing their timber assets as an
investment." $12 from Forisk Consulting. To read some of
the Aunt Fanny essays click here
Protect your home from wildfires: "Roof Saver
Sprinklers® wet roofs, gutters, decks, surrounding
trees, and shrubs."
"Understory Prescribe Burns: Understory burns in
pine plantations are typically conducted during the
dormant season. Now is the time to begin planning for
those burns. Install firelanes after leaf fall and have
both a prescribe burn and smoke management plan prepared
by a Certified Burn Prescriptionist." Source:
of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 2,
Issue 3. Other topics in the newsletter include Timber
Market Update, Focus Industry, Timber Sales, Boundary
Line Maintenance, and Mineral Leases.
Letters to Dad is a short video created by the
Paper Check-off as part of a consumer campaign to "slow
the decline in paper usage." A check-off for softwood
lumber similar to the Paper Check-off has been opposed
by Resolute Forest Products, Inc., as an
unconstitutional tax. A hardwood check-off under
discussion has been reduced in size so much as a result
of complaints that "it would exclude over 80% of the
hardwood forest products industry," and be "severely
underfunded." Source: Timber Mart-South ~ Market News
fire weather links are available at the Alabama
Forestry Commission website. Even if you're not planning
a prescribed burn, we think you'll find some of this
The domestic cat is the top killer of America's
A new study suggests that even with this knowledge,
cat owners are unwilling to restrain their cats to
protect wildlife. Source: Great Days Outdoors
magazine, October 2015
We hate to bring up western fires again, but they are
"Sometimes the science really has to matter."
"By shifting the blame to climate change [politicians]
think they can avoid taking responsibility for their
Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach
to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forest
by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel may be of interest to
some Alabama forest owners, even though the authors'
target audience are forest owners in the northern U.S.
Confiscatory Property Taxes Push Wisconsin Forest Owners
into Untenable Position. In order to avoid very
high forestland property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners signed on to the Managed Forest Law program which
reduced property taxes, but also forced participants to
open their lands to public access. Now a district court
has "approved regulations allowing Wisconsin's Lake
Superior Chippewa Indians to conduct night hunting for
deer on lands open to public hunting (including Managed
Forest Law "open" lands)..." Source: Wisconsin Woodland
Owners Association, 10/14/15.
Trump: Eminent Domain, Even For Private Projects Is
‘Wonderful Thing,’ ‘You’re Not Taking Property’
Lyme Disease is present in 7 Alabama counties.
They are Calhoun, Chambers, Jefferson, Mobile, Russell,
Shelby, and Tuscaloosa counties, according to the
Alabama Department of Public Health.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed the
waters of the U.S. rule issued by EPA and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that became effective on August
28. The court vote of 2-1 suspended the effectiveness of
the rule nationwide. The following statement in response
to the court’s decision was issued by Dave Tenny,
President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners:
“We are pleased the
court took the prudent step of staying the rule
while it sorts through the legal issues. The finding
of the court that the petitioners have a strong
likelihood of success on the procedural and
substantive issues in the case is encouraging, but
it will take time for the court to consider these
issues individually. Postponing implementation of
the rule pending a determination of its legality
makes good sense. In the meantime, we continue to
encourage Congress to enact legislation that will
enable all parties to take a fresh look at this
issue outside of the courtroom.”
The next step in the case
will be a decision by the Sixth Circuit as to whether or
not that court has jurisdiction to review the validity
of the rule. Source:
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 10/9/15. See
The Washington Times, 10/9/15.
Alabama's Pickens County 4-H Forestry Team earned third
place in the National 4-H Forestry Invitational
held in Weston, West Virginia.
"The black pinesnake, a burrowing constrictor found only
in pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama, is
now listed as threatened, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service said Monday." Source:
10/5/15. We understand that another 65 species in the
southeast have been proposed for federal protection
under the same lawsuit that forced the US Fish &
Wildlife Service to consider listing the black pinesnake
as threatened. See:
Black Pine Snakes Protected Under Endangered Species
Act: Declines Driven by Destruction of Southeast's
Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.
