Marking clear property lines can help reduce
trespassing, including inadvertent timber theft by
loggers on adjacent property.
This video from UK Forestry gives practical advice on
marking your boundaries. If you need a surveyor, we
recommend contacting Jennifer Sellers with the
Society of Professional Land Surveyors to find a
qualified surveyor in your county. Reach her by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
or phone: (251-345-0950).
Managing oil and gas development with forest resources
was a presentation by Rachael Carter at the recent
annual meeting of the Mississippi Forestry Association
that you might find useful. If you have questions about
oil and gas development on your land, you can contact
have now developed a low-cost, environmentally
friendly way to create printed materials with
rewritable paper. The rewritable paper can be
“printed” on with a stencil and ultraviolet light; it
erases when exposed to oxygen in air or ozone.”
“Congressional Republicans are planning a
massive overhaul of the nation's tax system …
The gist of the plan is to lower tax rates for just
about everyone, and make up the lost revenue by
scaling back exemptions, deductions and credits.”
Henry Barclay talked about these changes and what they
could mean for forest landowners on Capital
Ideas—Live! If this is important to you, you might
want to contribute your thoughts on the issue by
calling your Representative.
"The way you protect and handle seedlings can have a
huge impact on their survival.
Use the following guidelines to de-risk your
investment, increase survival rate and get maximum
A word of caution to rural communities about
broadband consultants. "People think consultants are
a mystical group of people who have all the answers,” he
said. “They’re selling snake oil.
They’ve found a niche for getting taxpayer money.”
subsidies are bad for taxpayers and bad for consumers.
They are a corrupt transfer of unearned wealth to
special interest groups...Heaven forbid we actually
get the government out of [our] business and simply
allow markets to work!"
Rocky Mountain Region is hiring nearly 900 temporary
positions across 17 national forests and seven
national grasslands located in Colorado, Kansas,
Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming." Applicants are
encouraged to begin now to complete the process in time.
"Applications for wildland fire and other early seasonal
positions will be accepted Jan. 4-11. Applications for
recreation, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, engineering,
administration and other positions will be accepted Feb.
Read more or apply here.
“Freres Lumber Co. hopes its
new-to-market, veneer-based massive plywood panels
will revolutionize construction…Designed to be an
alternative to cross-laminated timber, Freres’ massive
panels can be as much 12-feet wide, 48-feet long and
2-feet thick.” These panels are part of a larger trend.
Forbes, “architectural interest in this
oldest of building materials is surging globally.” A
new exhibit in Berlin previews the possibilities of
engineered wood products, with
some photos from the exhibit available here.
"Estate Tax Repeal to Get Renewed Push in New Congress."
Valuation discounts will be by-passed in new effort to
repeal the death tax. Source: National Federation of
Independent Business, 12/18/16.
"Timber harvesting will not require additional
stormwater regulation. In 2014, Congress
included in the final Farm Bill a provision that forest
roads and forest management continue to be regulated
through state BMPs (Best Management Practices) under the
Clean Water Act. The action ended litigation that began
in an Oregon district court in 2006. Congress did not
address EPA’s authority to adopt a regulatory program
for stormwater discharges but saw no need for regulatory
action." Source: West Virginia Forestry Association
eNews Weekly, 12/13/16.
Standard pump gasoline quickly deteriorates and
should not be kept over 30 days in any season. Start
each season with a fresh batch of 50:1 2–cycle fuel mix.
Read STIHL’s complete steps for prepping outdoor
power tools for winter storage.
We have highlighted this annual
Human Freedom Index a few times over the years.
For perspective, the US fell out of the top 10 list
for economic freedom for the first time in 2005, and
fell 12 spots this year to number 24. We are
concerned that interest in property rights continues to
lessen in the US.
Find your dream property: A collection of
essays to help simplify the process of finding and
purchasing rural land from Tom Brickman of Birmingham.
Scott Pruitt has been named to head the EPA.
In his statement, Pruitt said: “The American people
are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our
economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend
to run this agency in a way that fosters both
responsible protection of the environment and freedom
for American businesses.”
"The development of
Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) is becoming an
increasingly popular approach to increase private
landowner’s ability to utilize prescribed fire."
"Hardwoods are a smaller component of wood production
and consumption in the US, but provide
diversification due to differences in end-uses and can
produce some high-value timber." Source: Forest
Forest Research Notes, Vol 13, No. 2.
PRT USA Inc. announced construction of a
containerized forest seedling nursery at the former E.A.
Hauss Nursery site north of Atmore, to be completed in
early 2017. Seedlings will be available for the
2017/18 planting season. According to its
Canada-based PRT is the largest producer of
container-grown seedlings in North America.
markets and forest management news from
Forest Management Specialists.
Landowners with large power transmission lines
joined an AFOA conference call on 11/26/16 to discuss
solar farm leasing inquiries. The inquiries are
evidently motivated by a
request for proposals by Alabama Power Company. Flat
land such as pasture land or cleared forestland seemed
to be of most interest. An attorney in the discussion
group stated that he had negotiated three options to
lease. For further reading:
additional solar leasing considerations from a Texas
Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist for the Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas City wrote, “Looking forward,
single-family construction is likely to continue to drag
down residential investment. Single-family housing
starts peaked in March 2016 and have since sharply
declined. As building a single-family home typically
takes about six months, the recent decline in starts
will put downward pressure on single-family construction
during the third and fourth quarters. Moreover,
single-family permits, a more forward-looking and
better- measured indicator of construction, have been
running considerably below starts, suggesting that
single-family construction will remain weak in 2017.”
Virginia Tech – U.S. Forest Service housing market
report for Sept. 2016. Hear more from Rappaport in
his 2014 interview for our
“Ignoring the potential impacts of running heavy forest
products trucks on these access lanes can potentially
result in expensive remediation—and in unhappy
landowners, neighbors, and members of the general
public...One way to mitigate this potential is to
spread the weight over a wider area with a
temporary and portable plastic road.” An AFOA
member recently saw these successfully in use on the
Chief Ladiga trail in north Alabama east of Piedmont.
“…the loss of the International Paper mill in Courtland
dealt a severe blow to [northwest Alabama] timber
forestry consultant and AFOA member Stephan Tomlinson.
“…a port on the Tennessee River in Colbert County
would provide an inexpensive way for [northwest Alabama]
timber owners to get their product to new markets.”
“There are an estimated 10.7 million family forest
ownerships across the United States who collectively
control 36% or 290 million acres of the nation's
forestland. The US Department of Agriculture Forest
Service National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) provides
information on the characteristics, attitudes, and
behaviors of these ownerships.”
View the full report here by clicking "Download PDF"
listen to the podcast by clicking the blue button
"From planting and habitat to fire and production,
this fun-filled book helps children better understand
how your work helps forests."
The Society of American Foresters is offering a 28-page
coloring and activity book
in time for the holidays.
As the head of the EPA transition team, “Mr.
Ebell, who revels in taking on the scientific consensus
on global warming, will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in
choosing personnel and setting the direction of
federal agencies that address climate change and
environmental policy more broadly.”
Listen to AFOA's conversation with Ebell on Federal Land
Acquisition in Alabama.
This video from SuperTree Seedlings shows the
process of preparing bare-root seedlings for sale,
from when they are lifted from the nursery through being
packaged for shipping out to buyers or planters.
Alabama forest owner Senator Jeff Sessions was
nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for Attorney
General, according to
this story from
View Sessions' remarks at the 2014 AFOA Annual Meeting.
A Jackson County man “has been charged with
violating the state’s new Chronic Wasting Disease
(CWD) carcass ban for returning to Alabama with
a deer harvested in Illinois, a known CWD state…CWD is a
fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of
deer. Once introduced into the environment, it is
impossible to eradicate.”
Alabama state representative Seth Hammett said that
“prior to looking at the report, he would not have
thought Alabama would be fifth in the use of biomass,
or fuel from organic material, such as scrap lumber and
forest debris. Much of Alabama's contribution comes from
wood and wood waste from the state's forest products
industry. In fact, Alabama has the third largest
amount of timberland acreage in the lower 48 states,
according to the report."
“Gov. Robert Bentley announced a $5,000 reward
for anyone who provides
information leading to the arrest and conviction of a
person who is responsible for setting wildfires…People
should report violations of the order to local law
Below are the results of November 8 local property
tax votes, where available:
Forestry 2017: the Simulation is now
available for PlayStation 4, in time for Christmas.
Players explore different facets of the forest industry,
from operating logging equipment to marketing goods and
building a successful business.
View a trailer and screenshots of the PC version here.
