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Bringing back pork projects is no way to keep
government costs under control. If forest owners may
lose capital gains treatment of timber sale income and
the ability to annually deduct tree planting and other
forest management costs, there is no place in the
federal budget for new pork barrel projects. “Remind
your friends that when the government pays for it, it’s
forestry firms racing to replace paper business lost
to the internet are trying to transform their pulp
mill by-products into glue, biofuel and carbon fiber for
aircraft and wind turbines.” Meanwhile, “as
retail sales [of incontinence products] grow so does
the demand of fluff pulp, a moisture-absorbing fiber
made by such paper companies as International Paper Co.
and Domtar Corp.”
Almost 50% of the wood fiber for pellets came from
sawmill waste and forest residue after logging so
far in 2017, which represents a shift in source
material, according to a news release Wood Resources
International, LLC. However, the energy fairness
PACE reports that Europe could be rethinking their green
energy initiatives: “Meanwhile, after spending $750
billion on subsidies and doubling power bills, the
European Union has decided to quietly step back from its
green energy programs."
Auburn University is offering the Forestry Field Camp
again this summer. “This hands-on camp will give
students an opportunity to get outdoors and learn about
forestry in Alabama and the importance of forestry field
measurements in making forest management decisions.”
This is a good learning opportunity for students
interested in natural resource professions as well as
the next generation of forest landowners. Listen to
Dr. Becky Barlow describe the program on
Capital Ideas—Live! in 2015, or learn more and
sign up at the Auburn website.
Economist Dr. Terry Anderson of the Property and
Environment Research Center
suggested in a recent article in The Wall Street
Journal that a 10% excise tax on outdoor gear should
be imposed to pay for public land access and
maintenance. The AFOA sent this response to Dr. Anderson
and the Journal:
landowners already subsidize public land recreation
through our property and income taxes, adding an
excise tax on the gear that is used on private land
would just be adding insult to injury. Thousands of
our members provide outdoor recreation access to
tens of thousands of hunters, campers, hikers,
birdwatchers, ATV enthusiasts and others. We suspect
that most of the gear purchased for these outdoor
activities is never used on public land. Please
rethink your idea and re-propose.”
In his newsletter, Georgia-based consulting forester
Mike Matre presented a side-by-side comparison of
tracts planted with different seedlings and preparations.
He outlines the difference in cost per acre and lists
the differences in his site prep and planting practices
for each tract.
Funds are now available to help landowners prevent
Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) infestation. The
application deadline for these funds is Friday, March
The list of eligible activities and application
instructions are available here.
Forest owners need loggers, tree planters, road
builders, and many other "doers" to improve our forests
and harvest timber.
Mike Rowe's message on the value of work and pride
of accomplishment may help your child or grandchild find
their own place on your forest management team.
The “privilege to hunt with dogs ends when it
infringes on someone else’s property. … private
property rights have to be defended,” said Chuck Sykes,
Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater
Fisheries (WFF) Division. His comments came in support
a recent regulation that attempts to reduce trespass
from dog hunters.
Yes, baiting might be legalized soon. But with a new
fee and permit. “Alabama sportsmen could eventually
use bait legally to hunt deer and hogs if
a bill passed by the state house of representatives
becomes law. … However, the baiting privilege will
come with a price tag if the bill becomes law as
hardwood and pine trees of various ages and sizes are
dying as a direct result of the recent drought. Many
more pines are being killed due to bark beetle
infestations, also a complication associated with the
drought of last fall…Landowners are advised to
monitor their property for signs of damage.” You
should contact your consulting forester immediately if
you suspect you have damaged or infested trees.
You can see photos of some common signs of infestation
here. If you haven’t worked with a consulting
forester before, you can
for a list of consulting foresters in your county.
rights are an effective means for conserving and
recovering endangered species. If someone owns these
animals and sees some gain from their flourishing,
recovery is more likely. But if endangered species are
merely a liability and any economic incentive to protect
them is vigorously opposed, we can’t expect much better
results than the Endangered Species Act’s woeful 2%
The composite southern yellow pine lumber price has
surged since week 4 of 2017. Though there has been
no resolution to the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA),
the price increase is reflective of the larger market
optimism and major stock market indices that have also
soared since President Trump’s inauguration on January
20. Mild winter weather and an early arrival of Spring
in many regions has also prompted inventory building
that is a few weeks ahead of schedule.
This demonstration by the University of Kentucky
Extension Service shows how to make your own
sheets of paper using a kit they have available and
household items. A great forest products educational
activity to complete with young ones.
“Often, it makes sense to give family members
financial gifts or gifts of property while you are still
This blog post from a Texas law firm outlines an
example of how you can strategically make tax-free gifts
that help your loved ones.
Any landowners who sell timber indirectly pay
severance taxes twice. Recent interpretations of the
statute [regarding the severance tax and processing tax]
have highlighted the need to remove the ambiguities and
vagueness created by the archaic language of the law.
As such, the [Alabama Forestry] Association has drafted
changes to the statute that will hopefully clear up
the current confusion. You can view
the text of the bills at this link by doing a search
for the bills below:
- HB313- Beech-
further defines the types of forest products subject
to the forest products severance tax and the
manufacturer's forest products tax liability. In
- SB244- Albritton-
further defines the types of forest products subject
to the forest products severance tax and the
manufacturer's forest products tax liability. In
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture recently
video profile of Traci Middleton of Middleton Lumber in
Tennessee as part of a video series on women in
agriculture. Middleton talks about her love of the
forest industry and what led her to stick with the
If you know any teachers interested in the
environment and conservation, be sure to let them
know about the annual Alabama Teachers Conservation
Workshop by the Alabama Forestry Association. This
four-day program gives educators of all kinds hands-on
learning, valuable classroom resources, and an in-depth
perspective on the role of forests in the environment.
AFOA is a proud sponsor of this event each year,
including a scholarship to fund one educator’s
attendance, so help us spread the word.
Learn more here, or
Do you know how big an acre is? At the
2017 AFOA Annual Meeting, Alabama Cooperative
Extension Specialist and Auburn University Associate
Becky Barlow will teach landowners key field
skills, such as how to estimate acreage or determine
the wood volume (and by extension the value) of a tree.
Culverts can prevent erosion and make driving on your
roads more pleasant, and can also facilitate movement of
fish and wildlife on your property. As drier weather
approaches, you might be thinking about installing a
culvert on your land.
This resource from Oklahoma Forestry Services gives good
tips and helpful photos on correct installation of
The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC)
announced a new program for students: "Enhancing
Environmental Quality through Property Rights and
Markets." PERC will provide a full
scholarship to cover tuition, meals, lodging, and a
stipend of $500 for each student's travel expenses.
A great program for students concerned about the
environment and who would like to explore solving
problems without command and control methods.
is a whole month of hunting opportunity in February that
many Alabama hunters miss. … Squirrel season occurs
immediately after the close of deer season, and deer
signs are still evident. It provides an opportunity
for hunters to scout and learn more about their hunting
Dr. John Goodman discusses
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) on CSPAN's Washington
Journal. HSAs may be useful to forest owners who
are working full time to manage their land.
Q1 Forisk News is available now, with
highlights including the timber price forecast, trucking
capacity and prices, timber market growth potential,
and a year-end analysis of Forisk’s 2016 forecasting.
We’re glad to announce two more speakers for the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting: Joe Stephenson,
a professional registered landman, will describe how his
services can help you keep a handle on your mineral
rights. In addition, Auburn University Research
Engineer James Johnson will speak about the
current and potential future uses of UAVs (drones) by
trees can be weakened, causing them to be more
susceptible to insects and diseases,” said Dana
Stone of the Alabama Forestry Commission in a recent
news release. Stone told AFOA that areas hit hardest
by last year's drought, including DeKalb, Cherokee,
Calhoun, and Shelby counties, are reporting the most
pine beetle infestations. But she says any landowner
north of Montgomery should be especially vigilant.
Alabama Private Forests, a Discovering
Alabama Production sponsored by the Bradley/Murphy
Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Trust, is
scheduled for statewide broadcast on
Alabama Public Television three times in April: 9 PM
Monday, April 17th, 9 PM Friday, April 21st, and 6 PM
Sunday, April 30th. The
Discovering Alabama host, Dr. Doug Phillips,
will be at the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting to introduce a special
showing of this segment of his long-running program.
We're pleased to announce two more speakers for
the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting:
Joe Clark, Stumpage Forester at
Forest2Market, Inc., will talk about market
realities and finding your niche market, and
Gary Lemme, Director of the
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will present
the newest data about the impact of forestry and
agriculture on Alabama's economy.
A little background on Neil Gorsuch, nominee for
Supreme Court: His mother, Ann Gorsuch Burford, was
the first female head of the EPA. "She became known
for her efforts under Reagan for working to lessen the
clout of the federal government in the area of
environmental regulations, trying instead to devolve
authority and give the states more leeway over their own
We are happy to report all seven Alabama
representatives are members of the
Working Forests Caucus. If you live or have land
in another state,
check this list to see if your representatives are
members. Updating the tax code is one of the goals of
"An estimated 1.17 million housing units were started
in 2016—a nearly 5 percent increase over 2015—making it
the strongest year since 2007. However, there was a
continued divergence in the types of residential
buildings under construction; single-family starts were
up 9.3 percent last year, but multifamily units fell 3.1
This Forest2Market analysis also predicts
what we can expect from Millennials and housing.
File this one under “If it ain’t broke…”
How to work around the EPA-mandated gas cans, “things
that work worse thanks to geniuses in the federal
For AFOA members interested in becoming more active
in politics at the national level,
the Forest Landowners Association Political Action
Committee offers some interesting opportunities.
"A story map developed by U.S. Forest Service
researchers allows users to interactively chart the ebb
and flow of forest products across the southern states...
Southern Forest Products – An Economic Engine
provides a constantly updated guide to southern timber
product outputs and the mills that process them."
Mark Thomas, Certified Wildlife Biologist and
Consulting Forester, will bring humor and expertise as
he leads a discussion on common forest and wildlife
management problems and how a variety of herbicides can
be used to solve them at the
AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting.
"The good news is that with thoughtful planning and
orchestration before the meeting, the family can
participate in effective dialogue together and produce
Ways to keep folks engaged in the family business –
including managing family land – and make family
"The optimal planting window for bareroot seedlings is
late November until mid March and containerized
seedlings can be planted from October until May."
This guide gives detailed tips for improving
planting success. Also available in
Spanish if you work with a planting crew that might
benefit from the guide.
“The simple truth is that [the estate tax] is a
particularly damaging tax policy for our members. In
many instances, this tax can lead to untimely timber
harvests or even worse, a land sale.” -
Scott Jones, Forest Landowners Association president
"'If you look at the statistics from the U.S. South,
close to two-thirds of the timber harvest is coming from
small landowners,' said Robert G. Flynn, director,
international timber, for RISI, a forest-products
This NY Times article looks at the risks and returns
of three ways to invest in forests.
Leslie Klasing, a partner at Waldrep, Stewart, &
Kendrick, LLC, has joined the roster of presenters for
2017 Annual Meeting. Klasing will speak on timber
theft and other boundary related problems for landowners.
Read her advice for foresters on this topic here.
Additionally, AFOA member Tommy Sellers: The Man With
The Hillabee Creek Band will be playing at the Friday
to some of his music here.
a fuel tax may be on the 2017 legislative agenda, we
want to be sure lawmakers know that timber and
agriculture crops locked behind low-weight bridges and
roads are worthless. If we maintain and improve our
major highways, but neglect the maintenance of rural
roads and bridges, there will be nothing to ship on the
highways and Alabama will be poorer for the neglect.
A California sheriff is using a high tech chemical for
ag theft prevention. "The product is made up of
water and solvent-based traceable liquids. Each vial has
a unique chemical code that can be traced back to the
farmer or person who registers it through a database...Once
sprayed on ag equipment, the liquid which is invisible,
odorless, stays on a thief for up to five years without
them noticing and is picked up using an ultra-violet
light." Could this also help with logging equipment
“The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled
there is a reasonable indication that softwood lumber
imports from Canada materially injure the U.S. industry.”
This means the case for renegotiating the disputed
agreement will move forward. Bloomberg analyst
Joshua Zaret talks about what it means for US producers
in this video.
"Donald Trump said Thursday that he expects that
former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, his choice to lead the
Agriculture Department, will 'deliver big results for
all Americans who earn their living off the land.'
Perdue showed little interest in pushing big programs or
signature legislation during his two terms. Instead
he focused on finding ways to save money while improving
customer service by state agencies."
The deadline to apply for financial assistance
through the 2017 Wild Pig Program with the Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is Friday, January
Eligibility rules and payment information are available
here. You must sign the agreement in person at a
local NRCS office or fax a signed copy. Address and
contact info for each county’s office can be found by
finding your county on this map.
The Alabama Forestry Association invites young
professionals to participate in an exclusive
professional development training program. The AFA
hopes to attract participants across the whole spectrum
of the Alabama forestry community to connect with peers
and mentors, and grow professionally. Anyone
interested should apply as soon as possible to secure a
Application and more details here.
Scott Lockyear, Senior National Director, Design
and Construction Services at
WoodWorks, will introduce some of the
interesting new wood uses and new wood products
(Multi-story buildings, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT),
Massive Plywood Panels, etc.) to forest landowners at
2017 Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held at the
Alabama 4-H Center (about 40 miles south of Birmingham)
on April 22. Read more about
Massive Plywood Panels and other
wood technology expected to give a boost to timber.
Beth Richardson, a Clemson University Extension
Service forester, will return as a speaker for the
2017 AFOA Annual Meeting. Her message on
practical forest management and energy-packed delivery
have made her one of the most talked-about speakers
we’ve ever had. She has previously spoken with AFOA
the Best from your Pine Plantation” and “Improving
the Return of Your Forestry Investments."
"The possibility for permanent, positive change was
there, but appears to have been “trumped” by the
existing power structure. There will be no 'draining
of the swamp' at Interior." - Frank DuBois on the
Secretary of the Interior appointment.
"It looks as if 2017 could bring another
seismic rewrite of our federal tax system ...
This could be a year to extend your 2016 tax filing and
keep your options open."
Bareroot, LLC is pleased to announce that it has
reached an agreement with Weyerhaeuser Company to
purchase four forest seedling nurseries as well as
the Flint River Seed Orchard. These nurseries are
located in Jesup, Georgia, Washington,North Carolina,
Pine Hill, Alabama, and Shubuta, Mississippi."
“We believe the stage is set for the timber REITs to
outperform in 2017.”
Raymond James recommends timber REITs Rayonier and
Weyerhauser as strong stocks to buy in 2017. It
remains to be seen whether good news for REITs means
good news for private forest landowners, but we should
definitely be paying attention.
"Industry consumption remains strong and if US
GDP growth improves, the pulp and paper industry will
have a good year."
More predictions for global wood markets in 2017,
courtesy of Forest2Market.
“Freezing weather can have a detrimental effect on
seedling vigor and survival both in the nursery beds
and after planting.” Advice from ArborGen on
protecting your seedlings through cold weather events,
before and after planting.
Our belief that the current top-down, government
controlled wildlife management system could be
effectively replaced by rigorous trespass protection
generated some interesting discussion at the
ALDEER online forum. Our ideas were a response to an
article by Chuck Sykes, Chief of the Alabama Wildlife &
Freshwater Fisheries Division, available here. Read
our article near the bottom of page 6 of the January
Capital Ideas newsletter.
all you need to know in order to sharpen a chainsaw
Senticnel is a
tree-mounted sensor system designed to identify the
location of a forest fire, alert responders, and predict
the path of the fire using modeling software. Though
this system might not be practical yet, we think it’s an
interesting technology with promise for forest
trade-off between the benefits of sustainable
energy and the negative impacts of razing swaths of
forest has come up multiple times...in several locations
around the United States." Alabama Power issued a
call for proposals on renewable energy last fall.