Is it reasonable to ask why government should be in
the entertainment business? If entertainment is not
an important function of government, why do we worry if
several state parks will soon be closed? See:
5 Alabama state parks to close following budget cuts.
"Cameras Will Soon Do The Job of Fire Tower Lookouts."
Poor forest management to blame for out-of-control
western fires, says
Capital Press, 9/24/15.
Facing a 19.6 percent cut in state funding,
"Alabama State Forester Greg Pate said the commission
couldn't handle any cuts, especially one so drastic."
Source: WSFA, 9/24/15.
Forest and Humans: From the Midwest to Madagascar
is the focus of a University of Wisconsin "Massive Open
Online Course," scheduled to begin on 9/30/15. "Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are unique virtual
teaching, learning and research experiences that are not
for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and
available at no cost to learners around the world." An
introductory video about the course and enrollment
information is at:
Three species of parasitoid wasps have been released in
North America in an attempt to control the
emerald ash borer, the
"most destructive forest pest ever seen in North
Flying Robot Spiders -- there must be some use
for this technology in the forest.
Forest Economist Dr. Jack Lutz discusses the growth of
trees and the growth of stands of trees in Limits to
[Tree] Growth, Forest Research Notes, Volume 12,
Number 3. Be sure to look at Figure 2,
which focuses on the value of planting, site
preparation, competition control, fertilization, and
tree improvement. (MAI
= Mean Annual Increment)
Seattle, USA. Softwood lumber prices (in US $) have
fallen throughout a majority of the main markets in the
world during the 2Q/15 because of weaker demand,
ample supply throughout the distribution chain and a
strengthening US dollar. The biggest declines have
occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries,
while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has
been more modest. Source: Wood Resource Quarterly
Press Release, 9/16/15.
U.S. Forest Service scientist not allowed to discuss
federal fire policy. A paper written by the
scientist, "Reform Forest Fire Management," says
suppressing every fire in overgrown forests is not only
expensive, but dangerous and ill-advised.
More Aunt Fanny essays from Forisk Consulting: (see
Private forestry plays a key role in in both Finland and
the United States. "In Finland, 80 percent of
the domestic wood used by the forest industry comes from
privately owned forests. In the United States, the
number varies by region, but is roughly 55 percent."
Source: Forest2Market Blog by Antti Kamarainen.
A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative
Session went into effect Tuesday, after a
bipartisan effort ushered through several significant
sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), were
backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Governor Bentley signed the bill into law on June 4.
“This is a victory for the
Second Amendment and Alabama’s law-abiding gun owners”,
said executive director of the NRA’s Institute for
Legislative Action Chris W. Cox. “Among other
reforms, the new law gives young people greater
opportunities to learn and enjoy our firearms and
hunting heritage…” Source: Yellowhammer,
Seven new Champion Trees were recently registered in
Alabama's list of big trees. Two of the seven
new champions have a good chance of being declared
national champions next year - a post oak and a red
Champion Trees of Alabama 2015 contains
measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in
Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama
Athens voters reject property tax increase.
Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest
Independent Sawmill and Woodlot Management
magazine and we thought you might like to visit
Tom's Portable Sawmill Service webpage. One of the
links on his Resources page is the
"Portable Sawmill Finder" which can help you find
portable sawmilling services here in Alabama and other
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE...the first thing to do
is stop digging.
Good advice from the Property and Environment Research
Center to the U.S. Congress as it debates whether to
continue spending $900 million per year to acquire more
land (Land & Water Conservation Fund, LWCF) while
National Parks has an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog.
Perhaps good advice, too, for
Alabama lawmakers who are struggling to keep Alabama
Forever Wild continues to spend millions of dollars
every year on more land.
Western Forest Fires: "Same sad stories, new year."
If forest growth is not harvested, all that useful wood
becomes nothing more than fuel. An opinion piece in
The Washington Post (8/21/15) reviews
"Five myths about wildfires," while a logger
spokesman in Oregon (GoLocal, 8/21/15) points out,
"When a fire starts on federal land, it is almost always
bigger than one that starts on a private owned area."
