News, Issues & Information
Other Daily Forestry News Sources at:
"Unfortunately, certain toxic chemicals have been
found in some lakes and rivers in Alabama. Some of
these chemicals can accumulate in fish. With some of
the chemicals, higher levels of the contaminants can be
found in older and/or larger fish. When chemical
concentrations are elevated in fish, they can pose
health risks to people who eat them."
Read the full report on toxins in Alabama fish.
Obama administration is on the verge of approving
routine commercial use of small drones. The
long-anticipated rules will mean drone operators would
be able to fly without special permission." Source:
The Westerner, 6/21/16
For a worthwhile read on the background and
management of shortleaf pine, check out the
Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan released by the
Shortleaf Pine Initiative. “The Plan is intended for use
by practitioners of such disciplines as forestry,
wildlife and conservation biology, and natural resources
management, as well as policy makers in state and
federal governments, and most importantly, by the
private landowners and public lands managers whose land
management decisions are so vital to the future of
shortleaf.” According to the plan, shortleaf pine (Pinus
echinata) has the largest geographic extent of the
southern yellow pines, and commercially, shortleaf pine
was once a valued timber commodity.
Forest Finance Simplified is a solid guide to
forest investment and the financial side of forest
management, according to Steve Wilent in his
article "Net Present Value: A Business Skills Refresher"
in The Forestry Source, June 2016. “'At the
end of the day,' Mendell said at the workshop, 'the
ability to do the math about where capital is spent or
allocated responsibly and getting returns [is important
because] the research shows—and we know from
experience—that when forest owners and investors have
the opportunity to manage their resources and generate a
reasonable rate of return, they replant.'” Mendell also
Aunt Fanny series on forestry for beginners.
A recently signed law in New Mexico bars the public
from walking or wading in streams that run through
private property without written permission. Source:
The Westerner, 6/16/16
AFOA member J. Hudson Hines of Beatrice, Alabama was
named "Young Forest Landowner of the Year" by
Forest Landowners Association at their national
conference in Orlando, Florida on June 6, 2016. This
national award is given to an outstanding FLA member
under 50 years old and involved in the promotion and
sustainability of timberland.
The banning of the "hack and squirt" technique in
why it’s important to keep local and state lawmakers
informed about forestry and land management practices.
Wooden high-rise buildings?
The University of British Columbia’s, 18-storey,
mass-timber Brock Commons student residence will be the
world’s tallest mass-timber building. “Brock Commons
is intended to stand as a showpiece not only for the
sustainability features of wood, but also for its
cost-competitiveness with more traditional concrete and
A 12-story building of cross laminated timber (CLT)
is set to go up in Portland, Ore. later this year.
"It's going to change the way we build here in the
U.S.," said John Redfield, the chief operating
officer at D.R. Johnson, the only lumber mill in the
U.S. certified to make CLT.
Bourbon producers testified recently to the Kentucky
state legislature about the demand for white oak and
their efforts to educate landowners on management
techniques favorable for white oak. “'We need forests
the size of Rhode Island populated with white oak just
for our use,' said Jason Underwood with Sazerac, the
parent company of Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792.
Underwood said his company’s demand for white oak has
reached “crisis” proportions as Buffalo Trace and the
company’s other distilleries ramp up bourbon production
each year." Source:
City News, 6/3/16
The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests in the
United States is the third update of a study
begun by the National Alliance of Forest Owners back in
Dave Tenny’s interview with AFOA back in 2013.
This video interview features Bobby Watkins, the
Mississippi Forestry Association's 2015 Tree Farmer of
the Year. "Watkins has a tree farm where multiple
use is more than a label, it’s the guiding management
principle. You’ll find beautiful pine timber,
wildflowers, wild life, and family history at Coontail
NAFO’s “A Visual Guide to Working Forests” is a
learning resource (in pdf or jpeg format) that
might be useful for teachers and home bulletin boards.
Some of particular interest are:
"When tree removal starts, people jump to the
conclusion that houses or a new Walmart is coming,"
says New Jersey forester Bob Williams. He says
this article on educating the general public about
forest management gets it right. Bob talked more
about his practice of
putting up signs near timber harvests on our May
“Most people will conduct just one (or two) sales
from an individual timber tract in their lifetimes.
Getting full market value for the timber is therefore
This primer from Forest2Market.com walks you through
the basics of selling your timber.
“…solid flooring sales have been impacted by the
overall slump in the market across the United States in
the past year and losing ground to and market share
to engineered flooring.” Source:
Woodworking Network, 5/19/16.
At a special called meeting of the Alabama Forestry
Commission on Tuesday, May 31, the Commission voted 4
to 2 to dismiss State Forester Greg Pate. Source:
AFA Newsroom, June 1, 2016.
The governor has signed
HB418, a local bill sponsored by Representative
Ralph Howard (D-Greensboro), which will allow
a referendum in Sumter County to raise property taxes by
6 mills. We assume it will be on the ballot for
general vote this fall, but will put it on the AFOA
calendar of events when we get a definite date. Source: AFA’s
From the Weeds blog, 5/26/16
Chalk one up for the black pinesnake.
of the species listed was the Black Pinesnake, and
in the second meeting, they said it could be found in
the Scotch Wildlife Management Area (WMA). At first, they indicated they were
not likely to designate any critical habitat in Alabama,
but rather on Federal land in Mississippi.
“There had been a possible sighting in 1994 and another
in 1995, for what was believed to be a Black Pinesnake.
In 2014, they went back to sightings that were 20 years
old, even though a single snake lives only about 11
years in the wild.
“All it takes is for someone to think they see it
and report it to your state’s agency. You don’t have
to be a herpetologist. Or have a photograph. That
becomes the 'best available science.'
“The two sightings were three and half miles apart.
From their studies of the New Jersey Pinesnake, the
snake needs at least 5,200 acres. So, based on these two
sightings and the satellite imagery, topography and
soil, they decided they might make the two sightings
into a 32,000-acre critical habitat.”
Source: Gray Skipper, Scotch Land Management Company
“…the listing of the Black Pinesnake as a Threatened
Species … was based on insufficient scientific
evidence that was presumably gathered by individuals
accessing the WMA for their own purposes.” - Scotch Land
"Why we reached this decision."
“Citing the rising threat of ever-stricter
regulations from the Federal government,
Scotch Land Management Company, LLC announced today it
would remove roughly 19,000 acres of land from the
Scotch Wildlife Management Area.”
Woodland Owner Profiles developed by the Sustaining
Family Forests Initiative break down landowner data by
state and region. Some things, like landowner
demographics and the average tenure of the land, remain
remarkably similar nationwide. Some factors vary widely,
like landowner objectives and reasons for owning
forestland. Peruse the cache of information at
Dr. Jim Brauker demonstrates his
for preventing poison ivy (and poison oak and poison
in this video.
"What message does this send regarding our priorities?
Timber and Agriculture are two of the most important
segments to the state’s economy. At the rate that
Medicaid and Corrections are expanding, the other
General Fund agencies will soon be completely swallowed
up. To make matters worse, the other agencies are
forced to adopt higher fees and earmarked taxes in order
to make up their reduced budget appropriations."
Source: From the Weeds, Alabama Forestry
Association, 5/24/16. Editor's Note: Agencies are not
"forced" to adopt higher fees and raise earmarked taxes.
It is the nature of agencies to almost always seek
higher funding than appropriated by the legislature. It
is the responsibility of lawmakers (appropriators) and
voters to rein in this instinct.
How bad is it?
This interactive map can zoom in to the street address
of cogongrass infestations. This "highly
invasive pest permanently alters plant and animal
communities, increases fire frequency and intensity, and
requires extensive investment to control." For
Capital Ideas--Live! in 2015, Nancy Loewenstein
her research, which proved for the first time that the
pest can be eradicated.
We liked these videos for their perspective on two
very different forestry operations in Oregon. The
first is a
drone's eye view of a cable logging operation on
federal land, a technique not often used in Alabama. The
an interview with a small-scale tree farmer many of us
can relate to, showing his old-fashioned but still
This free online workshop from FEE teaches the value of
free markets. “It is designed to be delivered by
non-economists using interactive, hands-on activities
and guided discussions … Our expertise is teaching
students how freedom matters to their lives and the
lives of all.”
“Once in the environment,
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prions may remain
infectious for many years.” If you lease your land for
hunting or hunt on it yourself, CWD, which affects deer
species, is a threat to keep an eye on. We were glad to
this map from the USGS, which shows Alabama and its
neighbors free of Chronic Wasting Disease. More
info from the
USGS National Wildlife Health Center here.
Subdividing, selling and developing land is the sad
result forced on many landowners by this country’s
laws and regulations that have unintended adverse
environmental consequences.- Source: The Daily Caller,
Read the full article here. Additional
Panel discussion on family-owned forestland at the
AFOA Annual Meeting, led by Joe Hopkins, quoted in the
“A lot of times it’s a result of dragging trailer
chains, dragging exhaust systems, pulling over and
parking on high grass. Either that or poorly
maintained vehicles.” - Dolores Garcia, fire mitigation
and fire communication specialist.
Read the full article for other less known hazards and
The Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop (TCW) will
be held July 11-14, 2016 at Auburn University. The
TCW program focuses on forest ecology, management, and
products through guest speakers, field trips, and
hands-on activities. Please spread the word about this
outstanding workshop and encourage teachers in your
area schools to attend. If you are interested in
financially supporting this effort,
email Ashley Smith.
Click here to learn more or register for the event.
"...the housing sector remains a welcome support to an
otherwise fragile economy; however, unlike the run-up
leading into the Great Recession, the housing market
will no longer be the driver of the economy with a
positive but limited contribution." - Lindsey Piegza,
Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income. Read the 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.
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.
"AFA supports sufficient funding for rural
infrastructure, specifically, the repair/replacement of
the approximate 1,000 bridges that are posted. HOWEVER, AFA further believes that adequate funding
would exist for this purpose if existing fuel tax
revenues are allocated fairly between ALDOT and the
counties. Currently, 99% of the tax on diesel fuel is
directed to ALDOT, while the current tax on gasoline is
distributed 55% to ALDOT and 45% to the counties. AFA
supports allocating the existing diesel tax in a similar
fashion to that of the gasoline tax."
Read the AFA's full position on the fuel tax here.
We found this relevant in light of yesterday’s article
about Tata Steel and
green energy in the UK: “The main driver for wood
pellet demand is the European Commission’s 2020 climate
and energy plan… The United Kingdom is far and away
the primary destination for wood pellets from North
America.” We spotted this on page seven of
F&W Forestry’s newsletter, available online here.
Read through for more good articles on tree planting
numbers, housing starts, and timber markets.
If you sell to the export pellet market, it might be
a good idea to watch that market carefully.
Tata Steel has announced an immediate withdrawal from
Britain, threatening 4000 steel working jobs, and
40,000 jobs in dependent industries. The main reason
given for abandoning Britain, is the high price Tata is
forced to pay for energy, thanks to Britain’s green
"Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville and Robert N.
Turner of Sulligent, the two newest appointments by
Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Forestry
Commission (AFC), began their five-year terms by
attending their first Commission meeting on April 19."
Read the news release here.
Both the Property and Environmental Research Center
(PERC) and the American Land Rights Association (ALRA)
call for stopping the continued conversion of private
lands to the federal estate under a permanently
funded Land and Water Conservation Fund.
An ALRA newsletter tells what to say to your Congressman.
PERC describes why, “Without reform, the LWCF
should be terminated.” Update: The
LWCF amendment was barely defeated 212 to 205. Rep.
Terri Sewell is the Alabama representative we spotted
who voted "Yes" in favor of permanent funding of the
American Land Rights Association, June 1, 2016
The Land Show covers Alabama rural land issues on the
and stations here) or
on your device with podcasts. One topic in
this episode covers how European mills in Live Oak, FL
might affect Alabama Timber Markets. Segment
starts at 20:40. Listeners can also
email questions to the show to be answered on air.
International Paper (IP) announced an agreement to
purchase Weyerhaeuser's pulp business. "IP said
it expects to save about $175 million annually in
"synergies" — business lingo often used to refer to cost
cuts, revenue improvements and savings from combined
out-of-control logs flew over the landowner and rested
across the partially loaded log trailer." A reminder
that it's a good idea to take precautions and make sure
you are seen when visiting logging sites.
We're not sure if
SB416 - allowing the use of purple paint on trees to
mark property lines and boundaries as a conspicuous
notice against trespassing - is a good idea or not. Be
sure to let
Senator Melson and
your House member know what you think.
property lines are already painted bright white, blue,
or something other than purple, will trespassing loggers
and hunters be allowed to ignore those colors?
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced it will not
designate “critical habitat” for the “threatened”
Northern Long-Eared Bat. According to the
Forest Resources Association's Neil Ward, the
announcement is generally favorable, but "for landowners
attempting to perform due diligence on project areas,
the decision may reduce the availability of FWS
resources in identifying hibernacula when planning
harvest or management projects."