Edward (Tony) Hubbard has experience negotiating
solar leases, and will be speaking on April 22 at the
AFOA annual meeting.
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.
According to 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 Capital Ideas—Live!
“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 AL.com.
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
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
Minority Report. 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
"Unfortunately 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."
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:
Chris Whalen, senior managing director for the Kroll
Bond Rating Agency, quoted by Virginia Tech-US Forest
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
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 Capital Ideas--Live!
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 The Westerner.
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.
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 Outdoor Alabama.
“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 writes the
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:
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
LWCF amendment 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
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
email us (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:
Progressive Farmer, Winter 2015
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.
Although black bears are not common in Alabama,
present in some areas. Remember that they are not
harmless cuddly teddy bears, as
this incident in New Jersey reminds us.
"It is time to admit the Endangered Species Act’s
penalty-based approach is a mistake, end this
country’s senseless 42-year war on its most vulnerable
species and chart a new, successful course for
endangered species conservation based on a new approach
that has been around for a long time."
It's too easy to grow trees for 30 years, only to make
disastrous choices at the end.
Watch this video from the University of Kentucky if
you're thinking of making a timber sale.
Some take-aways from last week's "omnibus" funding
"I think it is completely indefensible that the
federal government is America's largest landlord,"
Cruz said in
this video at The Westerner.
you might like this newsletter from the
Southern Christmas Tree Association. Note the ads in
the newsletter for equipment and supplies you may need
if you decide to grow Christmas trees.
According to the American Land Rights Association
"The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the enemy of
rural America, ranching, farming and private land
ownership." ALRA would like you to "Call your
Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Land and
Water Conservation Fund as a permanent Trust Fund. Call
any Congressman at (202) 225-3121."
recent email for details.
“After you have harvested several deer from your
ground blind, you might wonder why you don’t hunt
this way more often.” One hunter says ground blinds
offer safety, concealment, and ease of set-up.
Read the full story at
Georgia Forestry Today, page 27.
“Landowners may face different types of eminent
domain situations with local utility companies or
government agencies [called the “condemning authority”]
that will take private land for public use [think
power lines or pipelines], with payment or
compensation.” Here are tips to consider if you
find yourself in this situation (Source:
Georgia Forestry Today, p. 14):
- How did the
condemning authority arrive at its offer amount?
Request a written summary of the appraiser’s
- Request a drawing or
map identifying the land being acquired. Is the
location of the land being acquired established or
is the location subject to change?
- Is the land going to
be owned by the condemning authority, or is it
acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary
- What use limitations
will the landowner be subject to with regard to the
land being acquired?
- Did the landowner
have any plans to use his/her land for any
particular purpose?If so, will the acquisition
impact the future planned use?
- What impact will the
loss of land have on the value of the remaining
- If the land being
acquired does not abut a public road, how will the
condemning authority gain access to the land being
acquired, and is the landowner being compensated for
that access right?
- Most of all, contact
an attorney and a local appraiser with expertise in
condemnation law. This is a complicated area of the
law with many pitfalls for the unwary landowner.
If a gas tax increase is enacted, we hope rural
roads and bridges will get a fair proportion of the new
Hear an interview with DOT director John Cooper
about ATRIP, rural roads and bridges, and how this
affects you as a landowner.
Seedlings need to experience cold weather acclimation
to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures,
says an alert from the
Southern Forest Nursery Management Co-op. Warm days
and nights before a freeze can compromise dormancy,
especially in pine seedlings. Take special care with
your seedlings this winter, and
learn more about how to protect them with tips from
Message to Lawmakers and Government Procurement
Officials buying lumber and other construction
materials made from wood: Buy the best quality
products at the lowest possible prices. We have been
watching various “certification schemes” pressuring
government agencies and lawmakers to reject lumber and
other forest products not blessed by their particular
organization. Please ignore emotional pleas from
Forest Stewardship Council,
Sustainable Forestry Initiative,
American Tree Farm System, and others. Buy the
best quality wood product at the lowest possible price,
whether “certified” by one of these schemes or not.
The Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU)
currently has 12 agents assigned throughout the state.
Click here for a map of agent location and contact
information. The stats listed below are for FY2015
ARCU (the timber cases only include Jan-Oct 2015, after
consolidation with Alabama Forestry Commission’s law
enforcement personnel). Editor’s note: If you called
ARCU to report a timber theft in the past 11 months,
were you satisfied with their handling of your problem?
Write to AFOA at
- Cases: Total 277
- Property Crimes
Cases – 200
- Animal Crime Cases –
- Timber Crime Cases –
10 (all of these cases were resolved by the parties
involved or turned out to be civil cases)
- Other Cases – 82
- Calls for
Service: Total 165 (calls phoned into the hotline
[1-855-75-CRIME] or ALEA dispatch)
- Property Crime Calls
- Animal Crime Calls –
- Timber Crime Calls –
- Other Crime Calls -
Thinking about a family trip to cut a Christmas tree?
Here are a few places in Alabama to choose and cut
your own tree. (Full
list at Southern Christmas Tree Association):
"The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the
mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street
piece about the “controversial” subject of forest
thinning and its impact on fire suppression simply gets
it wrong. In the article, journalist Jim Carlton
failed to discuss the myriad benefits that regular
thinnings have on the overall health of our forests and
their peripheral ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the
safety and economic wellbeing of the communities that
Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the
Treat your venison right: “Sometimes you’ll get a
gamey flavor if you don’t get it on ice and get it
processed right. If you process it right, you’re going
to get great flavor from your venison.”
Find out how to age venison for great flavor and other
tips here. Source: Outdoor Alabama.
outdoor essays from David Rainer.
Intended as a comprehensive and authoritative
history, "Forestry in the U.S. South
explores the remarkable commercial and environmental
gains made possible through the collaboration of
industry, universities, and other agencies."
Purchase directly from the Forest History Society here.
A new Aunt Fanny essay makes sense of housing reports
and Timber REITs.
Deer farmers and the state of Texas are battling
over actions taken to manage
Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer. CWD poses
a serious threat to deer species and hunting-related
activities and income in the
states where it is found.
submit comments here until December 11, 2015
Sabal Trails Pipeline Project, a 515-mile natural
gas transmission pipeline. “Roughly 86 of those miles
are located in Alabama. The current study corridor
affects four counties in Alabama, including Tallapoosa,
Chambers, Lee and Russell Counties.” Source: The South
Next Month, Jim Noles, Balch & Bingham LLP.
"A country’s long-term “potential” growth rate depends
on two things: the number of workers, and how productive
they are. Slower population growth directly
chips away at the number of workers." We thought this
was interesting in light of the housing reports this
This interactive Federal Footprint map is an
interesting, detailed look at land owned by the U.S.
government. "The feds control a lot of land and
shouldn’t be rushing out to add more territory and
responsibility. In these days of budget deficits and
spending cuts, the federal government clearly is
becoming hard pressed to manage what it already owns."
Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15
And another perspective on federal land ownership
from our friends at the Property and Environment
More housing numbers: "Forisk projects 12.1% growth over
"Georgia-Pacific last week announced plans for $110
million in upgrades to its Alabama River Cellulose (ARC)
mill in Monroe County." Work will begin in early
2016, and is expected to take 18 months. Source:
Yellowhammer News, 11/19/15
A new report says
wood pellet export markets pose no threat to the
sustainability of U.S. Southern forests
or the viability of other forest products manufacturers.
In fact, removals for export pellet production
represented .08% of the total forest inventory in 2014.
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.
“Alabama timber, forestry industry may get big worker
boost with new state grant.”
According to the European Food Safety Authority,
glyphosate/Roundup “is unlikely to cause cancer in
humans.” This news should bring relief to many
forest owners, who use Roundup for a variety of forestry
uses, after a
March 2015 World Health Organization report, based
on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity,” classified
glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Virginia Tech’s latest housing report remains dismal
and provides little hope for a quick upturn in sawtimber
stumpage prices. On the other hand, while American’s are
not building as many single family homes as they were
pre-recession, we are slowly recovering from the
recession lows –
lows that are very high for much of the rest of the
The EPA wants information from the public on any ongoing
efforts to address stormwater discharge from forest
roads to determine whether additional measures to
protect water quality are necessary. Since these
“additional measures” could include regulations or a
permitting program imposed on the owners of forest roads,
consider whether you want to take advantage of this
opportunity. Such input could very well shape any future
regulatory rulemaking on this topic. Submit your
comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–
OW–2015–0668, to the
Federal eRulemaking Portal.
Read the entire announcement from the
Federal Register. (1/5/15) Update: Comment period
has been extended to Feb. 11
The two biggest publicly traded forest landowners in
the U.S. will merge.
Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek for $8.4B to form
Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard
before for using goats and other livestock to control
unwanted vegetation. A Google search found
Goat, unfortunately based in North Carolina, but
with a focused message that will be of interest to
anyone in Alabama who is thinking about setting up a
prescribed grazing business. A 2010 WBHM story,
Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off, featured Todd &
Allison Sluiss. The Michigan couple were also featured
Farm Show article back in 2009. At that time they
charged $300 per day with a 2-day minimum.
Goat Busters were used in 2014 to clear privet and
other brush and vines on
Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park.
Could an organized, well-informed group of forest
landowners harm local wood markets? That is the
interesting situation described in Antti Kämäräinen's
recent Forest2Market Blog,
"The Cost of Market Power: When is Too Much Market Power
Detrimental to a Market’s Global Competitiveness?"
Cogongrass, a weed that burns hot enough to kill
mature pines, now infests over 65,000 acres in the South,
and is, unfortunately, common in south Alabama.
Herbicides applied in late April and late September have
proven to be the most effective form of eradication.
"The two herbicides currently being used are 41%
glyphosate [Roundup] and 52% imazapyr [Arsenal]. A good
tank mix is two quarts of glyphosate and 12 to 15 ounces
of imazapyr per 25 gallons of water. Adding a non-ionic
surfactant at one pint per 25 gallons, or AMS (ammonium
sulfate) at five pounds granular per 25 gallons can
increase herbicide efficiency." For more details about
identification and control, go to
Great Days Outdoors, 11/15.
The White Fringeless Orchid has been proposed
for the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. The orchid has been found in 8 Alabama
counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson,
Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. Since forestry
practices may cause modification of the orchid’s habitat
that could harm individual plants, forest owners may
want to learn more about the proposed listing, and
possibly send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service
before the November 16, 2015 comments deadline.
See 9/14/15 press release for contact information.
Timber Markets In a Nutshell: pine stumpage prices
down; hardwood stumpage prices up -- more or less.
Source: Forest2Market Blog,
US South Stumpage Market Trends: YDT 2015 Results and
Historic Data by Daniel Stuber, 11/15.
"US Department of Agriculture Terminates Consideration
of Hardwood Checkoff." "Based on comments
received, outstanding substantive questions and
significant proposed modifications from stakeholders,
USDA is terminating the proceeding." Many of the wood
processors were so unhappy with the proposed tax that
they created a website entitled
Editor's note: While stumpage growers (landowners) do
not directly pay the tax (the check-off is paid by the
wood processors), the burden of the tax falls directly
on stumpage growers, since payments for standing timber
tend to be the amount left over after costs of producing
lumber and plywood are covered. Stumpage growers would
not have been given a seat on the decision making board,
if the checkoff had been imposed.
Tree Identification webinar kicked off a series
of webinars designed for woodland owners in Kentucky.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
webinars will continue on October 29, November 12,
November 19 and December 1.
More details including registration information is
available on the UKAgNews website.
Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry: Managing Timberland as an
Investment "highlights the key obligations,
risks and metrics for owning and managing timberland
investments. The book serves any investor, from
individual to institution, interested in a tight and
entertaining tutorial for prioritizing what matters and
what does not when managing their timber assets as an
investment." $12 from Forisk Consulting. To read some of
the Aunt Fanny essays click here
Protect your home from wildfires: "Roof Saver
Sprinklers® wet roofs, gutters, decks, surrounding
trees, and shrubs."
"Understory Prescribe Burns: Understory burns in
pine plantations are typically conducted during the
dormant season. Now is the time to begin planning for
those burns. Install firelanes after leaf fall and have
both a prescribe burn and smoke management plan prepared
by a Certified Burn Prescriptionist." Source:
of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 2,
Issue 3. Other topics in the newsletter include Timber
Market Update, Focus Industry, Timber Sales, Boundary
Line Maintenance, and Mineral Leases.
Letters to Dad is a short video created by the
Paper Check-off as part of a consumer campaign to "slow
the decline in paper usage." A check-off for softwood
lumber similar to the Paper Check-off has been opposed
by Resolute Forest Products, Inc., as an
unconstitutional tax. A hardwood check-off under
discussion has been reduced in size so much as a result
of complaints that "it would exclude over 80% of the
hardwood forest products industry," and be "severely
underfunded." Source: Timber Mart-South ~ Market News
fire weather links are available at the Alabama
Forestry Commission website. Even if you're not planning
a prescribed burn, we think you'll find some of this
The domestic cat is the top killer of America's
A new study suggests that even with this knowledge,
cat owners are unwilling to restrain their cats to
protect wildlife. Source: Great Days Outdoors
magazine, October 2015
We hate to bring up western fires again, but they are
"Sometimes the science really has to matter."
"By shifting the blame to climate change [politicians]
think they can avoid taking responsibility for their
Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach
to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forest
by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel may be of interest to
some Alabama forest owners, even though the authors'
target audience are forest owners in the northern U.S.
Confiscatory Property Taxes Push Wisconsin Forest Owners
into Untenable Position. In order to avoid very
high forestland property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners signed on to the Managed Forest Law program which
reduced property taxes, but also forced participants to
open their lands to public access. Now a district court
has "approved regulations allowing Wisconsin's Lake
Superior Chippewa Indians to conduct night hunting for
deer on lands open to public hunting (including Managed
Forest Law "open" lands)..." Source: Wisconsin Woodland
Owners Association, 10/14/15.
Trump: Eminent Domain, Even For Private Projects Is
‘Wonderful Thing,’ ‘You’re Not Taking Property’
Lyme Disease is present in 7 Alabama counties.
They are Calhoun, Chambers, Jefferson, Mobile, Russell,
Shelby, and Tuscaloosa counties, according to the
Alabama Department of Public Health.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed the
waters of the U.S. rule issued by EPA and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that became effective on August
28. The court vote of 2-1 suspended the effectiveness of
the rule nationwide. The following statement in response
to the court’s decision was issued by Dave Tenny,
President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners:
“We are pleased the
court took the prudent step of staying the rule
while it sorts through the legal issues. The finding
of the court that the petitioners have a strong
likelihood of success on the procedural and
substantive issues in the case is encouraging, but
it will take time for the court to consider these
issues individually. Postponing implementation of
the rule pending a determination of its legality
makes good sense. In the meantime, we continue to
encourage Congress to enact legislation that will
enable all parties to take a fresh look at this
issue outside of the courtroom.”
The next step in the case
will be a decision by the Sixth Circuit as to whether or
not that court has jurisdiction to review the validity
of the rule. Source:
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 10/9/15. See
The Washington Times, 10/9/15.
