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(6/21/17) If you didn’t own timberland, would you think that forest landowners should pay more taxes after reading this article? Only the last few paragraphs highlight that Current Use provisions help landowners keep timberland out of commercial developments and that “timberland farmers take on extraordinary risk in farming timber that may not be harvested for decades.” If you have an opinion about your property taxes, consider contacting your state lawmakers.

(6/20/17) Unsurprisingly, researchers found that communities are “far better at protecting the forest from fires when they have formal land rights.” An El Salvador-based think tank produced the study, which followed a Guatemala community with the right to “use, manage, and patrol” a 400,000 hectare nature reserve.

(6/19/17) This article in The Progressive Farmer suggests that tax reform, when passed, could eliminate a tax deduction for a mortgage on a secondary vacation home—except on existing mortgages. “Taken at its face value, this suggests acting sooner rather than later if you are considering the acquisition of a vacation property.”

(6/16/17) Interesting discussion on the value of signage on your private forestland in the event of an emergency. “Sure, you know the place like the back of your hand. … Unfortunately, all of your knowledge is of no help whatsoever when you are the incapacitated person whom the emergency personnel are attempting to locate.”

(6/15/17) Reintroducing American Chestnuts resistant to the chestnut blight may be more difficult than most of us thought it would be. A root rot that affects lowland trees also poses problems for silviculturists.

(6/14/17) Combined, forestry activity contributes $23 billion annually to Alabama’s economy, accounting for 20 percent of total manufacturing jobs (both direct and indirect) and 7 percent of the Alabama workforce, according to the AFA.

(6/13/17) We thought you might be interested in this newsletter from the Alabama Treasure Forest Association.

(6/12/17) "The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution secures our right to own private property. However ... ownership does not guarantee control of who goes on your land." No Trespassing signs are important to law enforcement in Alabama, too. Sheriff Jay Jones discussed trespass with AFOA.

(6/9/17) Some Alabama sites will see a bumper crop of longleaf pine cones in 2017. “News of a good cone crop usually alerts forest managers to get busy with site preparation during the summer and nursery managers to plan for cone collection during the fall.” This takes time, so make your longleaf regeneration plans now.

(6/8/17) "...the Atlanta Federal Reserve recently projected that the US economy is on track to grow at an annual pace of 4.3 percent in 2Q. Growth at this rate could play into demand for pulp and sawtimber in the coming months. The recently-announced US tariffs on lumber imports from Canada may also spur demand for sawtimber logs in the US South. However, even if demand for pine sawtimber increases as 2017 progresses, there is still an oversupply of large logs available on the market and stumpage prices could remain muted.

(6/7/17) A single specimen of the Southeastern Bat was found infected with White-nose Syndrome (WNS) near Alabama's Lake Purdy. The disease has killed large numbers of the Northern Long-Eared Bat, resulting in that species being listed on the Threatened and Endangered Species List. Check our news from April 2016 for information on how the endangered species status of the NLEB might affect your forest management activities.

(6/6/17) Online registration is open until June 11 for Alabama’s annual alligator hunt. "The administrative fee to apply for an Alligator Possession Tag is $22 and individuals may register one time per zone.” Note: the site experienced technical issues that have been resolved. Visit this site for registration instructions or to check whether your registration was received.

(6/5/17) In our neighboring state, a budget shortfall is forcing the Mississippi Forestry Commission to cut 75 jobs in a statewide restructuring.

(6/2/17) This case in Texas might be of interest to those concerned with mineral rights and the rights of landowners over the land underneath the surface.

(6/1/17) This fire resistant tarp protects both your campfire and forest. The Campfire Defender is a "portable tool that can be used over a live fire, giving your coals hours of weather protection."

(5/31/17) The University of Maryland Extension will offer a General Forestry Course for Fall 2017; you can take the paper or online version of the non-credit course. “You work from the comfort of your home...You will learn how to protect your trees from insects, diseases and fire; step-by-step procedures will walk you through a forest inventory and stand analysis; and the details of the forestry business are presented, including tax nuances and the sale and harvest of forest products. Register or learn more here. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 5/31/17

(5/30/17) Testing the soil of your food plot can save time and money. In this brief video from the Quality Deer Management Association, "you can learn a few things about how to improve your sampling methods and get even more value out of your food plots."

(5/26/17)President’s Budget Includes Forestry Cuts” declares the National Association of State Foresters in its weekly newsletter. But while some forest owners receive state and federal assistance to manage their forestland, does someone with 100 or more acres of forestland (a considerable asset when the median savings for all US families is just $5,000) need government assistance for forest management activities such as tree planting and site preparation? We suspect government agencies and industry lobbyists are leading the “government assistance is needed” parade, not private forest owners.

(5/25/17) "Georgia-Pacific is investing $50 million to upgrade the paperboard machine at the company’s mill in Escambia County, following the completion of a $388 million energy improvement project that involved two years of construction."

(5/25/17) From a video on how to measure tree diameter to recordings of bird calls that can help you identify the birds on your land, an internet search can yield a lot of practical knowledge for forest landowners

(5/23/17) The forestry industry is a great place to go for dividend income. This is because REITs, real estate investment trusts, are structured in a way that requires them to “pay out 90% of their income out to shareholders via dividends. The net result is that the dividend yield of the top forest owners is often more than double that of the average stock in the market.” Read more about the top five dividend payers in the industry.

(5/22/17) One less regulation for anyone who owns a drone for personal use: "A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule requiring recreational drone owners to register their devices with the government."

(5/19/17) Russia will launch a new natural disaster-monitoring satellite “equipped with an infrared camera, which will help reveal forest fire hotbeds.” Its sunlight reflector will make it this satellite the brightest star in the sky. Another new fire technology from Russia, “fast-hardening, fully biodegradable foam for firefighting,” is reported to work better than currently available chemical foams, which are also toxic to plants and wildlife.

(5/18/17) Prescribed burns are valuable for a variety of reasons, both in the West and here in Alabama. We suspect the high cost in this article about a prescribed burn in Arizona--$66 per acre--is the result of federal officials lack of concern for economics, something private landowners have to consider more carefully.