Read the FWS explanation of the decision here.
Alabama is home to 23.1 million acres of forest land.
The number of live trees on Alabama’s forest land in
2014 is estimated at 17.0 billion trees, an increase of
2.0 percent from 2013.
Read the full report from the USDA.
To "ensure that affordable wood supplies remain
available on the market," the "forest products
industry needs to revitalize mutually beneficial
landowner assistance programs,"
blogs Consultant Fred Souba, with ProVision Forestry,
LLC, in Forest2Market's April newsletter. He
suggests more commercial support for small landowners
will “foster a stronger forest industry.”
I don't have to leave the truck cabin." Could
these VR goggles save money and lives in the
Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000. This
is 8.8 percent below the revised February
estimate of 1,194,000, but is 14.2 percent above the March 2015 rate of 954,000. Single-family
housing starts in March were at a rate of 764,000; this
is 9.2 percent below the revised February
figure of 841,000. The March rate for units in buildings
with five units or more was 312,000.
Read the full report.
Florida officials are planning second bear hunt
after last year’s successful hunt, the first in many
years. Bear numbers are increasing in that state.
Georgia has established
bear hunting season dates. We are keeping an eye on
neighboring states, with the possibility that Alabama’s
might be increasing.
On April 5,
Verso Corporation announced the closure of its
Wickliffe, Kentucky coated paper mill, which had
been idle since November 2015, “the result of a
continuing and accelerated decline in demand for the
company’s coated paper )
products and a significant influx
of imports driven by the strength of the U.S. dollar.”
From a healthier stand to better return on
investment, thinning forestland can yield many benefits.
This page from the University of Florida will tell
you everything you need to know about thinning your
stand before maturity.
"If the forces behind this show-us-your-papers subpoena
punishing (or simply inflicting prolonged legal
harassment on) groups conducting supposedly wrongful
advocacy, there’s every reason to think they will
come after other advocacy groups later. Like yours."
"If pulp prices fall, older, high-cost producers,
mainly in the northern hemisphere, may go out of
business, reducing any excess capacity. In the long
run, demand for tissue can only grow."
Click here for the full article about Brazil's
fast-growing eucalyptus plantations in a weak
national economy, and what it could mean for the global
Oregon purchases an
insurance policy to reduce costs of extreme wildfire
season. The policy covers private landowners as
help the state pay for the premium as part of their
those relatively permanent, standing or continuously
flowing bodies of water ‘forming geographic
features’ that are described in ordinary parlance as
‘streams,’ ‘oceans, rivers, [and] lakes.’” Could a
more specific definition of waters of the United States
curb property rights infringement by the Army Corps
This might help you get ready to talk with your tax
professional, especially if you sold timber last
year, or are thinking about selling timber this year.
Possible changes to the state’s dog deer hunting
regulations may affect you.
Click here for the full details from Outdoor Alabama.
The House and Senate both voted to override the
Governor’s veto on the General Fund budget on
now recognizes alternate paths to certification. But it
must be remembered that
Certified Tree Farms,
now all recognized by LEED, still only account for a
small fraction of the wood grown in Alabama and the rest
of the U.S. Most forestland is "self-certified" as “private forestland managed in the
best interests of the owners’ families and their forested
acres.” Organizations, private or government, who
bias their wood purchases in favor of certification
schemes negatively impact the vast majority of American
private forest owners and the forests they manage.
to the fuel tax increase maintain that there is
plenty of opportunity to cut the size of government to
address the critical need for infrastructure…without
having to raise taxes."
“Here’s to a fully loaded truck leaving our landowners’
forest heading on a county road to the mill!” We are
following with interest a Tennessee bill that would require a 2/3 vote of a County Commission before a
county road could be posted at a lower weight limit than
normal state highway weight limits. “TFA believes this bill will
alleviate the arbitrary decision making powers in
certain counties.” UPDATE:
This bill has been sent to the Tennessee governor for
Check this map from the Forestry Commission to
determine whether or not your property is in the habitat
range of the protected Northern Long-Eared Bat. It
also notes which counties have documented cases of White
Nose Syndrome, and the article lays out the Endangered Species Act rules
for landowners in areas where the bat lives.
John Lancaster and Wilson Lowe were presented cash
awards on March 30, 2015 from the Alabama Forest
Owners' Association Educational Fund at the
University School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences'
Student Awards Ceremony. John and Wilson were selected
by an AFOA committee led by Dr. Emmett Thompson, former
Dean of the School and a forest landowner. Award
applicants were required to submit course transcripts
and an essay reflecting their appreciation for the
profession of consulting forestry. These awards
totaled $2,500 and are given with the goal of improving
the availability of quality forestry services to forest
America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the
Asheville Experiment will air Thursday, April 7 at
9:00 pm on Alabama Public television. Based on Schenck’s
memoir, the program examines the pivotal role played by
pioneering forestry educator Carl Schenck and his
founding of America's first school of forestry—the
Biltmore Forest School.
Click here for more info and additional air dates.
Our deepest sympathy and prayers to the family of
Dr. Robert Parker, who passed away from injuries
received in a prescribed burning accident on his
forestland last week.
Forestry 2017: The Simulation is available for
PC today, March 25, with console versions coming later.
Players will “use first- or third-person views to
operate heavy machinery, process the wood in a sawmill,
and then afterwards market the goods.” AFOA will give
one copy away at the end of the
annual meeting in April (must sign up and be present
to win) and tentatively plans to have the game running
on a PC during the meeting.
The role that forests play in the water cycle is widely
known and celebrated. Yet, many are unaware of the
contributions of forest product markets in the
Read the full article.
A bi-partisan group in the US House of Representatives
launched the Working Forests Caucus to “create
awareness and facilitate discussions on America’s
private-owned working forests.”
See the letter from the co-chairs to their colleagues,
and consider reaching out to your Members to encourage
them to join the Caucus.
Find your representative here.
Biologists have determined [four] species found
in the southeastern United States do not require further
review for federal protection at this time. The
Southern Dusky Salamander is found statewide, so its
listing would have potentially affected many Alabama
Some partial scholarships are still available for
Forestry Field Camp, now in its third year. For more
listen to our interview with Dr. Becky Barlow about the
program on Capital Ideas—Live! last March
Representative Mac McCutcheon (R- Madison)
introduced the second bill of a two bill package that
will result in
an increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel of six
cents per gallon. Source: AFA blog, 3/17/16
If you want a food plot on your land, you might
need chainsaws instead of tractors. “Savvy deer managers
know that planted food plots are nice, but native
vegetation is necessary part of the deer property
Click here for the full article. Source: Wednesday
National Woodland Owners Association, 3/16/16
for Economic Education is offering a full
scholarship to its economic seminars for students
(ages 14-26) who apply by this Friday, March 18."Economic
thinking gives you an advantage in life. You’ll be
better equipped to make decisions, take advantage of
emerging opportunities, and gain a clearer view of the
world around you."
Use tuition scholarship code FEE2016 when you apply
to take advantage of this opportunity.
The AFA remains opposed to a proposed fuel tax increase
until it is clear that some of the funds will go to
roads and bridges. It also opposes a 5-mill property
tax increase (SB136) supported by 7 state senators, including
Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who,
only a few weeks ago, tested the water for possible
legislation that would increase
property taxes on forestland. From the Weeds
lists the six senators who opposed the 5-mill tax
You can find their phone numbers here to thank them
directly for their continuing support in opposing the
property tax increase. Source: From the Weeds
Property and Environment Research Center is
accepting applications for three educational programs
for students and business people:
- The Undergraduate
and Graduate Colloquium will introduce students
to a property rights and market approach to
environmental issues. A scholarship covers tuition
and lodging, and a travel stipend is included.
Information and application here.
- The Summer
Graduate Fellows program offers a mentored
research experience for students who have a
well-defined natural resources or environmental
economics topic. This opportunity includes a monthly
- The Enviropreneur
Institute offers in-depth training for
entrepreneurs to take their environmental business
or solution to the next level.
Success stories and application here.
Forest landowners in the Birmingham area: learn
how hunting regulations are developed and turned into state laws that can directly affect enjoyment and income
of private landowners who lease hunting rights. The
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) will meet
Saturday, March 26, in Pelham, AL.
Click here for full meeting information.
If you are leasing land for turkey hunting, it
might be a good idea to coordinate with your hunters
before you visit in the morning during turkey hunting
season. Even if you're not leasing it, be sure to wear
bright colors in the woods for safety.
Click here for official turkey season dates.
"The South’s forests are so productive that,
while they makeup only 2 percent of the global forest
cover, they produce 12 percent of the world’s industrial
roundwood and 19 percent of its pulp and paper
products—greater production than that of any other
This data-rich slideshow from the Southern Forest
Products Industry includes graphics and interactive
maps for large or small scale perspectives on the
If your forestland property tax exceeds $2/acre, you
could benefit from current use property tax assessment,
available in all counties.
Click here for more information and an application.
"If you are contemplating selling stands with
hardwood sawtimber, this is the time before the
prices plateau or even fall. Any tract with merchantable
timber that can be harvested during wet weather should
do well relative to wet tracts with similar timber."
Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol.
3, Iss. 2. Other topics include: Timber market
update; like-Kind exchanges; forest-use trends; pricing
Alabama's roads received a grade of D+, and its bridges
received a C- from the American Society of Civil
Engineers in 2015.According
to NFIB, this puts the state's businesses at a
competitive disadvantage. Would
the gas tax increase being considered fix the
Is it time to move forestry law enforcement back home to
the Alabama Forestry Commission from
This new app is a pocket guide to the native plants
of North Georgia. Plants are searchable by bloom
time, common name or scientific name and feature
descriptions with color photos. Available on
Google Play and the
App Store. Source:
SREF Annual Report, 2014-2015
Planters can inadvertently damage tree seedlings
by cutting the roots for easier planting.
More about the proper handling of seedlings here.
Property tax and timber severance tax increase
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.
bill SB24 (full text here), which would remove
sales tax on farm equipment and machinery, may be
helpful for forest landowners. If it might affect
you, take action:
contact the bill's sponsor, Tom Whatley, to voice
your opinion, get more info, or suggest changes.
We suspect there may be some critical information hidden in the US Fish & Wildlife Services’s 2/11/16 announced “Changes
to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat”
Policy on Exclusions from Critical Habitat.” Many
private landowners equate the designation of critical
habitat as nothing more than a
federal seizure of
private land, as was done in southwest Alabama with the
designation of critical habitat for the black pine
snake. If you consider yourself “informed” on the ESA,
please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there is anything
noteworthy buried in these two announcements.
With spring storms arriving, these links on dealing
with timber losses might be useful for you or
someone you know.
Mississippi Forestry Commission released Mississippi
Trees, a free Tree ID app available on
Google Play and the
App Store. Based on their popular handbook, the app
has photos and information for both native and
non-native species, searchable by common name,
scientific name, or family group.
One solution to the problem of poor cell phone coverage
in remote locations, via
Forest Operations Review.
A bill that would allow hunters to use bait to hunt
white-tail deer and feral swine passed in the
Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday.
Read the full text of the bill here. Source:
reforms would enable parks to become more
self-sufficient and less reliant on Congress for annual
appropriations." Proposed reforms begin with "Stop
acquiring more land for the park system and start
prioritizing the care and maintenance of existing
and Environment Research Center, 2/16/16
Strong local resistance to a proposed expansion of a New
Hampshire wildlife refuge calls to mind similar
circumstances around the
Cahaba River in 2010. It is vital for landowners to
stay informed in these situations.
This video series from the Alabama Forestry Commission
features the 2016 winners of the
Treasure Forests Helene Mosley Award talking
about their land and how they approach stewardship.
Tax changes related to property and roads will be on the ballot in five
Alabama counties on March 1. Click the county name
to view the sample ballot.
BALDWIN: 1 mill, 30 years; 3 mills, 30 years
BARBOUR: 2 mills – no end date specified on
CHOCTAW: ½ mill, 30 years
FRANKLIN: ¼ cent
sales tax from schools to be moved to roads
– to be continued with elections every 2
RUSSELL: $50/residence and $100/business for
volunteer fire protection outside city limits of Phenix
Rural county roads and bridges are vital to the
income of forest landowners and farmers, and they
need your support.
Click here to read more.
2016 VOTER REGISTRATION DEADLINES:
- February 12, 2016 -
Hand-delivery to county Board of Registrars
- February 13, 2016-
- February 15, 2016 -
here to register online)
Recent headlines about the biomass market from the
Society of American Foresters:
"With the real unemployment rate in the U.S. at 10.3%
(16 million individuals unemployed, stopped locking, or
work part-time) and household income growth nonexistent
or negative, it's hard to envision a scenario where
the U.S. housing market returns to "normal" anytime soon."
