Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.                 Advocate for the Forest Owner

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August  2003 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
Conference was recorded Wednesday, August 20, 2003.

to Listen to the

This conference and all future conferences will be in the .mp3 format, which is compatible with Windows Media Player and most other media devices.


cilhayes.jpg (3561 bytes)

Hayes D. Brown

starting time: (00:00)


Hayes D. Brown, attorney and forest owner,  will moderate this news conference. Hayes' email address is

Click Here to View & Hear Prior News Conferences.


Just Say No!

Bob Gambacurta



Bob Gambacurta is the spokesman for the Tax Accountability Coalition ( He spends all his time right now trying to defeat Governor Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax package, which will be voted on in a September 9 referendum. Unless you are exempt from property taxes, you will see a significant increase in your land taxes if the referendum passes. Be sure to try out the tax calculator at All of the Alabama Farmers Federation county chapters are working to defeat the package and many other groups as well. A few we have heard of are:

AFOA, with the help of members and friends, recently sent 48,000 post cards to forest owners to remind them to vote on September 9. Our August 28 meeting in Vestavia will feature Farmers Federation's Steve Guy, discussing the referendum. AFOA was also the guest of "Another Side," a 30 minute television show sponsored by South Alabamians for Real Reform. (Their broadcasts have been professionally produced and tapes are available for use at your local cable company. For copies contact Les Barnett at (251) 639-9639 or Click here for excerpts from Another Side.

Phone: (334) 213-2302


Katherine M. Eddins


Cut High Property Taxes with Conservation Easements?

Katherine Eddins is the Executive Director of The Alabama Land Trust, based in Jacksonville, Alabama. We've asked her to tell us a little bit about conservation easements.

Up until now, we've always thought that conservation easements might be helpful to reduce estate and income taxes, but weren't needed to reduce Alabama's sanely low property taxes. However, Governor Riley's proposed property tax increases have shed a new light on the use of conservation easements. Locking out all possibility of developing a property for housing or commercial uses with a conservation easement will look pretty good to forest owners and farmers if the referendum passes on September 9. Whether high property taxes can be avoided with an easement is an important question for Ms. Eddins to answer.  

On Land Trusts and Conservation Easements:

Phone: (404) 861-8567


Dr. David N. Laband


Eminent Domain: Revenue Enhancement or Theft?

Dave Laband, professor in the Forest Economics Department at Auburn University, is back with us again this month to discuss the ongoing actions of the City of Alabaster in Shelby County. Although forestland isn't involved in the Alabaster situation, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine state or local governments forcing forest owners to change their land use or sell out to satisfy cash-hungry politicians.

Alabaster is in the process of forcing about a dozen landowners to sell their land to a developer so that a private retail shopping center can be built on their property. Condemnation lawsuits are now being prepared by the city's attorney. Dr. Laband reminds us that cases like this, once unheard of, are now quite common and he ponders why landowners don't press their cases more successfully.

Phone: (334) 844-1074


Dr. Daowei Zhang


Many Hunting Leases Priced Below Market Potential

Daowei Zhang is Professor of Forest Economics and Policy at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University. He has written 3 papers that will prove interesting to many AFOA members. They are:

We found it particularly exciting that he learned that most hunting club members were willing to pay considerably more for their share of their hunting lease fees than they are currently paying. He also developed a list of factors that catch the attention of hunters when searching for that "perfect" hunting spot. If you advertise your land for lease on AFOA's "hunting land for lease" web page (click here), knowing those factors could prove valuable to you.

Phone: (334) 844-1067


Jeroen Kaijser Bots


Another New Pinestraw Buyer for Alabama

Jeroen "J" Kaijser Bots is the owner of Pine Needles International, Inc., a Charlotte, North Carolina based company that buys and sells pine straw. In June we featured Robert Crabtree, who rakes and sells pine straw in Central and Northeast Alabama and now we introduce you to Jeroen Kaijser Bots who wants to buy big quantities of longleaf and slash pine straw from landowners with larger acreages. Visit Jeroen's web page and give him a call if pine straw is in your veins.

AFOA urges you to check references of any buyer of pine straw or other forest products. Also be sure to prevent unhappiness by developing a well written contract, not a handshake.

Phone: (336) 508-4110 or (704) 596-5670


Debbie Vitulli


Succession: How to Plan and Manage the Process
a live interactive audio conference -- September 10

Debbie Vitulli is Director of Speaker and Educational Services with The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., in Marietta, Georgia. The Group specializes in bringing educational seminars to the offices and homes of its clients through live telephone conferences. Debbie will describe their next conference on family succession, including registration information.