US South has become the most active region in the
country for the forest products industry...Primarily
because the South provides ample access to
fast-growing, quality wood fiber that is managed on
private lands and is therefore not subject to much
of the overbearing regulation that is so pervasive in
other parts of the country."
Donald Trump has officially been named the winner of
the 2016 US presidential election. The House
of Representatives and Senate remain in Republican
The Endangered Species Act defines a “threatened”
species as one that “is likely to become an endangered
species within the foreseeable future . . .”
The Ninth Circuit recently upheld a 2012 “threatened”
designation for the Beringia seal that relied heavily on
climate change models through the year 2100. We
thought this disturbing precedent raised comparisons to
the science fiction film
What constitutes the “foreseeable future”, and do you
trust computer models to dictate laws?
Property Tax Decisions will be made by voters on
Tuesday, November 8. Tax increases will be on the
ballots in 5 Alabama counties: Sumter, Marion, Franklin,
Marshall, and Tallapoosa.
Check out page one of the November issue of
Capital Ideas for brief descriptions and links to
sample ballots. Sample ballots for all Alabama
counties are on the Secretary of State's website at
“We recommend that even seasoned landowners hire
consulting foresters. When the landowner does well,
the forester does well, and the land is left with more
This article from the
The Progressive Farmer, 11/16, gives concrete
examples and tips for landowners
on why and how to work with consulting foresters to
maximize profit from timber sales. Open our November
Capital Ideas newsletter, page 2,
Classified Section, for consulting forester
for a list of consulting foresters who seek work in your
Americans understood our excellent common law tradition
of real property ownership, they might not be so
sanguine about losing their ownership rights one
right at a time."
Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2016 Tax
Year by Dr. Linda Wang
available now on page four of our November newsletter
11/3/16) . You can also keep an eye on
Developments section of the National Timber Tax
Website to check for updated versions in the
“Environmentalists are increasingly confronted with
two emerging ideas about the natural world: that there
is no balance of nature, and that nature cannot be
easily separated, if at all, from human action. Many
are now embracing a new reality—known as the
“Anthropocene”—reflecting the magnitude of human
influences over the planet.” A new book of essays from
Property and Environment Research Center explores
ideas about environmental policy in light of this new
Read online or
download for Kindle.
Agroforestry integrates trees with crops and/or
livestock in a single management unit. These
practices can provide landowners with additional short
term income opportunities managed alongside their timber.
If you practice agroforestry or might be interested,
this newsletter from the Association for Temperate
Agroforestry is a free resource. You might also
listen to our past Capital Ideas--Live!
Richard Straight and
Greg Ruark on silvopasture, one type of agroforestry
"While housing starts continue to ease upward along with
lumber prices during the third quarter, prices paid
to landowners for pine sawtimber stayed flat—a
condition that is unlikely to change until hosing starts
the Canadians aren’t helping us
with pine sawtimber prices. Since the expiration of
the Softwood Lumber Agreement last year, imports into
the United States have risen by about 23 percent."
"The long term outlook for
forestry remains good but in the short term it will
probably remain more of the same." Source:
F&W Forestry Report, Fall 2016
Matre Forestry survey highlighted
four top sites for researching land for sale:
Lands of America,
Land & Farm,
Landflip. He notes that Lands of America, Land and
Farm, and another site, Loopnet, are all part of the
same company. You can also find Alabama-wide listings
AFOA listings of land for sale in Alabama.
The slides from this month's Dinner & Discussion on
Forestry Taxes with Orman R. Wilson of
available online here.
The National Alliance of Forest Owners responded to a
"misleading" article from the NY times on biomass,
breaking down several faulty assumptions underpinning
cooperation with the burn ban may have reduced fires
slightly, but firefighters are still dealing with
a major outbreak in areas under an extreme drought."
"Over the past four decades, the U.S. has seen a
dramatic increase in the proportion of homeowners to the
U.S. population, peaking just short of 70% in the first
quarter of 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Since then, homeownership has declined to the low 60s.
The rate of homeownership is likely to continue to
decline further into the mid-to-low 50s as changes
in demographic trends, increased regulation and stagnant
real incomes all work to make the dream of homeownership
more difficult to achieve.” Source:
senior managing director for the Kroll Bond Rating
Agency, quoted by Virginia Tech-US Forest Service,
August 2016 Housing Commentary: Section I
"The emerald ash borer is now
confirmed in Alabama. … The USDA APHIS, the USDA
Forest Service and the Alabama Forestry Commission will
work with the Alabama Department of Agriculture to
decide on the immediate action and response of this
pest. Official statement from the Department of
Agriculture and Industries is expected soon." See also
Capital Ideas—Live! segment on the ash borer
and the status of ash trees in Alabama.
Weyerhaeuser announced plans to upgrade its softwood
lumber mill in Millport, Ala. “This investment … is
designed to improve cost competitiveness and long-term
mill viability. In addition, it will add jobs and expand
product offerings.” In addition, Two Rivers Lumber
Company will build a
state of the art sawmill in Demopolis, WSFA in
from a study led by a U.S. Forest Service scientist
suggest that more frequent use of prescribed fire
will be needed to reach common management objectives for
the hardwood forests in the southern Appalachian region."
those who want to get into the timber sector but do
not want to become too dependent on one company. ETFs
(exchange-traded funds) like WOOD are ideal for this
kind of investor. But what does the fund hold?"
“If you have a taxable estate and you want to make
larger gifts or discounted sales to your heirs,
it might make sense to do so before the end of the year.”
(Article on pages 26-27) For further reading, check out
Andy Bielbl’s strategies for both larger and smaller
"Methods other than clearcutting often find considerable
interest on private family forest as well as public
lands. There’s no better place in the South to see
this variety of successful practices than at the
Crossett Experimental Forest." You might find it
worthwhile to visit the demonstration site for a closer
look at good forest management.
a new report from the American Forest Foundation
"family landowners, who own the majority (58 percent) of
the forests in the South, are key to providing forested
habitat for at-risk species and sustainable wood
supplies for the industry...Thus it is possible to
grow and support the South’s forest-based economy and
improve habitat for wildlife at the same time by working
with family landowners." Source:
Woods to Mill Blog, Forest Resources
The Alabama Forestry Commission has issued a Fire
Danger Warning for 46 Alabama counties effective
immediately, until appreciable rainfall is received.
See the news release for more information and list
of affected counties.
We are giving away a hard copy of
Southern Pine Beetle II at our October Dinner
& Discussion meeting. The publication features
full-color photos, maps, and everything you need to know
about this destructive pest. The October 20 meeting will
be at the Boot at Brook Highland, and Rick Norris,
CPA will give a short program on forestry taxes.
See our calendar for full info.
We enjoyed this interesting
video about Wayne Sasser of Opp, Alabama, who
creates handmade white oak baskets. We encourage you
to check out past seasons of this
Absolutely Alabama video series, and let us
know if you find one that might be interesting to AFOA
members. Send suggestions to
"[Hillary Clinton] actually just decided to double
down on her destructive tax agenda by
endorsing an even bigger increase in the death tax."
"Big tree hunters from across the country scoured
backcountry wilderness, rural farmland, city centers and
even college campuses to find
64 new champions to add to the register." Check out
species without a listed national champion - maybe
you've got one on your property. Alabama's champion tree
seven new champions in 2015.
can play a vital role in supplying renewable fuel
wood energy and make the most out of the uptick in
international demand …Without continued growth of
our forest products industry to create new markets to
utilize these valuable resources, it is very likely that
forest owners across our state would be faced with
looking at alternative uses for their land.” – John
“This announcement is a call for help from the
administration and an acknowledgement that [the
Endangered Species Act] is broken … No matter who
wins the White House in November, the law’s failings
necessitate reform.” - Rob Bishop, chairman of the House
Committee on Natural Resources, calling for an end to
the “excessive litigation driving ESA-related policy
Read the full news release here.
This research from
Forisk Consulting digs deep into costs and returns on
management activities by large timberland owners.
Some key points form the report:
- 571 trees planted
per acre with an 87.8 percent survival rate
- 83 percent conduct
first thinnings and 71 percent also conduct second
- average age of
first thinning is 15 years with $371/acre revenue
- average age of
second thinning is 21 years with $401/acre revenue
- average age of
final harvest is 33 years, with range of 21 to 75
years, with average clearcut revenue of $1,614/acre
Source: Report compiled
by Forisk Consulting and published by Forest Resources
Association, Technical Release 16-R-17, 8/16.
A new law in New Hampshire allows landowners to
sue for treble damages and legal fees for damage
caused by off-road vehicles or dumping. “This
bill gives courts the authority to order clean-up
and restitution to the landowner of any illegal dumping.