Read Virginia Tech's December 2015 Housing Commentary
Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) introduced SB15 to
un-earmark approximately $400 million in taxes to direct
them to the General Fund as opposed to specific state
agencies. Included in his bill is the Forest Products
Severance Tax and the Forest Product Processor’s
Privilege Tax. These taxes amounted to $5.865
million in FY15 and had previously been directed to the
Alabama Forestry Commission. AFC’s total budget for FY15
was $22.4 million which included the $5.865 earmarked
tax and also a $8.757 million General Fund
Appropriation. AFC’s budget for FY16 (the current year)
is $25.2 million which includes a $7.042 million General
Fund Appropriation. Potentially losing the earmark for
AFC will have a dramatic effect on services provided to
Alabama’s timberland owners. Additionally, by
removing the earmark, the bill also removes the
statutory requirement that AFC must use 85% of the
severance tax for fire protection." Source:
From the Weeds blog. We wonder if the
severance tax on timber would have passed had the funds
not been earmarked for fire protection? Is it time to
repeal the timber severance tax? AFOA members will
be attending the
Alabama Agribusiness Council's Legislative Reception at
5 PM tonight. (see AFOA
This Agroforestry Handbook is a good starting place
if you want to know more about the principles of
agroforestry and how they can work for you. Source:
Tuskegee University, 1890 Agroforestry Consortium,
"The Forest Landowners Association Awards recognize
outstanding landowners and forestry professionals
contributing to the stewardship and sustainability of
private forests – and protecting the rights of the
families who own them …Think of private forest
landowners who set an example in the landowner community
nominate your peers for the recognition they deserve.
A new Senate bill will
set forest biomass on
equal footing with other bioenergy sources. The
amendment directs federal agencies to establish policies
- Reflect the carbon
neutrality of forest bioenergy;
- Recognize biomass as
a renewable energy source;
- Encourage private
investment throughout the biomass supply chain,
- Encourage forest
management to improve forest health; and
- Recognize state
initiatives to use biomass.
An update of Linda Wang's Tax Tips for Forest Landowners
is now online. The second page contains an important change on Depreciation and Sec. 179 Expensing.
Compare to the original version at
page four of the November issue of our newsletter.
"In productive, heavily-forested areas, does the land
itself suffer long-term due to repeated tree
Forest2Market looks at the effects of biomass
harvesting and soil quality.
In a March 2012 interview with AFOA, Dr. Becky Barlow
suggests you ask, “How
can negative effects of pine straw harvesting be
It's important to have the support of local law
enforcement to prevent and control illegal dumping
conference may help. PALS asks: "Please contact
your local law enforcement agencies and encourage them
to send a representative from their agency."
Five key factors can
affect the price you get for your timber (stumpage).
It's good information to consider when buying land as
well. Source: Forest2Market blog, 1/12/16
Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) assists in
shaping Alabama’s natural resources policies and
regulations, including hunting seasons and bag
limits that can affect hunting leases. Citizens can address the CAB at their meeting on
Saturday, February 20, in Montgomery. Registration
begins at 8:00 a.m., and those who wish to speak should
bring 16 copies of any printed materials they wish to
share with the Board.
Get full meeting details here, or view a
map of CAB districts and representatives here.
Speaking today to the Alabama Forestry Council in
Millbrook, Alabama, Oscar Berry, Deputy District
Director for Congresswoman
Terri Sewell (D, AL 7) reassured Council members
Sewell continues her support for important forestry tax
provisions. AFOA board member
Henry Barclay, III, CPA, described the importance of
the provisions in the
1/20/16 issue of
Capital Ideas - Live!
"Republicans on Thursday moved a bill to the brink of
Senate passage that would overhaul Wisconsin's managed
forest land program." Wisconsin forest owners
struggle with confiscatory taxes, state intrusion in
their management activities, and rules that force them to
allow trespass on their land. We hope that doesn't
happen here. Source: Journal Sentinel Online,
"Despite slower growth in China’s overall economy,
the nation’s high timber deficit will sustain growth in
its already high import volumes of wood fiber."
Read the full article at RISI, Inc.
The law allows landowners to deduct from their income
tax return up to $10,000 in reforestation
expenditures per tax year, per qualified timber
property. Note that you are allowed more than one
qualified property. We strongly advise you to consult
your tax advisor about what constitutes a "qualified
“Bernie Sanders' Socialized Healthcare Plan Would Double
The Death Tax.” Source: Forbes, 1/18/16
If you're thinking of warmer days, check out some of our
state's natural beauty in
this slideshow featuring 50 Butterflies of Alabama.
How do you determine the age of a tree? Just
count the rings, of course! One ring equals one year of
growth. But if you're counting rings on a stump, the
life of that tree is over. So how do you count those
rings while the tree is alive? Foresters use a special
tool called an "increment borer".
Read more and listen to the audio segment here. You
can buy this tool from
Ben Meadows or
Forestry Suppliers. Thanks to the Wednesday Woodland
Word (Volume 4 Number 2) for this story.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its
Final Rule concerning the threatened Northern
Long-Eared Bat, found in north Alabama. One notable
change from the Interim Final Rule reduces the protected
radius from 1/4 mile to 150 feet around “known, occupied
maternity roost trees” during the June 1-July 31 pup
Read more at the FWS website.
Ballotpedia has sourced
information about each of
the candidates for the upcoming March 1 primary for
US Senator in Alabama. Links to the candidate's campaign
site can be found in the "External Links" section on
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.
"The Southeast accounted for a little over 8 million
acres [68%] of the total activity and continues to
lead the nation in all categories of prescribed fire
2015 Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report, National
Association of State Foresters
The Big Short attempts to describe the cause of The
Great Recession (and the crash of sawtimber stumpage
markets), but the movie leaves out the role of
government in creating the housing bubble that led to
The House That Uncle Sam Built by Steven Horwitz &
Peter Boettke provides background information not
included in the film. On a related note, Virginia Tech's
Housing Report for November 2015 is
out and mostly positive; see slide 6 for a useful
recent listing of the Black Pine Snake is the
first time I know of where a landowner must get approval
from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to change land use (e.g. longleaf to
loblolly, or longleaf to agriculture or pasture)." Tune
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.
In light of events in Oregon, we suspect the
2010 resistance to a government land grab in Bibb
County and neighboring counties was justified. Does
it surprise you when private landowners are not excited
to have the federal government as a neighbor?
Source: National Review, January 2016.
is betting that the sharing economy
can cut costs for the agriculture industry. Could
the Uber and Airbnb model work for forestry equipment?
Source: Progressive Farmer, Winter 2015
Tennessee landowners and loggers have the same problems
Alabama does when it comes to low weight limits on
See how Tennessee is handling the issue on page two of
the Tennessee Forestry Association's newsletter.
"...increasing overall profit on timber sales is only
one of several benefits that a landowner should
consider when contemplating hiring a consulting forester
to help manage their land. Consulting foresters also
provide other valuable services that improve the quality
of the timber and, therefore, the overall value of the
Read the full article here.
Although black bears are not common in Alabama,
present in some areas. Remember that they are not
harmless cuddly teddy bears, as
this incident in New Jersey reminds us.
"It is time to admit the Endangered Species Act’s
penalty-based approach is a mistake, end this
country’s senseless 42-year war on its most vulnerable
species and chart a new, successful course for
endangered species conservation based on a new approach
that has been around for a long time."
It's too easy to grow trees for 30 years, only to make
disastrous choices at the end.
Watch this video from the University of Kentucky if
you're thinking of making a timber sale.
Some take-aways from last week's "omnibus" funding
"I think it is completely indefensible that the
federal government is America's largest landlord,"
Cruz said in
this video at The Westerner.
you might like this newsletter from the
Southern Christmas Tree Association. Note the
ads in the newsletter for equipment and supplies you may
need if you decide to grow Christmas trees.
According to the American Land Rights Association (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."
recent email for details.
“After you have harvested several deer from your
ground blind, you might wonder why you don’t hunt
this way more often.” One hunter says ground blinds
offer safety, concealment, and ease of set-up.
Read the full story at
Georgia Forestry Today, page
“Landowners may face different types of eminent
domain situations with local utility companies or
government agencies [called the “condemning authority”]
that will take private land for public use [think
power lines or pipelines], with payment or
compensation.” Here are tips to consider if you
find yourself in this situation (Source:
Georgia Forestry Today, p. 14):
- How did the condemning authority arrive at its
offer amount? Request a written summary of the
- Request a drawing or
map identifying the land being acquired. Is the
location of the land being acquired established or
is the location subject to change?
- Is the land going to
be owned by the condemning authority, or is it
acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary
- What use limitations
will the landowner be subject to with regard to the
land being acquired?
- Did the landowner
have any plans to use his/her land for any
particular purpose?If so, will the acquisition
impact the future planned use?
- What impact will the
loss of land have on the value of the remaining
- If the land being
acquired does not abut a public road, how will the
condemning authority gain access to the land being
acquired, and is the landowner being compensated for
that access right?
- Most of all, contact
an attorney and a local appraiser with expertise in
condemnation law. This is a complicated area of the
law with many pitfalls for the unwary landowner.
If a gas tax increase is enacted, we hope rural
roads and bridges will get a fair proportion of the new
Hear an interview with DOT director John Cooper
about ATRIP, rural roads and bridges, and how this
affects you as a landowner.
Seedlings need to experience cold weather acclimation
to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures,
says an alert from the
Southern Forest Nursery Management Co-op. Warm days
and nights before a freeze can compromise dormancy,
especially in pine seedlings. Take special care with
your seedlings this winter, and
learn more about how to protect them with tips from SuperTree seedlings.
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
Sustainable Forestry Initiative,
Farm System, and others. Buy the best quality wood
product at the lowest possible price, whether
“certified” by one of these schemes or not.
The Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU)
currently has 12 agents assigned throughout the state.
Click here for a map of agent location and contact
information. The stats listed below are for FY2015
ARCU (the timber cases only include Jan-Oct 2015, after
consolidation with Alabama Forestry Commission’s law
enforcement personnel). Editor’s note: If you called
ARCU to report a timber theft in the past 11 months,
were you satisfied with their handling of your problem?
Write to AFOA at
- Cases: Total 277
- Property Crimes
Cases – 200
- Animal Crime Cases –
- Timber Crime Cases –
10 (all of these cases were resolved by the parties
involved or turned out to be civil cases)
- Other Cases – 82
- Calls for
Service: Total 165 (calls phoned into the hotline
[1-855-75-CRIME] or ALEA dispatch)
- Property Crime Calls
- Animal Crime Calls –
- Timber Crime Calls –
- Other Crime Calls -
Thinking about a family trip to cut a Christmas tree?
Here are a few places in Alabama to choose and cut
your own tree. (Full
list at Southern Christmas Tree Association):
"The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the
mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street
piece about the “controversial” subject of forest
thinning and its impact on fire suppression simply gets
it wrong. In the article, journalist Jim Carlton
failed to discuss the myriad benefits that regular
thinnings have on the overall health of our forests and
their peripheral ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the
safety and economic wellbeing of the communities that
Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the
Treat your venison right: “Sometimes you’ll get a
gamey flavor if you don’t get it on ice and get it
processed right. If you process it right, you’re going
to get great flavor from your venison.”
Find out how to age venison for great flavor and other
tips here. Source: Outdoor Alabama.
outdoor essays from David Rainer.
Intended as a comprehensive and authoritative
history, "Forestry in the U.S. South
explores the remarkable commercial and environmental
gains made possible through the collaboration of
industry, universities, and other agencies."
Purchase directly from the Forest History Society here.
A new Aunt Fanny essay makes sense of housing reports
and Timber REITs.
Deer farmers and the state of Texas are battling
over actions taken to manage
Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer. CWD poses
a serious threat to deer species and hunting-related
activities and income in the
states where it is found.
submit comments here until December 11, 2015
Sabal Trails Pipeline Project, a 515-mile natural
gas transmission pipeline. “Roughly 86 of those miles
are located in Alabama. The current study corridor
affects four counties in Alabama, including Tallapoosa,
Chambers, Lee and Russell Counties.” Source: The South
Next Month, Jim Noles, Balch & Bingham LLP.
"A country’s long-term “potential” growth rate depends
on two things: the number of workers, and how productive
they are. Slower population growth directly
chips away at the number of workers." We thought this
was interesting in light of the housing reports this
This interactive Federal Footprint map is an
interesting, detailed look at land owned by the U.S.
government. "The feds control a lot of land and
shouldn’t be rushing out to add more territory and
responsibility. In these days of budget deficits and
spending cuts, the federal government clearly is
becoming hard pressed to manage what it already owns."
Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15
And another perspective on federal land ownership
from our friends at the Property and Environment
More housing numbers: "Forisk projects 12.1% growth over
"Georgia-Pacific last week announced plans for $110
million in upgrades to its Alabama River Cellulose (ARC)
mill in Monroe County." Work will begin in early
2016, and is expected to take 18 months. Source:
Yellowhammer News, 11/19/15
A new report says
wood pellet export markets pose
no threat to the sustainability of U.S. Southern forests
or the viability of other forest products manufacturers.
In fact, removals for export pellet production
represented .08% of the total forest inventory in 2014.
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.