"In fact, there are examples of fires that start on
federal land and are very severe but once they get to
private land, where forests are healthier, they weaken
Will you be around long enough to enjoy your forestland?
Four recent headlines:
Choose loblolly pine seedlings resistant to fusiform
rust to minimize future damage. ArborGen claims
"breakthrough in rust resistance with genomics."
"Louisiana-Pacific expanding Thomasville mill, adding 20
Source: AL.com, 8/5/15
The U.S. South remains significantly cost competitive
for delivered softwood fiber when compared to
Coastal British Columbia, Scandinavia, U.S. Northwest,
and New Zealand/Australia. Only Southern Brazil is close
to us according to a chart in a F2M Market Watch
article by Suz-Anne Kinney,
Finnish Forestry Expansion: Increased Demand Affects
Supply and Price.
Need a land surveyor in Alabama? Use the
Find a Surveyor webpage of the Alabama
Society of Professional Land Surveyors. We selected
"Marion" in the "Professional County" drop down menu and
then clicked on the "Continue" button. In about 10
seconds Phillip Lindley's name popped onto the screen.
When we hovered over his name with the mouse/cursor, Mr.
Lindley's name, address, and phone number popped up.
When we selected Talladega in Professional County, seven
names popped up. A great service.
"Threatened bats halt some timber projects."
"Some members of the industry are already being
affected, even with the interim rule in place. Five
hundred timber projects that were to receive federal
funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service,
part of the United States Department of Agriculture,
have been tabled for the summer. June and July are the
months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the
trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of
caution and stop funding all projects until the pup
season ends." Source: North Andover, Massachusetts
Eagle Tribune, 7/19/15.
should not have to fear the government’s taking their
homes, farms, or businesses to give to other
persons. Governments should not abuse the power of
eminent domain to force rural property owners from their
land in order to develop rural land into industrial and
commercial property. Congress has a duty to protect the
property rights of rural Americans in the face of
eminent domain abuse." Source:
Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2015,
a Bill introduced by James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5)
in the 114th Congress, July 9, 2015.
Walker County voters will decide whether to continue a 3
mill property tax on September 8. Original
source: Daily Mountain Eagle, 7/14/15. The
Daily Mountain Eagle has since removed the article,
but we have posted a picture of it to AFOA's Facebook
Baldwin County voters will make a similar decision on
March 1, 2016.
Source: AL.com, 6/16/15.
"How much rain fell on my land during the last 24
hours?" If you have ever asked yourself that
question, Intellicast might have an answer for you.
Check out their 24 hour precipitation map
State Budget Mess - Part II -- a morning
commentary from forest industry lobbyist, Tom Saunders,
in From the Weeds, July 13, 2015. You may also
find Tom's commentary from
June 10, and
June 5 useful background information for what you
will read or hear in the daily news duing the next 30
Hearing: The State of Property Rights in America Ten
Years after Kelo v. City of New London, 2 PM
Eastern Time on July 9, 2015 in 2141 Rayburn House
Office Building, Washington, DC. Brian Seasholes, Reason
Foundation, one of the witnesses, will focus on the
impacts on property rights from the Endangered Species
Act and the Clean Water Act. You can listen to the
hearing on your computer.
New housing starts down in May. Scroll down to
slide 4. Source: Virginia Tech May 2015 Housing
Commentary by Urs Buehlmann and Al Shuler.
Archive of past reports.
The Boutwell Family of Alabama were recently named
Southern Regional Tree Farmers of the Year - 2015.
"Adding more land to the federal estate is irresponsible
when the government is failing to maintain the parks,
forests and grazing lands it currently owns. Rather than
using the conservation fund to acquire more land,
Congress should use the money to help address the
deferred maintenance backlog." Source: Property and
Environment Research Center, 6/30/15.