It’s a strong deterrent for an illegal activity that is
all too common,” said
Hampshire Timberland Owners Association executive
director Jasen Stock.
Family Business Consulting Group offers advice on
wealth continuity. "In my view, the key to successful
wealth continuity (i.e., preserving both family
relationships and family assets) lies in ensuring
that the structures created to preserve family assets
are aligned with the hopes, dreams and capacities of
Trade pact benefits our forest industry, says
Alan Shelby of the Florida Forestry Association.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not add the
angular dwarf crayfish, Icebox Cave beetle, Clifton Cave
beetle, and the Virgin Island coqui to the threatened
and endangered species list, the service said this
week. This decision comes after petitions from outside
organizations to list these species.
Read the news release here.
Land Handbook" provides a document to help
landowners ensure land is "smoothly and effectively
passed on to the next caretakers." Although it was
written for Wisconsin landowners, much of it will be
useful for landowners in any state.
Cultivating ginseng on your land could be a
low-investment way to bring in income.
Purdue University Extension is researching
“simulated wild grow” of the native plant. “Our interest
in ginseng kind of arises from the whole area of forest
farming and agro-forestry,” says
Lenny Farlee of Purdue Extension. “So, it’s the idea
of combining forest management with some sort of crop
that might be planted either underneath the forest or
with the trees.” Wild ginseng has fetched upwards of
$700 per pound in the past, but
be careful – you can run afoul of regulations in place
to prevent overharvesting due to high overseas
"Gov. Robert Bentley issued an executive order
Thursday declaring a state of emergency in Alabama
over concerns about fuel shortages in the wake of a
gasoline pipeline spill that released about 250,000
gallons of gasoline south of Birmingham and shut down a
major pipeline connecting refineries in Houston with the
rest of the country."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is placing
the white fringeless orchid on the federal
threatened and endangered species list as threatened.
This plant occurs in eight Alabama counties: Calhoun,
Clay, Cleburne, Dekalb, Jackson, Marion, Tuscaloosa, and
A map of the affected counties can be viewed here.
The newly announced Alabama Master Naturalist Program
will offer a course in East Central Alabama beginning
October 13, 2016. We look forward to attending these
to learn more about the land we own and manage. Class
locations will be at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander
City and other to be determined locations. Cost of this
course is $30 per day or $200 for all 8 sessions.
Full course details as well as online registration can
be found here.
The Alabama Forestry Commission has hired Ray Metzler
to serve as a Threatened and Endangered Species
Specialist. In addition to gathering information and
providing comments to state and federal agencies,
Metzler will also be a resource for landowners.
See the full news release here.
If you’re interested in turning your drone hobby into
a business, Auburn University is preparing to offer
a class on UAS (drones) that will help individuals get
certified to become Remote Pilots. Please
email Earle Thompson at email@example.com to
ask questions or express interest in this Part 107 UAS
class. If you have other questions about UAS related
to agriculture or forestry,
email Christian Brodbeck in Auburn's biosystems
In some areas of the south,
replanting with longleaf after a disaster can reduce
a plantation’s future vulnerability to hurricanes, fire,
and pine beetles. U.S. Forest Service Southern
Research Station (SRS) established the
Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems unit
to help landowners interested in exploring this option.
Below are some market factors affecting your pine
Landowner upset with NPS over repairs to bridge to
Wildfire prevention cited as reason for subsidizing
use of biomass in power plants in California: “Here
is the real issue: there are 66 million dead trees in
the Sierra Nevada that need to be removed. The taxpayer
is going to pay either way."
Additional videos of the AFOA 2016 Annual Meeting
presentations are now online:
The Alabama Graphite Belt, located in western Coosa
County, was once home to significant graphite
production. Alabama Graphite Corp acquired 42,000
acres of mineral rights in 2012 and is “focused on
exploration and development.” Driving this project
the market for highly refined graphite for lithium-ion
If you own land in one of the
fifteen Alabama counties with shale formations, you
might want to consult an expert before selling mineral
rights too cheaply. “Last week, the Energy
Information Administration (EIA) released data showing
the world’s tight [shale] oil production could more than
double by 2040.” Furthermore, “the United States is
expected to contribute the vast majority of the tight
Read the full article here.
Research from South Carolina suggests that coyote
predation on deer fawns could force changes in hunting
regulations and deer management. “Deer numbers in
some areas of the Southeast have declined below the
level desired by wildlife managers,” says
an article from the Southern Research Station. A
long term study from 2012 “established predation by
coyotes as the leading cause of death of fawns and
suggested that levels of deer harvest in South Carolina
at that time were unsustainable.”
As the FWS reaches the end of its court-mandated work
the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is again
threatening to sue the FWS over the listing of 417
species. The Westerner points out, “These
sue and settle tactics do nothing to actually recover
species, which the FWS has accomplished for less than
two percent of the species on the endangered list.”
These listings and resulting “critical habitat”
designations can lock up forestland and greatly
restrict landowners’ options for managing their own
states including Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and
Alabama filed a petition in support of a landowner’s
request to have his case heard by the entire 5th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of Markle vs. U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service, the Louisiana landowner is
hoping to keep his 1500 forested acres from being
classified as “critical habitat” to the dusky gopher
frog, a species classified as endangered by the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service." The frog hasn't lived on
the land in question since the 1960s, and the FWS deemed
it unlikely to ever live there again.
Read more about it in an article posted here.
A Sumter County, Florida man is fighting charges
after shooting an alligator that was in his horse
and which then injured his son.
The local news station reported that some details are
unclear, but the FWC report noted that he knew a
license was required to shoot an alligator. This
story seems to suggest that a person can legally use a
firearm to protect his home against intruders, but
possibly go to jail for protecting livestock and a
person from an attacking animal.
Videos of selected presentations from AFOA's 2016
annual meeting are now available online. More will
be added soon, so check back in for helpful seminars for
landowners from experts.
“If you have been considering transferring your
family business to your heirs, now may be the time to
Proposed changes may affect the valuation discount
historically allowed for a family-controlled
corporation, partnership or limited liability company.
Hunters: Early Canada goose season runs from
September 1-15 in several states, a tool to help manage
the populations of resident geese. “The
focus of these hunts is to target resident geese.
Resident geese reside year round in areas where in large
numbers they are often considered a nuisance for the
damage they can cause.” Goose season in Alabama is
September 1-30, with a five-bird bag limit.
Full information about waterfowl hunting is here.
purchase a hunting license here, and must join the
HIP (Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program) if
you intend to hunt selected migratory birds.
County is one of 16 counties in Alabama where there have
been positive tests for the Zika virus,
according to the Alabama Department of Public Health."
On Capital Ideas--Live!,
John Phillips gave his three point system for keeping
mosquitoes away. You may also be interested in
mosquito repellent and safety information from the
"There is good reason to feel optimistic about the
economic contributions the wood energy industry has the
potential to make in Alabama and beyond,"
said Lance Brown of PACE. For example, "Wood energy
is proving to be a critical asset to British energy
security, allowing the U.K. to meet its emissions goals
and avoid over-dependence on foreign natural gas."
With sorrow, we announce the passing of forestry
leader Mike Dixon, Jr. from
brain cancer. We were pleased to have Mike as an
AFOA board member who helped us by giving us good advice
over the years. Funeral services for Mike will be held
Wednesday 8-17-16 at 2 PM at the First Baptist Church in
Alabama Forestry Association Newsroom, 8/15/16
Alabama is not the only state facing hard decisions.
budget cut of more than $3,000,000 forces the
Mississippi Forestry Commission to lay off 25 employees,
four of which are state arson investigators."
Single family houses are getting larger, but that
does not necessarily mean more lumber.
The 2016 first-quarter analysis of the housing market
by the Forest Research Group has current and historical
data on housing starts, and also some good information
about trends in lumber use in one of the biggest markets
for pine growers.
Many landowners would benefit from the upcoming
Forestry for Non-Foresters. “This course will be
especially useful for landowners and those who work with
foresters and the forest industry such as forestry
agencies, associations, forestry investment firms, real
estate investment trusts and banking institutions with
forest investments.” The two speakers also presented
a successful seminar on this topic at our annual meeting.
The meeting program and links to speaker bios can be
The portable basketball courts used for the Rio Olympics
are made of US hardwood, milled and put together
in Michigan, and painted and sealed in Tennessee. “We
were competing against companies from Europe, to U.S.,
Canada and Asia, and in the end, they chose us…in our
industry, we won a gold medal.”
This week marks the 1944 debut of America's favorite
fire prevention mascot.
Read more about Smokey's history here.