(5/17/17) "Farmers and forest landowners often have a lot of questions when they consider how to deal with land as they begin the estate planning process. Who will manage the land and pay the taxes? Will children get along after the death of a parent? How can parents ensure that farming children have use of the land? ... Alabama Extension is hosting a workshop to assist farmers and forest landowners make better informed choices as they make plans to transfer the family farm to the next generation." Check the AFOA calendar to find one of these workshops near you.

(5/16/17) "North American forests grow enough wood for a twenty-story skyscraper every 13 minutes." Architect Michael Green makes the case for the economic and environmental benefits of wooden skyscrapers in this TED talk.

(5/15/17) This new use of drone technology could be helpful in reducing cost and risk of fighting wildfire. See a video of the DRONE HOPPER in action, or visit the Spain-based company’s website.

(5/12/17) This video from the Mississippi Forestry Association shows how to use their smartphone app that helps landowners know at a glance whether a pine stand needs thinning.

(5/11/17) "Housing is up! Lumber use is up! But prices are down?" The Forisk Consulting blog outlines six factors that inhibit how Southern timber prices respond to demand. Their analysis of Q2 2017 also suggests that a tariff on softwood lumber imports from Canada won’t affect much, due to the respective production, capacity, and demand in both countries.

(5/10/17)The current federal tax structure recognizes forest owners’ risk and their contribution to the common good, and supports them in the stewardship of their land. It is vital to the continued productivity of our forests and to rural America, that as Congress cleans up the tax code, they seek to encourage … keeping them productive.”

(5/9/17) "When we consider investments in forestry (or other sectors), we must look forward. This may require us to adjust our thinking for probable nominal returns. When evaluating timberland holdings, revisit key questions."

(5/8/17) A rather interesting idea from Senator Whatley: SB399 would ”transfer all functions of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to the Department of Agriculture and Industries, effective October 1, 2018.”

(5/5/17) The Appalachian regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) is looking to enroll northern Alabama landowners with reclaimed mine sites in their reforestation program. If you have a site that might qualify, you can find out more about the program by contacting Cliff Drouet with the Office of Surface Mining by phone (303-549-7249) or via email

(5/4/17) "I have observed forestland being clearcut and replaced with the solar panel installations." This article from the Forest Resources Association suggests that artificial incentives for solar power could have unintended consequences. Attorney Edward "Tony" Hubbard spoke about this potential income source at the AFOA Annual Meeting on 4/22/17. You can contact Tony with questions about solar farms at (205) 553-5353 or by email.

(5/3/17)We're hearing the words "gas tax" again, but this time, the plan is different.” Senator Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) proposed a gas tax that “would allow for county commissions to hold a county-wide referendum for local voters to decide whether or not they would like a five-cent gas tax to fund pre-decided road projects. Specific projects would be presented to voters before the election, and the increases would expire in five-years time.” For more details on the bill, see this Decatur Daily article.

(5/1/17) "The last thing you want is to invest your valuable time and hard-earned money on a food plot only to have it taken over by weeds."

(4/28/17) In honor of Earth Day, Walter E. Williams discussed past climate and environmental predictions that did not come true.

(4/27/17)When Forever Wild buys land, it comes out of the tax base. It hurts rural counties, like Coosa County, the one I represent," the bill's sponsor, State Representative Mark Tuggle, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “It’s not meant in any way to diminish Forever Wild. It’s an effort to make counties whole.”

(4/26/17)There’s really no scientific reason whatsoever not to have a hunt,” Priddy said. “We can’t substitute politics for science. And if we don’t approve a hunt today, we’re really just throwing the science that we’ve gathered out the window.” Though Alabama's bear populations are smaller than Florida's, we could face these issues in the future.

(4/25/17) "The Trump administration is hitting Canada with stiff tariffs of up to 24% on lumber shipped into the United States." The tariffs target five companies in particular: West Fraser Mills, Tolko Marketing and Sales, J.D. Irving, Canfor Corporation, and Resolute FP Canada. The tariffs could have an effect on demand for stumpage in the South.

(4/24/17) Prepare for the dry season with this checklist from the Florida Forest Service of ways to protect your home from wildfire. It might also be useful for those with hunting lodges or other structures on forest land. And if protecting your property weren’t incentive enough, fighting fires can even affect your health.

(4/20/17) This Forest Research Note reminds us that many factors affect the price you can get for the timber on your land: "Timber prices are not stock prices. Published stock prices are based entirely on transactions and the published price applies to all shares of a given stock. Some published timber prices are based on transactions, but most are based on surveys. Because timber is not a uniform commodity, published timber prices cannot be applied directly to a timber property, but can provide an indication of the value of the timber on the property.

(4/19/17) Stephan Tomlinson of Growing Assets, LLC, wrote in their newsletter: "Growing Assets, LLC., has been asked to administer a cost share program designed to encourage private landowners in the Cumberland Plateau to plant shortleaf pine after a harvest. Last year our firm planted over 1,100 acres for this program and we are signing up potential candidates for this next planting season (winter 2018). The cost share will pay half of the planting and site preparation expenses up to a maximum of $110/acre and is directed at landowners in northwest Alabama." If you are interested in this program, email or call their office at (256) 383-8990 for more information.

(4/18/17) A seminar on the behavior of black-legged ticks (a species that carries Lyme disease) will be hosted at Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Wednesday, April 19. Read the abstract below, which has some good news for the US South.

Abstract: In the northeastern U.S., the key vector of Lyme disease is the nymphal life-stage of the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis). In northeastern states there is a very strong association between the early summer peak in nymphal host-seeking and the timing of human Lyme disease onset. A very different pattern is evident, however, in southeastern states. Despite robust populations of I. scapularis in some habitats there, few ticks that bite humans in the Southeast are I. scapularis, and those few are almost entirely the adult life-stage. Behavioral experiments suggest that a major change in nymphal I. scapularis questing behavior helps explain why human Lyme disease case reports from southeastern states are currently two orders of magnitude lower than in the Northeast. The potential future consequences of southwards expansion of northern I. scapularis populations will be discussed.