“Alabama timber, forestry industry may get big worker
boost with new state grant.”
According to the European Food Safety Authority,
glyphosate/Roundup “is unlikely to cause cancer in
humans.” This news should bring relief to many
forest owners, who use Roundup for a variety of forestry
uses, after a
March 2015 World Health Organization report, based
on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity,” classified
glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Virginia Tech’s latest housing report remains dismal
and provides little hope for a quick upturn in sawtimber
stumpage prices. On the other hand, while American’s are
not building as many single family homes as they were
pre-recession, we are slowly recovering from the
recession lows –
lows that are very high for much of the rest of the
The EPA wants information from the public on any ongoing
efforts to address stormwater discharge from forest
roads to determine whether additional measures to
protect water quality are necessary. Since these
“additional measures” could include regulations or a
permitting program imposed on the owners of forest roads,
consider whether you want to
take advantage of this opportunity. Such input could
very well shape any future regulatory rulemaking on this
topic. Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No.
EPA–HQ– OW–2015–0668, to the
Read the entire announcement from the
Register. (1/5/15) Update: Comment period has been
extended to Feb. 11
The two biggest publicly traded forest landowners in
the U.S. will merge.
Weyerhaeuser is buying Plum Creek for $8.4B to form
Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard
before for using goats and other livestock to control
unwanted vegetation. A Google search found
Goat, unfortunately based in North Carolina, but
with a focused message that will be of interest to
anyone in Alabama who is thinking about setting up a
prescribed grazing business. A 2010 WBHM story,
Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off, featured Todd &
Allison Sluiss. The Michigan couple were also featured
Farm Show article back in 2009. At that time they
charged $300 per day with a 2-day minimum.
Goat Busters were used in 2014 to clear privet and
other brush and vines on
Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park.
Could an organized, well-informed group of forest
landowners harm local wood markets? That is the
interesting situation described in Antti Kämäräinen's
recent Forest2Market Blog,
"The Cost of Market Power: When is Too Much Market Power
Detrimental to a Market’s Global Competitiveness?"
Cogongrass, a weed that burns hot enough to kill
mature pines, now infests over 65,000 acres in the South,
and is, unfortunately, common in south Alabama.
Herbicides applied in late April and late September have
proven to be the most effective form of eradication.
"The two herbicides currently being used are 41%
glyphosate [Roundup] and 52% imazapyr [Arsenal]. A good
tank mix is two quarts of glyphosate and 12 to 15 ounces
of imazapyr per 25 gallons of water. Adding a non-ionic
surfactant at one pint per 25 gallons, or AMS (ammonium
sulfate) at five pounds granular per 25 gallons can
increase herbicide efficiency." For more details about
identification and control, go to
Great Days Outdoors,
The White Fringeless Orchid has been proposed
for the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish &
Wildlife Service. The orchid has been found in 8 Alabama
counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson,
Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. Since forestry
practices may cause modification of the orchid’s habitat
that could harm individual plants, forest owners may
want to learn more about the proposed listing, and
possibly send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service
before the November 16, 2015 comments deadline.
See 9/14/15 press release for contact information.
Timber Markets In a Nutshell: pine stumpage prices
down; hardwood stumpage prices up -- more or less.
Source: Forest2Market Blog,
US South Stumpage Market Trends: YDT 2015 Results and
Historic Data by Daniel Stuber, 11/15.
"US Department of Agriculture Terminates Consideration
of Hardwood Checkoff." "Based on comments
received, outstanding substantive questions and
significant proposed modifications from stakeholders,
USDA is terminating the proceeding." Many of the
wood processors were so unhappy with the proposed tax
that they created a website entitled
While stumpage growers (landowners) do not directly pay
the tax (the check-off is paid by the wood processors),
the burden of the tax falls directly on stumpage
growers, since payments for standing timber tend to be
the amount left over after costs of producing lumber and
plywood are covered. Stumpage growers would not have
been given a seat on the decision making board, if the checkoff had been imposed.
Tree Identification webinar kicked off a series
of webinars designed for woodland owners in Kentucky.
The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
webinars will continue on October 29, November 12,
November 19 and December 1.
More details including registration information is
available on the UKAgNews website.
Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry: Managing Timberland as an
Investment "highlights the key obligations,
risks and metrics for owning and managing timberland
investments. The book serves any investor, from
individual to institution, interested in a tight and
entertaining tutorial for prioritizing what matters and
what does not when managing their timber assets as an
investment." $12 from Forisk Consulting. To read some of
the Aunt Fanny essays click here
Protect your home from wildfires: "Roof Saver
Sprinklers® wet roofs, gutters, decks, surrounding
trees, and shrubs."
"Understory Prescribe Burns: Understory burns in
pine plantations are typically conducted during the
dormant season. Now is the time to begin planning for
those burns. Install firelanes after leaf fall and have
both a prescribe burn and smoke management plan prepared
by a Certified Burn Prescriptionist." Source:
of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 2,
Issue 3. Other topics in the newsletter include Timber
Market Update, Focus Industry, Timber Sales, Boundary
Line Maintenance, and Mineral Leases.
Letters to Dad is a short video created by the
Paper Check-off as part of a consumer campaign to "slow
the decline in paper usage." A check-off for softwood
lumber similar to the Paper Check-off has been opposed
by Resolute Forest Products, Inc., as an
unconstitutional tax. A hardwood check-off under
discussion has been reduced in size so much as a result
of complaints that "it would exclude over 80% of the
hardwood forest products industry," and be "severely
underfunded." Source: Timber Mart-South ~ Market News
fire weather links are available at the Alabama
Forestry Commission website. Even if you're not planning
a prescribed burn, we think you'll find some of this
The domestic cat is the top killer of America's
A new study suggests that even with this knowledge,
cat owners are unwilling to restrain their cats to
protect wildlife. Source: Great Days Outdoors
magazine, October 2015
We hate to bring up western fires again, but they are
"Sometimes the science really has to matter."
"By shifting the blame to climate change [politicians]
think they can avoid taking responsibility for their
Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach
to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forest
by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel may be of interest to
some Alabama forest owners, even though the authors'
target audience are forest owners in the northern U.S.
Confiscatory Property Taxes Push Wisconsin Forest Owners
into Untenable Position. In order to avoid very
high forestland property taxes, many Wisconsin forest
owners signed on to the Managed Forest Law program which
reduced property taxes, but also forced participants to
open their lands to public access. Now a district court
has "approved regulations allowing Wisconsin's Lake
Superior Chippewa Indians to conduct night hunting for
deer on lands open to public hunting (including Managed
Forest Law "open" lands)..." Source: Wisconsin Woodland
Owners Association, 10/14/15.
Trump: Eminent Domain, Even For Private Projects Is
‘Wonderful Thing,’ ‘You’re Not Taking Property’
Lyme Disease is present in 7 Alabama counties.
They are Calhoun, Chambers, Jefferson, Mobile, Russell,
Shelby, and Tuscaloosa counties, according to the
Alabama Department of Public Health.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed the
waters of the U.S. rule issued by EPA and the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers that became effective on August
28. The court vote of 2-1 suspended the effectiveness of
the rule nationwide. The following statement in response
to the court’s decision was issued by Dave Tenny,
President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners:
“We are pleased the
court took the prudent step of staying the rule
while it sorts through the legal issues. The finding
of the court that the petitioners have a strong
likelihood of success on the procedural and
substantive issues in the case is encouraging, but
it will take time for the court to consider these
issues individually. Postponing implementation of
the rule pending a determination of its legality
makes good sense. In the meantime, we continue to
encourage Congress to enact legislation that will
enable all parties to take a fresh look at this
issue outside of the courtroom.”
The next step in the case
will be a decision by the Sixth Circuit as to whether or
not that court has jurisdiction to review the validity
of the rule. Source:
National Alliance of Forest Owners, 10/9/15. See
The Washington Times, 10/9/15.
Alabama's Pickens County 4-H Forestry Team earned third
place in the National 4-H Forestry Invitational
held in Weston, West Virginia.
"The black pinesnake, a burrowing constrictor found only
in pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama, is
now listed as threatened, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service said Monday." Source:
10/5/15. We understand that another 65 species in the
southeast have been proposed for federal protection
under the same lawsuit that forced the US Fish &
Wildlife Service to consider listing the black pinesnake
as threatened. See:
Black Pine Snakes Protected Under Endangered Species
Act: Declines Driven by Destruction of Southeast's
Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.
Is it reasonable to ask why government should be in
the entertainment business? If entertainment is not
an important function of government, why do we worry if
several state parks will soon be closed? See:
5 Alabama state parks to close following budget cuts.
"Cameras Will Soon Do The Job of Fire Tower Lookouts."
Source: www.opb.org, 9/22/15.
Poor forest management to blame for out-of-control
western fires, says
Capital Press, 9/24/15.
Facing a 19.6 percent cut in state funding,
"Alabama State Forester Greg Pate said the commission
couldn't handle any cuts, especially one so drastic."
Source: WSFA, 9/24/15.
Forest and Humans: From the Midwest to Madagascar
is the focus of a University of Wisconsin "Massive Open
Online Course," scheduled to begin on 9/30/15.
"Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are unique virtual
teaching, learning and research experiences that are not
for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and
available at no cost to learners around the world." An
introductory video about the course and enrollment
information is at:
Three species of parasitoid wasps have been released in
North America in an attempt to control the
emerald ash borer, the
"most destructive forest pest ever seen in North
Flying Robot Spiders -- there must be some use
for this technology in the forest.
Forest Economist Dr. Jack Lutz discusses the growth of
trees and the growth of stands of trees in Limits to
[Tree] Growth, Forest Research Notes, Volume 12,
Number 3. Be sure to look at Figure 2,
which focuses on the value of planting, site
preparation, competition control, fertilization, and
tree improvement. (MAI
= Mean Annual Increment)
Seattle, USA. Softwood lumber prices (in US $) have
fallen throughout a majority of the main markets in the
world during the 2Q/15 because of weaker demand,
ample supply throughout the distribution chain and a
strengthening US dollar. The biggest declines have
occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries,
while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has
been more modest. Source: Wood Resource Quarterly
Press Release, 9/16/15.
U.S. Forest Service scientist not allowed to discuss
federal fire policy. A paper written by the
scientist, "Reform Forest Fire Management," says
suppressing every fire in overgrown forests is not only
expensive, but dangerous and ill-advised.
More Aunt Fanny essays from Forisk Consulting: (see
Private forestry plays a key role in in both Finland and
the United States. "In Finland, 80 percent of
the domestic wood used by the forest industry comes from
privately owned forests. In the United States, the
number varies by region, but is roughly 55 percent."
Source: Forest2Market Blog by Antti Kamarainen.
A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative
Session went into effect Tuesday, after a
bipartisan effort ushered through several significant
The changes, sponsored by Rep. Chris England
(D-Tuscaloosa), were backed by the National Rifle
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
Seven new Champion Trees were recently registered in
Alabama's list of big trees. Two of the seven
new champions have a good chance of being declared
national champions next year - a post oak and a red
Champion Trees of Alabama 2015 contains
measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in
Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama
Athens voters reject property tax increase.
Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest 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
Sawmill Finder" which can help you find portable sawmilling services
here in Alabama and other states.
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
Forever Wild continues to spend millions of dollars every year on
Western Forest Fires: "Same sad stories, new year." If forest
growth is not harvested, all that useful wood becomes nothing more than
fuel. An opinion piece in The Washington Post (8/21/15) reviews
"Five myths about wildfires," while a logger spokesman in Oregon (GoLocal,
8/21/15) points out,
"When a fire starts on federal land, it is almost always bigger than one
that starts on a private owned area." "In fact, there are
examples of fires that start on federal land and are very severe but
once they get to private land, where forests are healthier, they weaken
Will you be around long enough to enjoy your forestland?
Four recent headlines:
Choose loblolly pine seedlings resistant to fusiform rust to minimize
future damage. ArborGen claims "breakthrough in rust resistance
"Louisiana-Pacific expanding Thomasville mill, adding 20 jobs."
Source: AL.com, 8/5/15
The U.S. South remains significantly cost competitive for delivered
softwood fiber when compared to Coastal British Columbia,
Scandinavia, U.S. Northwest, and New Zealand/Australia. Only Southern
Brazil is close to us according to a chart in a F2M Market Watch
article by Suz-Anne Kinney,
Finnish Forestry Expansion: Increased Demand Affects Supply and Price.
Need a land surveyor in Alabama? Use the
Find a Surveyor webpage of the Alabama Society of
Professional Land Surveyors. We selected "Marion" in the "Professional
County" drop down menu and then clicked on the "Continue" button. In
about 10 seconds Phillip Lindley's name popped onto the screen. When we
hovered over his name with the mouse/cursor, Mr. Lindley's name,
address, and phone number popped up. When we selected Talladega in
Professional County, seven names popped up. A great service.