A timely reminder: If you order seedlings now,
suppliers are more likely to have what you want; if
you wait until they're needed, you might not be able to
get what you need. Contact information for some seedling
suppliers is below:
International Forest Company, 1-800-633-4506
ArborGen, LLC, 1-800-222-1280
Superior Trees, Inc., (850)971-5159
White City Nursery, (334)365-2488
Weyerhaeuser Company, 1-800-635-0162
- Pinecrest Forest
Seedling Nursery, (229)314-9445
- Blanton's Longleaf
Container Nursery, (850)973-2967
Meeks' Farms & Nursery, Inc., 1-877-809-1737
Whitfield Farms & Nursery, (912)682-4948
TerraStride Pro is an "online mapping platform"
used by real estate professionals. See how Matre
Forestry Consulting used the software to show property
boundaries and embed photos in the maps they are using
to sell 368 acres of forestland in southwest Georgia.
Click here and scroll to the bottom to look at the
Endangered Species Act Often Used for Political Purposes
Report Landowners in Georgia Study.
Webinar tomorrow, August 3, from 1 PM to 2 PM Central
Time on a mobile GIS app, Wolf GIS Apex. The
developers will go over the basics, functions, and
features of this
new smart phone app that should be of special
interest to forest landowners.
A successful model for "common sense, science-based
approach to managing forests" is the privately owned
working forest, according to Suz-Anne Kinney in her
The West's Ravaged Woodlands -- A Problem with a Proven
You don't have to negotiate a timber sale by yourself.
"Working with professional foresters and consultants
consistently brings in higher bids on timber sales...There
are many benefits that a landowner can receive by
working with professionals such as local regulation
expertise, tax advice, timber sale administration,
reforestation assistance, financial cost share
assistance, etc." Source:
National Woodland Owners Association's
Wednesday Woodland Word, 7/27/16
“'For sixty years now, the sign of active fire
protection has been an airplane dropping retardant or a
helicopter dropping water,' says Stephen Pyne, a
professor of history at Arizona State University and the
author of over a dozen books on wildfire.“
This article is the best we’ve seen on the topic of the
cost and effectiveness of fighting fire with aircraft.
It argues that with any significant fire, “the effect
is a bit like spitting on a campfire.” Some call
unnecessary use of planes and helicopters to fight
wildfire “the CNN drop” because good "media optics"
reassure the public that enough is being done.
AFOA's current Hunting Insurance Liability Policy
ends at midnight on July 31. To prevent a lapse in
coverage, current users need to send renewal
applications and payments ASAP..
New users can click here for the application.
If you are renewing, your renewal application should
have been received in early June. Please call our
office at 205-987-8811 if you cannot locate yours.
"Healthy forests, just like healthy human
populations, are sustained by a diversity of age classes.
Each class has a role to play in maintaining wildlife
and human communities for years to come," says
an article on
Foster Folly News from July 13, 2016. For
practical information, check out the segment on
nurturing young forest with
Dr. Katie Greenberg in this
interview from 2015.
Pokemon Go and the free market: "People are walking,
and even running, some for the first time in their lives
... it took a nostalgic video game available on every
smartphone in the country to accomplish what no
government program ever really could." Source:
The Republican 2016 platform calls for big changes
to the EPA and administration of the Endangered Species
Act. The platform calls for changing the EPA from a
federal agency to a bipartisan commission to “…shift
responsibility for environmental regulation from the
federal bureaucracy to the states.” The platform also
calls for the end of the practice called
"sue-and-settle"—"in which environmental groups sue
federal agencies whose officials are complicit in the
litigation so that, with the taxpayers excluded, both
parties can reach agreement behind closed doors.”
Read more at this July 20 post from
PowerSouth CEO Gary Smith
wonders why wind companies get a pass when it
comes to killing eagles: “The favoritism and
preferential treatment given to renewable energy over
other, more reliable forms of energy – and the
government’s tendency to choose winners and losers – is
more troubling.” Read
the full article from Alabama Living Magazine
here, as well as
further reporting from the
Christian Science Monitor. Source:
Alabama Living Magazine, July 2016
The Fifth Circuit Court in Louisiana handed down a
baffling decision recently about the dusky gopher frog:
decision [to reject the challenge to the critical
habitat designation] is remarkable because it upholds
the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(FWS) to designate areas as “critical habitat” that
are not currently habitable by the frog and have not
been shown likely to be habitable in the foreseeable
Lodges, based in Bear Creek, Alabama, makes mobile,
customizable cabins. We were impressed--photos show
lots of wood in the
March 2016 issue of
Business Alabama placed the cabins in the
larger trend of tiny homes: "Steve Sullivan, sales
director, now sees a different audience as three or four
of these 400-square-foot park models are produced every
week, covering the gamut from the most elegantly
appointed and modernized to rustic and functional. Lil’
Lodges, too, was featured on
Tiny House Nation, with a spectacular
mini-structure built as a posh family getaway in the
Are you considering purchasing a bulldozer for your
Equipment Trader is a new marketplace that
connects buyers and sellers of used forestry machines,
attachments, components, and parts; it connects
allied service providers with potential customers; and
it connects employers with potential employees." The
service is provided in partnership by
Hatton Brown Publishers and
Southern Loggin' Times.
The F&W Forestry Report,
available here now, features second quarter
stumpage prices, a surprising move by Weyerhaeuser, the
first new pulp and paper mill in the US south since
1985, and more timber market news.
We haven’t heard of issues problems in Alabama lately
with the designation of a river under
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but
William Perry Pendley, President of the Mountain
States Legal Foundation, is looking for evidence that
these designations can have adverse effects for locals
and their property rights. If you have any
experience with or information about problems related to
this act, please share them with him at 303-292-2021. He
can also be reached via
contact form on the MSLF website.
The West could learn some lessons about fire from the
this article reports, but attitudes here might also
be changing as people unused to prescribed fire move
closer to forests that need it. “They want the
experience of living near nature, but they bring
attitudes of not wanting to smell cattle urine or smoke
from fires,” says Johnny Stowe, who manages fire in
South Carolina. Managing where people and wild lands
meet is an issue worldwide:
this city has imposed new rules to regulate building
near wildfire prone areas.
“It is a rich irony that it is often experts who have
exacerbated economic problems.” Forest landowners
might want to watch the growing field of behavioral
economics, which suggests that experts are needed to
guide the decisions of irrational citizens.
This article calls behavioral econ an “assault on
reason,” and we agree it’s wise to think hard
before completely turning over your rights to the
The Fort Payne City Council passed an ordinance last
week requiring permits for logging operations. “The
council [also] enacted a 2-month moratorium forbidding
the issuance of the newly required logging permits,
effectively shutting down new logging projects in Fort
Payne for the next 60 days.” All Alabama landowners
should be aware of this troubling precedent.
Bringing deer parts into Alabama from
Chronic Wasting Disease-affected areas (see
this map) is now prohibited. "Body parts from
[CWD] infected animals can carry the same deadly risk to
Alabama’s deer herd as live animals ... Under this
new regulation they must take steps to debone the meat
or remove all brain tissue from their harvested deer
before returning home to Alabama."
Read the full news release from
“In enterprising families, there are many facets to
preparation: leadership, ownership, independence and
stewardship…Continuity in the family business is
dependent upon the next generation.”
This article from the Family Business Consulting Group
on how to get teens and young adults interested in the
family business might be helpful for forest landowner
expressed our misgivings about the Game Check
Program, but since game checks will be
mandatory in the 2016-17 hunting seasons, the
Game Check Seminars happening statewide can give you
the information you need to be in compliance.
Technology could offer expanded markets for Alabama
Oxford's Kronospan plant, which makes wood-based panels
and laminate flooring, is expanding, investing $362
million in a multi-phase plan which could result in
hiring another 160 to 200 employees. Cross-laminated
timber is also making advances in the US, and
this commentator expects CLT manufacturing to grow
as "research and demonstration projects fuel interest in
prefabricated engineered wood systems."
"Alabama had a great year in 2015 for new and
expanding industry with over $7 billion in new capital
investment. The forest products industry had its
best year since the recession with nearly $900 million
invested in the state, continuing a 7- year upward
trend." - Ken Muehlenfeld, Director of the Forest
Products Development Center, Alabama Department of
Read the news release from the Alabama Forestry
"A pair of 90-second animations are delivering key
messages for using softwood materials around the
WoodNatually.com, the website sponsored by the
Softwood Lumber Board targeting residential
construction markets." Watch: "Wood:
the Go-To Choice for Your Outdoor Oasis" and "Wood
Wise: Building Planet- and People-Friendly Homes."
Source: Southern Forest Products Association
“Forest owners are pleased EPA exercised its broad
discretion under the CWA by keeping management of water
quality programs at the local level through state
Best Management Practices (BMPs),” said Dave Tenny, NAFO
President and CEO.