Alabama's Pickens County 4-H Forestry Team earned third
place in the National 4-H Forestry Invitational
held in Weston, West Virginia.
"The black pinesnake, a burrowing constrictor found only
in pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama, is
now listed as threatened, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service said Monday." Source:
10/5/15. We understand that another 65 species in the
southeast have been proposed for federal protection
under the same lawsuit that forced the US Fish &
Wildlife Service to consider listing the black pinesnake
as threatened. See:
Black Pine Snakes Protected Under Endangered Species
Act: Declines Driven by Destruction of Southeast's
Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.
Is it reasonable to ask why government should be in
the entertainment business? If entertainment is not
an important function of government, why do we worry if
several state parks will soon be closed? See:
5 Alabama state parks to close following budget cuts.
"Cameras Will Soon Do The Job of Fire Tower Lookouts."
Poor forest management to blame for out-of-control
western fires, says
Capital Press, 9/24/15.
Facing a 19.6 percent cut in state funding,
"Alabama State Forester Greg Pate said the commission
couldn't handle any cuts, especially one so drastic."
Source: WSFA, 9/24/15.
Forest and Humans: From the Midwest to Madagascar
is the focus of a University of Wisconsin "Massive Open
Online Course," scheduled to begin on 9/30/15. "Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are unique virtual
teaching, learning and research experiences that are not
for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and
available at no cost to learners around the world." An
introductory video about the course and enrollment
information is at:
Three species of parasitoid wasps have been released in
North America in an attempt to control the
emerald ash borer, the
"most destructive forest pest ever seen in North
Flying Robot Spiders -- there must be some use
for this technology in the forest.
Forest Economist Dr. Jack Lutz discusses the growth of
trees and the growth of stands of trees in Limits to
[Tree] Growth, Forest Research Notes, Volume 12,
Number 3. Be sure to look at Figure 2,
which focuses on the value of planting, site
preparation, competition control, fertilization, and
tree improvement. (MAI
= Mean Annual Increment)
Seattle, USA. Softwood lumber prices (in US $) have
fallen throughout a majority of the main markets in the
world during the 2Q/15 because of weaker demand,
ample supply throughout the distribution chain and a
strengthening US dollar. The biggest declines have
occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries,
while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has
been more modest. Source: Wood Resource Quarterly
Press Release, 9/16/15.
U.S. Forest Service scientist not allowed to discuss
federal fire policy. A paper written by the
scientist, "Reform Forest Fire Management," says
suppressing every fire in overgrown forests is not only
expensive, but dangerous and ill-advised.
More Aunt Fanny essays from Forisk Consulting: (see
Private forestry plays a key role in in both Finland and
the United States. "In Finland, 80 percent of
the domestic wood used by the forest industry comes from
privately owned forests. In the United States, the
number varies by region, but is roughly 55 percent."
Source: Forest2Market Blog by Antti Kamarainen.
A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative
Session went into effect Tuesday, after a
bipartisan effort ushered through several significant
sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), were
backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Governor Bentley signed the bill into law on June 4.
“This is a victory for the
Second Amendment and Alabama’s law-abiding gun owners”,
said executive director of the NRA’s Institute for
Legislative Action Chris W. Cox. “Among other
reforms, the new law gives young people greater
opportunities to learn and enjoy our firearms and
hunting heritage…” Source: Yellowhammer,
Seven new Champion Trees were recently registered in
Alabama's list of big trees. Two of the seven
new champions have a good chance of being declared
national champions next year - a post oak and a red
Champion Trees of Alabama 2015 contains
measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in
Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama
Athens voters reject property tax increase.
Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest
Independent Sawmill and Woodlot Management
magazine and we thought you might like to visit
Tom's Portable Sawmill Service webpage. One of the
links on his Resources page is the
"Portable Sawmill Finder" which can help you find
portable sawmilling services here in Alabama and other
IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE...the first thing to do
is stop digging.
Good advice from the Property and Environment Research
Center to the U.S. Congress as it debates whether to
continue spending $900 million per year to acquire more
land (Land & Water Conservation Fund, LWCF) while
National Parks has an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog.
Perhaps good advice, too, for
Alabama lawmakers who are struggling to keep Alabama
Forever Wild continues to spend millions of dollars
every year on more land.
Western Forest Fires: "Same sad stories, new year."
If forest growth is not harvested, all that useful wood
becomes nothing more than fuel. An opinion piece in
The Washington Post (8/21/15) reviews
"Five myths about wildfires," while a logger
spokesman in Oregon (GoLocal, 8/21/15) points out,
"When a fire starts on federal land, it is almost always
bigger than one that starts on a private owned area."
"In fact, there are examples of fires that start on
federal land and are very severe but once they get to
private land, where forests are healthier, they weaken
Will you be around long enough to enjoy your forestland?
Four recent headlines:
Choose loblolly pine seedlings resistant to fusiform
rust to minimize future damage. ArborGen claims
"breakthrough in rust resistance with genomics."
"Louisiana-Pacific expanding Thomasville mill, adding 20
Source: AL.com, 8/5/15
The U.S. South remains significantly cost competitive
for delivered softwood fiber when compared to
Coastal British Columbia, Scandinavia, U.S. Northwest,
and New Zealand/Australia. Only Southern Brazil is close
to us according to a chart in a F2M Market Watch
article by Suz-Anne Kinney,
Finnish Forestry Expansion: Increased Demand Affects
Supply and Price.
Need a land surveyor in Alabama? Use the
Find a Surveyor webpage of the Alabama
Society of Professional Land Surveyors. We selected
"Marion" in the "Professional County" drop down menu and
then clicked on the "Continue" button. In about 10
seconds Phillip Lindley's name popped onto the screen.
When we hovered over his name with the mouse/cursor, Mr.
Lindley's name, address, and phone number popped up.
When we selected Talladega in Professional County, seven
names popped up. A great service.
"Threatened bats halt some timber projects."
"Some members of the industry are already being
affected, even with the interim rule in place. Five
hundred timber projects that were to receive federal
funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service,
part of the United States Department of Agriculture,
have been tabled for the summer. June and July are the
months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the
trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of
caution and stop funding all projects until the pup
season ends." Source: North Andover, Massachusetts
Eagle Tribune, 7/19/15.
should not have to fear the government’s taking their
homes, farms, or businesses to give to other
persons. Governments should not abuse the power of
eminent domain to force rural property owners from their
land in order to develop rural land into industrial and
commercial property. Congress has a duty to protect the
property rights of rural Americans in the face of
eminent domain abuse." Source:
Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2015,
a Bill introduced by James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5)
in the 114th Congress, July 9, 2015.
Walker County voters will decide whether to continue a 3
mill property tax on September 8. Original
source: Daily Mountain Eagle, 7/14/15. The
Daily Mountain Eagle has since removed the article,
but we have posted a picture of it to AFOA's Facebook
Baldwin County voters will make a similar decision on
March 1, 2016.
Source: AL.com, 6/16/15.
"How much rain fell on my land during the last 24
hours?" If you have ever asked yourself that
question, Intellicast might have an answer for you.
Check out their 24 hour precipitation map
State Budget Mess - Part II -- a morning
commentary from forest industry lobbyist, Tom Saunders,
in From the Weeds, July 13, 2015. You may also
find Tom's commentary from
June 10, and
June 5 useful background information for what you
will read or hear in the daily news duing the next 30
Hearing: The State of Property Rights in America Ten
Years after Kelo v. City of New London, 2 PM
Eastern Time on July 9, 2015 in 2141 Rayburn House
Office Building, Washington, DC. Brian Seasholes, Reason
Foundation, one of the witnesses, will focus on the
impacts on property rights from the Endangered Species
Act and the Clean Water Act. You can listen to the
hearing on your computer.
New housing starts down in May. Scroll down to
slide 4. Source: Virginia Tech May 2015 Housing
Commentary by Urs Buehlmann and Al Shuler.
Archive of past reports.
The Boutwell Family of Alabama were recently named
Southern Regional Tree Farmers of the Year - 2015.
"Adding more land to the federal estate is irresponsible
when the government is failing to maintain the parks,
forests and grazing lands it currently owns. Rather than
using the conservation fund to acquire more land,
Congress should use the money to help address the
deferred maintenance backlog." Source: Property and
Environment Research Center, 6/30/15.
"Beetle Plague Spurs Canadians on U.S. Lumber-Mill
"Chased from their home forests by rising costs and a
plague of tree-killing beetles, West Fraser Timber Co.,
Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. have been on a buying
spree, doubling the number of mills they own in the
South since 2009 to about 34. The Canadians are drawn by
the region’s 210 million acres of fast-growing forests
and expanding housing markets from Texas to Virginia to
Florida, according to Brooks Mendell, president of
Forisk Consulting, an Athens, Georgia-based timberland
researcher." Source: Bloomberg.com, 6/22/15.
The Case Against Pope Francis's Green Encyclical.
Anything Peaceful, 6/22/15.
- Pope Francis:
Let us realize, for example, that most of the
paper that is produced is thrown away and not
- Borders & Bier:
So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to
go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware
that demand for paper is what drives the supply of
new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we
throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it
could have been hatched in Berkeley, California,
instead of Vatican City.
"On May 26, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service (FWS) issued a Notice of Intent (Notice) that
initiated environmental review of a proposal to
regulate the incidental take of most of the bird species
found in the United States. In the Notice, FWS
a plan for development of a multi-layer permitting
program under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
(MBTA), an almost 100-year-old statute designed to
control poaching and commercial hunting." "The MBTA
makes it a crime to 'pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill,
attempt to take, capture or kill,' possess, sell,
purchase, or ship any migratory bird or any part, nest
or egg of a migratory bird." About 1,000 species of
birds are included. FWS invites comments on their
proposal through July 27, 2015. Source: Marten Law, June
Alligator hunting season in Alabama is just around the
currently underway and will continue until 8 a.m. July
14, 2015. Hunters who draw tags are required to attend
mandatory training classes. See
www.outdooralabama.com (scroll down towards the
bottom of the page) for mandatory class schedules
and season dates. A 17-minute video in five segments has
been developed for alligator hunters to watch online.
Permit holders will then answer a series of questions
related to the video.
"2 Alabama ATV riders killed in 2 weeks, authorities
share safety tips."
A bipartisan effort to "preserve timberland tax
provisions in an ongoing national tax reform effort"
resulted in a June 3, 2015 letter sent by 80 Members of
Congress to Chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin.
Read an Alabama
Forestry Association press release praising the
leadership of Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell and the
rest of the Alabama delegation.
letter here. Editor's Note: While we
appreciate the efforts made by our Members of Congress
and the other 73 signers of the letter in our behalf, we
couldn't help chuckling at the 4 words in fine print at
the bottom of the first page of the letter: PRINTED
ON RECYCLED PAPER. We wonder if it would be
appropriate for a letter sent to a Congressional
committee focused on agricultural issues to bear a
message: EAT LESS CORN, or, in Congressman Ryan's
case: EAT LESS CHEESE.
Waters of the U.S.: "Congressman Gary Palmer
spoke out this week against the Environmental Protection
Agency’s (EPA) latest major regulation, which opponents
say is a significant overreach of the bureaucracy’s
power. Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA
is seeking to redefine “Waters of the United States”
under the Clean Water Act to include small areas water
collects or could collect, such as ditches, puddles and
small ponds." Source: Yellowhammer, 5/29/15
"Outpost Campsites" at Gulf State Park may be
just the idea you've been looking for to add extra
income from your forestland.
A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama,
ANR-0509, was revised last year by Auburn University's
Dr. Nancy Loewenstein. The 16 page publication contains
good line drawings and a dichotomous key to help you
identify 69 native trees. Open it in your tablet or
print out a copy and take an educational walk in the
Pine Beetle (SPB) Prevention Cost-Share Program.
For a limited time, help is being offered to fight
against the number one killer of pine trees in Alabama.
Now through the end of June, technical assistance and
financial incentives are available to help forest
landowners across the state apply prevention practices
to reduce the susceptibility of their pine stands to
attack by southern pine beetle.
Don't Write Off Paper Just Yet. Be sure to look
at the top two lines in the graph, "Ten Years of Paper
Production." Tissue and Containerboard -- diapers and
cardboard boxes -- stable or slightly growing demand.
Source: NPR, 5/26/15
In his new book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty
without Permission, Charles Murray proposes "a
declaration of limited resistance to the existing
For a discussion of the book and to view an interview
with Murray, read Thomas Firey's review, Insuring
Tory win in United Kingdom may give Prime Minister
Cameron the power to remove "...the 'green crap' that
subsidises renewable power..."
The U.K. is a major importer of wood pellets shipped
from the Southern U.S. Government mandates in U.K. and
other European countries force electric power producers
there to use renewable energy sources, such as solar,
wind, and wood pellets.
No more public funds in tax increase referendums.
"Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), announced in a
press conference Monday morning that he is personally
filing a lawsuit to stop school boards from using
taxpayer money to campaign for tax increases."
is estimated that the Baldwin County school board spent
upwards of $1 million to campaign for the failed tax
hike." Source: YellowHammer, 5/4/15.
Time to Move on from the Endangered Species Act,
an article on the Heartland blog, 4/30/15, concludes
that authority over environment and land issues be
returned to the states. We might suggest that
authority over property should be returned to the
millions of private owners who have a strong vested
interest in caring for the land and the plants and
animals that live on it. The constant grinding away of
property rights by governments, large and small, must
Take Action on Black Pine Snake.
From Fear to Facts: A Landowner's Perspective
was produced by Michigan State University Extension to
help forest owners overcome their fears of harvesting
the trees they have grown. If you have never made a
timber sale, this video may be useful to you.
"Voters defeat tax increase in Lawrence County by
Source: The Moulton Advertiser, 4/29/15.
"Knowing the price paid for a timberland property does
not tell us whether it was a good price or not.
Just as with a house, we need to know where it is and
what its physical attributes are. A good timber
inventory is most important. A full inventory report
will provide information on land types, timber volumes
and sizes, site indexes and age class distributions."
Forest Research Notes, 1Q15.
Legislation in Montgomery that we thought you might
lots more at From the Weeds, 4/27/15):
- SB12 (Sandford)
Allows General Fund to participate in growth tax
- HB135 (Clouse)
General Fund Appropriations Bill that would cut
budget by 11% from 2015. Forestry Commission would
receive $1.7 million less than last year
SB227 (Singleton)/HB477 (Knight) Constitutional
increase property taxes statewide by 8.5 mills
HB485 (Melton) Perry County Constitutional
Amendment raising ad valorem taxes by 3 mills
Message to Governor Bentley: "Sell the Parks."
AFOA received an email a few days ago that read: "One
question that should be asked at this public meeting is
-- 'Since the purpose of government is not to
entertain, why doesn't the state sell the parks to
"Bentley to address budget crisis, possible state park
closures", source: The News Courier, 4/17/15.
"Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae just debuted its new
'HomePath Ready Buyer Program,' which lets
first-time homebuyers get up to a 3% rebate of a home’s
purchase price if they buy a Fannie Mae property, so
long as they complete an online homebuyer education
course which costs $75.00." "But is this new effort good
for taxpayers and the economy, or is this similar to
programs that led to the subprime mortgage crisis and
housing crash? Is the federal government acting once
again like the boozy bartender handing out free drinks
at the frat party?" Source:
April 22 is Earth Day! Environmentalists and
their friends may have brought us Earth Day, but please
say it isn't true that
big corporations and Republicans have forced upon us the
demise of the incandescent light bulb. If a
misguided Congress can take away light bulbs, it
shouldn't be too hard for them to abolish capital gains
treatment of timber sale income and expensing of forest
management and tree planting costs -- in the name of tax
Paul Ryan See:
Orrin Hatch See:
Forest Landowners Association - What is Tax a
Death Tax Repeal Vote Scheduled for this week.