"Threatened bats halt some timber projects." "Some members of
the industry are already being affected, even with the interim rule in
place. Five hundred timber projects that were to receive federal funding
from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, part of the United
States Department of Agriculture, have been tabled for the summer. June
and July are the months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the
trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of caution and stop
funding all projects until the pup season ends." Source: North Andover,
Massachusetts Eagle Tribune, 7/19/15.
should not have to fear the government’s taking their homes, farms, or
businesses to give to other persons. Governments should not
abuse the power of eminent domain to force rural property owners from
their land in order to develop rural land into industrial and commercial
property. Congress has a duty to protect the property rights of rural
Americans in the face of eminent domain abuse." Source:
Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2015, a Bill
introduced by James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) in the 114th Congress, July 9, 2015.
Walker County voters will decide whether to continue a 3 mill property
tax on September 8. Original source: Daily Mountain Eagle,
7/14/15. The Daily Mountain Eagle has since removed the article,
but we have posted a picture of it to AFOA's Facebook
Baldwin County voters will make a similar decision on March 1, 2016.
Source: AL.com, 6/16/15.
"How much rain fell on my land during the last 24 hours?" If you
have ever asked yourself that question, Intellicast might have an answer
for you. Check out their 24 hour precipitation map
State Budget Mess - Part II -- a morning commentary from forest
industry lobbyist, Tom Saunders, in From the Weeds, July 13,
2015. You may also find Tom's commentary from
June 10, and
June 5 useful background information for what you will read or hear
in the daily news duing the next 30 days.
Hearing: The State of Property Rights in America Ten Years after Kelo v.
City of New London, 2 PM Eastern Time on July 9, 2015 in
2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. Brian Seasholes,
Reason Foundation, one of the witnesses, will focus on the impacts on
property rights from the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act.
You can listen to the hearing on your computer.
New housing starts down in May. Scroll down to slide 4. Source:
Virginia Tech May 2015 Housing Commentary by Urs Buehlmann and Al
Shuler. Archive of past reports.
The Boutwell Family of Alabama were recently named Southern Regional
Tree Farmers of the Year - 2015.
"Adding more land to the federal estate is irresponsible when
the government is failing to maintain the parks, forests and grazing
lands it currently owns. Rather than using the conservation fund to
acquire more land, Congress should use the money to help address the
deferred maintenance backlog." Source: Property and Environment Research
"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.
The Case Against Pope Francis's Green Encyclical. Source:
Anything Peaceful, 6/22/15.
- Pope Francis:
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.
"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.
Alligator hunting season in Alabama is just around the corner.
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
down towards the bottom of the page) for mandatory class schedules
and season dates. A 17-minute video in five segments has been developed
for alligator hunters to watch online. Permit holders will then answer a
series of questions related to the video.
"2 Alabama ATV riders killed in 2 weeks, authorities share safety tips."
A bipartisan effort to "preserve timberland tax provisions in an
ongoing national tax reform effort" resulted in a June 3, 2015
letter sent by 80 Members of Congress to Chairman of the House Ways and
Means Committee Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Sander Levin.
Read an Alabama Forestry Association press
release praising the leadership of Alabama Congresswoman Terri
Sewell and the rest of the Alabama delegation.
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.
Waters of the U.S.: "Congressman Gary Palmer spoke out this week
against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest major
regulation, which opponents say is a significant overreach of the
bureaucracy’s power. Along with the Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA is
seeking to redefine “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water
Act to include small areas water collects or could collect, such as
ditches, puddles and small ponds." Source: Yellowhammer, 5/29/15
"Outpost Campsites" at Gulf State Park may be just the idea
you've been looking for to add extra income from your forestland.
A Key to Common Native Trees of Alabama, ANR-0509, was
revised last year by Auburn University's Dr. Nancy Loewenstein. The 16
page publication contains good line drawings and a dichotomous key to
help you identify 69 native trees. Open it in your tablet or print out a
copy and take an educational walk in the woods.
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.
Don't Write Off Paper Just Yet. Be sure to look at the top two
lines in the graph, "Ten Years of Paper Production." Tissue and
Containerboard -- diapers and cardboard boxes -- stable or slightly
growing demand. Source: NPR, 5/26/15
In his new book, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty without
Permission, Charles Murray proposes "a declaration of limited
resistance to the existing government."
For a discussion of the book and to view an interview with Murray, read
Thomas Firey's review, Insuring John Galt?.
Tory win in United Kingdom may give Prime Minister Cameron the power to
remove "...the 'green crap' that subsidises renewable power..."
The U.K. is a major importer of wood pellets shipped from the Southern
U.S. Government mandates in U.K. and other European countries force
electric power producers there to use renewable energy sources, such as
solar, wind, and wood pellets.
No more public funds in tax increase referendums. "Alabama State
Auditor Jim Zeigler (R), announced in a press conference Monday morning
that he is personally filing a lawsuit to stop school boards from using
taxpayer money to campaign for tax increases."
"It is estimated that the Baldwin County school board spent upwards of
$1 million to campaign for the failed tax hike." Source: YellowHammer,
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.
Take Action on Black Pine Snake.
From Fear to
Facts: A Landowner's Perspective was produced by Michigan State
University Extension to help forest owners overcome their fears of
harvesting the trees they have grown. If you have never made a timber
sale, this video may be useful to you.
"Voters defeat tax increase in Lawrence County by landslide vote."
Source: The Moulton Advertiser, 4/29/15.
"Knowing the price paid for a timberland property does not tell us
whether it was a good price or not. Just as with a house, we
need to know where it is and what its physical attributes are. A good
timber inventory is most important. A full inventory report will provide
information on land types, timber volumes and sizes, site indexes and
age class distributions." Source:
Forest Research Notes, 1Q15.
Legislation in Montgomery that we thought you might find interesting
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
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.
"Mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae just debuted its new 'HomePath Ready
Buyer Program,' which lets first-time homebuyers get up to a 3%
rebate of a home’s purchase price if they buy a Fannie Mae property, so
long as they complete an online homebuyer education course which costs
$75.00." "But is this new effort good for taxpayers and the economy, or
is this similar to programs that led to the subprime mortgage crisis and
housing crash? Is the federal government acting once again like the
boozy bartender handing out free drinks at the frat party?" Source:
April 22 is Earth Day! Environmentalists and their friends may
have brought us Earth Day, but please say it isn't true that
big corporations and Republicans have forced upon us the demise of the
incandescent light bulb. If a misguided Congress can take away light
bulbs, it shouldn't be too hard for them to abolish capital gains
treatment of timber sale income and expensing of forest management and
tree planting costs -- in the name of tax reform.
Paul Ryan See:
Orrin Hatch See:
Forest Landowners Association - What is Tax a Expenditure?
Death Tax Repeal Vote Scheduled for this week.
"The Park Service gets around $2.6 billion to manage 84 million acres at
407 different sites, and includes Parks, Monuments and Wilderness areas.
Congress, the administration and various lobbying groups keep telling us
there is a huge demand for these type areas. If that be the case, why
hire a private marketing firm to conduct a seven-year, multimillion
dollar campaign to raise 'awareness' of these areas? Sorry, but this is
all about current and future funding, i.e., money. First, they want to
use the 100 year anniversary to obtain a substantial increase in their
annual operating budget. Second, the dirty little secret is that youth
and minorities make fewer visits to these areas than their national
population would indicate, thereby becoming a threat to future funding.
The future of the agency and the crony capitalists in the outdoor
industry is at stake. Jarvis says they want a 'personal connection to
the public.' They do. To your wallet and to Congressional coffers. Just
wanted you to be 'aware' of that too." Source: The Westerner,
Frank DuBois, 4/6/15.
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
"...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.
Federal Land Acquisition and its Impacts on Communities and the
Environment is the title of a public hearing to be conducted by the
Subcommittee on Federal Lands of the U.S. House Committee on Natural
Resources. Visit the
Committee Calendar for additional information, once it is made
available. The meeting is open to the public and a live video stream
will be broadcast at
House Committee on Natural Resources. Contact: Committee Press
Office (202) 226-9019.
Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Arthur Orr,
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.
The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) "manage
more than 100 million acres of timberland in the United States, yet
both agencies lose money on their vast timber resources. Simply put,
these losses are the result of high management costs and low revenues.
From 2009 to 2013, the Forest Service generated 32 cents for every
dollar it spent on timber management, while the BLM received 38 cents
per dollar spent." See Table 3 on page 14 of
Divided Lands: State Vs. Federal Management in the West by
Holly Fretwell and Shawn Regan.
Baldwin County voters "crushed a tax increase proposal at the ballot
box." "On the ballot in Baldwin County Tuesday were referendums
that would have implemented a new 30-year, 8-mill property tax to pay
for a $350 million education building campaign, and the renewal of three
separate existing taxes totaling 7-mills. The county reportedly spent
nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars to promote the tax increase and
hold the election. The new taxes were each defeated by over 30 points,
and only one precinct in the entire county voted to support them. Only
one of the renewals succeeded, which will keep an existing 3-mill tax in
place." Source: YellowhammerNews.com, 4/1/15.
Do-It-Yourself Information on Portable Sawmills, Log Splitters,
Logging Winches, Dry Kilns and all sorts of related equipment and
supplies can be found in the 52 page
2015 Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management Buyer's Guide.
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.
Property Tax Referendums Now Listed on Secretary of State's Website!
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
in your web browser; then click on the
tab on the left; then click on
"View Alabama's UPCOMING ELECTIONS."
Here's what we found today:
"Reforestation at Risk - U.S. Department of Labor Must Resume
Processing H-2B Visas!" reports the Forest Resource Association
in an action alert dated 3/9/15.
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:
the Weeds, 3/6/15. Sounds like more regulations and higher taxes,
but we could be wrong.
Shipments of Southern Pine Lumber Up in 2014. The Southern
Forest Products Association (SFPA) announced on March 3rd that, for the
fifth consecutive year, shipments of Southern Pine lumber recorded an
increase from the previous year. Shipments in 2014 totaled 15.79 billion
board feet (Bbf), an increase of 5% over the volume shipped in 2013
(15.03 Bbf) and 34% above 2009 shipments (11.79 Bbf). Source: SFPA Press
Tuscaloosa County Property Tax Vote Today, March 3. The 30-year
tax is equivalent to $210 per year on a $100,000 home. Source: Alabama13.com, 2/27/15.
Investing in Timberland is a blog written by realtor and
consulting forester Eddie Stone. We think you might find the
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposes eliminating red tape that
strangles private forest owners in his state -- and by
eliminating regulations that require a state forester to approve of
timber harvests on private land, he also proposes eliminating a few
state forester positions due to the reduced workload. To reduce
confiscatory property taxes, many Wisconsin forest owners have allowed
the state to take over the management of their land. Walker's proposals
may be good, but will not eliminate the problems caused by unreasonably
high property taxes. According to the LaCrosse Tribune, the
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has 2,600 employees!
Bentley "will propose a $700 million tax hike in his State of the State
address March 3rd." Source: YellowHammer, 2/19/15
Two publications on silviculture that you may find interesting:
Environmentalism for the Next Generation, by Terry Anderson
and Donald Leal, continues their eye-opening idea that property rights
and markets can provide real-world solutions for impending environmental
Listen to Dr. Anderson explain the meaning of "free market
environmentalism" during an interview with AFOA last September.
Currently at about 1.2 million housing starts,
Forisk projects housing starts to peak at 1.6 million starts by 2019.
"Lack-luster household formation," among other things, still
holding down demand for lumber products. Source: Virginia Tech December 2014 Housing Commentary. Archived at:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports
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.
Grandchildren: Company leadership might skip a generation.
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.
"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
Planning to build a boat dock or light vehicular bridge?
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.
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:
"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
Editor's question: Do you believe
"growers and harvesters of timber" would command greater respect from Alabama
voters than "hunters" if the question were put to a vote?
Forestland security depends on lots of factors, including the
sense of responsibility of neighbors to report timber trespass (theft)
and other potentially illegal activities on nearby forestland.
Unfortunately, that sense of responsibility may be declining, according
to a National Center for Policy Analysis Research Report,
American's Sense of Civic Duty Declining. The NCPA report was
based on an
Associated Press-GfK poll. See also:
10 Predictions for Wood Consuming Industries in 2015 from
Forest2Market. While basking in the glow of F2M's infallible
predictions, you may consider a more reserved approach to belief in
predictions after reading
Botched environmental predictions for 2015 from FoxNews.
As we understand it, beginning on January 1, 2015, law
enforcement problems related to timber theft and forest arson should be
reported to the Alabama Rural Crime Unit at 1-855-75-CRIME.
Based on a 12/28/14 article on AL.com, it appears that our highways
will receive a lot of attention from the newly created
Enforcement Agency, but we're not sure if calls reporting timber
theft or forest arson will be handled effectively. We look forward to
reports from forest landowners --
PROPERTY TAX INCREASE FOR BALDWIN COUNTY to be decided in a
referendum set for MARCH 31, 2014. Source: AL.com,
12/27/14. Total of 15 mills will be on the ballot ($150 tax per year on
$100,000 home or forestland for several decades). See:
Proponents and opponents of Baldwin County's school tax referendum
keeping an eye on Gov. Robert Bentley's tax plan.