"Beetle Plague Spurs Canadians on U.S. Lumber-Mill
"Chased from their home forests by rising costs and a
plague of tree-killing beetles, West Fraser Timber Co.,
Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. have been on a buying
spree, doubling the number of mills they own in the
South since 2009 to about 34. The Canadians are drawn by
the region’s 210 million acres of fast-growing forests
and expanding housing markets from Texas to Virginia to
Florida, according to Brooks Mendell, president of
Forisk Consulting, an Athens, Georgia-based timberland
researcher." Source: Bloomberg.com, 6/22/15.
The Case Against Pope Francis's Green Encyclical.
Anything Peaceful, 6/22/15.
- Pope Francis:
Let us realize, for example, that most of the
paper that is produced is thrown away and not
- Borders & Bier:
So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to
go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware
that demand for paper is what drives the supply of
new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we
throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it
could have been hatched in Berkeley, California,
instead of Vatican City.
"On May 26, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) issued a Notice of Intent (Notice) that
initiated environmental review of a proposal to
regulate the incidental take of most of the bird species
found in the United States. In the Notice, FWS
a plan for development of a multi-layer permitting
program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
(MBTA), an almost 100-year-old statute designed to
control poaching and commercial hunting." "The MBTA
makes it a crime to 'pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill,
attempt to take, capture or kill,' possess, sell,
purchase, or ship any migratory bird or any part, nest
or egg of a migratory bird." About 1,000 species of
birds are included. FWS invites comments on their
proposal through July 27, 2015. Source: Marten Law, June
Alligator hunting season in Alabama is just around the
currently underway and will continue until 8 a.m. July
14, 2015. Hunters who draw tags are required to attend
mandatory training classes. See
www.outdooralabama.com (scroll down towards the
bottom of the page) for mandatory class schedules
and season dates. A 17-minute video in five segments has
been developed for alligator hunters to watch online.
Permit holders will then answer a series of questions
related to the video.
"2 Alabama ATV riders killed in 2 weeks, authorities
share safety tips."
A bipartisan effort to "preserve timberland tax
provisions in an ongoing national tax reform effort"
resulted in a June 3, 2015 letter sent by 80 Members of
Congress to Chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin.
Read an Alabama
Forestry Association press release praising the
leadership of Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell and the
rest of the Alabama delegation.
letter here. Editor's Note: While we
appreciate the efforts made by our Members of Congress
and the other 73 signers of the letter in our behalf, we
couldn't help chuckling at the 4 words in fine print at
the bottom of the first page of the letter: PRINTED
ON RECYCLED PAPER. We wonder if it would be
appropriate for a letter sent to a Congressional
committee focused on agricultural issues to bear a
message: EAT LESS CORN, or, in Congressman Ryan's
case: EAT LESS CHEESE.
Waters of the U.S.: "Congressman Gary Palmer
spoke out this week against the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) latest major regulation, which opponents
say is a significant overreach of the bureaucracy’s
power. Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA
is seeking to redefine “Waters of the United States”
under the Clean Water Act to include small areas water
collects or could collect, such as ditches, puddles and
small ponds." Source: Yellowhammer, 5/29/15
"Outpost Campsites" at Gulf State Park may be
just the idea you've been looking for to add extra
income from your forestland.
A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama,
ANR-0509, was revised last year by Auburn University's
Dr. Nancy Loewenstein. The 16 page publication contains
good line drawings and a dichotomous key to help you
identify 69 native trees. Open it in your tablet or
print out a copy and take an educational walk in the
Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention Cost-Share Program.
For a limited time, help is being offered to fight
against the number one killer of pine trees in Alabama.
Now through the end of June, technical assistance and
financial incentives are available to help forest
landowners across the state apply prevention practices
to reduce the susceptibility of their pine stands to
attack by southern pine beetle.
Don't Write Off Paper Just Yet. Be sure to look
at the top two lines in the graph, "Ten Years of Paper
Production." Tissue and Containerboard -- diapers and
cardboard boxes -- stable or slightly growing demand.