Read the news release at the NAFO website.
Hoover City Board of Education is facing decisions
regarding Jefferson County's renewal of the ad
valorem taxes set to expire in the next few years."
Source: Shelby County Reporter, 6/15/16
"Incredible video footage shows
an air tanker dropping ten thousand gallons of water
over a tiny fire and drenching the cameraman and
a bystander." Source: Wildfire News of the Day,
"Unfortunately, certain toxic chemicals have been
found in some lakes and rivers in Alabama. Some of
these chemicals can accumulate in fish. With some of
the chemicals, higher levels of the contaminants can be
found in older and/or larger fish. When chemical
concentrations are elevated in fish, they can pose
health risks to people who eat them."
Read the full report on toxins in Alabama fish.
Obama administration is on the verge of approving
routine commercial use of small drones. The
long-anticipated rules will mean drone operators would
be able to fly without special permission." Source:
The Westerner, 6/21/16. Update, 7/5/16:
The FAA has released the final rules on the use of
small, unmanned aerial systems.
For a worthwhile read on the background and
management of shortleaf pine, check out the
Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan released by the
Shortleaf Pine Initiative. “The Plan is intended for use
by practitioners of such disciplines as forestry,
wildlife and conservation biology, and natural resources
management, as well as policy makers in state and
federal governments, and most importantly, by the
private landowners and public lands managers whose land
management decisions are so vital to the future of
shortleaf.” According to the plan, shortleaf pine
(Pinus echinata) has the largest geographic extent of
the southern yellow pines, and commercially, shortleaf
pine was once a valued timber commodity.
Forest Finance Simplified is a solid guide to
forest investment and the financial side of forest
management, according to Steve Wilent in his article
"Net Present Value: A Business Skills Refresher" in
The Forestry Source, June 2016. “'At the
end of the day,' Mendell said at the workshop, 'the
ability to do the math about where capital is spent or
allocated responsibly and getting returns [is important
because] the research shows—and we know from
experience—that when forest owners and investors have
the opportunity to manage their resources and generate a
reasonable rate of return, they replant.'” Mendell also
Aunt Fanny series on forestry for beginners.
A recently signed law in New Mexico bars the public
from walking or wading in streams that run through
private property without written permission. Source:
The Westerner, 6/16/16
AFOA member J. Hudson Hines of Beatrice, Alabama was
named "Young Forest Landowner of the Year" by the
Forest Landowners Association at their national
conference in Orlando, Florida on June 6, 2016. This
national award is given to an outstanding FLA member
under 50 years old and involved in the promotion and
sustainability of timberland.
The banning of the "hack and squirt" technique in
California shows why it’s important to keep local
and state lawmakers informed about forestry and land
Wooden high-rise buildings?
The University of British Columbia’s, 18-storey,
mass-timber Brock Commons student residence will be the
world’s tallest mass-timber building. “Brock Commons
is intended to stand as a showpiece not only for the
sustainability features of wood, but also for its
cost-competitiveness with more traditional concrete and
A 12-story building of cross laminated timber (CLT)
is set to go up in Portland, Ore. later this year.
"It's going to change the way we build here in the
U.S.," said John Redfield, the chief operating
officer at D.R. Johnson, the only lumber mill in the
U.S. certified to make CLT.
Bourbon producers testified recently to the Kentucky
state legislature about the demand for white oak and
their efforts to educate landowners on management
techniques favorable for white oak. “'We need forests
the size of Rhode Island populated with white oak just
for our use,' said Jason Underwood with Sazerac, the
parent company of Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792.
Underwood said his company’s demand for white oak has
reached “crisis” proportions as Buffalo Trace and the
company’s other distilleries ramp up bourbon production
each year." Source:
City News, 6/3/16
The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests in the
United States is the third update of a study
begun by the National Alliance of Forest Owners back in
Dave Tenny’s interview with AFOA back in 2013.
This video interview features Bobby Watkins, the
Mississippi Forestry Association's 2015 Tree Farmer of
the Year. "Watkins has a tree farm where multiple
use is more than a label, it’s the guiding management
principle. You’ll find beautiful pine timber,
wildflowers, wild life, and family history at Coontail
NAFO’s “A Visual Guide to Working Forests” is a
learning resource (in pdf or jpeg format) that
might be useful for teachers and home bulletin boards.
Some of particular interest are:
"When tree removal starts, people jump to the
conclusion that houses or a new Walmart is coming,"
says New Jersey forester Bob Williams. He says
this article on educating the general public about
forest management gets it right. Bob talked more
about his practice of
putting up signs near timber harvests on our May
“Most people will conduct just one (or two) sales
from an individual timber tract in their lifetimes.
Getting full market value for the timber is therefore
This primer from Forest2Market.com walks you through
the basics of selling your timber.
“…solid flooring sales have been impacted by the
overall slump in the market across the United States in
the past year and losing ground to and market share
to engineered flooring.” Source:
Woodworking Network, 5/19/16.
At a special called meeting of the Alabama Forestry
Commission on Tuesday, May 31, the Commission voted 4
to 2 to dismiss State Forester Greg Pate. Source:
AFA Newsroom, June 1, 2016.
The governor has signed
HB418, a local bill sponsored by Representative
Ralph Howard (D-Greensboro), which will allow
a referendum in Sumter County to raise property taxes by
6 mills. We assume it will be on the ballot for
general vote this fall, but will put it on the AFOA
calendar of events when we get a definite date. Source:
AFA’s From the Weeds blog, 5/26/16
Chalk one up for the black pinesnake.
of the species listed was the Black Pinesnake,
and in the second meeting, they said it could be
found in the Scotch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
At first, they indicated they were not likely to
designate any critical habitat in Alabama, but
rather on Federal land in Mississippi.
“There had been a possible sighting in 1994 and
another in 1995, for what was believed to be a Black
Pinesnake. In 2014, they went back to sightings that
were 20 years old, even though a single snake lives
only about 11 years in the wild.
“All it takes is for someone to think they see it
and report it to your state’s agency. You don’t
have to be a herpetologist. Or have a photograph.
That becomes the 'best available science.'
“The two sightings were three and half miles apart.
From their studies of the New Jersey Pinesnake, the
snake needs at least 5,200 acres. So, based on these
two sightings and the satellite imagery, topography
and soil, they decided they might make the two
sightings into a 32,000-acre critical habitat.”
Source: Gray Skipper, Scotch Land Management Company
“…the listing of the
Black Pinesnake as a Threatened Species … was
based on insufficient scientific evidence that
was presumably gathered by individuals accessing the
WMA for their own purposes.” - Scotch Land
"Why we reached this decision."
“Citing the rising
threat of ever-stricter regulations from the Federal
Scotch Land Management Company, LLC announced today
it would remove roughly 19,000 acres of land from
the Scotch Wildlife Management Area.”
Woodland Owner Profiles developed by the Sustaining
Family Forests Initiative break down landowner data by
state and region. Some things, like landowner
demographics and the average tenure of the land, remain
remarkably similar nationwide. Some factors vary widely,
like landowner objectives and reasons for owning
forestland. Peruse the cache of information at
Dr. Jim Brauker demonstrates his
simple process for preventing poison ivy (and poison
oak and poison sumac) rashes
in this video.
"What message does this send regarding our priorities?
Timber and Agriculture are two of the most important
segments to the state’s economy. At the rate that
Medicaid and Corrections are expanding, the other
General Fund agencies will soon be completely swallowed
up. To make matters worse, the other agencies are
forced to adopt higher fees and earmarked taxes in order
to make up their reduced budget appropriations."
Source: From the Weeds, Alabama Forestry
Association, 5/24/16. Editor's Note: Agencies are not
"forced" to adopt higher fees and raise earmarked taxes.
It is the nature of agencies to almost always seek
higher funding than appropriated by the legislature. It
is the responsibility of lawmakers (appropriators) and
voters to rein in this instinct.
How bad is it?
This interactive map can zoom in to the street address
of cogongrass infestations. This "highly
invasive pest permanently alters plant and animal
communities, increases fire frequency and intensity, and
requires extensive investment to control." For
Capital Ideas--Live! in 2015, Nancy Loewenstein
her research, which proved for the first time that the
pest can be eradicated.
We liked these videos for their perspective on two
very different forestry operations in Oregon. The
first is a
drone's eye view of a cable logging operation on
federal land, a technique not often used in Alabama. The
an interview with a small-scale tree farmer many of us
can relate to, showing his old-fashioned but still
This free online workshop from FEE teaches the value of
free markets. “It is designed to be delivered by
non-economists using interactive, hands-on activities
and guided discussions … Our expertise is teaching
students how freedom matters to their lives and the
lives of all.”