"Federal Government Mandating Off-Road Vehicle Design: Negative Effects
on Safety & Performance."
"Polaris opposes [Comsumer Product Safety Commission's] proposed
mandatory standard because there are significant gaps in the data
CPSC is using to support a mandatory rule, the proposed metrics and
safety claims do not apply across all categories and models of ROV, and
the proposed standard will actually lead to unintended safety
consequences in off-road conditions."
Background and comments at the CPSC website.
Based on October 2014 data, single family housing starts were up 15,4%,
year to year. Source:
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
Today, Thursday, December 18, is the last opportunity you have to
comment on the proposed listing of the Northern Long-Eared Bat as an
endangered species. A
TAKE ACTION webpage that makes it easy for you to send your
comments to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is available on the Forest
America website. For more information on the bat and the disease that is
causing its possible extinction, see: 10/19/14,
Christmas Gift ideas from the Family Business Bookstore. A few
titles caught our eye: Family Meetings, How Families Work
Together, and How to Choose and Use Advisors.
Practical Decisions and Applications of Finance and Timber Prices in
Forestry (from Forisk Finance):
Georgia-Pacific announced an investment of approximately $6 million
at its Thorsby, Alabama, engineered lumber operations to expand
production capacity of laminated veneer lumber (LVL). Source: PR
Prices: "Prices for softwood lumber imported to China increased
this fall, while they fell in Japan as the housing market weakened. In
the US, lumber prices were moving downward in the 3Q, while still being
close to their highest levels in ten years, reports the Wood Resource
Quarterly. In the Nordic countries and Russia, lumber exports have
increased because of higher demand for wood in key markets in Europe and
the [Middle East and North Africa] countries." Source: Wood Resources
How much is needed? "Between the four largest landholding
agencies (the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Parks Service) the
federal government owns over 623 million acres. To
put that in perspective, it is larger than France, Spain, Germany,
Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom, Austria, Switzerland and the
Netherlands combined." Source: The Daily Signal, 12/5/14.
Christmas Gift Ideas: AFOA T-Shirts
and AFOA Caps.
"New study shows progress towards eradicating cogongrass infestations,"
states an Auburn University Press Release dated 11/24/14. "Auburn
University College of Agriculture associate professor and Extension
specialist Stephen Enloe, along with Nancy Loewenstein, School of
Forestry and Wildlife Sciences research fellow, published a new study
that reports significant progress in the fight against cogongrass.
Cogongrass is ranked as the seventh worst invasive plant species
worldwide and is both a significant economic and ecological threat to
much of Alabama. The results of this study offer land managers several
viable options in controlling the troublesome weed."
The Complete Guide to Chain Saw Safety and Directional Felling: Forest
Applications, EBook [NOOK Book], by Tim Ard, Mike Bolin
(Director), and Laura Ard (Photographer), $16.49. Tim Ard is a chain saw
expert who travels all over the U.S. teaching loggers and landowners the
safe use of chainsaws and the art of directional felling. For those of
you who do not have a Nook, there are free Nook Apps for iPad and
Death Tax, Part II.
The Anti-Environment Tax
Rolls On: the State-Based Version by Brian Seasholes, Reason
Foundation Out of Control Policy Blog, 12/2/14. Editor's note:
Forest owners who are considering an out-of-state move to be closer to
the children may want to consider state death taxes before making a
"With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across
the continental U.S. — along with last winter described by USA Today
as 'one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record' —
climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to
stay for decades to come. In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle
engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the provocative book,
Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell,
which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway..."
Source: The Westerner, 11/17/14
Good news on the Endangered Species Act front:
Federal Court Rules for Property Owners in Endangered Species Act Case,
National Center for Policy Analysis, 11/24/14. Original source: Ron Arnold,
"For Once, a Court Sided With People Rather Than ‘Threatened' Rodents,"
In a speech to the Birmingham Business Alliance on November 19,
Governor Robert Bentley reported that an expected 2016 General Fund
shortfall will be greater than he expected. Instead of the $250
million shortfall he expected for 2016 fiscal year, "It's about $265
million now." The Alabama Forestry Commission is funded from the state's
General Fund. (11/25/14)
Bentley calls for more revenue, but ‘No New Taxes’ campaign pledge
leaves few options.
Tracking Forest and Landscape Change from Space Using The Forwarn system
is an interesting webinar on a forest monitoring system that may alert
you to changes on your land, such as tornado damage, timber theft,
defoliations from insect or disease, etc.
is a "satellite-based change recognition and tracking" service made
available by the U.S. Forest Service, NASA, USGS and others.
"This proposed rule is patently unreasonable and should be amended or
withdrawn," wrote Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Reed Hopper in
"Waters of the United States" -- the ultimate power grab.
Source: Liberty Blog, 11/10/14. Editor's note: Twenty or
thirty years ago, we thought the whole idea of calling perfectly dry
land "waters of the U.S." was crazy, but we've learned to never be
surprised by the folks who push for greater and greater control of
private property by the federal government. Unfortunately, they continue
to win the arguments on the national stage.
Incident Summary 2013-2014 and
Alabama Hunter Education
and Hunting Incident Statistics, both produced by the
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, contain information that you
may find interesting, especially if you are a hunter or lease your land
to hunters. We notice in the Statistics report that, while
firearms and treestand "incidents" have generally decreased since hunter
safety courses were required of young hunters, the 2012-2013 hunting
season saw a sharp rise in both, based on incidents per 100,000 licenses
sold. As a hunter or a landowner, you can make a difference in the
number of hunting related accidents. Show the Hunting Incident
Summary to your friends and the hunters who hunt on your land.
A new federal wildlife refuge for the
Paint Rock Valley in north Alabama? Dwight Cooley, Refuge
Manager, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge will discuss the possibility of a
new Paint Rock Valley refuge at the Clean Water Partnership meeting
scheduled for 10 AM on November 20. The meeting will take place
at the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Decatur.
Remember the upset folks
in Brent when the feds tried to lock up 200,000+ acres along and near
the Cahaba River?
Potlatch Corporation, one of the largest forest landowners in the U.S.
whose stock is publicly traded, recently
signed a purchase agreement for 201,000 acres of Alabama and Mississippi
timberlands. Source: Potlatch Press Release, 10/20/14.
Avoiding ESA's Perverse Incentives, a letter from Reason
Foundation's Brian Seasholes to the editor of The Wall Street Journal,
10/27/14. See also 10/22/14.
Amendments on Nov. 4th Ballot offers an interesting perspective
on the constitutional amendments we'll vote on tomorrow. Source: The
Informed Voter. See also, 10/1/14,
"Daughters being chosen more often as successor." "Although it
was almost unheard of just a few decades ago, it is predicted that one
in three family businesses will soon be headed by a woman." Source:
News from JamisonMoneyFarmer, 10/29/14. We suspect that forestland
businesses are experiencing the same changes as other family businesses.
Three suggestions from the article:
- Expose your children to the
business at an early age, but don’t pressure them
- Be sure they get the right
education and experience
- Show support of your successor
Our Hunting Land for Lease webpage,
has been really busy this fall. Yesterday we posted two tracts. A 40
acre tract in Crenshaw County with photos to prove trophy deer were
present ($25 per acre) and a 99 acre tract in Montgomery County with
excellent deer hunting potential and an old farm house with power and
water ($30 per acre). Both were leased within 24 hours. If you have been
thinking about leasing your land for hunting, you probably won't get
those high prices, but you may well get $10 or more per acre. It's just
3 weeks until deer season begins. Send the information about your
hunting land to
America at Work: Forestry, written by Jane Drake and Ann
Love and illustrated by Pat Cupples, is a children's book (ages 7-10)
which "examines all aspects of the industry, from the planting of new
seedlings to the inner workings of a sawmill and a pulp and paper mill."
If you have read the book ($5.35
at Amazon.com) (or reviewed
the online preview), please let us know if you think
Work: Forestry would be a good book for the Alabama Forest Owners'
Association to give to Alabama public libraries. The association has
been giving forestry books (both adult and children's) to Alabama public
libraries for many years. Send your comments to Lee at
Ag and Forestry Museum Opens at Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds.
"The museum features historical and educational exhibits that spotlight
different segments of agriculture: aquaculture; forestry and wildlife;
row crops; ornamental nursery and greenhouse; fruit, vegetables and bees;
and livestock." "The museum is located at 1035 Cody Road N., Mobile, AL
36608. It will be open during all events at the fairgrounds. It will
also be available for school field trips." Source: alfafarmers.org,
2 states to have pro-hunting ballot amendments in November.
Source: www.guns.com, 10/25/14. For more information, see
The Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) has
been proposed for listing as a threatened species under the Endangered
Species Act by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The black pinesnake is
a subspecies, currently known from Alabama and Mississippi. Among other
things, pine plantations are thought to be leading to the extinction of
this subspecies. Your comments on the proposed listing must be received
no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 8, 2014. Details about
the proposed listing, including information on sending your comments to
the USF&WS, are available in the
Federal Register, Volume 79, Number 194 (Tuesday, October 7,
2014) [pages 60406-60419]. You may also find interesting Dr. Terry
Anderson's opinion piece in the October 20 Wall Street Journal,
When the Endangered Species Act Threatens Wildlife.
October 19-25 is
National Forest Products Week. "Since 1960, the seven-day period
beginning on the third Sunday in October in each year has been
designated by Presidential proclamation as a time to recognize the many
products that come from our forests, the people who work in and manage
our forests, the people who make the products, and how forest products
contribute to our daily lives. The proclamation calls on all Americans
to celebrate the varied uses and products of our forested lands, as well
as the people who carry on the tradition of careful stewardship of these
precious natural resources for generations to come." Source: Southern
Forest Products Association NewsNote, 10/21/14.
"Last year there were 14 treestand falls in Alabama, including one that
resulted in a fatality. Treestand incidents are one of the leading
causes of injury to hunters." Source: Alabama Department of
Conservation & Natural Resources, 10/20/14. Editor's note: Treestand
falls are also a leading cause of liability claims against forest
landowners. Be sure to remind your hunters to check safety straps and
follow the advice at www.tmastands.com/_safety.html.
"...a reason for optimism." A research team may be close to
developing a cure for the deadly white nose syndrome which has killed
the Northern Long-Eared Bat by the millions. Rules proposed by the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service to help the bat species avoid extinction include
curtailing summertime harvest of timber in much of the Eastern U.S.,
including Alabama. See also: 8/29/14,
What is your opinion? Are you surprised that the last of the
Key Findings of Chapter 6 of the
Southern Forest Futures Project (written by salaried academics
and bureaucrats) encourages "...increased monitoring of ownership
changes and of forestland transaction values to better understand the
conservation implications of economic trends."? May we suggest
that the federal government has many more serious problems to solve than
those regarding the ownership of forestland in the only place in the
world where economic and political cultures encourage long-term
investment in private forests?
Perhaps forest management is not the primary reason
Gopher Tortoises could be listed as "Endangered"? See:
Florida man charged with smuggling protected tortoises out of Alabama,
Timber Investments Cut Down Portfolio Risk -- an essay by Robert
Stammers at Investopedia.com. AFOA thanks
Specialists for leading us to the Investopedia
A control method for some mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue
and chikungunya, is available, but cannot be used in the U.S. Source:
How Many Regulators Does It Take to Kill a Mosquito?,
10/8/14. AFOA thanks the
National Center for Policy Analysis for leading us to the
Would it give you great heartburn if laws against hiring illegal
aliens were strictly enforced? Would your tree seedlings get
planted? Would private forestland go into decline? Chris Mathews, in an
interview with Andrea Mitchell, Andrea Mitchell Reports, MSNBC,
10/8/14, described a compromise on the "issue of immigration" that he
thinks would stop the huge influx of illegal aliens into the U.S.:
"There is a compromise...Simply say you can't hire people illegally
in this country."
Mathews' interview begins
(after the short ad) at 1:39 and
proceeds on the "immigration issue" to 3:32.
"Everything you need to know about voting in Alabama." Source:
Deforestation Myths Debunked by Facts. Source:
- Myth: Forests in the United States are
- Myth: The use of wood for energy
will lead to deforestation.
- Myth: Forest owners clearcut trees
to supply biomass markets.
"In a great victory today for property owners in Alabama, the
United States Supreme Court has issued an order denying certiorari in
Case number 13-1232, Lynch, India, et al. v. the State of Alabama."
"...the plaintiffs were seeking to show that Alabama
property tax revenues fail to adequately fund K-12 public schools and
that this shortfall unconstitutionally shortchanges black public school
"Success by the plaintiffs would have resulted in
application of existing state and local tax millage rates to the full
fair market value of all property. This would mean that timberland and
farmland owners would see an increase in property taxes by at least a
factor of ten, unless millage rates were reduced by subsequent local or
state legislative action." Source: From the Weeds, 10/6/14.