(4/17/17) Does the federal government really need more land? For reference, the federal government currently owns 640 million acres of land, roughly 28% of the country's total acreage. UPDATE: Read a brief statement from PERC on the need to reform the LWCF before any new lands are added to public rolls.

(4/14/17) About 250 years ago, New Hampshire citizens rose up against the British colonial government's punishment of mill owners who sawed white pine marked for the use of the Royal Navy. “Despite its scarcity among today’s narrative of the American Revolution, the Pine Tree Riot was a locally significant colonial uprising to take place between the Stamp Act riots and the Boston Tea Party.” Read the full story here.

(4/13/17) Aside from recent warnings about drought effects, southern pine beetle infestations have decreased dramatically in the last decade. “Why, with over twenty times more plantation area available for the beetles, has the region seen a disproportionately small number of beetle outbreaks over the last decade or two?” Recent research suggests that good management principles support the trees’ natural resistance to pests.

(4/12/17) In the latest F&W Forestry Report, Marshall Thomas says the number show housing starts may finally be reaching the threshold for putting demand pressure on prices. He cautions that some other factors, such as a large standing inventory of pine sawtimber and differences in the size and type of houses being built, might slow a rebound in prices. “So, maybe in the next quarter or two, we can celebrate reaching the threshold. Then, hopefully sometime next year, we can celebrate some higher sawtimber prices.”

(4/11/17) The Progressive Farmer this month (page 17) quotes Grover Norquist on three tax predictions: "death tax (federal estate tax) will be gone... the alternative minimum tax will be gone... the top capital gains tax rate will be 16%." If you have opinions on these issues, let your representatives know.

(4/10/17) "This summer educators throughout the United States and Canada will have the opportunity to head out into the forest and participate in hands-on learning through sustainable forestry Teachers' Tours." Check out the AFOA Calendar for info on the Alabama teacher's workshop, and encourage teachers you know or in your local schools to attend. For members in other states, the full list of U.S. tours can be found here.

(4/7/17) Resolute Forest Products Inc. recently announced the successful start-up of its new tissue machine in Calhoun, TN. This has the potential to affect the north Alabama market in a positive way for landowners in that region.

(4/6/17) "Everyone who ventures outdoors should be aware of ticks and the diseases they carry." Auburn University researcher Emily Merritt recently answered tick-related questions for Great Days Outdoors, and this top ten list includes some other helpful tips about ticks, like bagging any ticks you find to ID them later. We've found these tick and chigger gaiters from Forestry Suppliers useful for preventing bites.

(4/5/17) “On Monday, April 3, members of the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) selected Rick Oates as the new State Forester for Alabama. His appointment was later confirmed by Gov. Robert Bentley.” Read more at the AFC website.

(4/4/17) The Forest Resources Association is asking for support for the Future Logging Careers Act, which would “allow for sixteen and seventeen year olds in mechanized logging operations to work in the business under parental supervision.” Read more and find out how to support this legislation at the Florida Forestry Association newsletter.

(4/3/17) Joe Mallard talks about long and short term financing for agriculture and forest industries in this video from the Mississippi Forestry Association. “We work with landowners to come up with ways to purchase property and afford rural investment.” For Alabama contacts, you can find advertisements for Alabama Farm Credit and Alabama Ag Credit are on page three and six, respectively, of the AFOA newsletter.

(3/31/17) If you love aviation and the outdoors, some careers let you do both. The Alabama Forestry Commission has an aviation unit that spots fires as well as insect infestations and logging violations. This video shows a firsthand look at pilot Robert Trimble in Baldwin County. Likewise, the Georgia Forestry Commission employs “ten full-time pilots and about twenty-three part-time pilots.”

(3/30/17) Do you know anyone who'd like to learn to operate timber harvesting equipment? The College of Central Florida is offering a new noncredit program to prepare students for employment in the vital and expanding logging and timber industry in North Central Florida.

(3/28/17) “Using compass and pacing can be useful in many different woodlot activities. A compass indicates the direction you are headed relative to magnetic north, and pacing is a simple means of measuring linear distance by walking. Combining the use of a compass with pacing will help you as you travel across country or traversing property or stand boundaries.” H/T: Wednesday Woodland Word.

You can get firsthand instruction on pacing and other field skills at Dr. Becky Barlow’s Forest Measurements for Landowners workshop at the AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting.

(3/27/2017) "We can use our trees and enjoy them too." This video is a good resource if you need to explain to friends and acquaintances why good forest management and forest products don't interfere with wildlife and environmental goals.

(3/25/17) The Boy Scout forestry merit badge booklet and free, downloadable worksheets can be a useful tool for getting your young one in the forest and learning, whether you have a scout or not. “…Scouts will explore the remarkable complexity of a forest and identify many species of trees and plants and the roles they play in a forest’s life cycle. They will also discover some of the resources forests provide to humans and come to understand that people have a very large part to play in sustaining the health of forests.”

(3/24/17) 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 not 'free.'”

(3/22/17)Nordic 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.”

(3/21/17) 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 organization 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."

(3/20/17) 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.

(3/17/17) 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:

Since private 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.”

(3/16/17) 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.

(3/15/17) Funds are now available to help landowners prevent Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) infestation. The application deadline for these funds is Friday, March 17, 2017. The list of eligible activities and application instructions are available here.

(3/14/17) 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.

(3/13/17) 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 of a recent regulation that attempts to reduce trespass from dog hunters.

(3/10/17) 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 written.

(3/9/17)Both 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 contact AFOA for a list of consulting foresters in your county.

(3/8/17) "Property 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% recovery rate."

(3/7/17) 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.

(3/6/17) 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.

(3/3/17)Often, it makes sense to give family members financial gifts or gifts of property while you are still living.” 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.

(3/2/17) 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 House (A&F)
  • 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 Senate (AC&F)

(3/1/17) The Tennessee Department of Agriculture recently produced a 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 family business.

(2/28/17) 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 register online.

(2/27/17) Do you know how big an acre is? At the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting, Alabama Cooperative Extension Specialist and Auburn University Associate Professor 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.

(2/24/17) 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 culverts.

(2/23/17) 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.

(2/22/17)There 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 property.”

(2/21/17) 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.