"The Park Service gets around $2.6 billion to manage 84
million acres at 407 different sites, and includes
Parks, Monuments and Wilderness areas.
Congress, the administration and various lobbying groups
keep telling us there is a huge demand for these type
areas. If that be the case, why hire a private marketing
firm to conduct a seven-year, multimillion dollar
campaign to raise 'awareness' of these areas? Sorry, but
this is all about current and future funding, i.e.,
money. First, they want to use the 100 year anniversary
to obtain a substantial increase in their annual
operating budget. Second, the dirty little secret is
that youth and minorities make fewer visits to these
areas than their national population would indicate,
thereby becoming a threat to future funding. The future
of the agency and the crony capitalists in the outdoor
industry is at stake. Jarvis says they want a 'personal
connection to the public.' They do. To your wallet and
to Congressional coffers. Just wanted you to be 'aware'
of that too." Source: The Westerner, Frank
The Ecologically Destructive Tax: How the Federal Estate
Tax is Ecologically Harmful and How to Fix It
is the title of a Reason Foundation Working Paper
Brian Seasholes. "...because it is a
working paper, comments/criticisms are welcome, as I
will hopefully be turning this into a bit longer study,"
Seasholes in a recent email note.
Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on
Communities and the Environment is the title of a
public hearing to be conducted by the Subcommittee on
Federal Lands of the U.S. House Committee on Natural
Resources. Visit the
Committee Calendar for additional information, once
it is made available. The meeting is open to the public
and a live video stream will be broadcast at
House Committee on Natural Resources. Contact:
Committee Press Office (202) 226-9019.
Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Arthur Orr,
"Creates felony crime and penalties for hunting on
land without permission." Source:
From the Weeds, 4/3/15.
The original bill was
amended to include trespassing to catch fish as well as
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land
Management (BLM) "manage more than 100 million acres of
timberland in the United States, yet both agencies
lose money on their vast timber resources. Simply
put, these losses are the result of high management
costs and low revenues. From 2009 to 2013, the Forest
Service generated 32 cents for every dollar it spent on
timber management, while the BLM received 38 cents per
dollar spent." See Table 3 on page 14 of
Divided Lands: State Vs. Federal Management in the West
by Holly Fretwell and Shawn Regan.
Baldwin County voters "crushed a tax increase proposal
at the ballot box." "On the ballot in Baldwin
County Tuesday were referendums that would have
implemented a new 30-year, 8-mill property tax to pay
for a $350 million education building campaign, and the
renewal of three separate existing taxes totaling
7-mills. The county reportedly spent nearly $1 million
in taxpayer dollars to promote the tax increase and hold
the election. The new taxes were each defeated by over
30 points, and only one precinct in the entire county
voted to support them. Only one of the renewals
succeeded, which will keep an existing 3-mill tax in
place." Source: YellowhammerNews.com, 4/1/15.
Do-It-Yourself Information on Portable Sawmills, Log
Splitters, Logging Winches, Dry Kilns and all sorts
of related equipment and supplies can be found in the 52
2015 Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management Buyer's
Forest Management Practices to Enhance Habitat for the
is short publication that may be helpful to south
Alabama forest owners who want to prevent unnecessary
harm to these interesting residents of their land from
timber harvesting or other management activities.
Property Tax Referendums Now Listed on Secretary of
THANK Alabama Secretary of State John H. Merrill
for adding this very important new information source to
the Secretary of State's website. Follow this path to
Upcoming Elections: open
www.sos.alabama.gov in your web browser; then
click on the
red "Elections" tab on the left; then click on
"View Alabama's UPCOMING ELECTIONS."
Here's what we found today:
"Reforestation at Risk - U.S. Department of Labor
Must Resume Processing H-2B Visas!" reports the
Forest Resource Association in an action alert dated
There have been 195 bills introduced in the Alabama
House and 167 in the Alabama Senate this week.
Some are really important, but may we digress from the
bigger picture to note that SB123 (Whatley)
"requires permit and $50 fee for game feeders."
From the Weeds, 3/6/15. Sounds like more
regulations and higher taxes, but we could be wrong.
Shipments of Southern Pine Lumber Up in 2014.
The Southern Forest Products Association (SFPA)
announced on March 3rd that, for the fifth consecutive
year, shipments of Southern Pine lumber recorded an
increase from the previous year. Shipments in 2014
totaled 15.79 billion board feet (Bbf), an increase of
5% over the volume shipped in 2013 (15.03 Bbf) and 34%
above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf). Source: SFPA Press
Tuscaloosa County Property Tax Vote Today, March 3.
The 30-year tax is equivalent to $210 per year on a
$100,000 home. Source: Alabama13.com, 2/27/15.
Investing in Timberland is a blog written by
realtor and consulting forester Eddie Stone. We think
you might find the conversation interesting.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposes eliminating red
tape that strangles private forest owners in his state
-- and by eliminating regulations that require a state
forester to approve of timber harvests on private land,
he also proposes eliminating a few state forester
positions due to the reduced workload. To reduce
confiscatory property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners have allowed the state to take over the
management of their land. Walker's proposals may be
good, but will not eliminate the problems caused by
unreasonably high property taxes. According to the
LaCrosse Tribune, the Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources has 2,600 employees!
Bentley "will propose a $700 million tax hike in his
State of the State address March 3rd." Source:
Two publications on silviculture that you may find
Free Market Environmentalism for the Next Generation,
by Terry Anderson and Donald Leal, continues their
eye-opening idea that property rights and markets can
provide real-world solutions for impending environmental
Listen to Dr. Anderson explain the meaning of "free
market environmentalism" during an interview with AFOA
Currently at about 1.2 million housing starts,
Forisk projects housing starts to peak at 1.6 million
starts by 2019.
"Lack-luster household formation," among other
things, still holding down demand for lumber products.
Source: Virginia Tech December 2014 Housing
Commentary. Archived at:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports
Strategic Plan to Grow Alabama's Agriculture,
Agribusiness, Forestry, and Forest Products Industries
2015 - 2020 was unveiled today at a
Montgomery press conference led by Governor Robert
Bentley, Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture
and Industries, John McMillan, and leaders of Alabama's
agriculture and forestry industry.
Grandchildren: Company leadership might skip a
Lyme Disease in Alabama. "A little more than
three years ago, Carrie Mason was your normal
16-year-old, looking forward to having a driver’s
license and enjoying the outdoors with her parents, Art
and Dianne Mason."
outdoor essays from David Rainer.
"Capital Gains Taxes Should Go Down, Not Up."
"The President wants to raise the top tax rate on
capital gains and dividends to 28 percent." Source:
Raising Taxes on Capital Hurts the Middle Class,
Economics21, January 20, 2015. See also:
What Dynamic Analysis Tells Us About the President's Tax
Hike on Capital Gains and Dividends, Tax
Planning to build a boat dock or light vehicular
The Southern Forest Products Association has
recently published the
Construction Guide: "The 40-page publication
provides information for the correct use of southern
pine materials for the construction of docks, piers,
bulkheads, pedestrian walkways, and light vehicular
bridges. New to this edition are 16 pages of
sample designs and a glossary of marine construction
Marina Dock Age, Dec 14/Jan 15.
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has given an
Idaho company permission to provide drone surveillance
services for agricultural uses.
We are not sure if forest imaging is included in
Advanced Aviation Solutions' permit, but if not now, we
suspect commercial forestry services will become
available in the not too distant future. Original
Idaho Statesman, 1/7/15. Somewhat related:
Unmanned Aircraft System News.
"Based on the vote [on
Amendment 5 on November 4, 2014], 20% of Alabama
voters were not in favor of hunting being guaranteed as
a basic right. That means one out of five people who
voted do not support hunting. The constitutional
amendment should stand as a vivid reminder that our
rights are defined for us by society. This is why our
conduct as hunters should always be responsible and
Hunting at the Ballot Box by
Corky Pugh at
Editor's question: Do you believe "growers and
harvesters of timber" would command greater respect from
Alabama voters than "hunters" if the question were put
to a vote?
Forestland security depends on lots of factors,
including the sense of responsibility of neighbors to
report timber trespass (theft) and other potentially
illegal activities on nearby forestland. Unfortunately,
that sense of responsibility may be declining, according
to a National Center for Policy Analysis Research
American's Sense of Civic Duty Declining. The
NCPA report was based on an
Associated Press-GfK poll. See also:
10 Predictions for Wood Consuming Industries in 2015
from Forest2Market. While basking in the glow of F2M's
infallible predictions, you may consider a more reserved
approach to belief in predictions after reading
Botched environmental predictions for 2015 from
As we understand it, beginning on January 1,
2015, law enforcement problems related to timber theft
and forest arson should be reported to the Alabama
Rural Crime Unit at 1-855-75-CRIME.
Based on a 12/28/14 article on AL.com, it appears
that our highways will receive a lot of attention from
the newly created
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, but we're not sure
if calls reporting timber theft or forest arson will be
handled effectively. We look forward to reports from
forest landowners --
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE FOR BALDWIN COUNTY to be
decided in a referendum set for MARCH 31, 2014.
Source: AL.com, 12/27/14. Total of 15 mills will
be on the ballot ($150 tax per year on $100,000 home or
forestland for several decades). See:
Proponents and opponents of Baldwin County's school tax
referendum keeping an eye on Gov. Robert Bentley's tax
"Federal Government Mandating Off-Road Vehicle Design:
Negative Effects on Safety & Performance."
"Polaris opposes [Comsumer Product Safety Commission's]
proposed mandatory standard because there are
significant gaps in the data CPSC is using to support a
mandatory rule, the proposed metrics and safety claims
do not apply across all categories and models of ROV,
and the proposed standard will actually lead to
unintended safety consequences in off-road conditions."
Background and comments at the CPSC website.
Based on October 2014 data, single family housing starts
were up 15,4%, year to year. Source:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
Today, Thursday, December 18, is the last opportunity
you have to comment on the proposed listing of the
Northern Long-Eared Bat as an endangered species. A
TAKE ACTION webpage that makes it easy for you
to send your comments to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service is available on the Forest America website. For
more information on the bat and the disease that is
causing its possible extinction, see:
Christmas Gift ideas from the Family Business Bookstore.
A few titles caught our eye: Family Meetings,
How Families Work Together, and How to
Choose and Use Advisors.
Practical Decisions and Applications of Finance and
Timber Prices in Forestry (from
Georgia-Pacific announced an investment of approximately
at its Thorsby, Alabama, engineered lumber operations to
expand production capacity of laminated veneer lumber
(LVL). Source: PR Newswire, 12/8/14.
Softwood Lumber Prices: "Prices for softwood
lumber imported to China increased this fall, while they
fell in Japan as the housing market weakened. In the US,
lumber prices were moving downward in the 3Q, while
still being close to their highest levels in ten years,
reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. In the
Nordic countries and Russia, lumber exports have
increased because of higher demand for wood in key
markets in Europe and the [Middle East and North Africa]
countries." Source: Wood Resources Quarterly,
How much is needed? "Between the four largest
landholding agencies (the Bureau of Land Management, the
U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the National Parks Service) the federal government
owns over 623 million acres. To
put that in perspective, it is larger than France,
Spain, Germany, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom,
Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined."
Source: The Daily Signal, 12/5/14.
Christmas Gift Ideas:
and AFOA Caps.
"New study shows progress towards eradicating cogongrass
states an Auburn University Press Release dated
11/24/14. "Auburn University College of Agriculture
associate professor and Extension specialist Stephen
Enloe, along with Nancy Loewenstein, School of Forestry
and Wildlife Sciences research fellow, published a new
study that reports significant progress in the fight
against cogongrass. Cogongrass is ranked as the seventh
worst invasive plant species worldwide and is both a
significant economic and ecological threat to much of
Alabama. The results of this study offer land managers
several viable options in controlling the troublesome
The Complete Guide to Chain Saw Safety and Directional
Felling: Forest Applications, EBook [NOOK
Book], by Tim Ard, Mike Bolin (Director), and Laura Ard
(Photographer), $16.49. Tim Ard is a chain saw expert
who travels all over the U.S. teaching loggers and
landowners the safe use of chainsaws and the art of
directional felling. For those of you who do not have a
Nook, there are free Nook Apps for iPad and Android
Death Tax, Part II.
Anti-Environment Tax Rolls On: the State-Based Version
by Brian Seasholes, Reason Foundation Out of Control
Policy Blog, 12/2/14. Editor's note: Forest
owners who are considering an out-of-state move to be
closer to the children may want to consider state death
taxes before making a final decision.
"With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and
early winter across the continental U.S. — along with
last winter described by USA Today
as 'one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on
climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather
pattern is here to stay for decades to come. In fact,
Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA
consultant, is out with the provocative book,
Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell,
which warns that a radical shift in global climate is
The Westerner, 11/17/14
Good news on the Endangered Species Act front:
Federal Court Rules for Property Owners in Endangered
Species Act Case, National Center for Policy
Analysis, 11/24/14. Original source: Ron Arnold,
"For Once, a Court Sided With People Rather Than
In a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance on
Governor Robert Bentley reported that an expected 2016
General Fund shortfall will be greater than he expected.
Instead of the $250 million shortfall he expected for
2016 fiscal year, "It's about $265 million now." The
Alabama Forestry Commission is funded from the state's
General Fund. (11/25/14)
Bentley calls for more revenue, but ‘No New Taxes’
campaign pledge leaves few options.
Tracking Forest and Landscape Change from Space Using
The Forwarn system
is an interesting webinar on a forest monitoring system
that may alert you to changes on your land, such as
tornado damage, timber theft, defoliations from insect
or disease, etc.
is a "satellite-based change recognition and tracking"
service made available by the U.S. Forest Service, NASA,
USGS and others.
"This proposed rule is patently unreasonable and
should be amended or withdrawn," wrote Pacific Legal
Foundation attorney Reed Hopper in
"Waters of the United States" -- the ultimate power
Source: Liberty Blog, 11/10/14. Editor's note:
Twenty or thirty years ago, we thought the whole idea of
calling perfectly dry land "waters of the U.S." was
crazy, but we've learned to never be surprised by the
folks who push for greater and greater control of
private property by the federal government.
Unfortunately, they continue to win the arguments on the
Alabama Hunting Incident Summary 2013-2014
Hunter Education and Hunting Incident Statistics,
both produced by the Alabama Department of Conservation
and Natural Resources, contain information that you may
find interesting, especially if you are a hunter or
lease your land to hunters. We notice in the
Statistics report that, while firearms and treestand
"incidents" have generally decreased since hunter safety
courses were required of young hunters, the 2012-2013
hunting season saw a sharp rise in both, based on
incidents per 100,000 licenses sold. As a hunter or a
landowner, you can make a difference in the number of
hunting related accidents. Show the Hunting
Incident Summary to your friends and the hunters who
hunt on your land.
A new federal wildlife refuge for the
Paint Rock Valley in north Alabama? Dwight
Cooley, Refuge Manager,
Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge will discuss the
possibility of a new Paint Rock Valley refuge at the
Clean Water Partnership meeting scheduled for 10 AM
on November 20. The meeting will take place at the
Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Decatur.
the upset folks in Brent when the feds tried to lock up
200,000+ acres along and near the Cahaba River?
