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JANUARY 2015 News Conference for Forest Owners
Sponsored by the Alabama Forest Owners' Association, Inc.
This Conference was recorded on January 21, 2015.

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)


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

Click Here to View & Hear Prior News Conferences.


Christopher H. Jones, M.S., Esq.

Hear Conference


Endangered Species Act Comment Assistance

Chris Jones is a Trial Attorney "who specializes in the constitutional rights of citizens, families and businesses affected by international, federal and state wildlife and natural resources laws. Jones works closely with legislators, the US Department of Justice and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to change policies of destructive wildlife enforcement actions brought on by rogue government officials." "Licensed in state and federal courts nationwide, Jones relentlessly protects the freedoms of Americans that governmental powers are surreptitiously taking away under the auspices of public health and safety, animal welfare, and natural resources protection."

In early November Chris made us aware of the December 8th 2014 deadline to comment for or against the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to enlist the Black Pine Snake (Pituohis melanoleucus lodingi) under the Endangered Species Act in western Alabama/southeast Mississippi. If this snake is protected under the Endangered Species Act, private timberland harvesting and management decisions will be hindered by first being required to have costly, time consuming federal consultations and permits. The Black Pine Snake is not believed to warrant federal endangered species status being already protected at the state level as Threatened, and populations may be abundant in the wild. The Service will propose enlisting another 136 species in Alabama under the Endangered Species Act every year until 2018 as a result of litigation with environmental groups.

Chris helps landowners with endangered species problems and the commenting process on proposed listings of threatened and endangered species. Landowner comments can make a difference in the government’s decision whether to enlist an endangered species or not. We thought we should introduce him to our members and friends.

Links to Chris's website:

Websites to lists of federal endangered species by county:

Phone: (423) 486-7020


Dr. Nancy J. Loewenstein

Hear Conference



Eradicating Cogongrass Infestations

Nancy Loewenstein is a Research Fellow at the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and serves as an invasive plant specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Research by Nancy and co-worker Stephen Enloe, which demonstrated that cogongrass can be successfully eradicated, was featured in a November 24, 2014 Auburn University College of Agriculture press release entitled: New study shows progress towards eradicating cogongrass infestations.

Cogongrass is an aggressive, highly flammable, nonnative grass that invades and can quickly overtake forests and other uncultivated areas. It spreads by seeds and by underground rhizomes and forms dense stands that choke out native plants. The cogongrass rhizome system can account for up to 80 percent of the weed’s biomass, making it difficult to eradicate.

“No research has successfully demonstrated eradication of an infestation of cogongrass before,” Enloe said. “So we are very excited that we know we can do it, even on some of the most severe infestations.”

The three-year study, conducted at Tillmans Corner, and Bayou La Batre, Alabama, used herbicide treatments of glyphosate, imazapyr and a mixture of both. The combinations of herbicide treatments and application timing produced nine treatments in addition to a nontreated control.

Further Reading:

Phone: (334) 844-1061


Thomas B. Skaggs

Hear Conference



Fire Damage Insurance for AFOA Members

Tom Skaggs is the Senior Program Underwriting Manager assisting with business development and risk management for all of Outdoor Underwriters specialty markets. Outdoor Underwriters, Inc., is the insurance agency that provides coverage to AFOA members for Hunting Lease Liability Insurance and Timberland Liability Insurance. Tom is with us today to introduce us to a new insurance coverage available to AFOA members: Standing Timber - Fire Damage. This new policy shields landowners from casualty losses -- actual property damage losses -- which is different from our Hunting and Timberland policies, which protect us from liability claims. While it is important to recognize that many wildfires cause little or no damage to timber or regeneration, the Alabama Forestry Commission reported 1,682 wildfires in 2013 which burned a total of 30,340 acres with an average fire size of 18.03 acres (there are about 23-million acres of forestland in Alabama). Some of those fires caused serious damage that could have been covered by the new AFOA Standing Timber - Fire Damage policy.

Examples from Standing Timber - Fire Damage -- Specifications and Application:

Landowner A owns 33 acres of standing timber mostly comprised of mature hardwoods. Landowner A selects a limit of $25,000 to protect his timber stand from fire damage and subsequent reforestation cost. A lightning strike causes a fire and burns 10 of the 33 acres. The actual cash value the adjustor comes up with for the 10 acres is $18,000. In this scenario the most Landowner A would receive for his claim is $7,500 or the per acre maximum of $750 per acre based on the overall limit chosen of $25,000. (Subject to deductible)

Landowner B owns 33 acres of standing timber mostly comprised of young pine trees. Landowner B selects a limit of $25,000 to protect his timber stand from fire damage and subsequent reforestation cost. A lightning strike causes a fire and burns all 33 acres. The actual cash value the adjustor comes up with for the 33 acres is $22,500. In this scenario Landowner B would receive the entire value of $22,500 because it is less than the per acre maximum based on the overall limit chosen of $25,000. (Subject to deductible)

Phone: (865) 809-1588


Roger F. Bryant

Hear Conference



3 Smartphone Apps Every Forest Owner Should Have

Roger Bryant is a Software Engineer and Consulting Forester from Smyrna, Georgia. He is the owner of Genesis Forest Management and enjoys blogging at Forest Geek Blog. A list of the apps he has spoken about in the past (Roger led a breakout session at AFOA's Annual Meeting in Tuscaloosa) are at

Three Apps

1. Mapping/GPS/GIS

Smart (Android) is a free GPS collection app that I use quite a bit. It was developed by a French team of developers but the app is in English and is quite easy to use and is packed full of features. This is an app that will allow you to GPS roads, stands lines, and area (like harvest areas, food plots, ponds, etc.). GIS Kit (iOS) is still my favorite iOS app, but comes with a price tag of $99 (great app for an iPad).