(2/20/17) The 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.

(2/16/17) 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 forest landowners.

(2/15/17)Drought-stressed 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.

(2/14/17) 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.

(2/13/17) 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.

(2/10/17) 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 jurisdictions."

(2/9/17) 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 the caucus.

(2/8/17) "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 percent." This Forest2Market analysis also predicts what we can expect from Millennials and housing.

(2/7/17) 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 bureaucracy.”

(2/6/17) 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.

(2/3/17) "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."

(2/2/17) 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.

(2/1/17) "The good news is that with thoughtful planning and orchestration before the meeting, the family can participate in effective dialogue together and produce meaningful results." Ways to keep folks engaged in the family business – including managing family land – and make family meetings productive.

(1/31/17) "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.

(1/30/17)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

(1/27/17) "'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 research firm." This NY Times article looks at the risks and returns of three ways to invest in forests.

(1/26/17) Birmingham attorney Leslie Klasing, a partner at Waldrep, Stewart, & Kendrick, LLC, has joined the roster of presenters for the AFOA 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 night reception. Listen to some of his music here.

(1/25/17) Since 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.

(1/24/17) 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 theft? 

(1/23/17) “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.

(1/20/17) "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."

(1/19/17) The deadline to apply for financial assistance through the 2017 Wild Pig Program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is Friday, January 20. 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.

(1/18/17) 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 spot. Application and more details here.

(1/17/17) 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 AFOA’s 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.

(1/16/17) 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 on “Getting the Best from your Pine Plantation” and “Improving the Return of Your Forestry Investments."

(1/13/17) "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.

(1/12/17) "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."

(1/11/17) "IFCO 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."

(1/10/17) “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.

(1/9/17) "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.

(1/6/17)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.

(1/5/17) 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.

(1/4/17) STIHL outlines all you need to know in order to sharpen a chainsaw correctly.

(1/3/17) 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 landowners.

(1/2/17) "The 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.

(12/30/16) 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 Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors to find a qualified surveyor in your county. Reach her by email (aspls1@att.net) or phone: (251-345-0950).

(12/29/16) 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 her at rdm1@msstate.edu

(12/28/16)Scientists 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.”

(12/27/16) “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.

(12/23/16) "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 growth."

(12/22/16) 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.”

(12/21/16) "Agriculture 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!"

(12/20/16) "The 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. 1-7." Read more or apply here.

(12/19/16)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.

(12/18/16) "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.

(12/15/16) "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.

(12/14/16) 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.

(12/13/16) 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.

(12/12/16) Find your dream property: A collection of essays to help simplify the process of finding and purchasing rural land from Tom Brickman of Birmingham.

(12/9/16) 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.”

(12/8/16) "The development of Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) is becoming an increasingly popular approach to increase private landowner’s ability to utilize prescribed fire."

(12/7/16) "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 Research Group, Forest Research Notes, Vol 13, No. 2.

(12/6/16) 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 website, Canada-based PRT is the largest producer of container-grown seedlings in North America.

(12/5/16) Northwest Alabama markets and forest management news from Forest Management Specialists.

(12/2/16) 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 perspective.

(12/1/16) 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.” Source: 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! webcast.

(11/30/16) “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.

(11/29/16) “…the loss of the International Paper mill in Courtland dealt a severe blow to [northwest Alabama] timber markets,” says 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.”

(11/28/16)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" or listen to the podcast by clicking the blue button (audio x-wav).

(11/23/16) "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.

(11/22/16) 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.

(11/21/16) 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.

(11/18/16) 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. 

(11/17/16) A Jackson County man “has been charged with violating the state’s new Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) carcass ban for returning to Alabama with a deer harvested in Illinois, a known CWD state…CWD is a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of deer. Once introduced into the environment, it is impossible to eradicate.”

(11/16/16) Former 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."

(11/15/16)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 enforcement.”

(11/14/16) Below are the results of November 8 local property tax votes, where available:

(11/12/16) 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.

(11/10/16) "The 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."

(11/9/16) Donald Trump has officially been named the winner of the  2016 US presidential election. The House of Representatives and Senate remain in Republican hands.

(11/8/16) 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?

(11/4/16) 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 www.AlabamaVotes.gov.

(11/3/16) “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 productive potential.” 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 advertisements, or email AFOA for a list of consulting foresters who seek work in your county.

(11/2/16) "If 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."

(11/1/16) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2016 Tax Year by Dr. Linda Wang is available now on page four of our November newsletter (updated 11/3/16) . You can also keep an eye on the New Developments section of the National Timber Tax Website to check for updated versions in the future.

(10/31/16)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 the Property and Environment Research Center explores ideas about environmental policy in light of this new understanding. Read online or download for Kindle.

(10/27/16) 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! interviews from Richard Straight and Greg Ruark on silvopasture, one type of agroforestry practice.

(10/26/16) "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 rise considerably."
    "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." Source: F&W Forestry Report, Fall 2016

(10/25/16) The Matre Forestry survey highlighted four top sites for researching land for sale: Lands of America, Land & Farm, Landwatch, and 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 at the AFOA listings of land for sale in Alabama.

(10/24/16) The slides from this month's Dinner & Discussion on Forestry Taxes with Orman R. Wilson of JamisonMoneyFarmer are available online here.

(10/21/16) The National Alliance of Forest Owners responded to a "misleading" article from the NY times on biomass, breaking down several faulty assumptions underpinning the article.

(10/20/16) "Public 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."

(10/19/16) "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 Service, August 2016 Housing Commentary: Section I

(10/18/16) "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 our Capital Ideas—Live! segment on the ash borer and the status of ash trees in Alabama.

(10/17/16) 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 Montgomery reports.

(10/14/16) "Findings 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."

(10/13/16) "For 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?"

(10/11/16)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 estates.

(10/10/16) "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.

(10/7/16) According to 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 Association, 10/5/16

(10/6/16) 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.

(10/5/16) 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.

(10/4/16) 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 RLL@AFOA.ORG.

(10/3/16) "[Hillary Clinton] actually just decided to double down on her destructive tax agenda by endorsing an even bigger increase in the death tax."