“Once in the environment,
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prions may remain
infectious for many years.” If you lease your land for
hunting or hunt on it yourself, CWD, which affects deer
species, is a threat to keep an eye on. We were glad to
this map from the USGS, which shows Alabama and its
neighbors free of Chronic Wasting Disease. More
info from the
USGS National Wildlife Health Center here.
Subdividing, selling and developing land is the sad
result forced on many landowners by this country’s
laws and regulations that have unintended adverse
environmental consequences.- Source: The Daily Caller,
Read the full article here. Additional
Panel discussion on family-owned forestland at the
AFOA Annual Meeting, led by Joe Hopkins, quoted in the
“A lot of times it’s a result of dragging trailer
chains, dragging exhaust systems, pulling over and
parking on high grass. Either that or poorly
maintained vehicles.” - Dolores Garcia, fire mitigation
and fire communication specialist.
Read the full article for other less known hazards and
The Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop (TCW) will
be held July 11-14, 2016 at Auburn University. The
TCW program focuses on forest ecology, management, and
products through guest speakers, field trips, and
hands-on activities. Please spread the word about this
outstanding workshop and encourage teachers in your
area schools to attend. If you are interested in
financially supporting this effort,
email Ashley Smith.
Click here to learn more or register for the event.
"...the housing sector remains a welcome support to an
otherwise fragile economy; however, unlike the run-up
leading into the Great Recession, the housing market
will no longer be the driver of the economy with a
positive but limited contribution." - Lindsey
Piegza, Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income. Read the
March 2016 housing commentary here, and get
past commentaries along with a new economic conditions
report here. Both reports contain in-depth housing
data, useful for market-minded forest landowners.
The new monthly Driptorch Digest newsletter
from SERPPAS Prescribed Fire Work Group offers
current relevant news stories; articles and online
resources of interest; training, webinar, workshop and
conference listings; and more. It should be useful to
any landowner or professional with an interest in
Click here to read and subscribe.
"AFA supports sufficient funding for rural
infrastructure, specifically, the repair/replacement of
the approximate 1,000 bridges that are posted.
HOWEVER, AFA further believes that adequate funding
would exist for this purpose if existing fuel tax
revenues are allocated fairly between ALDOT and the
counties. Currently, 99% of the tax on diesel fuel is
directed to ALDOT, while the current tax on gasoline is
distributed 55% to ALDOT and 45% to the counties. AFA
supports allocating the existing diesel tax in a similar
fashion to that of the gasoline tax."
Read the AFA's full position on the fuel tax here.
We found this relevant in light of yesterday’s article
about Tata Steel and
green energy in the UK: “The main driver for wood
pellet demand is the European Commission’s 2020 climate
and energy plan… The United Kingdom is far and away
the primary destination for wood pellets from North
America.” We spotted this on page seven of
F&W Forestry’s newsletter, available online here.
Read through for more good articles on tree planting
numbers, housing starts, and timber markets.
If you sell to the export pellet market, it might be
a good idea to watch that market carefully.
Tata Steel has announced an immediate withdrawal from
Britain, threatening 4000 steel working jobs, and
40,000 jobs in dependent industries. The main reason
given for abandoning Britain, is the high price Tata is
forced to pay for energy, thanks to Britain’s green
"Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville and Robert N.
Turner of Sulligent, the two newest appointments by
Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC), began their five-year terms by
attending their first Commission meeting on April 19."
Read the news release here.
Both the Property and Environmental Research Center
(PERC) and the American Land Rights Association (ALRA)
call for stopping the continued conversion of private
lands to the federal estate under a permanently
funded Land and Water Conservation Fund.
An ALRA newsletter tells what to say to your Congressman.
PERC describes why, “Without reform, the LWCF
should be terminated.” Update: The
was barely defeated 212 to 205. Rep. Terri Sewell is
the Alabama representative we spotted who voted "Yes" in
favor of permanent funding of the LWCF. Source:
American Land Rights Association, June 1, 2016
The Land Show covers Alabama rural land issues on
the radio (times
and stations here) or
on your device with podcasts. One topic in
this episode covers how European mills in Live Oak, FL
might affect Alabama Timber Markets. Segment
starts at 20:40. Listeners can also
email questions to the show to be answered on air.
International Paper (IP) announced an agreement to
purchase Weyerhaeuser's pulp business. "IP said
it expects to save about $175 million annually in
"synergies" — business lingo often used to refer to cost
cuts, revenue improvements and savings from combined
out-of-control logs flew over the landowner and rested
across the partially loaded log trailer." A reminder
that it's a good idea to take precautions and make sure
you are seen when visiting logging sites.
We're not sure if
SB416 - allowing the use of purple paint on trees to
mark property lines and boundaries as a conspicuous
notice against trespassing - is a good idea or not. Be
sure to let
Senator Melson and
your House member know what you think.
If your property lines are already painted bright
white, blue, or something other than purple, will
trespassing loggers and hunters be allowed to ignore
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced it will not
designate “critical habitat” for the “threatened”
Northern Long-Eared Bat. According to the
Forest Resources Association's Neil Ward, the
announcement is generally favorable, but "for landowners
attempting to perform due diligence on project areas,
the decision may reduce the availability of FWS
resources in identifying hibernacula when planning
harvest or management projects."
Read the FWS explanation of the decision here.
Alabama is home to 23.1 million acres of forest land.
The number of live trees on Alabama’s forest land in
2014 is estimated at 17.0 billion trees, an increase of
2.0 percent from 2013.
Read the full report from the USDA.
To "ensure that affordable wood supplies remain
available on the market," the "forest products
industry needs to revitalize mutually beneficial
landowner assistance programs,"
blogs Consultant Fred Souba, with ProVision Forestry,
LLC, in Forest2Market's April newsletter. He
suggests more commercial support for small landowners
will “foster a stronger forest industry.”
I don't have to leave the truck cabin." Could
these VR goggles save money and lives in the
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000. This
is 8.8 percent below the revised February estimate of
1,194,000, but is 14.2 percent above the March 2015
rate of 954,000. Single-family housing starts in
March were at a rate of 764,000; this is 9.2 percent
below the revised February figure of 841,000. The March
rate for units in buildings with five units or more was
Read the full report.
Florida officials are planning second bear hunt
after last year’s successful hunt, the first in many
years. Bear numbers are increasing in that state.
Georgia has established
bear hunting season dates. We are keeping an eye on
neighboring states, with the possibility that Alabama’s
might be increasing.
On April 5,
Verso Corporation announced the closure of its
Wickliffe, Kentucky coated paper mill, which had
been idle since November 2015, “the result of a
continuing and accelerated decline in demand for the
company’s coated paper products and a significant influx
of imports driven by the strength of the U.S. dollar.”
From a healthier stand to better return on
investment, thinning forestland can yield many benefits.
This page from the University of Florida will tell
you everything you need to know about thinning your
stand before maturity.
"If the forces behind this show-us-your-papers subpoena
punishing (or simply inflicting prolonged legal
harassment on) groups conducting supposedly wrongful
advocacy, there’s every reason to think they will
come after other advocacy groups later. Like yours."
"If pulp prices fall, older, high-cost producers,
mainly in the northern hemisphere, may go out of
business, reducing any excess capacity. In the long
run, demand for tissue can only grow."
Click here for the full article about Brazil's
fast-growing eucalyptus plantations in a weak
national economy, and what it could mean for the global
Oregon purchases an
insurance policy to reduce costs of extreme wildfire
season. The policy covers private landowners as
help the state pay for the premium as part of their
those relatively permanent, standing or continuously
flowing bodies of water ‘forming geographic
features’ that are described in ordinary parlance as
‘streams,’ ‘oceans, rivers, [and] lakes.’” Could a
more specific definition of waters of the United States
curb property rights infringement by the Army Corps
This might help you get ready to talk with your tax
professional, especially if you sold timber last
year, or are thinking about selling timber this year.
Possible changes to the state’s dog deer hunting
regulations may affect you.
Click here for the full details from Outdoor Alabama.
House and Senate both voted to override the Governor’s
veto on the General Fund budget on Tuesday.
now recognizes alternate paths to certification. But it
must be remembered that
Certified Tree Farms,
now all recognized by LEED, still only account for a
small fraction of the wood grown in Alabama and the rest
of the U.S. Most forestland is "self-certified" as
“private forestland managed in the best interests of the
owners’ families and their forested acres.”
Organizations, private or government, who bias their
wood purchases in favor of certification schemes
negatively impact the vast majority of American private
forest owners and the forests they manage.
to the fuel tax increase maintain that there is
plenty of opportunity to cut the size of government to
address the critical need for infrastructure…without
having to raise taxes."