  • Discussion leader: Steve McClure, Ph.D.

  • Topics:
    Planning for Continuity: A checklist
    The CEO’s “Letting Go” checklist
    Development Opportunities for Successors
    Checklist for Successor Development
    Family Mission Statement
    Leadership Transition – What Works and What Doesn’t
    Minimizing Tension During Leadership Transition

  • Registration: This conference is available at your desk for $149 with as many participants on your end as desired. Click here for registration details or call 1-800-551-0633.

AFOA liked the audio conference idea so much that we will host a "downlink" at our Pelham office for up to 5 people at $30 each. To attend at the AFOA office, call or email Lee at AFOA today. (205) 987-8811 or

Phone: 1-866-738-7529


Dr. Thomas J. Straka


Survey of Forestry Expenses Aids Cash Flow Planning

Dr. Thomas Straka is Professor of Forest Management and Economics at Clemson University, South Carolina. He is a co-author of Costs and Cost Trends for Forestry Practices in the South (click here), a biennial survey published in the March/April 2003 issue of Forest Landowner magazine. Completed in 2002,  this survey report describes current costs for ten common southern forestry practices and provides tables with cost changes from 1952 to 2002. You'll want to read the entire report, but we thought you'd be interested in the following table from the report  (table 11). We highlighted two items that have really shot up in cost during the last 2 years, but are reminded by Dr. Straka to look at longer time periods to see real cost trends.

FOREST PRACTICE               Overall Average
                               Percent Change 
Prescribed burning                   -19
Removing undesirable trees            +3
Timber Cruising                      +57
Marking trees for harvesting        +153
Mechanical site preparation          +22
Planting by hand                     +25
Planting by machine                  +43
Precommercial thinning               +24

Dr. Straka is co-author of a book on Basic Forestry Investment
Analysis which we may discuss on a future webcast. Click here for purchase details.

Phone: (864) 656-4827


Jack Fillingham


Stumpage Market Report

Jack Fillingham is Vice Chairman of Sizemore & Sizemore, Inc., a forestry consulting firm located in Tallassee, Alabama. Sizemore & Sizemore provides timberland appraisal and inventory services throughout the Southeast and forest management services in Alabama. We have had more than our share of rainfall this year and, as you might expect, the wet weather has had a big effect on logging conditions and stumpage prices. Jack provides us with a 12 month spreadsheet report of timber sales in Alabama (click here) and makes a few brief comments about its contents. (Microsoft Excel needed to open spreadsheet)

Jack currently serves as chairman of the Alabama Chapter of the Association of Consulting Foresters. He urges us to use consulting foresters to handle our timber sales and suggests that their expertise will make sales more successful in many ways.

Stumpage Pricing Services
Timber Mart-South

Phone: (334) 283-3611


Issues and Topics AFOA is following.

To suggest an issue or a topic for a future news conference, please send an email note to AFOA by clicking here.

  • National or Federal Issues
  • EPA Proposed Water Quality Trading
  • Energy Bill
  • CCA Treated Southern Pine Lumber
  • TMDLs
  • EPA Basin Projects
  • CARA
  • Forest Certification
  • 2002 Farm Bill
  • Energy Crisis & Federal Eminent Domain
  • Red Hills Salamander
  • State or Local Issues
  • Constitutional Revision/Tax Reform
  • County Zoning
  • Right to Farm & Practice Forestry
  • Illegal Dumping
  • Delaney Family Current-Use Case
  • JeffCo Storm Water Management Program
  • Current Use Tax Assessment Rates
  • Local Harvesting Restrictions & Road Weight Limits
  • Bridge Repairs & the Alabama Trust Fund
  • Dog Hunting & Hunter Trespass
  • Forest Management Issues
  • Seasonal Forest and Wildlife Management Tips
  • Southern Pine Beetle: Salvage & Prevention
  • Forest Fertilization
  • Intensive Forest Management
  • Long Rotation Management & Natural Regeneration
  • Technology
  • Palm Pilots & Forest Records
  • Useful Computer Software
  • Markets
  • Industry Consolidation & Timber Markets
  • Stumpage & Forest Product Markets
  • Forestland For Sale
  • Wood Buying Policies During SPB Epidemic
  • Alabama's Pine Straw Wholesale Market
  • Minerals, Gas & Oil Activity
  • Recreational Businesses for Forest Owners
  • Forest Taxation