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JANUARY 2014 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on January 15, 2014

to Listen to the
This conference is in .mp3 format, which is compatible with Windows Media Player and most other media devices.

Hayes D. Brown   Alabama Forest Owners' Association

Hayes D. Brown

starting time: (00:00)
Hear Conference


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

Click Here to View & Hear Prior News Conferences.


Bruce Lindsey

Hear Conference


Wood Works for Non-Residential Construction

Bruce Lindsey is Southeast Regional Director, Design & Construction Services for WoodWorks -- Wood Products Council, based in Belmont, North Carolina. He works with engineers, architects, city councils, school boards, and others to help them understand how wood can be used in multi-story commercial buildings, schools, and churches. His work is important to forest owners, since the key driver for U.S. lumber demand (70%) comes from new home construction and repairs and alterations. If WoodWorks is successful in encouraging the use of wood in non-residential construction projects, their success will be felt by all forest owners who grow and harvest timber. On the WoodWorks website, the following encouraging messages appear:

  • Cost: Wood offers advantages in terms of material, construction and environmental costs.
  • Code acceptance: Building codes recognize wood’s safety and structural performance capabilities in a wide range of building types.
  • Fire protection: Building codes require all building systems to perform to the same level of safety, regardless of material used.
  • Innovation: Advances in wood science and building technology continue to expand the opportunities for wood construction.
  • Renewability: Wood is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable.

Bruce's special message to Alabama Forest Owners' Association members: I would encourage you to visit the WoodWorks website to see some of the latest developments in wood based commercial construction. There are some very exciting new technologies and product developments within our industry. The website has a great deal of information on these developments along with an unmatched set of resources aimed at the use of wood in commercial construction. I encourage you to contact me with any questions or potential project developments you see so that we can identify and pursue this very important market sector for forest products.

More Information to Help You Tell the Wood is Good Mesage:

Phone: (704) 877-6255


George David Peterson

Hear Conference


Mobile/Tensaw Delta National Park Not a Good Idea

David Peterson is the leader of the Save Our Delta Campaign, a loosely organized citizen group that is trying to shut down the potential "federalization" of about a half million acres of south Alabama land, about half of which is privately owned. Their Save the Mobile/Tensaw Delta Facebook page has, as we write this, 7,121 likes, and the number grows each time we check it. In a November 14, 2013 Lagniappe cover story, David said, “If they had done this in ’79 [when a previous attempt was made to create a delta national park] there would be no ThyssenKrupp steel mill... That would come off our tax rolls, would take ad valorem tax away from our schools, hunting and fishing would be more restrictive, you would have to buy state and federal licenses. There would be severe restrictions on where you can and can’t run your boat and put massive restrictions on what we can or can’t do.” David would like you to become aware of H.R. 3131, The National Park Service Study Act of 2013, which includes a request for funds to study a possible delta national park. He would like the Alabama study to be removed from the Bill and has posted a petition on the Save Our Delta website that asks the U.S. Department of Interior to not update the 1979 study.

The above paragraph was written on January 12 in preparation for David's interview on January 15. Since then, Representative Bradley Byrne has written a letter to the House Committee on Natural Resources to remove "the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta in the State of Alabama." from H.R. 3131. Byrne's office also sent out a press release on the 13th clearly stating his opposition to the delta national park. An article on appeared on January 14: House committee chairman likely to honor Byrne's effort to kill Delta study.

Phone: (251) 423-0523


Rans Thomas

Hear Conference


Road Repair & Construction

Rans Thomas is Senior Wildlife Biologist for Cabela's, a major supplier of outdoor gear (tabs on their website include hunting, shooting, fishing, boating, camping, auto & ATV, clothing, footwear, home & cabin, and hobbies). Since Lee & Eyvon, at the AFOA office, are eager to build and repair some of the roads on their land, we were very interested in reading an article Rans wrote in Quality Whitetails, Feb/Mar 2014, entitled, Road Repair and Construction. We were particularly interested his description of the Rear Adjustable Blade that fits on a tractor's 3-point hitch and how to use it. We paid special attention to some keywords such as erosion, ditch, crown, and turnout.