Potlatch Corporation, one of the largest forest
landowners in the U.S. whose stock is publicly traded,
signed a purchase agreement for 201,000 acres of Alabama
and Mississippi timberlands. Source: Potlatch
Press Release, 10/20/14.
Avoiding ESA's Perverse Incentives, a letter
from Reason Foundation's Brian Seasholes to the editor
of The Wall Street Journal, 10/27/14. See also
Discussion of Amendments on Nov. 4th Ballot
offers an interesting perspective on the constitutional
amendments we'll vote on tomorrow. Source: The
Informed Voter. See also,
"Daughters being chosen more often as successor."
"Although it was almost unheard of just a few decades
ago, it is predicted that one in three family businesses
will soon be headed by a woman." Source:
News from JamisonMoneyFarmer, 10/29/14. We
suspect that forestland businesses are experiencing the
same changes as other family businesses. Three
suggestions from the article:
- Expose your
children to the business at an early age, but don’t
- Be sure they get
the right education and experience
- Show support of
Our Hunting Land for Lease webpage,
www.HuntingLand.bz, has been really busy this fall.
Yesterday we posted two tracts. A 40 acre tract in
Crenshaw County with photos to prove trophy deer were
present ($25 per acre) and a 99 acre tract in Montgomery
County with excellent deer hunting potential and an old
farm house with power and water ($30 per acre). Both
were leased within 24 hours. If you have been thinking
about leasing your land for hunting, you probably won't
get those high prices, but you may well get $10 or more
per acre. It's just 3 weeks until deer season begins.
Send the information about your hunting land to
America at Work: Forestry, written by Jane
Drake and Ann Love and illustrated by Pat Cupples, is a
children's book (ages 7-10) which "examines all aspects
of the industry, from the planting of new seedlings to
the inner workings of a sawmill and a pulp and paper
mill." If you have read the book ($5.35
at Amazon.com) (or reviewed
the online preview), please let us know if you think
America at Work: Forestry would be a good book
for the Alabama Forest Owners' Association to give to
Alabama public libraries. The association has been
giving forestry books (both adult and children's) to
Alabama public libraries for many years. Send your
comments to Lee at
Ag and Forestry Museum Opens at Greater Gulf State
"The museum features historical and educational exhibits
that spotlight different segments of agriculture:
aquaculture; forestry and wildlife; row crops;
ornamental nursery and greenhouse; fruit, vegetables and
bees; and livestock." "The museum is located at 1035
Cody Road N., Mobile, AL 36608. It will be open during
all events at the fairgrounds. It will also be available
for school field trips." Source: alfafarmers.org,
2 states to have pro-hunting ballot amendments in
Source: www.guns.com, 10/25/14. For more
The Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus
lodingi) has been proposed for listing as a
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act by
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The black pinesnake is
a subspecies, currently known from Alabama and
Mississippi. Among other things, pine plantations are
thought to be leading to the extinction of this
subspecies. Your comments on the proposed listing must
be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on
December 8, 2014. Details about the proposed listing,
including information on sending your comments to the
USF&WS, are available in the
Federal Register, Volume 79, Number 194 (Tuesday,
October 7, 2014) [pages 60406-60419]. You may also
find interesting Dr. Terry Anderson's opinion piece in
the October 20 Wall Street Journal,
When the Endangered Species Act Threatens Wildlife.
19-25 is National Forest Products Week. "Since
1960, the seven-day period beginning on the third Sunday
in October in each year has been designated by
Presidential proclamation as a time to recognize the
many products that come from our forests, the people who
work in and manage our forests, the people who make the
products, and how forest products contribute to our
daily lives. The proclamation calls on all Americans to
celebrate the varied uses and products of our forested
lands, as well as the people who carry on the tradition
of careful stewardship of these precious natural
resources for generations to come." Source: Southern
Forest Products Association NewsNote, 10/21/14.
"Last year there were 14 treestand falls in Alabama,
including one that resulted in a fatality. Treestand
incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to
hunters." Source: Alabama Department of
Conservation & Natural Resources, 10/20/14. Editor's
note: Treestand falls are also a leading cause of
liability claims against forest landowners. Be sure to
remind your hunters to check safety straps and follow
the advice at
"...a reason for optimism." A research team may
be close to developing a cure for the deadly white nose
syndrome which has killed the Northern Long-Eared Bat by
the millions. Rules proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service to help the bat species avoid extinction include
curtailing summertime harvest of timber in much of the
Eastern U.S., including Alabama. See also:
What is your opinion? Are you surprised that the
last of the
Key Findings of Chapter 6 of the
Southern Forest Futures Project (written by
salaried academics and bureaucrats) encourages
"...increased monitoring of ownership changes and of
forestland transaction values to better understand the
conservation implications of economic trends."?
May we suggest that the federal government has many more
serious problems to solve than those regarding the
ownership of forestland in the only place in the world
where economic and political cultures encourage
long-term investment in private forests?
Perhaps forest management is not the primary reason
Gopher Tortoises could be listed as "Endangered"?
Florida man charged with smuggling protected tortoises
out of Alabama,
Timber Investments Cut Down Portfolio Risk -- an
essay by Robert Stammers at Investopedia.com.
Forest Management Specialists for leading us to the
A control method for some mosquito-borne diseases,
such as dengue and chikungunya, is available, but cannot
be used in the U.S. Source:
How Many Regulators Does It Take to Kill a Mosquito?,
Forbes, 10/8/14. AFOA thanks the
National Center for Policy Analysis for leading us
Would it give you great heartburn if laws against
hiring illegal aliens were strictly enforced? Would
your tree seedlings get planted? Would private
forestland go into decline? Chris Mathews, in an
interview with Andrea Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell
Reports, MSNBC, 10/8/14, described a
compromise on the "issue of immigration" that he thinks
would stop the huge influx of illegal aliens into the
"There is a compromise...Simply say you can't hire
people illegally in this country."
Mathews' interview begins
(after the short ad) at 1:39 and proceeds on the
"immigration issue" to 3:32.
"Everything you need to know about voting in Alabama."
Deforestation Myths Debunked by Facts. Source:
F2M Market Watch, 9/16/14.
- Myth: Forests in the
United States are being depleted.
- Myth: The use of
wood for energy will lead to deforestation.
- Myth: Forest owners
clearcut trees to supply biomass markets.
"In a great victory today for property owners in Alabama,
the United States Supreme Court has issued an order
denying certiorari in Case number 13-1232, Lynch, India,
et al. v. the State of Alabama."
"...the plaintiffs were
seeking to show that Alabama property tax revenues fail
to adequately fund K-12 public schools and that this
shortfall unconstitutionally shortchanges black public
by the plaintiffs would have resulted in application of
existing state and local tax millage rates to the full
fair market value of all property. This would mean that
timberland and farmland owners would see an increase in
property taxes by at least a factor of ten, unless
millage rates were reduced by subsequent local or state
legislative action." Source: From the Weeds,
Also, see 5/15/14 and
Single-Family Housing Starts, a key driver of pine
sawtimber stumpage demand, still far below 50 year
average (Scroll down to page 10). Source:
Raymond James Real Estate, Industry Brief, Timber Topics,
10/14. There's lots more information in the 29 page
report - take a look around once you've opened it.
A FEW QUESTIONS asked at the end of the best
report on the Endangered Species Act that we have seen:
- What if landowners
treat endangered species like bluebirds and wood
ducks, instead of spotted owls?
- What if landowners
see endangered species as assets, not liabilities?
- What if landowners
voluntarily and willingly pick up the phone and call
their local Fish and Wildlife Service office to have
someone come out and survey their land for
- What if we draw on
Americans’ world-leading charity, voluntarism and
civic- mindedness for the cause of conserving
- What if landowners
no longer fear state and federal regulatory agencies
and instead view them with confidence and openness?
- What if landowners
are liberated to use their ingenuity and knowledge
of their property in order to conserve endangered
Fulfilling the Promise of the Endangered Species Act
by Brian Seasholes - Reason Foundation Policy Study 433,
Food for thought in
Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Red Hills Salamander, Eastern
Diamondback Rattlesnake, Eastern Gopher Tortoise,
Northern Long-Eared Bat...
Did You Know?
Five statewide amendments to the Alabama constitution
will be given an up or down vote on November 4.
There will be 4 local amendments, too.
The Alabama Forestry Association supports Statewide
Amendments 1, 3, 4, & 5, but not Amendment 2.
Fair Ballot Commission ballot statements approved with
Commission Comment on 9/2/14.
Alabama Candidates Endorsed by the National Federation
of Independent Business (NFIB).
U.S. Steel sells 70K acres in Alabama. Source:
Birmingham Business Journal, 9/30/14. Editor's
note. As we understand it, the 70 thousand acres did not
include timber rights which were purchased in a separate
SWF Birmingham, LLC. Other names of interest:
Valley Creek Land & Timber LLC,
Molpus Woodlands Group,
Claw Forestry Services.
The Alabama Hunting and Fishing Almanac will
be useful to you if you hunt on your land, and may help
you know more about the interests of your hunters, if
you lease your land. The Almanac is published by
Hunting Heritage Foundation.
While Alabama's General Fund is expected to take another
big hit next year (see 9/2/14 below),
we just learned,
"The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division
(WFF) has purchased 3,649 acres that will be added to
the state’s Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system in
south Alabama. The land is located in Covington
County and will become part of the Geneva State Forest
WMA." Source: OutdoorAlabama.com.
Editor's note: According to
The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests
(page 19), 3,649 acres of average Alabama private
forestland contributes about $897,654 to Alabama's Gross
Domestic Product; 3,649 acres of average Alabama
public forestland contributes only $18,245 to
the GDP. Annual cost of the state owning 3,649 acres
of forestland to the economy of the state: $879,409.
Pat Minogue: "Studies show early site prep yields best
"Don’t give gifts to your heirs until you’ve answered
With health-care costs rising, can you afford to be
Market Watch, 9/11/14.
"Byrne: EPA’s senseless regulations are hurting Alabama
farmers and foresters. Imagine this: a
thunderstorm rolls through Alabama and causes a small
puddle to develop on a farm. Under a rule proposed by
the EPA, this puddle could be subject to regulation
under the Clean Water Act. This is the epitome of big
government." Source: YellowHammer, 9/14/14
"Cameras in the [Oregon] woods replace forest fire
Source: Eugene Register-Guard, 9/10/14. Not
writing in response to the Register-Guard
article, but focusing on the same problem - out of
control western forest fires - forester Doug Turner
wrote in The Forestry Source, 9/14: "The money
that would be necessary to build the 'latest big gizmo'
would be better spent on road and trail maintenance,
improved safety gear for firefighters, and serious
reduction of existing fuel loads."
October 17 is Signup Deadline for Ala NRCS Conservation
Some wildlife and forestry practices on private land are
subsidized by these programs.
"The pulp and paper industry in the Nordic countries has
started to see a new dawn with a growing demand
for pulp and paper products made from long wood fiber
from the vast conifer forests in Northern Europe. Just
over the past few months, there have been a number of
announcements in investments made by forest companies in
Finland, Norway and Sweden totaling close to three
billion dollars, as reported in the
Wood Resource Quarterly.
"The primary end-products will be softwood market pulp
and virgin fiber-based container board, but major
investments are also being considered in increasing the
utilization of forest biomass for energy on a larger
scale. Although the investment decisions have not been
finalized for all projects, these ruminations are a sign
that the forest industry in this part of the world sees
the future in a much brighter light than just a few
Wild Fire Services, Inc., provides firefighting crews
and engines to help suppress forest fires for
state and federal agencies in the northwestern U.S. If
Alabama's General Fund Budget gets squeezed, as some are
predicting (see 9/2/14, below),
do you think private fire fighters would be an effective
supplement to a reduced full-time state employee staff?
According to their website,
Wild Fire Services, Inc., thins hazardous fuels and
conducts prescribed burns
along with Wild Land Fire Suppression and other related
See also, 6/10/14.
Announced Wood Bioenergy "projects in the South that
pass viability screens could consume 20.1 million
additional tons of wood per year by 2023."
Source: Wood Bioenergy US, June/July/August 2014.
Editor's note: Environmentalists who worry that
biomass harvesting may consume all the trees in the
South should read the periodic Wood Bioenergy reports.
20.1 million tons (the amount that might be additionally
consumed by all known southern biomass projects) could
easily be grown on 2 million acres (10 tons per acre or
less than 2 cords per acre). Alabama alone has 23
million acres of forestland and
Wood Bioenergy's southern regions encompass 12
"Firewood shortages hitting parts of Nova Scotia."
Firewood suppliers "on Nova Scotia’s south shore
used to get some of their hardwood from contractors that
worked for Bowater Mersey. Since the mill shut down and
the province bought the land, the source has dried up."
"Minnesota firewood shortage 'unprecedented,' timber
"Former junior firefighter charged in 3 Jefferson County
"Joshua Lynn Dodd, 23, of Bessemer, is charged with
three counts of intentionally setting a woodland fire,
said Jefferson County sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy
Christian. He is being held in the county jail with
bonds totaling $45,000."
Repeat photography in Alabama:
For lots more interesting repeat photography, go to
www.repeatphotography.org, a project of the Forest
"You Can Pay Me Now, Or Pay Me Later." Read the
editorial in the Summer 2014 issue of Alabama Forests
to find out why Alabama's forest industry leaders are
concerned about the rapidly rising costs of prisons,
Medicaid, and higher education. See also:
"Here's what every Alabama taxpayer's share of the
state's debt is, and why." Source: YellowHammer,
Bat-Friendly Forestry - a video to help you
create bat habitat on your land. We realize that
some of the management activties suggested in this
Minnesota video won't apply to the forests of Alabama,
and we realize that the real threat to the Northern
Long-Eared Bat (see below
6/13/14) is a disease problem, not a habitat
problem, but you may find something in the video that
you can do that will make you and your bats happy.
Florida Forest Service Sets Prescribed Fire Record.
"The Florida Forest Service oversees one of the most
active prescribed fire programs in the country in order
to reduce the risk of wildfires and keep Florida’s
natural habitats healthy and growing. During the past
year, the Florida Forest Service reports that more than
2.5 million acres across Florida were treated with
prescribed fire, one of the highest numbers ever
reported by any state in the country." Source: News
Release, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer
GoPro camera gives a bird's-eye view from an Italian
Corpo Forestale dello Stato helicopter in action over
wildfires. At a recent meeting in Birmingham of
the Cahaba Chapter of the Society of American Foresters,
foresters briefly discussed the pros and cons of the
Alabama Forestry Commission acquiring a small helicopter
for dousing fires and other reconnaissance work.
Should BP Oil Spill funds be used to remove private land
from productivity and the tax rolls? Source:
Associated Press, 8/22/14
Northern Long-Eared Bat ESA Listing: Time to Comment.
"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s public comment
period on its proposal to list the Northern Long-Eared
Bat as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act
will conclude on Friday, August 29." Editor's note:
The Alabama Forest Owners' Association will not send
comments to the USF&WS concerning this issue. It is the
association's policy to keep you informed, but allow you
to speak to the issues of the day.
See 6/13/14 below.
"Reining in the EPA Through the Power of the Purse."
(see section 3) Removing the word "navigable"
from the definition of waters of the U.S. was made
meaningless many years ago when "navigable waters" came
to include dry land long distances from water that would
be incapable of floating a canoe. The overreach by our
regulators (our owners?) must be stopped and
pushed back. Don't you agree?
"Pay your protection money. Do the secret handshake. And
kiss the ring."