Source: NPR, 5/26/15
In his new book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty
without Permission, Charles Murray proposes "a
declaration of limited resistance to the existing
For a discussion of the book and to view an interview
with Murray, read Thomas Firey's review, Insuring
Tory win in United Kingdom may give Prime Minister
Cameron the power to remove "...the 'green crap' that
subsidises renewable power..."
The U.K. is a major importer of wood pellets shipped
from the Southern U.S. Government mandates in U.K. and
other European countries force electric power producers
there to use renewable energy sources, such as solar,
wind, and wood pellets.
No more public funds in tax increase referendums.
"Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), announced in a
press conference Monday morning that he is personally
filing a lawsuit to stop school boards from using
taxpayer money to campaign for tax increases."
is estimated that the Baldwin County school board spent
upwards of $1 million to campaign for the failed tax
hike." Source: YellowHammer, 5/4/15.
Time to Move on from the Endangered Species Act,
an article on the Heartland blog, 4/30/15, concludes
that authority over environment and land issues be
returned to the states. We might suggest that
authority over property should be returned to the
millions of private owners who have a strong vested
interest in caring for the land and the plants and
animals that live on it. The constant grinding away of
property rights by governments, large and small, must
Take Action on Black Pine Snake.
From Fear to Facts: A Landowner's Perspective
was produced by Michigan State University Extension to
help forest owners overcome their fears of harvesting
the trees they have grown. If you have never made a
timber sale, this video may be useful to you.
"Voters defeat tax increase in Lawrence County by
Source: The Moulton Advertiser, 4/29/15.
"Knowing the price paid for a timberland property does
not tell us whether it was a good price or not.
Just as with a house, we need to know where it is and
what its physical attributes are. A good timber
inventory is most important. A full inventory report
will provide information on land types, timber volumes
and sizes, site indexes and age class distributions."
Forest Research Notes, 1Q15.
Legislation in Montgomery that we thought you might
lots more at From the Weeds, 4/27/15):
- SB12 (Sandford)
Allows General Fund to participate in growth tax
- HB135 (Clouse)
General Fund Appropriations Bill that would cut
budget by 11% from 2015. Forestry Commission would
receive $1.7 million less than last year
SB227 (Singleton)/HB477 (Knight) Constitutional
increase property taxes statewide by 8.5 mills
HB485 (Melton) Perry County Constitutional
Amendment raising ad valorem taxes by 3 mills
Message to Governor Bentley: "Sell the Parks."
AFOA received an email a few days ago that read: "One
question that should be asked at this public meeting is
-- 'Since the purpose of government is not to
entertain, why doesn't the state sell the parks to
"Bentley to address budget crisis, possible state park
closures", source: The News Courier, 4/17/15.
"Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae just debuted its new
'HomePath Ready Buyer Program,' which lets
first-time homebuyers get up to a 3% rebate of a home’s
purchase price if they buy a Fannie Mae property, so
long as they complete an online homebuyer education
course which costs $75.00." "But is this new effort good
for taxpayers and the economy, or is this similar to
programs that led to the subprime mortgage crisis and
housing crash? Is the federal government acting once
again like the boozy bartender handing out free drinks
at the frat party?" Source:
April 22 is Earth Day! Environmentalists and
their friends may have brought us Earth Day, but please
say it isn't true that
big corporations and Republicans have forced upon us the
demise of the incandescent light bulb. If a
misguided Congress can take away light bulbs, it
shouldn't be too hard for them to abolish capital gains
treatment of timber sale income and expensing of forest
management and tree planting costs -- in the name of tax
Paul Ryan See:
Orrin Hatch See:
Forest Landowners Association - What is Tax a
Death Tax Repeal Vote Scheduled for this week.
"The Park Service gets around $2.6 billion to manage 84
million acres at 407 different sites, and includes
Parks, Monuments and Wilderness areas.