(9/30/16) "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 the species without a listed national champion - maybe you've got one on your property. Alabama's champion tree list added seven new champions in 2015.

(9/29/16)Alabama 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 McMillan, al.com, 9/22/16

(9/28/16) “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 decisions.” Read the full news release here.

(9/27/16) This research from Forisk Consulting digs deep into costs and returns on management activities by large timberland owners.
Some key points form the report:

  •  571 trees planted per acre with an 87.8 percent survival rate
  •  83 percent conduct first thinnings and 71 percent also conduct second thinnings
  •  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.

(9/25/16) 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 New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association executive director Jasen Stock.

(9/23/16) The 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 family members."

(9/22/16) Trade pact benefits our forest industry, says Alan Shelby of the Florida Forestry Association.

(9/21/16) 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.

(9/20/16) The "My 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.

(9/19/16) 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 demand.

(9/16/16) "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."

(9/15/16) 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 Winston. A map of the affected counties can be viewed here.

(9/14/16) 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.

(9/13/16) 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.

(9/12/16) 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 earle.thompson@auburn.edu 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 engineering department.

(9/9/16) 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.

(9/8/16) Below are some market factors affecting your pine sawtimber prices.

(9/7/2016) Landowner upset with NPS over repairs to bridge to national monument

(9/2/16) 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."

(9/1/16) Additional videos of the AFOA 2016 Annual Meeting presentations are now online:

(8/31/16) 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 is the market for highly refined graphite for lithium-ion batteries. Source: http://alabamagraphite.com

(8/30/16) 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 oil increase." Read the full article here.

(8/29/16) 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.”

(8/26/16) As the FWS reaches the end of its court-mandated work plan, 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 land.

(8/25/16) "Fifteen 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.

(8/24/16) A Sumter County, Florida man is fighting charges after shooting an alligator that was in his horse enclosure, 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.

(8/23/16) 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.

(8/22/16)If you have been considering transferring your family business to your heirs, now may be the time to act.” Proposed changes may affect the valuation discount historically allowed for a family-controlled corporation, partnership or limited liability company.

(8/19/16) 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. You can purchase a hunting license here, and must join the HIP (Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program) if you intend to hunt selected migratory birds.

(8/18/18) "Shelby 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 CDC.

(8/17/16) "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."

(8/16/16) 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 Eufaula. Source: Alabama Forestry Association Newsroom, 8/15/16

(8/15/16) Alabama is not the only state facing hard decisions. "A 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."

(8/12/16) 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.

(8/11/16) Many landowners would benefit from the upcoming workshop 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 found here.

(8/10/16) 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.

(8/9/16) This week marks the 1944 debut of America's favorite fire prevention mascot. Read more about Smokey's history here.

(8/8/16) 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:

(08/05/16) 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 aerial image.

(08/04/16) Endangered Species Act Often Used for Political Purposes Report Landowners in Georgia Study.

(08/02/16) 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 brand new smart phone app that should be of special interest to forest landowners.

(08/01/16) 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 Forest2Market blog, The West's Ravaged Woodlands -- A Problem with a Proven Solution.

(7/29/16) 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

(7/28/16) “'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. 

(7/27/16) 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.

(7/26/16) "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.

(7/25/16) 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: AL.com, 7/22/16

(7/22/16) 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.

(7/21/16) PowerSouth CEO Gary Smith wonders why wind companies get a pass when it comes to killing eagles: “The favoritism and preferential treatment given to renewable energy over other, more reliable forms of energy – and the government’s tendency to choose winners and losers – is more troubling.” Read the full article from Alabama Living Magazine here, as well as further reporting from the Christian Science Monitor. Source: Alabama Living Magazine, July 2016

(7/20/16) The Fifth Circuit Court in Louisiana handed down a baffling decision recently about the dusky gopher frog: "The 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 future."

(7/19/16) Lil' Lodges, based in Bear Creek, Alabama, makes mobile, customizable cabins. We were impressed--photos show lots of wood in the interiors and exteriors. 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 Northeast."

(7/18/16) Are you considering purchasing a bulldozer for your land? "ForesTree 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.

(7/15/16) 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.

(7/14/16) 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.

(7/13/16) The West could learn some lessons about fire from the South, 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.

(7/12/16) “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 experts.

(7/11/16) 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.

(7/8/16) 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.

(7/7/16) “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 families.

(7/6/16) We have 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.

(7/5/16) Technology could offer expanded markets for Alabama wood. 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."

(7/1/16) "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 Commerce. Read the news release from the Alabama Forestry Association here.

(6/30/16) "A pair of 90-second animations are delivering key messages for using softwood materials around the home at 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 Newsletter, 6/28/16

(6/29/16) “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.

(6/28/16) "The 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

(6/27/16) "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, 6/14/16

(6/23/16) "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.

(6/22/16) "The 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.

(6/21/16) 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.

(6/20/16) Brooks Mendell's 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.

(6/17/16) 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

(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.

(6/15/16) 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 management practices.

(6/14/16) 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 steel construction.” 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.

(6/13/16) 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: River City News, 6/3/16

(6/10/16) 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 2009. See Dave Tenny’s interview with AFOA back in 2013.

(6/9/16) 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 Farm."

(6/8/16) 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:

(6/7/16) "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 episode of Capital Ideas--Live!

(6/6/16)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 critical.” This primer from Forest2Market.com walks you through the basics of selling your timber.

(6/3/16) “…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.

(6/2/16) 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.

(6/1/16) The governor has signed HB418, a local bill sponsored by Representative Ralph Howard (D-Greensboro), which will allow a referendum in Sumter County to raise property taxes by 6 mills. We assume it will be on the ballot for general vote this fall, but will put it on the AFOA calendar of events when we get a definite date. Source: AFA’s From the Weeds blog, 5/26/16

(5/31/16) Chalk one up for the black pinesnake.

     “One 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 Management, "Why we reached this decision."

     “Citing the rising threat of ever-stricter regulations from the Federal government, Scotch Land Management Company, LLC announced today it would remove roughly 19,000 acres of land from the Scotch Wildlife Management Area.”

(5/27/16) 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 www.engaginglandowners.org.