Beyond physical obstruction, the two most degenerative factors on forest roads are vehicular use and water run-off.

Preventing Water Erosion
     Before grading and smoothing repairs begin, a dirt road or trail may need resculpting. The best tool for this is a rear-adjustable blade (RAB). The RAB is a 3-point hitch tractor implement designed for forward operation only. Its long curved blade with sharpened bottom edge will pull dirt and light rock forward, rolling excess off the ends as it moves forward. When one corner of the blade is locked in a downward angle, it will cut a furrow or ditch, pulling dirt forward and upward toward the center of the tractor. Scraping dirt out of ditches and up onto the road body will create a more rounded road surface, called "crowning," which forces water from rainfall to run off the sides and not to pool in the middle, where it can create bogs or wash-outs. As water runs off the top and down the sides, it will follow the linear grade of the road in the ditches to a natural or man-made exit point called a "turnout."
     Turnouts can also be constructed with a RAB. It is best to work with the existing grade and water runoff patterns. Walk the roads and find where water is running of the road and out to its final destination. These sites are generally where the road makes a turn on a downgrade, or where a natural flow of water downhill crosses a road. To build the turnout at these locations, use the RAB in the same way I described earlier by cutting a ditch that continues on the downgrade away from the road out into the area where the water can drain naturally. Turnouts channel the flow of water away from a road, out of a road ditch or across a road reducing erosion damage.

More Information:

Phone: (912) 531-2892


Dr. Kelly LeCouvie

Hear Conference


"Don't think of it as succession planning..."

Kelly LeCouvie is a Senior Consultant with the The Family Business Consulting Group, Inc., and is a faculty member at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto, Ontario, where she teaches strategic management, entrepreneurship, and organization behavior. Kelly and co-author Dr. Jennifer Pendergast have written a book that will to be of interest to family forest owners who are struggling with the problems related to passing their forestland (business) successfully to the next generation. While most of us do not think of our forestland as a business, nearly all of us, especially those with several children, will find useful information in Family Business Succession: Your Roadmap to Continuity (scroll to bottom to buy the book). Some AFOA families attend webinars produced by The Family Business Consulting Group and your family might find useful an upcoming webinar to be led by Kelly and Jennifer on February 5, 2014: The Critical First Step in Family Business Succession: Shared Vision.

Phone: (416) 778-0221


James P. Jeter

Hear Conference


Observations on Planting Hardwoods

Jim Jeter is the Hardwood Specialist for the Alabama Forestry Commission. In that role, Jim wrote a short article in the Hardwood Corner of Alabama's Treasured Forests, Fall 2013, that may be of interest if you have land (old fields) that might be planted to hardwood species. "Case Two" in the article describes a 22 year-old hardwood plantation managed by Regions Trust that had recently been commercially thinned. In a phone conversation with Regions Trust Managing Forester Mark Elliott, we learned that Mark believes there is a need for "harvestable hardwoods." Harvestable hardwoods would be available during prolonged wet spells when mills run low because logging equipment can't enter the bottoms.

Jim's observations of the Case Two hardwood stand included the following:

  1. Crown closure was apparent by an early age.
  2. Some species grew better than others (no surprise).
  3. So far there has been no problem with block-planting single species.
  4. Different thinning regimes yielded 30 to 40 tons per acre.
  5. The difference in aesthetics (appearance) of different types of thinning (i.e., free thinning vs. row thinning, different residual basal area targets per acre).
  6. Differences in potential for epicormic branching between different regimes.
  7. Some species were browsed hard by deer just after planting.
  8. What types of understory will develop after the thinning?
  9. Hardwood seedlings will survive and thrive after being planted with a machine planter.