Also, see 5/15/14 and
Starts, a key driver of pine sawtimber stumpage demand, still far below
50 year average (Scroll down to page 10). Source: Raymond James Real Estate, Industry Brief, Timber Topics, 10/14.
There's lots more information in the 29 page report - take a look around
once you've opened it.
A FEW QUESTIONS asked at the end of the best report on the
Endangered Species Act that we have seen:
- What if landowners treat endangered
species like bluebirds and wood ducks, instead of spotted owls?
- What if landowners see endangered
species as assets, not liabilities?
- What if landowners voluntarily and
willingly pick up the phone and call their local Fish and Wildlife
Service office to have someone come out and survey their land for
- What if we draw on Americans’
world-leading charity, voluntarism and civic- mindedness for the
cause of conserving endangered species?
- What if landowners no longer fear
state and federal regulatory agencies and instead view them with
confidence and openness?
- What if landowners are liberated to
use their ingenuity and knowledge of their property in order to
conserve endangered species?
Fulfilling the Promise of the Endangered Species Act by
Brian Seasholes - Reason Foundation Policy Study 433, 9/14.
Food for thought in Alabama:
Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Red Hills Salamander, Eastern Diamondback
Rattlesnake, Eastern Gopher Tortoise, Northern Long-Eared Bat...
Did You Know?
Five statewide amendments to the Alabama constitution will be given
an up or down vote on November 4. There will be 4 local amendments,
The Alabama Forestry Association supports Statewide Amendments 1, 3, 4,
& 5, but not Amendment 2.
Fair Ballot Commission ballot statements approved with Commission
Comment on 9/2/14. (10/2/14)
Alabama Candidates Endorsed by the National Federation of Independent
U.S. Steel sells 70K acres in Alabama. Source:
Business Journal, 9/30/14. Editor's note. As we understand it,
the 70 thousand acres did not include timber rights which were purchased
in a separate deal from
SWF Birmingham, LLC. Other names of interest:
Valley Creek Land & Timber LLC,
Molpus Woodlands Group,
The Alabama Hunting and Fishing Almanac will be useful to
you if you hunt on your land, and may help you know more about the
interests of your hunters, if you lease your land. The Almanac is
published by the
Hunting Heritage Foundation.
While Alabama's General Fund is expected to take another big hit next
year (see 9/2/14 below), we just learned,
"The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) has
purchased 3,649 acres that will be added to the state’s Wildlife
Management Area (WMA) system in south Alabama. The land is located
in Covington County and will become part of the Geneva State Forest
WMA." Source: OutdoorAlabama.com. Editor's note: According to
The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests (page 19), 3,649
acres of average Alabama private forestland contributes about
$897,654 to Alabama's Gross Domestic Product; 3,649 acres of average
Alabama public forestland contributes only $18,245
to the GDP. Annual cost of the state owning 3,649 acres of forestland to the economy
of the state: $879,409.
Pat Minogue: "Studies show early site prep yields best pine growth."
"Don’t give gifts to your heirs until you’ve answered this question.
With health-care costs rising, can you afford to be generous?" Source:
Market Watch, 9/11/14.
"Byrne: EPA’s senseless regulations are hurting Alabama farmers and
foresters. Imagine this: a thunderstorm rolls through Alabama
and causes a small puddle to develop on a farm. Under a rule proposed by
the EPA, this puddle could be subject to regulation under the Clean
Water Act. This is the epitome of big government." Source: YellowHammer, 9/14/14
"Cameras in the [Oregon] woods replace forest fire lookouts"
Source: Eugene Register-Guard, 9/10/14. Not writing in response
to the Register-Guard article, but focusing on the same problem -
out of control western forest fires - forester Doug Turner wrote in The Forestry Source, 9/14: "The money that would be necessary to
build the 'latest big gizmo' would be better spent on road and trail
maintenance, improved safety gear for firefighters, and serious
reduction of existing fuel loads."
October 17 is Signup Deadline for Ala NRCS Conservation Programs.
Some wildlife and forestry practices on private land are subsidized by
"The pulp and paper industry in the Nordic countries has started to see
a new dawn with a growing demand for pulp and paper products
made from long wood fiber from the vast conifer forests in Northern
Europe. Just over the past few months, there have been a number of
announcements in investments made by forest companies in Finland, Norway
and Sweden totaling close to three billion dollars, as reported in the
Wood Resource Quarterly.
"The primary end-products will be softwood market pulp
and virgin fiber-based container board, but major investments are also
being considered in increasing the utilization of forest biomass for
energy on a larger scale. Although the investment decisions have not
been finalized for all projects, these ruminations are a sign that the
forest industry in this part of the world sees the future in a much
brighter light than just a few years ago."
Wild Fire Services, Inc., provides firefighting crews and engines to
help suppress forest fires for state and federal agencies in the
northwestern U.S. If Alabama's General Fund Budget gets squeezed, as some
are predicting (see 9/2/14, below), do
you think private fire fighters would be an effective supplement to a
reduced full-time state employee staff? According to their website,
Services, Inc., thins hazardous fuels and conducts prescribed burns
along with Wild Land Fire Suppression and other related services.
See also, 6/10/14.
Announced Wood Bioenergy "projects in the South that pass viability
screens could consume 20.1 million additional tons of wood per year by
2023." Source: Wood Bioenergy US, June/July/August 2014.
Editor's note: Environmentalists who worry that biomass harvesting
may consume all the trees in the South should read the periodic Wood
Bioenergy reports. 20.1 million tons (the amount that might be
additionally consumed by all known southern biomass projects) could
easily be grown on 2 million acres (10 tons per acre or less than 2
cords per acre). Alabama alone has 23 million acres of forestland and
Wood Bioenergy's southern regions encompass 12 states.
"Firewood shortages hitting parts of Nova Scotia."
suppliers "on Nova Scotia’s south shore used to get some of their
hardwood from contractors that worked for Bowater Mersey. Since the mill
shut down and the province bought the land, the source has dried up."
"Minnesota firewood shortage 'unprecedented,' timber exec says."
"Former junior firefighter charged in 3 Jefferson County blazes."
"Joshua Lynn Dodd, 23, of Bessemer, is charged with three counts of
intentionally setting a woodland fire, said Jefferson County sheriff's
Chief Deputy Randy Christian. He is being held in the county jail with
bonds totaling $45,000."
Repeat photography in Alabama:
For lots more interesting repeat photography, go to
www.repeatphotography.org, a project of the Forest History Society.
"You Can Pay Me Now, Or Pay Me Later." Read the editorial in the
Summer 2014 issue of Alabama Forests to find out why Alabama's
forest industry leaders are concerned about the rapidly rising costs of
prisons, Medicaid, and higher education. See also:
"Here's what every Alabama taxpayer's share of the state's debt is, and
why." Source: YellowHammer, 9/2/14.
Forestry - a video to help you create bat habitat on your
land. We realize that some of the management activties suggested in
this Minnesota video won't apply to the forests of Alabama, and we
realize that the real threat to the Northern Long-Eared Bat (see below
8/25/14 and 6/13/14) is
a disease problem, not a habitat problem, but you may find something in
the video that you can do that will make you and your bats happy.
Florida Forest Service Sets Prescribed Fire Record. "The Florida
Forest Service oversees one of the most active prescribed fire programs
in the country in order to reduce the risk of wildfires and keep
Florida’s natural habitats healthy and growing. During the past year,
the Florida Forest Service reports that more than 2.5 million acres
across Florida were treated with prescribed fire, one of the highest
numbers ever reported by any state in the country." Source: News
Release, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
A GoPro camera
gives a bird's-eye view from an Italian Corpo Forestale dello Stato
helicopter in action over wildfires. At a recent meeting in
Birmingham of the Cahaba Chapter of the Society of American Foresters,
foresters briefly discussed the pros and cons of the Alabama Forestry
Commission acquiring a small helicopter for dousing fires and other
Should BP Oil Spill funds be used to remove private land from
productivity and the tax rolls? Source: Associated Press,
Northern Long-Eared Bat ESA Listing: Time to Comment. "The U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service’s public comment period on its proposal to list
the Northern Long-Eared Bat as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species
Act will conclude on Friday, August 29." Editor's note: The Alabama
Forest Owners' Association will not send comments to the USF&WS
concerning this issue. It is the association's policy to keep you
informed, but allow you to speak to the issues of the day.
See 6/13/14 below.
"Reining in the EPA Through the Power of the Purse."
section 3) Removing the word "navigable" from the definition of
waters of the U.S. was made meaningless many years ago when "navigable
waters" came to include dry land long distances from water that would be
incapable of floating a canoe. The overreach by our regulators (our
owners?) must be stopped and pushed back. Don't you agree?
"Pay your protection money. Do the secret handshake. And kiss the ring."
An interesting perspective on forest management certification schemes -
in particular, the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC. Source: The Daily
To make them easy to remember, AFOA has created
addresses for our most popular web pages. They are:
Not something you'd expect to find up on a hill in your woods, but
watch out when you're wading a creek in the bottoms. A 1,012 pound
alligator was pulled from "a creek several miles above Millers Ferry
For the full story and photos, visit
Timber Market Update (for North-Northwest Alabama) from the
Management Specialists, Volume 1, Issue 3, 8/4/14.
- Pine pulpwood:
The bad news
is that this product still has relatively low prices but the good
news is that it is moving better than it was 3 months ago as area
mills have eased their restrictive quotas.
- Pine chip-n-saw & saw timber:
Not much movement in the price paid for this product. Prices paid
for softwood lumber in China have fallen this quarter. However, most
experts predict that the overall prices paid for this finished
product will slowly continue to increase. Hopefully, the prices paid
for standing timber will soon reflect this optimistic outlook.
- Hardwood pulpwood: Prices
paid for this product in the heart of the Tennessee Valley continue
to be low. However, standing timber sales in northeast Alabama,
southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and central to south Alabama
indicate relatively good prices paid for this product. Prices in
east Mississippi and west Alabama are also improving.
- Hardwood blended saw timber:
These products continue to be in high demand. Even hickory and
poplar tracts have brought good prices recently. Tracts that can be
harvested in wet weather are still bringing a premium.
- Hardwood high quality/specialty:
The past six timber sales that we have coordinated have brought much
higher than anticipated prices for high quality hardwood, especially
white oak. Prices for ash and cypress have improved recently and
specialty products like cherry and black walnut remain high.
Timber Mart-South: Alabama State-wide Average Prices.
While furniture imports from China, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia
have been on the rise and some U.S. furniture manufacturers have
closed their doors, "...it is not necessarily bad news for the
American hardwood lumber industry. The U.S. hardwood forest is
sustainable and the forest products industry has the infrastructure in
place to manufacture the resource. The U.S. is a leader in the world
with more than $765 million in timber exports in the first six months of
2014, up 32% from the same period in 2013." Source: US Furniture
Industry Update by Tom Inman, President of Appalachian Hardwood
Tennessee Forestry Association TreeLine, August 2014 (scroll
to page 9)
What do we mean when we say, "I own this piece of property."? "Ownership
is nothing less than the right to shape, use, and dispose. Even if you
have legal title to something, you wouldn’t think you really owned it if
the government told you what you could do with it, how, and when; in
that instance, the government would be the de facto owner. In a real
sense, ownership is control and the actual owner of anything is the
Clichés of Progressivism #16 - Ownership Must Be Tempered by Sharing
by Lawrence W. Reed, 8/1/14.
Published in 1976, "The
Genetics and Breeding of Southern Pines, is used as a text
and reference book all over the world." For a bit of background
information about the author, Keith Dorman, read the 8/7/14 Compass
The Olustee Experimental Forest: From naval stores to southern pine
The Service Forester's Toolkit, based on the old U.S. Forest
Service's Service Forester's Handbook, is now available as
a free app for iPhone or iPad. The main menu includes the following
topics: Financial, General Measurements, Site Index, Stand Measurements,
Tree Measurements, and Volume Measurements. Among the many interesting
tables in the Toolkit is one titled: Comparison of Log Rules.
Did you know that a 16 foot long log with a 12 inch diameter inside the
bark at the small end scales 64 board feet (Doyle Scale), 79 board feet
(Scribner Scale), and 95 board feet (International Scale)? Chew on that
"Once hailed as one of the world’s most progressive climate measures,
Australia’s carbon tax is now dead and buried. Will American policy
makers take note?" Source:
Editor's note: It is
important to keep an eye on carbon taxes and mandates, since a growing
wood pellet market in the South is highly dependent on European
Google Maps Area Calculator Tool by Daft Logic was sent to AFOA
yesterday by AFOA member Steve Dyess, Sylacauga. Steve wrote,
"It’s free, simple to use, and I’ve found it to be very accurate. I’ve
checked behind areas that were surveyed and gotten similar numbers, and
I use it often to determine acreage for various projects on the farm.
There’s no reason to guess at how many acres are in an opening or a
tract of timber anymore; just measure it and find out."