(5/26/16) Dr. Jim Brauker demonstrates his simple process for preventing poison ivy (and poison oak and poison sumac) rashes in this video.

(5/25/16) "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. 

(5/24/16) 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 talked about her research, which proved for the first time that the pest can be eradicated.

(5/23/16) 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 second is an interview with a small-scale tree farmer many of us can relate to, showing his old-fashioned but still effective equipment.

(5/20/16) 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.”

(5/19/16) “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 see 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.

(5/18/16) 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, 4/14/16. Read the full article here. Additional information: Panel discussion on family-owned forestland at the AFOA Annual Meeting, led by Joe Hopkins, quoted in the above article.

(5/17/16)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 mitigation tips.

(5/16/16) 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.

(5/13/16) "...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 VT/USFS 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.

(5/12/16) 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 prescribed fire. Click here to read and subscribe.

(5/11/16) "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.

(5/10/16) 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.

(5/9/16) 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 energy policies.

(5/6/16) "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.

(5/5/16) 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 LWCF. Source: American Land Rights Association, June 1, 2016

(5/4/16) 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.

(5/3/16) 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 purchasing power."

(5/2/16) "The 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.

(4/29/16) 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 those colors?

(4/28/16) 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.

(4/27/16) 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.

(4/26/16) 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.”

(4/25/16) "Now I don't have to leave the truck cabin." Could these VR goggles  save money and lives in the logging industry?

(4/22/16) 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 312,000. Read the full report.

(4/21/16) 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 bear population might be increasing.

(4/20/16) 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.”

(4/19/16) 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.

(4/18/16) "If the forces behind this show-us-your-papers subpoena succeed in 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."

(4/15/16) "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 pulp market.(4/8/16)

(4/14/16) Oregon purchases an insurance policy to reduce costs of extreme wildfire season. The policy covers private landowners as well, who help the state pay for the premium as part of their annual fees.

(4/13/16)Only 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 of Engineers?

(4/12/16) 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.

(4/11/16) Possible changes to the state’s dog deer hunting regulations may affect you. Click here for the full details from Outdoor Alabama.

 The House and Senate both voted to override the Governor’s veto on the General Fund budget on Tuesday.

(4/7/16) LEED now recognizes alternate paths to certification. But it must be remembered that Certified Tree Farms, SFI, and FSC, 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.

(4/6/16) "Opponents 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."

(4/5/16) “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 signature. 4/13/16

(4/1/16) 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.

(3/31/16) John Lancaster and Wilson Lowe were presented cash awards on March 30, 2015 from the Alabama Forest Owners' Association Educational Fund at the Auburn 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 landowners.

(3/29/16) 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.

(3/28/16) 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.

(3/25/16) 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.

(3/24/16) 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 forest/water relationship. Read the full article.

(3/23/16) 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.

(3/22/16) 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 landowners.

(3/21/16) Some partial scholarships are still available for Auburn University’s Forestry Field Camp, now in its third year. For more information, listen to our interview with Dr. Becky Barlow about the program on Capital Ideas—Live! last March

(3/18/16) As expected, 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

(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 equation.” Click here for the full article. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, National Woodland Owners Association, 3/16/16

(3/16/16) The Foundation 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.

(3/15/16) The AFA remains opposed to a proposed fuel tax increase until it is clear that some of the funds will go to county 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 increase. 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 blog, 3/14/16

(3/14/16) The 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 stipend. Apply here.
  • 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.

(3/11/16) 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.

(3/10/16) 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.

(3/9/16) "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 nation." This data-rich slideshow from the Southern Forest Products Industry includes graphics and interactive maps for large or small scale perspectives on the industry.

(3/8/16) 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.

(3/7/16) "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." Source: Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 3, Iss. 2. Other topics include: Timber market update; like-Kind exchanges; forest-use trends; pricing reports.

(3/4/16) 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 problem?

(3/3/16) Is it time to move forestry law enforcement back home to the Alabama Forestry Commission from  ALEA?

(3/2/16) 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

(3/1/16) Planters can inadvertently damage tree seedlings by cutting the roots for easier planting. More about the proper handling of seedlings here.

(2/29/16) 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.

(2/26/16) 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.

(2/25/16) We suspect there may be some critical information hidden in the US Fish & Wildlife Services’s 2/11/16 announced “Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat” and “Final 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 (rll@afoa.org) if there is anything noteworthy buried in these two announcements.

(2/24/16) With spring storms arriving, these links on dealing with timber losses might be useful for you or someone you know.

(2/23/16) The 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.

(2/22/16) One solution to the problem of poor cell phone coverage in remote locations, via Forest Operations Review.

(2/19/16) 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: al.com, 2/18/16

(2/18/16) "These 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 lands." Source: Property and Environment Research Center, 2/16/16

(2/17/16) 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.

(2/16/16) 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.

(2/15/16) 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 ballot
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 Phenix City

(2/12/16) 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.

(2/12/16) 2016 VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES:

  • February 12, 2016 - Hand-delivery to county Board of Registrars
  • February 13, 2016- Postmarked
  • February 15, 2016 - Online (Click here to register online)
     

(2/11/16) Recent headlines about the biomass market from the Society of American Foresters:  

(2/10/16) "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 report here.

(2/9/16) "Senator 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 attending the Alabama Agribusiness Council's Legislative Reception at 5 PM tonight. (see AFOA Calendar of Events)

(2/8/16) 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, Southern SARE

(2/5/16) "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 and nominate your peers for the recognition they deserve.

(2/4/16) 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.

(2/3/16) 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.

(2/2/16) "In productive, heavily-forested areas, does the land itself suffer long-term due to repeated tree removals?" Forest2Market looks at the effects of biomass harvesting and soil quality.
In a March 2012 interview with AFOA, Dr. Becky Barlow suggests you ask, “How can negative effects of pine straw harvesting be mitigated?”

(2/1/16) It's important to have the support of local law enforcement to prevent and control illegal dumping and littering. This conference may help. PALS asks: "Please contact your local law enforcement agencies and encourage them to send a representative from their agency."

(1/29/16) 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

(1/28/16) The 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 Board. Get full meeting details here, or view a map of CAB districts and representatives here.