Congress, the administration and various lobbying groups
keep telling us there is a huge demand for these type
areas. If that be the case, why hire a private marketing
firm to conduct a seven-year, multimillion dollar
campaign to raise 'awareness' of these areas? Sorry, but
this is all about current and future funding, i.e.,
money. First, they want to use the 100 year anniversary
to obtain a substantial increase in their annual
operating budget. Second, the dirty little secret is
that youth and minorities make fewer visits to these
areas than their national population would indicate,
thereby becoming a threat to future funding. The future
of the agency and the crony capitalists in the outdoor
industry is at stake. Jarvis says they want a 'personal
connection to the public.' They do. To your wallet and
to Congressional coffers. Just wanted you to be 'aware'
of that too." Source: The Westerner, Frank
The Ecologically Destructive Tax: How the Federal Estate
Tax is Ecologically Harmful and How to Fix It
is the title of a Reason Foundation Working Paper
Brian Seasholes. "...because it is a
working paper, comments/criticisms are welcome, as I
will hopefully be turning this into a bit longer study,"
Seasholes in a recent email note.
Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on
Communities and the Environment is the title of a
public hearing to be conducted by the Subcommittee on
Federal Lands of the U.S. House Committee on Natural
Resources. Visit the
Committee Calendar for additional information, once
it is made available. The meeting is open to the public
and a live video stream will be broadcast at
House Committee on Natural Resources. Contact:
Committee Press Office (202) 226-9019.
Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Arthur Orr,
"Creates felony crime and penalties for hunting on
land without permission." Source:
From the Weeds, 4/3/15.
The original bill was
amended to include trespassing to catch fish as well as
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) "manage more than 100 million acres of
timberland in the United States, yet both agencies
lose money on their vast timber resources. Simply
put, these losses are the result of high management
costs and low revenues. From 2009 to 2013, the Forest
Service generated 32 cents for every dollar it spent on
timber management, while the BLM received 38 cents per
dollar spent." See Table 3 on page 14 of
Divided Lands: State Vs. Federal Management in the West
by Holly Fretwell and Shawn Regan.
Baldwin County voters "crushed a tax increase proposal
at the ballot box." "On the ballot in Baldwin
County Tuesday were referendums that would have
implemented a new 30-year, 8-mill property tax to pay
for a $350 million education building campaign, and the
renewal of three separate existing taxes totaling
7-mills. The county reportedly spent nearly $1 million
in taxpayer dollars to promote the tax increase and hold
the election. The new taxes were each defeated by over
30 points, and only one precinct in the entire county
voted to support them. Only one of the renewals
succeeded, which will keep an existing 3-mill tax in
place." Source: YellowhammerNews.com, 4/1/15.
Do-It-Yourself Information on Portable Sawmills, Log
Splitters, Logging Winches, Dry Kilns and all sorts
of related equipment and supplies can be found in the 52
2015 Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management Buyer's
Forest Management Practices to Enhance Habitat for the
is short publication that may be helpful to south
Alabama forest owners who want to prevent unnecessary
harm to these interesting residents of their land from
timber harvesting or other management activities.
Property Tax Referendums Now Listed on Secretary of
State's Website! PLEASE
THANK Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill
for adding this very important new information source to
the Secretary of State's website. Follow this path to
Upcoming Elections: open
www.sos.alabama.gov in your web browser; then
click on the
red "Elections" tab on the left; then click on
"View Alabama's UPCOMING ELECTIONS."
Here's what we found today:
"Reforestation at Risk - U.S. Department of Labor
Must Resume Processing H-2B Visas!" reports the
Forest Resource Association in an action alert dated
There have been 195 bills introduced in the Alabama
House and 167 in the Alabama Senate this week.
Some are really important, but may we digress from the
bigger picture to note that SB123 (Whatley)
"requires permit and $50 fee for game feeders."
From the Weeds, 3/6/15. Sounds like more
regulations and higher taxes, but we could be wrong.
Shipments of Southern Pine Lumber Up in 2014.
The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA)
announced on March 3rd that, for the fifth consecutive
year, shipments of Southern Pine lumber recorded an
increase from the previous year. Shipments in 2014
totaled 15.79 billion board feet (Bbf), an increase of
5% over the volume shipped in 2013 (15.03 Bbf) and 34%
above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf). Source: SFPA Press
Tuscaloosa County Property Tax Vote Today, March 3.