An interesting perspective on forest management
certification schemes - in particular, the Forest
Stewardship Council, FSC. Source: The Daily Signal,
To make them easy to remember, AFOA has created
special web addresses for our most popular web pages.
Not something you'd expect to find up on a hill in
your woods, but watch out when you're wading a creek in
the bottoms. A 1,012 pound alligator was pulled from
"a creek several miles above Millers Ferry Dam..."
For the full story and photos, visit
Timber Market Update (for North-Northwest
Alabama) from the
Forest Management Specialists, Volume 1, Issue
- Pine pulpwood:
The bad news is that this product still has
relatively low prices but the good news is that it
is moving better than it was 3 months ago as area
mills have eased their restrictive quotas.
- Pine chip-n-saw &
Not much movement in the price paid for this
product. Prices paid for softwood lumber in China
have fallen this quarter. However, most experts
predict that the overall prices paid for this
finished product will slowly continue to increase.
Hopefully, the prices paid for standing timber will
soon reflect this optimistic outlook.
pulpwood: Prices paid for this product in the
heart of the Tennessee Valley continue to be low.
However, standing timber sales in northeast Alabama,
southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and central
to south Alabama indicate relatively good prices
paid for this product. Prices in east Mississippi
and west Alabama are also improving.
- Hardwood blended
These products continue to be in high demand. Even
hickory and poplar tracts have brought good prices
recently. Tracts that can be harvested in wet
weather are still bringing a premium.
- Hardwood high
The past six timber sales that we have coordinated
have brought much higher than anticipated prices for
high quality hardwood, especially white oak. Prices
for ash and cypress have improved recently and
specialty products like cherry and black walnut
Timber Mart-South: Alabama State-wide Average Prices.
While furniture imports from China, Vietnam, India,
and Indonesia have been on the rise and some U.S.
furniture manufacturers have closed their doors, "...it
is not necessarily bad news for the American hardwood
lumber industry. The U.S. hardwood forest is
sustainable and the forest products industry has the
infrastructure in place to manufacture the resource. The
U.S. is a leader in the world with more than $765
million in timber exports in the first six months of
2014, up 32% from the same period in 2013." Source:
US Furniture Industry Update by Tom Inman, President
of Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers,
Tennessee Forestry Association TreeLine, August
2014 (scroll to page 9)
What do we mean when we say, "I own this piece of
property."? "Ownership is nothing less than the
right to shape, use, and dispose. Even if you have legal
title to something, you wouldn’t think you really owned
it if the government told you what you could do with it,
how, and when; in that instance, the government would be
the de facto owner. In a real sense, ownership is
control and the actual owner of anything is the
Clichés of Progressivism #16 - Ownership Must Be
Tempered by Sharing
by Lawrence W. Reed, 8/1/14.
Published in 1976, "The
Genetics and Breeding of Southern Pines, is
used as a text and reference book all over the world."
For a bit of background information about the author,
Keith Dorman, read the 8/7/14 Compass Live
The Olustee Experimental Forest: From naval stores to
southern pine genetics.
The Service Forester's Toolkit, based on the
old U.S. Forest Service's Service Forester's
Handbook, is now available as a free app for
iPhone or iPad. The main menu includes the following
topics: Financial, General Measurements, Site Index,
Stand Measurements, Tree Measurements, and Volume
Measurements. Among the many interesting tables in the
Toolkit is one titled: Comparison of Log Rules.
Did you know that a 16 foot long log with a 12 inch
diameter inside the bark at the small end scales 64
board feet (Doyle Scale), 79 board feet (Scribner
Scale), and 95 board feet (International Scale)? Chew on
"Once hailed as one of the world’s most progressive
climate measures, Australia’s carbon tax is now dead and
buried. Will American policy makers take note?"
Editor's note: It is important to keep an eye on
carbon taxes and mandates, since a growing wood pellet
market in the South is highly dependent on European
Google Maps Area Calculator Tool by Daft Logic
was sent to AFOA yesterday by AFOA member Steve Dyess,
Sylacauga. Steve wrote, "It’s free, simple to use, and
I’ve found it to be very accurate. I’ve checked behind
areas that were surveyed and gotten similar numbers, and
I use it often to determine acreage for various projects
on the farm. There’s no reason to guess at how many
acres are in an opening or a tract of timber anymore;
just measure it and find out."
Alabama's Lee County Forestry Judging Team recently
placed first overall in the National 4-H Forestry
Invitational held in Weston, West Virginia.
"Events included tree identification, tree measurement,
compass and pacing, insect and disease identification,
topographic map use, forest evaluation, the forestry
bowl and a written forestry exam. Alabama was
represented by Lisa and Polly Barron, both from Auburn,
and Gavin and Seth Rankins, both from Cusseta. The team
was coached by Greg and Angela Nichols from Lafayette.
Lisa Barron ... received the high point individual
The $400,000 Decision. Are you nearing retirement
age and planning to use Social Security to help you
enjoy your forestland? Economist Larry Kotlikoff, NCPA,
reported to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on
Social Security on July 29: "A 62-year-old couple
that has contributed the maximum amount to the Social
Security program would be eligible for benefits at age
62. If they take their benefits then, their lifetime
benefits will be $1.2 million. However, if they wait
until age 70 to collect their benefits, lifetime
benefits will total $1.6 million."
indicators enable reasoned assessment of the
environment: guest opinion"
by John Hill, senior policy analyst at the
Alabama Policy Institute (API) on AL.com,
7/30/14. Highlights of
Alabama's Environment 2014 are found at the
API website, including a summary paragraph on
Forests & Land.
Editor's Note: While we are glad that API has
put together this positive report, you should be aware
that the summary paragraph on Forests & Land and
bulleted items on pages 3 and 54 of the report
understates the forest cover of Alabama at only 53%,
about 11% lower than 64% reported by the Forest
Inventory & Analysis data gathered by the Alabama
Forestry Commission and the US Forest Service. That's a
difference of almost 4 million acres, an area 5 times
larger than the state of Rhode Island. See page of 3 of
Forest Resource Report 2013.
"Some people will say, 'We don't want to go to Alabama.
It's just rivers and forest.'" Source: AL.com,
Creek Timber Company, Inc. (PCL) rating reduced by
Raymond James from Outperform 2 to Market Perform 3.
"While we maintain a positive long-term view on Plum
Creek, we believe PCL shares are likely to remain
range-bound near-term given our view that the current
'consensus' housing outlook for 2015 remains overly
Eleven new Champion Trees were recently registered in
Alabama's list of big trees. "One of the new
champions, a southern shagbark hickory, has a good
chance of being declared
a national champion later this year!"
Champion Trees of Alabama 2014 contains
measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in
Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama
We don't know how you might acquire one, but we know
some of you will want to own the 2-wheel drive
motorcycle featured in a video on YouTube.
Check here for more information and
According to David Peterson (see
1/20/14 below), the "'Friends of the Delta' are
attempting to resurrect the attempt to Federalize the
Delta." To stay up-to-date on this issue, visit (and
Save the Mobile/Tensaw Delta Facebook page.
Forest Road Construction - an interesting,
though dated, video from The Alabama Cooperative
Resource Management Apprenticeship available at
Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Newton,
No more government trucks for rural fire departments.
Because surplus military vehicles don't meet EPA air
pollution standards, "The federal government has ended a
program that provides millions of dollars worth of
equipment to thousands of rural fire departments... the
federal government will send surplus vehicles — even
those with only 1,000 miles — to depots and supply yards
to be crushed or scraped." Source: EnidNews.com,
The Hill reported on 7/11/14,
"The change may not have been intentional, as the EPA is
now working with the DOD to clear it up."
Direct seeding southern pines was a common practice
40 years ago, and can be used today by landowners
who take the time to make it work. A recent report by
James P. Barnett, entitled
Direct Seeding Southern Pines: History and Status of a
Technique Developed for Restoring Cutover Forests
will give you a little background on the science and use
of the technique. A Mississippi State University
publication you may find useful is
Direct Seeding: A Forest Regeneration Alternative.
Louisiana Forest Seed Company sells treated,
stratified (ready for sowing) loblolly pine seed for
about $55 per pound. They said you will need to put out
about 1/2 pound per acre. The seed needs to touch
mineral soil to germinate and survive, so preparing the
site will be your biggest problem. If you try direct
seeding and are successful,
send AFOA a few photos.
Chubb Urges Homeowners in Wildfire Areas to Use
Fire-Resistive Construction Materials.
Selling the Right to Access Private Land for Hunting and
Recreation, in Oregon and Washington, threatens
their "way of life." "...a flood of frustration and
disgust basically came over me when I heard that"
Weyerhaeuser will begin charging access fees to their
land. Source: Timber Giant Begins Selling Seasonal
Permits, But Some Push Back, Northwest Public Radio,
"Several of the housing market indicators exhibited
marginal increases in April – this is not
typical for spring. Historically, March, April, and May
are the best months for housing starts and sales (new
and existing). It appears as the overall market is
muddling along." Source:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
"Calling for Alabama Tree Farmer of the Year
Nominations. Each year, the Alabama Tree Farm
Committee recognizes superior stewardship of its Tree
Farm members through the Alabama State Tree Farmer of
the Year Award. These landowners are chosen for their
remarkable efforts to demonstrate, communicate and
spread sustainable practices. The winner will be
recognized at the annual Alabama Natural Resources
Council Awards Banquet scheduled for February 6, 2015.
To nominate a Tree Farmer for their outstanding efforts,
www.alaforestry.org/treefarm and download the State
Tree Farmer of the Year Nomination Form. The deadline
for nominations is September 1, 2014."
Sawfly Update for Northwest Alabama: "A sawfly
monitoring flight made by the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC) last week indicated that the sites
infested by the pine sawflies are recovering with new
needle growth. It does appear that the sites that
have been attacked for multiple years are recovering
more slowly. No new sites were found during the flights.
Since the trees on the infested sites are stressed, the
AFC will continue to monitor them for other issues,
mainly Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) activity. A
regular SPB detection flight for the entire North Region
will occur in July."
See 5/28/14, below.
Being pushed to the brink of extinction by a fungal
disease (WNS), the
Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB), which
lives in Alabama,
has been proposed for listing as an endangered species
by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Leaders of the
Society of American Foresters from Indiana, Michigan,
Wisconsin, and Minnesota wrote
a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service on June 10, 2014
agreeing that the bat is threatened with extinction
because of the disease, but questioning the logic of
imposing forest management restrictions unrelated to the
cause of the possible extinction. They wrote,
"...populations of NLEB were at or near peak levels
prior to the outbreak of WNS — indicating that sound
habitat management has been taking place in our managed
Further information and possible ways of dealing with
the disease from Forest Resources Association, Inc.
Land Market News from
Matre Forestry Newsletter, June 4, 2014
In our core market of southwest Georgia,
activity has improved, but timberland dirt prices
are only very slowly trickling up. But, improved
timber prices along with ample rain increasing
productivity has pushed the value of timberland
tracts up measurably. Irrigated farmland seems to be
stagnate or receding, as chatter about a potential
farmland bubble and concerns about declining
commodity prices have increased.
We most all know by now that recreational and
higher and better use (HBU) value sharply declined
in this recession. We are starting to see some
improvement there. Several of our clients from
middle Florida have indicated that middle Florida is
building homes again, and we here Atlanta is to. As
a result, we are seeing more recreational land
buyers back in the Georgia land market, which is one
of the strongest recreational land markets being a
favorite hunting destination for Floridians and
Atlanta suburbanites. But, sellers should not get to
excited yet, the recreational land buyers are more
grounded and cautious than they were prior to this
recession, and they are looking for deals - not
looking to over pay. As more and more come into the
market, we will see recreational values increase.
After sustained housing starts improvement, we will
see HBU values rise as well.
Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products (Cahaba
Timber Co.), "the largest single site round wood
processing plant in the world" in Brierfield, Alabama,
has recently announced plans to expand its operation
to include wood crossties. Source: Cahaba Timber
Press Release, 5/27/14.
Insurance-funded wildfire fighting crews are being
deployed in Colorado for high end property owners.
Is this a model that might be used to fight eastern
forest fires when crews are not conducting prescribed
burns, planting trees, building fire lanes, painting
property lines, etc., etc.?
"Work with, not against, the state's landowners."
"We hope the federal government ... is learning it can
better protect wildlife and endangered species by
working with, rather than against, Alabama and its
property owners." Source: Montgomery Advertiser,
"Jack Daniel's Cooperage hiring for new Lawrence
County[, Alabama] barrel-making plant." North
Alabama forest owners with stave-quality white oak might
want to learn more about the cooperage market before
making their next timber sale.
"It's time for a final policy on biomass,"
states the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) in
a 6/3/14 press release. NAFO urges the EPA to produce a
"clear, affirmative policy" that treats biomass as a
renewable fuel, not a fossil fuel as some would prefer.
Editor's note: Do we detect a bit of conflict between
those who say, "Carbon (CO2)
is not a pollutant," and those who say, "If carbon is a
pollutant, than let's minimize the fossil fuel problem
by burning more 'renewable' biomass."? Can we have it
both ways? Do we want it both ways?
Lack of forest management, not climate change, is
likely cause of wildfire numbers & size, reported
Auburn University Emeritus Professor David B. South in
his June 3, 2014 testimony before the Senate
Subcommittee on Green Jobs & the New Economy.
Be sure to review the transcript of Dr. South's
testimony - Figure 1. and Figure 6 are
a C-Span video of his testimony is available on the web
-- South's 5 minute testimony begins at 1:25:06. You
might also find the testimony of Dr. David R. Legates
interesting, as well. It begins right after David
South's at 1:30:09. Humorous addition (6/6/14):
Washington Governor Inslee: Fires will worsen without
Another Biofuel Plant Bites the Dust? "KiOR has
expressed 'substantial doubt' regarding its ability to
restart its Columbus, Mississippi facility. According to
the company’s recently released quarterly report, design
and reliability issues have caused the facility to run
'significantly below' its capacity of 500 bone dry tons
of biomass per day. KiOR has the funds necessary to
operate through August but will require additional
capital to continue past that time." Source:
F2M Market Watch, 5/27/14. KiOR, a biofuel
hopeful, given a $75 million loan by the Mississippi
Legislature in 2010, "owes the state $69.4 million and
cites debts of $279.5 million as of Feb. 28." Source:
Mississippi Watchdog.org, 3/18/14.
Editor's note to Alabama legislators: Fix the roads
Candidate Endorsements for the June 3rd Primary
Election are available from the
Alabama Forestry Association's ForestPAC and
Alabama Farmers Federation's FarmPAC.
Editor's note: Although I don't follow AFA's and
Alfa's recommendations for all my personal election
choices, their lists are a good place to start for a
forest landowner. If you would like AFOA to post other
endorsement lists, please send details to
"During the last few weeks, there have been numerous
reports from Northwest Alabama about dying pine trees.
Most of the visible damage is [surprisingly]
occurring on reasonably healthy, mature loblolly pines,
growing in well-managed stands. According to
officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC),
the apparent culprits are larvae of the loblolly pine
sawfly, feeding on and defoliating pine needles. With
infestations reported in Colbert, Marion, Franklin,
Lamar, and Fayette counties, the AFC is in the
process of conducting aerial surveys of the affected
counties. Infestation notices are being prepared for
landowners where problems are detected, along with stand
management recommendations." Source: AFC Press Release,
Contact your local AFC county office to let them
know you would like to receive an alert if sawfly damage
is detected on your land.
Images of Loblolly Pine Sawfly.
If the Retirement System of Alabama goes broke,
as predicted by a think tank at Troy State University,
do you think there will be pressure to raise property
taxes? Source: AL.com, 5/19/14.