(1/26/16) 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 that 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!

(1/25/16) "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, 1/14/16.

(1/22/16) "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.

(1/21/16) 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 timber property."

(1/20/16) “Bernie Sanders' Socialized Healthcare Plan Would Double The Death Tax.” Source: Forbes, 1/18/16

(1/19/16) If you're thinking of warmer days, check out some of our state's natural beauty in this slideshow featuring 50 Butterflies of Alabama.

(1/18/16) 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.

(1/15/16) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its much-awaited 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 season. Read more at the FWS website.

(1/14/16) The 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.

(1/13/16) 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 been gray.

(1/12/16) "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 use." Source: 2015 Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report, National Association of State Foresters

(1/11/16) 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 crash. 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 synopsis.

(1/8/16) "The 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 reading, a Q & A from the USFWS - scroll down to the last paragraph of Q5.

(1/7/16) 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.

(1/6/16) MachineryLink 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

(1/5/16) Tennessee landowners and loggers have the same problems Alabama does when it comes to low weight limits on county roads. See how Tennessee is handling the issue on page two of the Tennessee Forestry Association's newsletter.

(1/4/16) "...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 timberland. Read the full article here.

(12/30/15) Although black bears are not common in Alabama, they are present in some areas. Remember that they are not harmless cuddly teddy bears, as this incident in New Jersey reminds us.

(12/29/15) "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."

(12/28/15) 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.

(12/22/15) Some take-aways from last week's "omnibus" funding bill:

(12/21/15) "I think it is completely indefensible that the federal government is America's largest landlord," Cruz said in this video at The Westerner.

(12/18/15) We thought 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.

(12/17/15) According to the American Land Rights Association (ALRA), "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." Read ALRA's recent email for details.

(12/16/15) “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.

(12/15/15) “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):

  1. How did the condemning authority arrive at its offer amount? Request a written summary of the appraiser’s valuation. 
  2. 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?
  3. Is the land going to be owned by the condemning authority, or is it acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary easement?
  4. What use limitations will the landowner be subject to with regard to the land being acquired?
  5. 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?
  6. What impact will the loss of land have on the value of the remaining land?
  7. 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?
  8. 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.

(12/14/15) If a gas tax increase is enacted, we hope rural roads and bridges will get a fair proportion of the new revenues. Hear an interview with DOT director John Cooper about ATRIP, rural roads and bridges, and how this affects you as a landowner.

(12/11/15) 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 SuperTree seedlings.

(12/10/15) 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.

(12/9/15) 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 rll@afoa.org.

  • Cases: Total 277
  • Property Crimes Cases – 200
  • Animal Crime Cases – 85
  • 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 – 27
  • Animal Crime Calls – 95
  • Timber Crime Calls – 36
  • Other Crime Calls - 7

(12/8/15) 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):

(12/7/15) "The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street Journal 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 border them." Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the forest here.

(12/4/15) 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. Past outdoor essays from David Rainer.

(12/3/15) 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.

(12/2/15) A new Aunt Fanny essay makes sense of housing reports and Timber REITs.

(12/1/15) 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.

(11/30/15) Landowners can submit comments here until December 11, 2015 regarding the 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.

(11/24/15) "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 month.

(11/23/15) 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." Source: Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15

And another perspective on federal land ownership from our friends at the Property and Environment Research Center.

(11/20/15) More housing numbers: "Forisk projects 12.1% growth over 2014."

(11/20/15) "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

(11/18/15) 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. Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.

(11/16/15) “Alabama timber, forestry industry may get big worker boost with new state grant.”

(11/13/15) 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.”

(11/12/15) 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 world.

(11/10/15) 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

(11/9/15) The two biggest publicly traded forest landowners in the U.S. will merge. Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek for $8.4B to form timber giant.

(11/6/15) Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard before for using goats and other livestock to control unwanted vegetation. A Google search found Rent A 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 in a 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.

(11/5/15) 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?"

(11/4/15) 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 www.cogongrass.org. Source: Great Days Outdoors, 11/15.

(11/3/15) 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.

(11/2/15) 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.

(10/30/15) "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 NoHardwoodCheckOff.com. 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.

(10/29/15) A 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.

(10/28/15) 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 and here.

(10/27/15) Protect your home from wildfires: "Roof Saver Sprinklers® wet roofs, gutters, decks, surrounding trees, and shrubs."

(10/26/15) "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: Newsletter 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.

(10/23/15) 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 Quarterly, 3Q15. 

(10/22/15) Helpful 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 data fascinating.

(10/21/15) The domestic cat is the top killer of America's native birds. 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

(10/20/15) We hate to bring up western fires again, but they are costing you. "Sometimes the science really has to matter." "By shifting the blame to climate change [politicians] think they can avoid taking responsibility for their action."

(10/19/15) 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.

(10/16/15) 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.

(10/15/15) Trump: Eminent Domain, Even For Private Projects Is ‘Wonderful Thing,’ ‘You’re Not Taking Property’  Source: www.breitbart.com, 10/6/15.

(10/14/15) 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.

(10/13/15) 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 also: The Washington Times, 10/9/15.

(10/12/15) Alabama's Pickens County 4-H Forestry Team earned third place in the National 4-H Forestry Invitational held in Weston, West Virginia.

(10/08/15) "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: www.AL.com, 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.

(10/06/15) 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.

(10/01/15) "Cameras Will Soon Do The Job of Fire Tower Lookouts." Source: www.opb.org, 9/22/15.

(09/29/15) Poor forest management to blame for out-of-control western fires, says Capital Press, 9/24/15.

(09/27/15) 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. 

(09/25/15) 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: https://moocs.wisc.edu/mooc/forests-and-humans/  

(09/24/15) 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 America."

(09/22/15) Flying Robot Spiders -- there must be some use for this technology in the forest.

(09/21/15) 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)

(09/18/15) 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.

(09/17/15) 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.

(09/10/15) More Aunt Fanny essays from Forisk Consulting: (see below)

(09/9/15) 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.

(09/3/15) A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session went into effect Tuesday, after a bipartisan effort ushered through several significant reforms.
     The changes, 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, 9/2/15

(08/31/15) 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 hickory. Champion Trees of Alabama 2015 contains measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

(08/28/15) Athens voters reject property tax increase.