The 30-year tax is equivalent to $210 per year on a
$100,000 home. Source: Alabama13.com, 2/27/15.
Investing in Timberland is a blog written by
realtor and consulting forester Eddie Stone. We think
you might find the conversation interesting.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposes eliminating red
tape that strangles private forest owners in his state
-- and by eliminating regulations that require a state
forester to approve of timber harvests on private land,
he also proposes eliminating a few state forester
positions due to the reduced workload. To reduce
confiscatory property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners have allowed the state to take over the
management of their land. Walker's proposals may be
good, but will not eliminate the problems caused by
unreasonably high property taxes. According to the
the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has
Bentley "will propose a $700 million tax hike in his
State of the State address March 3rd." Source:
Two publications on silviculture that you may find
Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation,
by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal, continues their
eye-opening idea that property rights and markets can
provide real-world solutions for impending environmental
Listen to Dr. Anderson explain the meaning of "free
market environmentalism" during an interview with AFOA
Currently at about 1.2 million housing starts,
Forisk projects housing starts to peak at 1.6 million
starts by 2019.
"Lack-luster household formation," among other
things, still holding down demand for lumber products.
Source: Virginia Tech December 2014 Housing
Commentary. Archived at:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports
Strategic Plan to Grow Alabama's Agriculture,
Agribusiness, Forestry, and Forest Products Industries
2015 - 2020 was unveiled today at a
Montgomery press conference led by Governor Robert
Bentley, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture
and Industries, John McMillan, and leaders of Alabama's
agriculture and forestry industry.
Grandchildren: Company leadership might skip a
Lyme Disease in Alabama. "A little more than
three years ago, Carrie Mason was your normal
16-year-old, looking forward to having a driver’s
license and enjoying the outdoors with her parents, Art
and Dianne Mason."
outdoor essays from David Rainer.
"Capital Gains Taxes Should Go Down, Not Up."
"The President wants to raise the top tax rate on
capital gains and dividends to 28 percent." Source:
Raising Taxes on Capital Hurts the Middle Class,
Economics21, January 20, 2015. See also:
What Dynamic Analysis Tells Us About the President's Tax
Hike on Capital Gains and Dividends, Tax
Planning to build a boat dock or light vehicular
The Southern Forest Products Association has
recently published the
Construction Guide: "The 40-page publication
provides information for the correct use of southern
pine materials for the construction of docks, piers,
bulkheads, pedestrian walkways, and light vehicular
bridges. New to this edition are 16 pages of
sample designs and a glossary of marine construction
Marina Dock Age, Dec 14/Jan 15.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has given an
Idaho company permission to provide drone surveillance
services for agricultural uses.
We are not sure if forest imaging is included in
Advanced Aviation Solutions' permit, but if not now, we
suspect commercial forestry services will become
available in the not too distant future. Original
Idaho Statesman, 1/7/15. Somewhat related:
Unmanned Aircraft System News.
"Based on the vote [on
Amendment 5 on November 4, 2014], 20% of Alabama
voters were not in favor of hunting being guaranteed as
a basic right. That means one out of five people who
voted do not support hunting. The constitutional
amendment should stand as a vivid reminder that our
rights are defined for us by society. This is why our
conduct as hunters should always be responsible and
Hunting at the Ballot Box by
Corky Pugh at
Editor's question: Do you believe "growers and
harvesters of timber" would command greater respect from
Alabama voters than "hunters" if the question were put
to a vote?
Forestland security depends on lots of factors,
including the sense of responsibility of neighbors to
report timber trespass (theft) and other potentially
illegal activities on nearby forestland. Unfortunately,
that sense of responsibility may be declining, according
to a National Center for Policy Analysis Research
American's Sense of Civic Duty Declining. The
NCPA report was based on an
Associated Press-GfK poll. See also:
10 Predictions for Wood Consuming Industries in 2015
from Forest2Market. While basking in the glow of F2M's
infallible predictions, you may consider a more reserved
approach to belief in predictions after reading
Botched environmental predictions for 2015 from