“Here’s to a fully loaded truck leaving our landowners’
forest heading on a county road to the mill!” We are
following with interest a Tennessee bill that would
require a 2/3 vote of a County Commission before a
county road could be posted at a lower weight limit than
normal state highway weight limits. “TFA believes
this bill will alleviate the arbitrary decision making
powers in certain counties.” UPDATE:
This bill has been sent to the Tennessee governor for
Check this map from the Forestry Commission to
determine whether or not your property is in the
habitat range of the protected Northern Long-Eared Bat.
It also notes which counties have documented cases of
White Nose Syndrome, and the article lays out the
Endangered Species Act rules for landowners in areas
where the bat lives.
John Lancaster and Wilson Lowe were presented cash
awards on March 30, 2015 from the Alabama Forest
Owners' Association Educational Fund at the
University School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences'
Student Awards Ceremony. John and Wilson were selected
by an AFOA committee led by Dr. Emmett Thompson, former
Dean of the School and a forest landowner. Award
applicants were required to submit course transcripts
and an essay reflecting their appreciation for the
profession of consulting forestry. These awards
totaled $2,500 and are given with the goal of improving
the availability of quality forestry services to forest
America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the
Asheville Experiment will air Thursday, April 7 at
9:00 pm on Alabama Public television. Based on Schenck’s
memoir, the program examines the pivotal role played by
pioneering forestry educator Carl Schenck and his
founding of America's first school of forestry—the
Biltmore Forest School.
Click here for more info and additional air dates.
Our deepest sympathy and prayers to the family of
Dr. Robert Parker, who passed away from injuries
received in a prescribed burning accident on his
forestland last week.
Forestry 2017: The Simulation is available for
PC today, March 25, with console versions coming later.
Players will “use first- or third-person views to
operate heavy machinery, process the wood in a sawmill,
and then afterwards market the goods.” AFOA will give
one copy away at the end of the
annual meeting in April (must sign up and be present
to win) and tentatively plans to have the game running
on a PC during the meeting.
The role that forests play in the water cycle is widely
known and celebrated. Yet, many are unaware of the
contributions of forest product markets in the
Read the full article.
A bi-partisan group in the US House of Representatives
launched the Working Forests Caucus to “create
awareness and facilitate discussions on America’s
private-owned working forests.”
See the letter from the co-chairs to their colleagues,
and consider reaching out to your Members to encourage
them to join the Caucus.
Find your representative here.
Biologists have determined [four] species found
in the southeastern United States do not require further
review for federal protection at this time. The
Southern Dusky Salamander is found statewide, so its
listing would have potentially affected many Alabama
Some partial scholarships are still available for
Forestry Field Camp, now in its third year. For more
listen to our interview with Dr. Becky Barlow about the
program on Capital Ideas—Live! last March
Representative Mac McCutcheon (R- Madison)
introduced the second bill of a two bill package that
will result in
an increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel of six
cents per gallon. Source: AFA blog, 3/17/16
If you want a food plot on your land, you might
need chainsaws instead of tractors. “Savvy deer managers
know that planted food plots are nice, but native
vegetation is necessary part of the deer property
Click here for the full article. Source: Wednesday
National Woodland Owners Association, 3/16/16
for Economic Education is offering a full
scholarship to its economic seminars for students
(ages 14-26) who apply by this Friday, March 18."Economic
thinking gives you an advantage in life. You’ll be
better equipped to make decisions, take advantage of
emerging opportunities, and gain a clearer view of the
world around you."
Use tuition scholarship code FEE2016 when you apply
to take advantage of this opportunity.
The AFA remains opposed to a proposed fuel tax increase
until it is clear that some of the funds will go to
roads and bridges. It also opposes a 5-mill property
tax increase (SB136) supported by 7 state senators,
including Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who,
only a few weeks ago, tested the water for possible
legislation that would increase property taxes on
forestland. From the Weeds
lists the six senators who opposed the 5-mill tax
You can find their phone numbers here to thank them
directly for their continuing support in opposing the
property tax increase. Source: From the Weeds
Property and Environment Research Center is
accepting applications for three educational programs
for students and business people:
- The Undergraduate
and Graduate Colloquium will introduce students
to a property rights and market approach to
environmental issues. A scholarship covers tuition
and lodging, and a travel stipend is included.
Information and application here.
- The Summer
Graduate Fellows program offers a mentored
research experience for students who have a
well-defined natural resources or environmental
economics topic. This opportunity includes a monthly
- The Enviropreneur
Institute offers in-depth training for
entrepreneurs to take their environmental business
or solution to the next level.
Success stories and application here.
Forest landowners in the Birmingham area: learn
how hunting regulations are developed and turned into
state laws that can directly affect enjoyment and income
of private landowners who lease hunting rights. The
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) will meet
Saturday, March 26, in Pelham, AL.
Click here for full meeting information.
If you are leasing land for turkey hunting, it
might be a good idea to coordinate with your hunters
before you visit in the morning during turkey hunting
season. Even if you're not leasing it, be sure to wear
bright colors in the woods for safety.
Click here for official turkey season dates.
"The South’s forests are so productive that,
while they makeup only 2 percent of the global forest
cover, they produce 12 percent of the world’s industrial
roundwood and 19 percent of its pulp and paper
products—greater production than that of any other
This data-rich slideshow from the Southern Forest
Products Industry includes graphics and interactive
maps for large or small scale perspectives on the
If your forestland property tax exceeds $2/acre, you
could benefit from current use property tax assessment,
available in all counties.
Click here for more information and an application.
"If you are contemplating selling stands with
hardwood sawtimber, this is the time before the
prices plateau or even fall. Any tract with merchantable
timber that can be harvested during wet weather should
do well relative to wet tracts with similar timber."
Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol.
3, Iss. 2. Other topics include: Timber market
update; like-Kind exchanges; forest-use trends; pricing
Alabama's roads received a grade of D+, and its bridges
received a C- from the American Society of Civil
Engineers in 2015.According
to NFIB, this puts the state's businesses at a
competitive disadvantage. Would
the gas tax increase being considered fix the
Is it time to move forestry law enforcement back home to
the Alabama Forestry Commission from
This new app is a pocket guide to the native plants
of North Georgia. Plants are searchable by bloom
time, common name or scientific name and feature
descriptions with color photos. Available on
Google Play and the
App Store. Source:
SREF Annual Report, 2014-2015
Planters can inadvertently damage tree seedlings
by cutting the roots for easier planting.
More about the proper handling of seedlings here.
Property tax and timber
severance tax increase proposals:
Senator Trip Pittman (a Republican from Daphne), is
exploring legislation that would almost double the
forestland property tax (now 10 cents/acre, proposed 19
cents/acre). The tax would be called an “assessment” to
avoid the “burdensome” necessity of requiring a vote of
the people to raise the tax.
Senate bill SB24 (full text here), which
would remove sales tax on farm equipment and
machinery, may be helpful for forest landowners.
If it might affect you, take action:
contact the bill's sponsor, Tom Whatley, to voice
your opinion, get more info, or suggest changes.
We suspect there may be some critical information
hidden in the US Fish & Wildlife Services’s 2/11/16
to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat”
Policy on Exclusions from Critical Habitat.” Many
private landowners equate the designation of critical
habitat as nothing more than a
federal seizure of private land, as was done in
southwest Alabama with the designation of critical
habitat for the black pine snake. If you consider
yourself “informed” on the ESA, please
(firstname.lastname@example.org) if there is anything noteworthy
buried in these two announcements.
With spring storms arriving, these links on dealing
with timber losses might be useful for you or
someone you know.
Mississippi Forestry Commission released Mississippi
Trees, a free Tree ID app available on
Google Play and the
App Store. Based on their popular handbook, the app
has photos and information for both native and
non-native species, searchable by common name,
scientific name, or family group.
One solution to the problem of poor cell phone coverage
in remote locations, via
Forest Operations Review.
A bill that would allow hunters to use bait to hunt
white-tail deer and feral swine passed in the
Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday.
Read the full text of the bill here. Source:
reforms would enable parks to become more
self-sufficient and less reliant on Congress for annual
appropriations." Proposed reforms begin with "Stop
acquiring more land for the park system and start
prioritizing the care and maintenance of existing
and Environment Research Center, 2/16/16
Strong local resistance to a proposed expansion of a New
Hampshire wildlife refuge calls to mind similar
circumstances around the
Cahaba River in 2010. It is vital for landowners to
stay informed in these situations.