(08/27/15) Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest issue of 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 states.

(08/26/15) 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 parks open while Forever Wild continues to spend millions of dollars every year on more land.

(08/25/15) 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 considerably."

(08/21/15) Will you be around long enough to enjoy your forestland?

(08/20/15) Four recent headlines:

(08/19/15) Choose loblolly pine seedlings resistant to fusiform rust to minimize future damage. ArborGen claims "breakthrough in rust resistance with genomics."

(08/18/15) "Louisiana-Pacific expanding Thomasville mill, adding 20 jobs." Source: AL.com, 8/5/15

(08/04/15) 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.

(07/24/15) 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.

(07/23/15) "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.

(07/21/15) "Americans 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.

(07/19/15) 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 page. Baldwin County voters will make a similar decision on March 1, 2016. Source: AL.com, 6/16/15.

(07/17/15) "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 here.

(07/13/15) 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 16, June 12, June 10, and June 5 useful background information for what you will read or hear in the daily news duing the next 30 days.

(07/07/15) 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.

(07/06/15) 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.

(07/01/15) The Boutwell Family of Alabama were recently named Southern Regional Tree Farmers of the Year - 2015.

(06/30/15) "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.

(06/26/15) "Beetle Plague Spurs Canadians on U.S. Lumber-Mill Buying Spree." "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.

(06/22/15) The Case Against Pope Francis's Green Encyclical. Source: 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 recycled.
     
  • 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.

(06/18/15) "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 outlined 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 17. 2015.

(06/15/15) Alligator hunting season in Alabama is just around the corner. Registration at www.outdooralabama.com/registration-instructions is 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.

(06/08/15) "2 Alabama ATV riders killed in 2 weeks, authorities share safety tips."

(06/05/15) 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. Read the 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.
 

(06/02/15) 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

(06/01/15) "Outpost Campsites" at Gulf State Park may be just the idea you've been looking for to add extra income from your forestland.

(05/29/15) 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 woods.

(05/28/15) 2015 Southern 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.

(05/26/15) 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

(05/20/15) In his new book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty without Permission, Charles Murray proposes "a declaration of limited resistance to the existing government." For a discussion of the book and to view an interview with Murray, read Thomas Firey's review, Insuring John Galt?.

(05/11/15) 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.

(05/05/15) 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."
"It 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.

(05/01/15) 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 stop. Forest America Take Action on Black Pine Snake.

(04/30/15) 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.

(04/29/15) "Voters defeat tax increase in Lawrence County by landslide vote." Source: The Moulton Advertiser, 4/29/15.

(04/28/15) "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." Source: Forest Research Notes, 1Q15.

(04/27/15) Legislation in Montgomery that we thought you might find interesting (there's lots more at From the Weeds, 4/27/15):

  • SB12 (Sandford) Allows General Fund to participate in growth tax revenues
  • 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 Amendment to increase property taxes statewide by 8.5 mills
  • HB485 (Melton) Perry County Constitutional Amendment raising ad valorem taxes by 3 mills

(04/24/15) 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 private enterprise?' " "Bentley to address budget crisis, possible state park closures", source: The News Courier, 4/17/15.

(04/23/15) "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: FoxBusiness, 4/17/15.

(04/22/15) 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 reform. See: Paul Ryan  See: Orrin Hatch See: Forest Landowners Association - What is Tax a Expenditure?

(04/14/15) Death Tax Repeal Vote Scheduled for this week.

(04/13/15) "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 DuBois, 4/6/15.

(04/10/15) 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 by Brian Seasholes. "...because it is a working paper, comments/criticisms are welcome, as I will hopefully be turning this into a bit longer study," wrote Seasholes in a recent email note.

(04/09/15) 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.

(04/08/15) 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 game.

(04/06/15) 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.

(04/02/15) 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.

(04/01/15) 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 page 2015 Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management Buyer's Guide.

(03/26/15) Forest Management Practices to Enhance Habitat for the Gopher Tortoise 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.

(03/16/15) Property Tax Referendums Now Listed on Secretary of State's Website!  PLEASE 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:

(03/11/15) "Reforestation at Risk  - U.S. Department of Labor Must Resume Processing H-2B Visas!" reports the Forest Resource Association in an action alert dated 3/9/15.

(03/06/15) 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." Source: From the Weeds, 3/6/15. Sounds like more regulations and higher taxes, but we could be wrong.

(03/04/15) 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 Release, 3/3/15

(03/03/15) 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.

(02/27/15) Investing in Timberland is a blog written by realtor and consulting forester Eddie Stone. We think you might find the conversation interesting.

(02/24/15) 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! 

(02/20/15) Bentley "will propose a $700 million tax hike in his State of the State address March 3rd." Source: YellowHammer, 2/19/15

(02/19/15) Two publications on silviculture that you may find interesting:

(02/18/15) 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 concerns. Listen to Dr. Anderson explain the meaning of "free market environmentalism" during an interview with AFOA last September. 

(02/17/15) Currently at about 1.2 million housing starts, Forisk projects housing starts to peak at 1.6 million starts by 2019.

(02/11/15) "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

(02/10/15) The 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.

(01/30/15) Grandchildren: Company leadership might skip a generation.

(01/23/15) 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." Past outdoor essays from David Rainer.

(01/21/15) "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: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, 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 Foundation, 1/21/15

(01/15/15) Planning to build a boat dock or light vehicular bridge? The Southern Forest Products Association has recently published the Marine 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 terminology." Source: Marina Dock Age, Dec 14/Jan 15.

(01/13/15) 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 source: Idaho Statesman, 1/7/15. Somewhat related: Unmanned Aircraft System News.

(01/06/15) "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 ethical." Source: Hunting at the Ballot Box by Corky Pugh at www.classifiedsforhunters.com. 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?

(01/05/15) 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 Report, American's Sense of Civic Duty Declining. The NCPA report was based on an Associated Press-GfK poll. See also: https://www.youtube.com/embed/YjntXYDPw44.   

(01/02/15) 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 FoxNews.