More on this subject from
Alabama Citizens for Media Accountability, May
Alabama Voters: "If you wish to vote an absentee
ballot in the 2014 primaries [June 3], your application
must be received by your local registrar - either hand
delivered or by postal service - by May 29, and your
completed absentee ballot must be hand delivered or
postmarked by June 2.... If you will be voting at your
assigned polling place, be aware that all voters will be
required to present a photo ID to election officials
prior to casting a ballot." Source: ARSEA/APEAL
Weekly Update, 5/16/14. For complete details about
voter registration, voter ID, and absentee ballot
information, go to
AlabamaVotes.gov, The State of Alabama's Official
Property Tax Case (Lynch Lawsuit, Part III) may be
finished by October 6, 2014, reports From the
Also, see 4/16/14, below.
In Europe: "The freedom to roam, or
everyman's right is the general public's right to
access certain public or privately owned land for
recreation and exercise."
A short read on the Public Trust Doctrine may be
enlightening, as well.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
A Crack in the Consensus on Global Warming. It's
important to remember that the market for wood pellets
manufactured in the southern U.S. comes primarily from
European government mandates that limit the burning of
fossil fuels. If enough of these "cracks" develop in the
"consensus," those mandates may disappear -- as will the
market for fuel wood shipped across the Atlantic to
No Net Gain in Federal Land. That's not the name
of Virginia Congressman H. Morgan Griffith's legislation
Acre In, Acre Out
(HR 4423), but the results will likely be the same
if the legislation were to be passed into law. "This
bill would require the Federal Government to sell an
acre of land it already owns for every new acre of land
that it acquires. Proceeds from the land sales would go
towards paying down our national debt."
"As in previous months, the near-term outlook on the
U.S. housing market remains unchanged -- there
are potentially several negative macro-factors or
headwinds at this point in time for a robust housing
recovery (based on historical long-term averages). Once
the economy improves, we should expect to see housing
activity increase as well." Source: Virginia Tech's
March 2014 Housing Commentary.
Last week the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S.
House of Representatives
"approved four bills that will improve and modernize the
Endangered Species Act (ESA)." The measures seek
to improve scientific and litigation transparency,
enhance states’ role in species restoration, and cap
government-paid attorneys’ fees under ESA-related
litigation. Source: The Westerner, 5/2/14.
American Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots
to bring attention to its concerns regarding the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Waters
of the U.S. rule and how it will negatively affect
farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau wants members to get
involved in its new
“Ditch the Rule”
More on the same subject
American Land Rights Association:
"The EPA and Corps of Engineers continue their effort to
bypass the word “Navigable” in the Clean Water Act
thereby expanding the lands and waters they can regulate
to nearly all waters and lands in the United States.
"If successful, the EPA and Corps will effectively
undermine the word “Navigable” in Clean Water Act so the
EPA and Corps of Engineers will have wetlands
jurisdiction over all waters of the United States and
“all activities affecting all waters of the United
private property, ranching, farming, mining, logging,
recreation, rural roads and many other uses. That
includes nearly all land in the U.S. also.
"Congress must take away the money (defund) the
EPA and Corps can use for new Clean Water Act
"You can stop the EPA and Corps by getting both
your Senators and your Congressman to support taking the
funding away from the EPA and Corps for their proposed
new Clean Water Act regulations.
"This is important because the EPA just released their
proposed new Wetlands Jurisdiction Regulations and a
new report on Wetlands and the jurisdiction of EPA and
the Corps of Engineers over most of the water and land
in the US.
"Call your Senator at 202-224-3121 for a copy of
the new EPA wetlands jurisdiction report. That is
important to engage them in a dialogue about the term
“Navigable” and Wetlands Jurisdiction. You can also
Congressman at (202) 225-3121 and make the same
request. It idea is to get both your Senators and your
Congressman up to speed on this issue and taking action
to protect you. That means taking the money away from
EPA and Corps for these new regulations.
Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots to bring
attention to its concerns regarding the proposed Waters
of the U.S.
rule and how it will negatively affect
farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau wants members to get
involved in its new “Ditch the Rule” grassroots
Property Tax Increase to be voted on in Macon County
Soon. “A referendum allowing a 7.5% increase in
property taxes will be on the ballot soon in Macon
County. The bill (SB468- Act 14-310) was a local bill
and the proceeds from the increase will go to fund the
Little Texas Volunteer Fire Department. If this measure
prevails at the ballot box, we will most likely see
similar initiatives in other areas of the state.”
Source: Legislative Session Wrap Up, From the
Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have
doubled in two years to reach 4.7 million tons
in 2013 with the U.S. South accounting for 63% of the
volume, according to the North American Wood Fiber
Review. There are about a half dozen wood pellet
mills in Alabama.
“It is simplistic to assume that people will
blindly use up what sustains them without regard to the
incentive structures they face; if they have incentives
to conserve, they will do so.” And yet, some members of
our society fear that we’re running out of natural
resources and that government must manage those
Clichés of Progressivism #2, 4/22/14 by Max
Borders. “Private property is a powerful incentive to
conserve resources. You lose if you squander what’s
An interesting video series on Forest Farming Non-Timber
Products focuses on Growing Ramps - a wild onion
or leek - was produced by Research Forest Products
Dr. Jim Chamberlain, Southern Research
The Longleaf Alliance, in collaboration with the
Regional Forestry Extension staff at the
University of Georgia, has developed a self-taught
web-based course in the Economics of Longleaf.
The course seems easy to open and use and allows
users to back up and listen to the presented information
several times, if needed. A spreadsheet calculates
“economic metrics like Net Present Value
and Internal Rate of Return from longleaf
investments. These spreadsheets can be manipulated by
the user, offering the opportunity to alter costs,
returns, and timing of management and harvests at the
user’s will.” The course and spreadsheets can be
http://lleconomics.sref.info/, or, for Continuing
Education Credit, at
The Longleaf Leader, Spring 2014.
"A property tax case [that could significantly raise
forestland ad valorem taxes in Alabama] has taken a
new turn when the plaintiffs filed a petition asking the
U.S. Supreme Court to hear the property tax case.
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange representing
Alabama taxpayers won the case in the Alabama Northern
District Court and also at the U.S. 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals. The attorneys for the plaintiffs argued
Alabama’s property tax system is unfair to public
schools attended by children in Alabama’s rural black
belt. The plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court
to scrap Alabama’s property tax system. Attorney General
Luther Strange will file a petition with the U.S.
Supreme Court in response to this petition.” Source:
National Federation of Independent Business
Legislative Links, 4/16/14. See also,
Forecasts by Forisk Consulting were announced
U.S. housing starts projections (Feb. 2014
projection of peak demand was lowered since Forisk’s
Feb. 2013 projection), and the
Panama Canal expansion and its implications for the U.S.
(“…no material, measurable implications to timberland
investors, forest industry firms, and timber prices.”).
An archive of past Forisk
Newsletters is at
Preventing Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) outbreaks
by encouraging landowners to reduce the susceptibility
of their pines to beetle infestations is the announced
purpose of the Alabama Forestry Commission’s (AFC)
SPB Prevention Cost-Share Program. Applications are
local AFC offices.
The deadline to apply is May 30, 2014. The
$160,000 was provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
Alabama Voters this fall will get to decide
right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife should
be further "enshrined" as an amendment to the Alabama
will really be amending a previously passed amendment
(#597 approved back in 1996).
HB322 was sponsored by
state Representative Mark Tuggle, (R, 81). The bill
passed the House, 90 to 2 on March 13 and passed the
Senate 32 to 1 on April 3.
Don’t take away our right to treat timber income as
capital gains and our right to deduct tree planting and
forest management expenses.
That’s the message the Forest Landowners Association
urges you to carry to your member of the U.S. House of
Representatives while he or she is home April 11 through
Find your representative
Corky Pugh, former Director of the Alabama
Freshwater Fisheries Division, in Great Days Outdoors,
4/14, recommends three books
and urges readers to consider science and common
sense when state rules and regulations are initiated.
The books are
Common Sense Wildlife Management by
Nathaniel R. Dickinson,
A Matter of Context (Pugh suggests reading
Chapter 8, “Et Up With the Dumbs”) by Tom Kelly, and
The Wild Turkey in Alabama by Steven Barnett
and Victoria Barnett.
Woodstoves have been in the news lately, thanks
to new rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). Paul LePage, Governor of Maine,
The Wall Street Journal, 4/4/14, “An EPA
proposal may end up increasing the amount of harmful
smoke in the air.”
The Southeast Missourian, 4/2/14, reported,
“Members of the Missouri House of Representatives came
together in a bipartisan effort … to approve a bill that
prohibits the implementation of regulations on
wood-burning heaters.” A woodstove that won a recent
Popular Mechanics contest is the
Soapstone Ideal Steel Hybrid. The Ideal Steel Hybrid
draws “exhaust gases into a second chamber where
temperatures reach 1800 F – hot enough to incinerate all
The Transformation of Timberland Ownership and Markets
in North America
– a lecture by Mike Covey, CEO of
Potlatch Corporation at the University of Montana on
March 12, 2014. Covey’s whole lecture should be
interesting to forest owners, but if your time is
limited, be sure to listen to the question and answer
session from 54:15 to 56:45.
upland hardwood forests of the Southeastern U.S.,
prescribed fire is increasingly used
by land managers citing objectives that include
hazardous fuels reduction, wildlife habitat improvement,
promoting oak regeneration, or restoring forest
composition or structure to an historic condition.”
Source: Prescribed Fire in Upland Hardwood Forests,
US Forest Service Science Update – 99.
The American Farm Bureau is not happy with EPA’s
proposed ‘Waters’ rule, released March 25, 2014.
“The EPA proposal poses a serious threat to farmers,
ranchers, and other landowners. Under EPA’s proposed new
rule, waters – even ditches – are regulated even if they
are miles from the nearest ‘navigable’ waters. … The
American Farm Bureau Federation will dedicate itself to
opposing this attempted end run around the limits set by
Congress and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has
ruled repeatedly that Congress meant what it said:
‘navigable waters’ does not mean all waters. This
proposed rule shows that EPA refuses to accept those
If you are planning to build a trail or road on your
land, you may want to review the information
Trail Design for Small Properties by
Baughman and Serres and
A Landowner’s Guide to Building Forest Access Roads
by Wiest. You may also find it useful to listen to road
and trail discussions from past issues of Capital
Ideas – Live!:
Troy Scott Parker,
Tom Sauret, and
$250 million in legal costs – that’s the
financial cost of Arizona’s
Yarnell Hill Fire that resulted in the deaths of
19 firefighters last June. While it would be highly
unlikely for 19 forest rangers to ever work together on
one fire in Alabama, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea
if legislation similar to that being debated in Arizona
were discussed in Montgomery. The entire annual budget
of the Alabama Forestry Commission is around $21
Environment of Uncertainty Undermines Economic Growth.
The EPA Administrator is a prankster by
Reed Hopper in
Liberty Blog 3/26/14
The State of Oregon is making plans to sell state-owned
We are told there was a large ad in The Wall Street
Journal, 2/26/14, describing the sale. We suspect
this land sale may be in some way related to the
concerns of the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate in
Oregon. See 3/18/14 below.
Mineral Documentary Tax: If you own mineral
rights that have been “severed” from the surface rights,
you can pay the ad valorem taxes in a one-time lump sum
of 15 cents per acre instead of paying an annual tax.
Thanks to landman
Mark Chapman for the information.
Joe Hopkins, President of the Forest Landowners
Association, will be leading the "My Vision for
My Forestland" panel discussion at the
2014 Annual Meeting. Read
his testimony on the Endangered Species Act
given today, March 26, 2014, to the Subcommittee on
Conservation, Energy, and Forestry of the U. S. House of
Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
disc a green field? Can it mow roads and fire lanes?
We wonder what would stop it from running over a child
“Black Smoke on the Horizon.” The Alabama Senate
Bill (SB411) that would have merged the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC) with the Alabama Department of
Agriculture and Industries is dead, reports the Alabama
Forestry Association in its March 21 blog, From the
Weeds. BUT, the really interesting news in the blog
is not the possible merger of the AFC into
non-existence, but the budget cuts the Commission will
face next year – 4 percent in FY2015 – and even bigger
cuts, possibly 15%, in FY2016. If you were the State
Forester, what would you cut? Fire suppression,
prescribed burning services, Alabama's Treasured
Forests magazine, wildfire prevention campaigns,
Forest Inventory & Analysis, landowner advice and
services, Champion Tree program, Tree Farm inspections,
water quality complaints, Treasure Forest Certification
The National Timber Tax Website contains
everything you ever wanted to know about federal income
and estate taxes related to forestland. Previously
hosted by Purdue University, the site is now hosted by
the University of Georgia.
"Boatright Companies to sell Montevallo railroad tie
treatment facility" to Montreal-based Stella-Jones.
Pine Sawtimber Prices Depend Heavily on Single-Family
Unfortunately, while housing starts are projected to
increase for the next six to eight years, the numbers
slowly decline after that. Get more details by listening
Kansas City Fed Economist Jordan Rappaport on AFOA's
Capital Ideas - Live!, 3/19/14.
Oregon GOP Candidates for U.S. Senate are sending a
strong message to those who might believe federal
forestland ownership is a good idea.
Is there a message here for Alabama, where 94% of the
forestland is privately owned? Source: The Westerner,
3/18/14, quoting from the Portland, Oregon
Herald and News, 3/18/14.
Letters were sent by AFOA to three candidates for
Secretary of State
asking the candidates to respond to a need for the
Secretary of State’s website to publicly announce
dates of Property Tax Referenda throughout the
state. Property tax votes are usually held on odd dates,
announced in local newspapers just days in advance, and
experience very low voter turnout. We asked that special
elections, primaries and runoffs also be accurately
posted to the SOS website. The three candidates are
Judge Reese McKinney,
Judge Jim Perdue, and
Rep. John Merrill (we did not find address
information for Lula Albert-Kaigler). The first response
to our letters is from Judge Reese McKinney:
“Informing the public about election matters should be a
priority for our chief elections official…As Secretary
of State, I will see to it that we develop a first class
web-based platform that becomes the source for election
information on local, state, and national issues for the
citizens of Alabama.”
"For the fourth consecutive year, shipments of Southern
Pine lumber recorded an increase from the previous year.
Shipments in 2013 totaled 15.026 billion board feet
(Bbf), an increase of 5% over the volume shipped in 2012
(14.279 Bbf) and 27% above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf)."
Source: Southern Forest Products Association
NewsNote, 3/6/14. The good news doesn't stop: In
Woodworking Net, we read on 3/7/14,
"U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled a record 1.463
billion board feet in 2013, besting the previous
one-year high set in 2006 by 11%. Record shipments to
China and Vietnam, and the strongest shipments to Mexico
in seven years, offset a 2% decline in exports to Canada
and the slowest exports to Europe since 1986. It marked
the fourth consecutive annual increase since exports
bottomed out at 802 million board feet in 2009.”
A Primer on State and Local Tax Policy published
by Mercatus Research: Alabama is at the low end
of Total State Tax Collections per Capita in the U.S.
(page 32), BUT Alabama’s Property Tax Collections per
Capita are much higher than our neighboring states
(page 38). Interesting, too, Alabama’s Sales Tax
Collections per Capita are lower than our neighboring
states (page 37) and our Individual Income Tax
Collections per Capita are higher than most of our
neighboring states (page 36). The information reported
by Mercatus Research is so different from what we
read in many Alabama news sources that it’s hard to
believe. Please let us know how it is in error. Thanks.