For further study: Planting Hardwoods -- Successfully - Dr. Wayne Clatterbuck interview on Capital Ideas - Live!, March 2010.

Phone: (205) 339-0929


T. R. Clark

Hear Conference


The Value of a Timber Sale Contract

T. R. Clark is the Manager of F & W Forestry Services LaFayette, Alabama Regional Office. We asked T.R. to comment on the points made by Suz-Anne Kinney in an article she wrote entitled Ensure Sustainability with a Timber Sale Contract, F2M Market Watch, 12/10/13. The article contains a check list of timber sale contract provisions that should be useful to you if you are considering selling timber. T.R.'s discussion covers: Why do I need a timber sale contract?; Where do I obtain a timber sale contract?; and, How do I know a timber sale contract is in my favor? In answer to the last question, T.R. described a situation that turned out poorly because the landowner signed a contract that was not in his favor:

I had a landowner call that sold their timber directly to a buyer and used that buyer’s template. The landowner asked for a “thinning”, with the assumption that the buyer understood what was expected. But the contract did not provide a method of harvest (thinning type, residual expected basal area, trees per acre, species to be left uncut, etc.). The end result was that the tract was “high-graded”. The residual timber that was left was essentially pre-merchantable sized scrap hardwood. It was technically “thinned”, but the contract was inadequate in describing exactly what the landowner’s expectation was. The buyer actually acted correctly based on what was in the contract, but the contract was obviously not written in the favor of the landowner.

Phone: (334) 864-9542


Dr. Tamara L. Cushing

Hear Conference


Forest Taxation Advice Before You File

Tammy Cushing is Assistant Professor and Extension Forestry Specialist in the School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina. She is one of the top forest taxation experts in the U.S., so we asked her to talk to us today about some of the things landowners should be considering as we get ready to file our 2013 income tax returns. Of course, she suggested that this is a little late to make tax saving decisions for 2013, and perhaps we should be thinking of things we can do to lower our tax bills for 2014 and beyond. She asked us to refer to Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2013 Tax Year by Linda Wang and John Greene. Tax Tips touches on the importance of Profit Motive, Timber Basis & Depletion Deductions, Timber Management Expenses, Reforestation Costs, Depreciation, and Timber Casualty and Theft Losses.

Dr. Cushing has produced a series of videos on forest taxation with the help of the Forest Landowners Tax Council through a grant from the Forest Landowners Foundation:

Phone: (864) 656-0878


Dr. Lynn O. Michaelis

Hear Conference


The Coming Southern Timber Boom

Lynn Michaelis is a Partner in Forest Economic Advisers, LLC and has nearly 40 years experience in the forest products industry. Most of the experience was with Weyerhaeuser Co., where Lynn was the Chief Economist and Vice President, Marketing and Economic Research for over 20 years. Lynn's article in the July/August issue of Forest Landowners magazine caught our attention. In Southern Timber Boom he wrote: "The key ingredients are in place for a surge in Southern lumber and timber demand - and prices - in the next five years." Today we asked Dr. Michaelis to give us his perspective on current and short term stumpage markets. In a series of slides entitled, Impending Shortage of North American Lumber Capacity: Implications for U.S. Southern Industry, Lynn describes the driving forces behind the U.S. lumber and timber industry and where he thinks it is heading during the next few years.

A few quotes from selected slides:

  • Exciting period ahead for U.S. lumber and timber industry, especially for U.S. South (2)
  • Key drivers for U.S. Lumber Demand: Residential (Lumber Market Share) (8)
  • Housing Collapse Was Due to Excesses: Requires different forecasting approach (12)
  • The Deferred Volume in the South Substantial (24)
  • The industry has improved, but still is not healthy (31)
  • Sustained housing and product demand recovery through 2017 (31)
  • Southern sawtimber harvest back to 2005 levels (2016-17) (31)
  • Log/Stumpage prices in South equal/exceed 2005 levels by 2016 (31)

Phone: (206) 434-8102



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