2. Navigation

Waze (Android / iOS) – I use Waze everyday. This is an app that everyone who drives should have. Whether I'm traveling to the woods to look at timber, on a trip, or I'm driving around town I use this app to keep me informed on my drive. This app will guide you to your destination, let you know if of hazards on the road like accidents and construction, help find the cheapest gas, and will even tell you if police are nearby. The app gives you route options and will alert you if there is traffic up ahead. This app has been a lifesaver for me!

3. GeoTagging Camera App

Every smartphone comes with a pretty decent camera these days. Smartphones provide a unique ability to take pictures that are geotagged with GPS coordinates. This allows the user to display photos on a map like Google Maps. Whether you have a unique or special area on your property, you are keeping track of wildlife signs or markings, or maybe want to take a picture of a trophy deer, these types of apps will allow you to track exactly where and when the moment occurred. An app I use most often is GeoCam Free for Android (there is also a paid version). There are many similar paid and free apps for iOS as well.

Phone: (678) 310-4787


Jim Furubotten

Hear Conference


Applying Drone Technology to Forest Management

Jim Furubotten, "a consulting forester from Aberdeen, Washington, is retiring from For-Con Inc., a forestry consulting firm he founded 31 years ago, to start a new company called Aerial View Solutions. This year For-Con started using drones over the 500,000 acres of timberland they oversee. Jim said, 'I originally thought of using this system for reconning possible marijuana plantations, but I've used these systems for pre- and post-logging audits. I have also worked on mapping projects and cell tower inspections.' His new company has plans to use drones for forest fire reconnaissance, mass erosion surveys, creek erosion, and rock quarry depletion surveys." Source: Are Drones the Next Big Idea in Forestry?, The Consultant, 2015 (pages 21-27).

"...faster, cheaper, better..."

Phone: (360) 581-0941


Sgt. Ira J. Whitehead

Hear Conference


Timber Theft and Woods Arson Investigation -- 2015

Jay Whitehead is a Supervisory Special Agent assigned to the Agriculture & Rural Crime Unit of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Beginning officially on January 1, 2015, the law enforcement responsibilities of a dozen state agencies, including the Alabama Forestry Commission, were merged under the new Alabama Law Enforcement Agency headed up by Secretary Spencer Collier. Since many forest landowners have been satisfied with the skilled and focused investigative assistance we have received from the law enforcement personnel of the Alabama Forestry Commission, it is understandable that we are concerned that the investigative efforts of the new agency may not be capable or interested in the needs of forest landowners. We asked Sergeant Whitehead to help us understand how the Agency will handle cases that involve timber theft or forest arson.

As we understand it:

For Further Information:

Phone: (256) 603-9032


Michael Buchart

Hear Conference


The Benefits of Growing & Selling Christmas Trees

Mike Buchart is Executive Secretary of the Southern Christmas Tree Association (SCTA). "SCTA is primarily an organization of Christmas tree growers in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi [, but they] welcome other state growers. SCTA's mission is to assist growers in the production and marketing of high quality, REAL Christmas trees for consumers. Members provide unique experiences for customers while creating memories and traditions for families lasting a lifetime." We asked Mike to introduce us to the Southern Christmas Tree Association, describe the work involved on a cut-your-own Christmas Tree Farm and tell us about the benefits provided to traditional working farms and forests by cut-your-own Christmas Tree Farms. SCTA is affiliated with the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA).

SCTA Membership Application Form

Some of the Benefits of Membership:

  • Learn from experienced growers and those new to the industry
  • Have your farm listed on the association website as a dedicated sub-page or linked to your own
  • Receive quarterly newsletters highlighting meeting activities, growers, tips, marketing, business management and more
  • Receive important e-mail notifications of immediate interest
  • Participate in the annual, fall meeting covering a broad range of subjects
  • Meet and interact with government, business and industry leaders
  • Have a direct connection with NCTA through SCTA's National Director
  • Benefit from a national locator service hosted on NCTA's website
  • Interact with industry suppliers for the latest and most effective products
  • Stay tuned with technical developments in all aspects of our industry

Phone: (225) 505-6335


Dr. Robert C. Abt

Hear Conference


Is It Time to Focus on Pulpwood?

Bob Abt is Professor of Natural Resource Economics, and Management Co-director of the Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) at the College of Natural Resources, NC State University. During a recent AFOA brainstorming session, a consulting forester brought up the current low differential between pine sawtimber stumpage prices and pine pulpwood stumpage prices and questioned whether growing pine sawtimber was still a good idea. For example, the Timber Mart-South price of Alabama sawtimber was $51.97/ton in the 2nd quarter of 2005 while pulpwood was $7.65/ton - a ratio of 6.79. The most recent report (4th quarter 2014) listed Alabama sawtimber at $24.98/ton and pulpwood at $10.30/ton -- a ratio of 2.43. Is it worth it to focus on sawtimber, which requires a longer time to harvest (rotation length), or should shorter pulpwood rotations be considered? We turned to forest economist Bob Abt to help us answer that question. Current prices and expected future prices as well as species choices and planting spacing are all involved in the decision making process.

You may want to play some "what if" games with the Timberland Decision Support System developed by Texas Forest Service's Dr. Weihuan Xu. Listen to Dr. Xu's Capital Ideas - Live! 2003 interview and try out the sample calculation.

Phone: (919) 515-7791



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