Piedmont Plateau Birding Trail now has a newsletter
and a scheduled event (May
31-June 1 Hatchett Creek Canoe Float).
The Trail consists of 34 birding sites in nine counties.
From the Weeds is a new political news blog
recently created by the Alabama Forestry Association
(AFA). The blog will “provide legislative, legal and
political matters of interest” to AFA members. We’re not
sure if the blog will be password protected in the
future, but it isn’t today. SB411,
the bill that would merge the Alabama Forestry
Commission into the Alabama Department of Agriculture
and Industries is the top story today. The 3/11/14 blog
contains links to
an analysis of the bill and
a copy of the bill.
“The Supreme Court sided today with a Wyoming landowner
who challenged the Forest Service's construction of a
bicycle trail on an abandoned railway that slices
through his property…. The ruling is a broad victory for
property rights activists. There have been many lawsuits
filed challenging so-called rail trails under the
Constitution's takings clause, which states that no
property may be taken without just compensation. …
potentially a third of the country's 270,000 miles of
rail lies on rights of way granted under the law at
issue in the case. Trails or highways built on that land
are now susceptible to legal challenges, potentially
putting the government on the hook for millions of
dollars in settlements.” Source: E&E Publishing,
Click here for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“The expansion of the February deer season to cover
most of Alabama south of Montgomery and a reduction in
the daily bag limit for antlerless deer statewide
were among the recommendations presented by the Alabama
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division to the
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) for the
2014-2015 hunting seasons.”
to see a map of the recommended February deer season
expansion. We thought you also might enjoy reading
an opinion piece on hunting regulations by “legendary
woodsman, author Tom Kelly:”
Why ending Alabama’s fall turkey season is so
Free Market Environmentalists are invited to participate
in "the 14th annual Enviropreneur Institute
sponsored by the
Environment Research Center (PERC). This two-week
professional development program for entrepreneurs and
conservation leaders will be held in Bozeman, Montana
from July 17-18, 2014. The application deadline is March
17, 2014. A young person who dreams of improving
wildlife habitat on family land, making possible
successful guided hunts, a busy lodge and cabins, and
even off-season trail riding and for-fee bird watching
might be the perfect candidate for the Enviropreneur
The Alabama Forestry Commission may become a Division
of the Alabama Department of Agriculture, Forestry and
Senate Bill 411 becomes law. SB411 (117 pages) was
passed out of the
Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee
today (with one amendment) to be debated at some future
date in the full Alabama Senate. We heard that no
comments from the public were allowed by the committee.
We also understand that there is no companion
legislation in the House. Send comments about the
legislation, pro or con, to
Aerogel, made from wood, may someday be used to
clean-up oil spills.
Watch Wisconsin Institute for Discovery video
North Alabama woodland owners may find the
Tennessee Forest Products Bulletin a useful
resource. Check out the price for Grade 1 White Oak
Stave Logs (for whiskey barrels) ($950+ per thousand
board feet (mbf),
Doyle Rule) (page 4) compared to Miscellaneous
Hardwoods, Region II ($167+ per mbf, Doyle) (page 6).
Moving the tree species that remain on the land after
thinning towards higher quality species holds
potentially big rewards for landowners and their heirs.
Talladega County passed a “Logging Notice Ordinance”
that will go into effect on March 10, 2014. “The
county now joins 15 others scattered across the state in
requiring notification before logging on farm-to-market
roads. Talladega’s version is basically a copy of that
being used in the other counties.”
Alabama Loggers Council believes this ordinance
violates state law
(Act No. 2012-257) and goes beyond “notification”
into the realm of “permitting.” If you would like to
help the Alabama Loggers Council stop unnecessary
regulations, contact Ray Clifton at (334) 265-8733 x
“Southern Pine exports finished 2013 at a volume
approaching 445 million board feet (MMbf), a jump of 13%
above the 2012 export total, according to the
latest trade data released by the USDA’s Foreign
Agricultural Service. That 2013 volume exported
represents an increase of 43% above the 312 MMbf
exported in 2010. The top three destinations for
Southern Pine exports in 2013 were the Dominican
Republic (69.9 MMbf), China (64.2 MMbf) and Mexico (60.7
MMbf).” Source: Southern Forest Products Association
News Note, 2/26/14.
"I shudder at the idea..."
Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill that would
require a permit for development within contiguous
forest. The restriction on development rights is being
done “to curb [forest] fragmentation.” In
Colorado, a county government is using the power of
eminent domain to take private forestland
“to preserve open space.”
The Colorado case received national attention on the
February 21 Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren show.
“The United States’ high tax burden on capital gains
has long-term negative implications for the economy.
This non-neutral tax creates a bias against savings,
slows economic growth, and harms U.S.’s
competitiveness,” reported the Tax Foundation in a
February 11, 2014 paper entitled The High Burden
of State and Federal Capital Gains Tax Rates. To
make matters worse for forest owners, the
U.S. Congress is considering removing timber income from
long-term capital gains tax treatment.
High school students who want to learn about forestry as
a career are urged to sign up for
Auburn University Summer Youth Program
Forestry Camp. The camp will run from July 13 –
18. Tuition is $605. For more information about the
camp, contact Dr. Becky Barlow at (334) 844-1019 or
email@example.com. If you would like to donate
a copy of the book,
Managing Forests on Private Lands in Alabama and the
Southeast, to be given to a camper upon
completion of the camp, send your check in the amount of
$60, made payable to Auburn University Foundation,
to School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Attn:
Heather Crozier, 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn University, AL
36849 or contact Heather at (334) 844-2791 or Sharon
Tatum at (334) 844-1983 or
now officially has a new State Forester. Greg
Pate was sworn in by Gov. Bentley on February 18th.
The demand for furs is increasing as the "buyers in
China, Russia, and Korea watch their incomes grow,"
reported The Missoulian on 12/26/13.
Alabama Trappers and Predator Control Association
(ATPCA) reported to AFOA that there is a market
for Alabama wild fur, the reporter having recently sold
otter and beaver pelts. The ATPCA is planning to conduct
a 3 day
Trapper Education Workshop in
Greenville, Alabama, February 21-23.
AFOA has 10 copies (ALL HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED
3/14/14) of the
Forest Landowners Guide to the Federal Income Tax,
Ag Handbook No. 731, and will give them to AFOA
members who pay shipping costs of $3.75 each. Make your
check payable to AFOA and send to AFOA Tax Guide, P. O.
Box 361434, Birmingham, AL 35236. If you don't need a
hardcopy of the Guide, you can read it on line at
www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/42921. Last year the
Southern Research Station paid the cost of printing and
AFOA paid shipping costs to provide copies of the Guide
to more than 200 public libraries in Alabama.
Firewood Ministry begun by the men’s ministry of
the Ethelsville Baptist Church grows to cover several
counties. 75 pickup loads of firewood were recently
delivered to families in need. Source: McShan Plane
Dealer, February 2014.
“The greatest risk in timberland investing is paying
too much for a property and this is driven largely
by uncertainty around future timber volumes and values.”
For an interesting discussion on investment risk, read
Forest Research Notes, Vol. 10, No. 2. An
archive to all past
Forest Research Notes is at
In a conversation last week with Extension Agent Beau
Brodbeck, we asked him about Apps for iPhone or
Android that would help landowners navigate around their
properties – record paths where they walked or drove and
mark special places like property corners. He quickly
held out his smartphone with
showing us the last few trails he followed on his
morning exercise routes. If you know of an App that
other forest owners might find useful, please write to
AFOA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
bio for Beau)
Election results from February 4th.
Mike Holmes, Tree Farmer, won the runoff in Alabama
House District 31
(Elmore & Coosa counties) and, since there was no
Democrat Party opposition, will complete the term of
former Rep. Barry Mask.
Margie Wilcox won the District 104 (Mobile County)
special general election.
Anthony “Alann” Johnson won the Democrat Primary Runoff
for District 53 (Birmingham) and will face
Republican Willie (W.A.) Casey in a special election on
House District Map.
You are invited to assist the Forest Landowners
Association by nominating individuals for the following
Forest Landowner of the Year, Extension Forester of the
Year, and Young Forest Landowner of the Year.
a Litter-Free Alabama is the theme for this
(People Against a Littered State) Poster (K-6)
and Essay Contests (7-12). Litter clean-up
and prevention of trash dumping are important to forest
owners. If your child’s or grandchild’s school
participates in the contest, please take time to thank
the teacher or administrator who makes it happen. Thanks
too, to PALS.
Congress passed the $956 billion Farm Bill today.
The pony in the legislation (there must be one in there
“a provision preserving the treatment of forest roads
and forest management as nonpoint sources subject to
state-derived Best Management Practices (BMPs) under the
federal Clean Water Act (CWA).”
to go into effect in second quarter 2014, a new
biomass sustainability verification policy requires [UK]
electricity generators to offer proof that the biomass
they process originates in forests that are sustainably
managed. ... Because the vast majority of timberland
owners [in the US South] have small timber tracts—less
than 50 acres—and because they make harvest decisions
based on sawtimber markets in which no price premium for
certified wood is offered, few will be inclined to
submit to the certification process.” Source: The
Wood Pellet Manufacturer’s Guide to Biomass
Sustainability Verification by Suz-Anne Kinney,
F2M Market Watch Blog, 11/25/13.
Special Elections (see below) scheduled for Tuesday,
January 28 were postponed to February 4 by Gov.
Bentley due to the winter storm.
Be sure to
Vote Tomorrow if you live in these counties:
• Mobile (Special General
Election for Alabama House of Representatives District
104, formerly held by Jim Barton)
• Coosa and Elmore (Republican Party Primary Election
for Alabama House of Representatives District 31,
formerly held by Barry Mask)
Jefferson (Democratic Party Primary Runoff for Alabama
House of Representatives District 53, formerly held by
“USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently reported
exports of Southern Pine to be approximately 41.3
million board feet (MMbf) for November 2013. This volume
represents an increase of 23% above the same month last
year, supporting a solid year-to-date boost of 16% when
compared with the first eleven months of 2012. Offshore
shipments during November roughly break down as follows:
23.9 MMbf dressed, 8.9 MMbf rough, and 8.5 MMbf treated
“Softwood lumber imports
to the U.S. during November were just over 985 million
board feet (MMbf), up 13% from the volume imported
during November of 2012. Canada shipped approximately
955 MMbf into the U.S. in November. For the first eleven
months of last year, the volume of imports remained
steady, running 15% ahead of the rate recorded during
the first eleven months of 2012.” Source:
Southern Forest Products Association
Newsletter, January 21, 2014.
How might a pine tree grown by a gray haired Alabamian
be related to a Chinese manufactured smart phone used by
a text messaging, 20-something Londoner?
I Pencil, The Movie, may help you appreciate
the small but very significant role we, forest
landowners, play in producing many important products
used here in Alabama and all over the world. You may
also find valuable
a series of video commentaries featuring, among
Samford University Professor Art Carden.
Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic
by architect/author Dale Mulfinger, is
available on Amazon.com. $24.59 hardcover, $15.39
Kindle. “In this new collection of 37 cabins, Mulfinger
rekindles his love for this treasured American icon with
fresh insight and seasoned strategies for the logic,
utility, and beauty of cabin design.”
Utah Prairie Dogs and Dusky Gopher Frogs in Louisiana
are protected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under
the Endangered Species Act.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the
Gopher Tortoise are declared threatened or
endangered in South Alabama, can we expect different
behavior from the agency?
Watch Shoot, Shovel & Shut-Up.
Delta National Park Study Stopped. The
Save Our Delta
group was able to convince Rep. Bradley Byrne to
request removal of Alabama from H.R. 3131, The
National Park Service Study Act of 2013.
Listen to an AFOA interview with David Peterson,
head of Save Our Delta. On January 17, Peterson wrote on
the Save Our Delta Facebook page: “I urge any of you to
email Congressman Byrne and thank him for his efforts to
stop the attempted Federalization of the Delta. Click on
the following link and it will take you to his website
and click the contact link.
Tax reform targets include 1031 property exchanges,
NewsOK, 12/14/13, will worry you if you plan to
use the tax-free exchange provision of the tax code to
defer income tax from land sales. See also,
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Proposes Repeal of
Like-Kind Exchange Deferral and Other Changes Affecting
Real Estate, BakerHostetler, 1/7/14
Construction of a wood pellet mill is being considered
in Childersburg, Alabama. If built, the mill
will export wood fuel to Great Britain. Source: The
Daily Home, 11/27/13
Lynch Lawsuit Decision: Home owners and forest
and farmland owners will be happy to know that a
"federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit
challenging Alabama's property tax structure and has
kept intact one of the nation's lowest tax rates." Had
we lost this case, forestland property taxes could have
increased significantly. Source: Montgomery
More information is available from the Alabama Forestry
Let's not let this happen in Alabama. "A
Virginia county barred a landowner from allowing a
friend to camp on his 86-acre farm for a hunting
excursion... The county, in southeast Virginia, contends
that use of the camper would constitute an unauthorized
'campground' in violation of local zoning ordinances."
Source: WND Politics, 1/7/14
Prescribed Burning Insurance Available to Foresters.
“All certified or graduate foresters can apply for
commercial general liability insurance. A forester’s
special liability form is available with limits up to
$1.0 million. The forester’s special liability coverage
includes herbicide application, prescribed burn
liability, smoke liability, and professional errors and
omissions. Master policies can also be issued to
consultant foresters and wildlife biologists who burn
for multiple landowners.” Call Outdoor Underwriters at
1-866-961-4101. Source: The Longleaf Leader,
Under threat of elimination
by Congress as part of a tax reform discussion,
capital gains tax rates are also, unfortunately,
effectively boosted by inflation.
Source: Tax Foundation, 12/17/13
Sustainability with a Timber Sale Contract. The
way that timber is sold in the US South provides a
strong legal framework for ensuring that harvests are
being conducted in a sustainable fashion. The process
for selling timber and the documentation that
accompanies it — the timber sale contract — are critical
for demonstrating not only the legality of the sale but
that all laws and best management practices are being
followed as well.” Source: F2M Market Watch Blog,
“Drone for aerial photographs and video” to improve
service to clients was among the new investments made by
Tutt Land Company’s Sean Brown, as listed in an email
sent by Sean this morning.
For a demonstration of “drone for aerial photographs and
video,” make plans now to attend the
Alabama Forest Owners’ Association’s Annual Meeting at
Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge, April 25-26.
Make room reservations by calling (256) 505-6621 or
(256) 571-5540 (after hours or weekends). To receive our
special rate be sure to mention Alabama Forest
Owners' Association - market code 3654. Most
attendees will make room reservations for Friday night
only, but some will stay Saturday night to enjoy the
park for a few hours on Sunday.
Movement to Create a Mobile-Tensaw Delta National
Park could remove quarter million acres from property
tax rolls, timber production, and hunting.
“If they had done this in ’79 there would be no
ThyssenKrupp steel mill,” [David Peterson] said. “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.” Source:
Should the delta become a national park?,
“Alabama is doing its part in utilizing renewable
including, of course, biomass. This is largely based on
the long practice of paper and wood production companies
using woody debris and wood waste to generate
electricity for their facilities. Among other
interesting facts noted by the U.S. Energy Information
Administration recently, is that Alabama ranked fifth in
the United States in net electricity generation from
wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass in 2011;
virtually all of that electricity was generated by
non-utility power producers.” Source:
AFA Newsroom, January 1, 2014.