This video series from the Alabama Forestry Commission
features the 2016 winners of the
Treasure Forests Helene Mosley Award talking
about their land and how they approach stewardship.
Tax changes related to property and roads will be on
the ballot in five Alabama counties on March 1.
Click the county name to view the sample ballot.
BALDWIN: 1 mill, 30 years; 3 mills, 30 years
BARBOUR: 2 mills – no end date specified on
CHOCTAW: ½ mill, 30 years
FRANKLIN: ¼ cent sales tax from schools to
be moved to roads (ATRIP)
– to be continued with elections every 2 years
RUSSELL: $50/residence and $100/business for
volunteer fire protection outside city limits of
Rural county roads and bridges are vital to the
income of forest landowners and farmers, and they
need your support.
Click here to read more.
2016 VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES:
- February 12, 2016 -
Hand-delivery to county Board of Registrars
- February 13, 2016-
- February 15, 2016 -
here to register online)
Recent headlines about the biomass market from the
Society of American Foresters:
"With the real unemployment rate in the U.S. at 10.3%
(16 million individuals unemployed, stopped locking, or
work part-time) and household income growth nonexistent
or negative, it's hard to envision a scenario where
the U.S. housing market returns to "normal" anytime soon."
Read Virginia Tech's December 2015 Housing Commentary
Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) introduced SB15 to
un-earmark approximately $400 million in taxes to direct
them to the General Fund as opposed to specific state
agencies. Included in his bill is the Forest Products
Severance Tax and the Forest Product Processor’s
Privilege Tax. These taxes amounted to $5.865
million in FY15 and had previously been directed to the
Alabama Forestry Commission. AFC’s total budget for FY15
was $22.4 million which included the $5.865 earmarked
tax and also a $8.757 million General Fund
Appropriation. AFC’s budget for FY16 (the current year)
is $25.2 million which includes a $7.042 million General
Fund Appropriation. Potentially losing the earmark for
AFC will have a dramatic effect on services provided to
Alabama’s timberland owners. Additionally, by
removing the earmark, the bill also removes the
statutory requirement that AFC must use 85% of the
severance tax for fire protection." Source: From
the Weeds blog. We wonder if the severance tax on
timber would have passed had the funds not been
earmarked for fire protection? Is it time to repeal
the timber severance tax? AFOA members will be
Alabama Agribusiness Council's Legislative Reception at
5 PM tonight. (see AFOA
This Agroforestry Handbook is a good starting place
if you want to know more about the principles of
agroforestry and how they can work for you. Source:
Tuskegee University, 1890 Agroforestry Consortium,
"The Forest Landowners Association Awards recognize
outstanding landowners and forestry professionals
contributing to the stewardship and sustainability of
private forests – and protecting the rights of the
families who own them …Think of private forest
landowners who set an example in the landowner community
nominate your peers for the recognition they deserve.
A new Senate bill will
set forest biomass on equal footing with other
bioenergy sources. The amendment directs federal
agencies to establish policies that:
- Reflect the carbon
neutrality of forest bioenergy;
- Recognize biomass as
a renewable energy source;
- Encourage private
investment throughout the biomass supply chain,
- Encourage forest
management to improve forest health; and
- Recognize state
initiatives to use biomass.
An update of Linda Wang's Tax Tips for Forest Landowners
is now online. The second page contains an
important change on Depreciation and Sec. 179 Expensing.
Compare to the original version at
page four of the November issue of our newsletter.
"In productive, heavily-forested areas, does the land
itself suffer long-term due to repeated tree
Forest2Market looks at the effects of biomass
harvesting and soil quality.
In a March 2012
interview with AFOA, Dr. Becky Barlow suggests you ask,
can negative effects of pine straw harvesting be
It's important to have the support of local law
enforcement to prevent and control illegal dumping
conference may help. PALS asks: "Please contact
your local law enforcement agencies and encourage them
to send a representative from their agency."
Five key factors can
affect the price you get for your timber (stumpage).
It's good information to consider when buying land as
well. Source: Forest2Market blog, 1/12/16
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) assists in
shaping Alabama’s natural resources policies and
regulations, including hunting seasons and bag
limits that can affect hunting leases. Citizens
can address the CAB at their meeting on Saturday,
February 20, in Montgomery. Registration begins at 8:00
a.m., and those who wish to speak should bring 16 copies
of any printed materials they wish to share with the
Get full meeting details here, or view a
map of CAB districts and representatives here.
Speaking today to the Alabama Forestry Council in
Millbrook, Alabama, Oscar Berry, Deputy District
Director for Congresswoman
Terri Sewell (D, AL 7) reassured Council members
Sewell continues her support for important forestry tax
provisions. AFOA board member
Henry Barclay, III, CPA, described the importance of
the provisions in the
1/20/16 issue of
Capital Ideas - Live!
"Republicans on Thursday moved a bill to the brink of
Senate passage that would overhaul Wisconsin's managed
forest land program." Wisconsin forest owners
struggle with confiscatory taxes, state intrusion in
their management activities, and rules that force them
to allow trespass on their land. We hope that
doesn't happen here. Source: Journal Sentinel Online,
"Despite slower growth in China’s overall economy,
the nation’s high timber deficit will sustain growth
in its already high import volumes of wood fiber."
Read the full article at RISI, Inc.
The law allows landowners to deduct from their income
tax return up to $10,000 in reforestation
expenditures per tax year, per qualified timber
property. Note that you are allowed more than one
qualified property. We strongly advise you to consult
your tax advisor about what constitutes a "qualified
“Bernie Sanders' Socialized Healthcare Plan Would Double
The Death Tax.” Source: Forbes, 1/18/16
If you're thinking of warmer days, check out some of our
state's natural beauty in
this slideshow featuring 50 Butterflies of Alabama.
How do you determine the age of a tree? Just
count the rings, of course! One ring equals one year of
growth. But if you're counting rings on a stump, the
life of that tree is over. So how do you count those
rings while the tree is alive? Foresters use a special
tool called an "increment borer".
Read more and listen to the audio segment here. You
can buy this tool from
Ben Meadows or
Forestry Suppliers. Thanks to the Wednesday Woodland
Word (Volume 4 Number 2) for this story.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its
Final Rule concerning the threatened Northern
Long-Eared Bat, found in north Alabama. One notable
change from the Interim Final Rule reduces the protected
radius from 1/4 mile to 150 feet around “known, occupied
maternity roost trees” during the June 1-July 31 pup
Read more at the FWS website.
Ballotpedia has sourced
information about each of the candidates for the
upcoming March 1 primary for US Senator in Alabama.
Links to the candidate's campaign site can be found in
the "External Links" section on each page.
This article suggests that forestland might soon be
facing an ownership crisis, but savvy commenters
disagree. A 2014 age survey of AFOA membership
reveals 78% of members are age 60 or older, but we are
not convinced this is either new or a source of worry.
Source: American Public Media’s Marketplace,
1/11/16. Editor’s Note: For as long as I can
remember, typical hair color for forest landowners has
"The Southeast accounted for a little over 8 million
acres [68%] of the total activity and continues to
lead the nation in all categories of prescribed fire
2015 Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report, National
Association of State Foresters
The Big Short attempts to describe the cause of The
Great Recession (and the crash of sawtimber stumpage
markets), but the movie leaves out the role of
government in creating the housing bubble that led to
The House That Uncle Sam Built by Steven Horwitz &
Peter Boettke provides background information not
included in the film. On a related note, Virginia Tech's
Housing Report for November 2015 is
out and mostly positive; see slide 6 for a useful
recent listing of the Black Pine Snake is the
first time I know of where a landowner must get approval
from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to change land use
(e.g. longleaf to loblolly, or longleaf to agriculture
or pasture)." Tune in to
Capital Ideas - Live! on January 20 to hear more
from Keville Larson, quoted above, about how the
Endangered Species Act could affect you. For additional
Q & A from the USFWS - scroll down to the last
paragraph of Q5.
In light of events in Oregon, we suspect the
2010 resistance to a government land grab in Bibb
County and neighboring counties was justified. Does
it surprise you when private landowners are not excited
to have the federal government as a neighbor?
Source: National Review, January 2016.
is betting that the sharing economy can cut costs
for the agriculture industry. Could the Uber and
Airbnb model work for forestry equipment? Source:
Tennessee landowners and loggers have the same problems
Alabama does when it comes to low weight limits on
See how Tennessee is handling the issue on page two of
the Tennessee Forestry Association's newsletter.
"...increasing overall profit on timber sales is only
one of several benefits that a landowner should
consider when contemplating hiring a consulting forester
to help manage their land. Consulting foresters also
provide other valuable services that improve the quality
of the timber and, therefore, the overall value of the
Read the full article here.