Alabama's Lee County Forestry Judging Team recently placed first overall
in the National 4-H Forestry Invitational held in Weston, West Virginia.
"Events included tree identification, tree measurement, compass and
pacing, insect and disease identification, topographic map use, forest
evaluation, the forestry bowl and a written forestry exam. Alabama was
represented by Lisa and Polly Barron, both from Auburn, and Gavin and
Seth Rankins, both from Cusseta. The team was coached by Greg and Angela
Nichols from Lafayette. Lisa Barron ... received the high point
The $400,000 Decision. Are you nearing retirement age and
planning to use Social Security to help you enjoy your forestland?
Economist Larry Kotlikoff, NCPA,
reported to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security on
July 29: "A 62-year-old couple that has contributed the maximum
amount to the Social Security program would be eligible for benefits at
age 62. If they take their benefits then, their lifetime benefits will
be $1.2 million. However, if they wait until age 70 to collect their
benefits, lifetime benefits will total $1.6 million."
indicators enable reasoned assessment of the environment: guest opinion"
by John Hill, senior policy analyst at the
Institute (API) on AL.com, 7/30/14. Highlights of
Alabama's Environment 2014 are found at the
API website, including a summary paragraph on Forests & Land.
Editor's Note: While we are glad that API has put together this
positive report, you should be aware that the summary paragraph on
Forests & Land and bulleted items on pages 3 and 54 of the report
understates the forest cover of Alabama at only 53%, about 11% lower
than 64% reported by the Forest Inventory & Analysis data gathered by
the Alabama Forestry Commission and the US Forest Service. That's a
difference of almost 4 million acres, an area 5 times larger than the
state of Rhode Island. See page of 3 of
Resource Report 2013.
"Some people will say, 'We don't want to go to Alabama. It's just rivers
and forest.'" Source: AL.com, 7/29/14
Plum Creek Timber Company,
Inc. (PCL) rating reduced by Raymond James from Outperform 2 to Market
Perform 3. "While we maintain a positive long-term view on Plum
Creek, we believe PCL shares are likely to remain range-bound near-term
given our view that the current 'consensus' housing outlook for 2015
remains overly optimistic."
Eleven new Champion Trees were recently registered in Alabama's list of
big trees. "One of the new champions, a southern shagbark
hickory, has a good chance of being declared
a national champion later this year!"
Champion Trees of Alabama 2014 contains measurements of the
largest trees by species recorded in Alabama and is published
periodically by the Alabama Forestry Commission.
We don't know how you might acquire one, but we know that
some of you will want to own the 2-wheel drive motorcycle featured in a
video on YouTube.
Check here for more information and
According to David Peterson (see 1/20/14 below),
the "'Friends of the Delta' are attempting to resurrect the attempt
to Federalize the Delta." To stay up-to-date on this issue, visit
Save the Mobile/Tensaw Delta Facebook page.
Construction - an interesting, though dated, video from The
Alabama Cooperative Extension Service.
Resource Management Apprenticeship available at
Joseph W. Jones
Ecological Research Center, Newton, Georgia.
No more government trucks for rural fire departments. Because
surplus military vehicles don't meet EPA air pollution standards, "The
federal government has ended a program that provides millions of dollars
worth of equipment to thousands of rural fire departments... the federal
government will send surplus vehicles — even those with only 1,000 miles
— to depots and supply yards to be crushed or scraped." Source: EnidNews.com, 7/1/14.
The Hill reported on 7/11/14,
"The change may not have been intentional, as the EPA is now working
with the DOD to clear it up."
Direct seeding southern pines was a common practice 40 years ago,
and can be used today by landowners who take the time to make it work. A
recent report by James P. Barnett, entitled
Direct Seeding Southern Pines: History and Status of a Technique
Developed for Restoring Cutover Forests will give you a
little background on the science and use of the technique. A Mississippi
State University publication you may find useful is
Direct Seeding: A Forest Regeneration Alternative.
Forest Seed Company sells treated, stratified (ready for sowing)
loblolly pine seed for about $55 per pound. They said you will need to
put out about 1/2 pound per acre. The seed needs to touch mineral soil
to germinate and survive, so preparing the site will be your biggest
problem. If you try direct seeding and are successful,
send AFOA a
Chubb Urges Homeowners in Wildfire Areas to Use Fire-Resistive
Selling the Right to Access Private Land for Hunting and Recreation,
in Oregon and Washington, threatens their "way of life." "...a flood of
frustration and disgust basically came over me when I heard that"
Weyerhaeuser will begin charging access fees to their land. Source:
Timber Giant Begins Selling Seasonal Permits, But Some Push Back, Northwest Public Radio, 6/17/14
"Several of the housing market indicators exhibited marginal increases
in April – this is not typical for spring. Historically, March,
April, and May are the best months for housing starts and sales (new and
existing). It appears as the overall market is muddling along."
Virginia Tech Housing Reports (archive).
"Calling for Alabama Tree Farmer of the Year Nominations. Each
year, the Alabama Tree Farm Committee recognizes superior stewardship of
its Tree Farm members through the Alabama State Tree Farmer of the Year
Award. These landowners are chosen for their remarkable efforts to
demonstrate, communicate and spread sustainable practices. The winner
will be recognized at the annual Alabama Natural Resources Council
Awards Banquet scheduled for February 6, 2015. To nominate a Tree Farmer
for their outstanding efforts, please visit
www.alaforestry.org/treefarm and download the State Tree Farmer of
the Year Nomination Form. The deadline for nominations is September 1,
Sawfly Update for Northwest Alabama: "A sawfly monitoring flight
made by the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) last week indicated that
the sites infested by the pine sawflies are recovering with new
needle growth. It does appear that the sites that have been attacked
for multiple years are recovering more slowly. No new sites were found
during the flights. Since the trees on the infested sites are stressed,
the AFC will continue to monitor them for other issues, mainly Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) activity. A regular SPB detection flight
for the entire North Region will occur in July."
See 5/28/14, below.
Being pushed to the brink of extinction by a fungal disease (WNS),
the Northern Long-Eared Bat (NLEB), which
lives in Alabama,
has been proposed for listing as an endangered species by the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Leaders of the Society of American
Foresters from Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota wrote
a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service on June 10, 2014 agreeing
that the bat is threatened with extinction because of the disease, but
questioning the logic of imposing forest management restrictions
unrelated to the cause of the possible extinction. They wrote, "...populations of NLEB were at or near peak levels prior to the
outbreak of WNS — indicating that sound habitat management has been
taking place in our managed forests."
Further information and possible ways of dealing with the disease from
Forest Resources Association, Inc.
Land Market News from
Matre Forestry Newsletter, June 4, 2014
core market of southwest Georgia, activity has improved, but
timberland dirt prices are only very slowly trickling up. But,
improved timber prices along with ample rain increasing productivity
has pushed the value of timberland tracts up measurably. Irrigated
farmland seems to be stagnate or receding, as chatter about a
potential farmland bubble and concerns about declining commodity
prices have increased.
We most all know by now that
recreational and higher and better use (HBU) value sharply declined
in this recession. We are starting to see some improvement there.
Several of our clients from middle Florida have indicated that
middle Florida is building homes again, and we here Atlanta is to.
As a result, we are seeing more recreational land buyers back in the
Georgia land market, which is one of the strongest recreational land
markets being a favorite hunting destination for Floridians and
Atlanta suburbanites. But, sellers should not get to excited yet,
the recreational land buyers are more grounded and cautious than
they were prior to this recession, and they are looking for deals -
not looking to over pay. As more and more come into the market, we
will see recreational values increase. After sustained housing
starts improvement, we will see HBU values rise as well.
Cahaba Pressure Treated Forest Products (Cahaba
Timber Co.), "the largest single site round wood processing plant in
the world" in Brierfield, Alabama, has recently announced plans to
expand its operation to include wood crossties. Source: Cahaba
Timber Press Release, 5/27/14.
Insurance-funded wildfire fighting crews are being deployed in Colorado
for high end property owners. Is this a model that might be
used to fight eastern forest fires when crews are not conducting
prescribed burns, planting trees, building fire lanes, painting property
lines, etc., etc.?
"Work with, not against, the state's landowners." "We hope the
federal government ... is learning it can better protect wildlife and
endangered species by working with, rather than against, Alabama and its
property owners." Source: Montgomery Advertiser, 5/31/14.
"Jack Daniel's Cooperage hiring for new Lawrence County[, Alabama]
barrel-making plant." North Alabama forest owners with
stave-quality white oak might want to learn more about the cooperage
market before making their next timber sale.
"It's time for a final policy on biomass," states the National
Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) in a 6/3/14 press release. NAFO urges
the EPA to produce a "clear, affirmative policy" that treats biomass as
a renewable fuel, not a fossil fuel as some would prefer. Editor's
note: Do we detect a bit of conflict between those who say, "Carbon (CO2)
is not a pollutant," and those who say, "If carbon is a pollutant, than
let's minimize the fossil fuel problem by burning more 'renewable' biomass."? Can we have
it both ways? Do we want it both ways?
Lack of forest management, not climate change, is likely cause of wildfire
numbers & size,
reported Auburn University Emeritus Professor David B. South in his June
3, 2014 testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Green Jobs & the New
Economy. Be sure to review the
transcript of Dr. South's testimony - Figure 1. and Figure 6 are
a C-Span video of his testimony is available on the web -- South's 5
minute testimony begins at 1:25:06. You might also find the testimony of
Dr. David R. Legates interesting, as well. It begins right after David
South's at 1:30:09. Humorous addition (6/6/14):
Washington Governor Inslee: Fires will worsen without emission control.
Another Biofuel Plant Bites the Dust? "KiOR has expressed
'substantial doubt' regarding its ability to restart its Columbus,
Mississippi facility. According to the company’s recently released
quarterly report, design and reliability issues have caused the facility
to run 'significantly below' its capacity of 500 bone dry tons of
biomass per day. KiOR has the funds necessary to operate through August
but will require additional capital to continue past that time." Source:
F2M Market Watch, 5/27/14. KiOR, a biofuel hopeful, given a $75
million loan by the Mississippi Legislature in 2010, "owes the state
$69.4 million and cites debts of $279.5 million as of Feb. 28." Source:
Mississippi Watchdog.org, 3/18/14.
Editor's note to Alabama
legislators: Fix the roads and bridges.
Candidate Endorsements for the June 3rd Primary Election are
available from the
Alabama Forestry Association's ForestPAC and
Alabama Farmers Federation's FarmPAC.
Editor's note: Although I
don't follow AFA's and Alfa's recommendations for all my personal
election choices, their lists are a good place to start for a forest
landowner. If you would like AFOA to post other endorsement lists,
please send details to
"During the last few weeks, there have been numerous reports from
Northwest Alabama about dying pine trees. Most of the visible
damage is [surprisingly] occurring on reasonably healthy, mature
loblolly pines, growing in well-managed stands. According to
officials with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), the apparent
culprits are larvae of the loblolly pine sawfly, feeding on and
defoliating pine needles. With infestations reported in Colbert,
Marion, Franklin, Lamar, and Fayette counties, the AFC is in the
process of conducting aerial surveys of the affected counties.
Infestation notices are being prepared for landowners where problems are
detected, along with stand management recommendations." Source: AFC
Press Release, 5/28/14.
Contact your local AFC county office to let them know you would like
to receive an alert if sawfly damage is detected on your land.
Images of Loblolly Pine Sawfly.
If the Retirement System of Alabama goes broke, as predicted by
a think tank at Troy State University, do you think there will be
pressure to raise property taxes? Source: AL.com, 5/19/14.
More on this subject from
Alabama Citizens for Media
Accountability, May 27, 2014.
Alabama Voters: "If you wish to vote an absentee ballot in the
2014 primaries [June 3], your application must be received by your local
registrar - either hand delivered or by postal service - by May 29, and
your completed absentee ballot must be hand delivered or postmarked by
June 2.... If you will be voting at your assigned polling place, be
aware that all voters will be required to present a photo ID to election
officials prior to casting a ballot." Source: ARSEA/APEAL Weekly
Update, 5/16/14. For complete details about voter registration,
voter ID, and absentee ballot information, go to
AlabamaVotes.gov, The State of Alabama's Official Election Center.
Property Tax Case (Lynch Lawsuit, Part III) may be finished by October
6, 2014, reports From the Weeds, 5/15/14.
Also, see 4/16/14, below.
In Europe: "The freedom to roam, or everyman's right is
the general public's right to access certain public or privately owned
land for recreation and exercise."
A short read on the Public Trust Doctrine may be enlightening, as well.
Source: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
A Crack in the Consensus on Global Warming. It's important to
remember that the market for wood pellets manufactured in the southern
U.S. comes primarily from European government mandates that limit the
burning of fossil fuels. If enough of these "cracks" develop in the
"consensus," those mandates may disappear -- as will the market for fuel
wood shipped across the Atlantic to Europe.
No Net Gain in Federal Land. That's not the name of Virginia
Congressman H. Morgan Griffith's legislation entitled,
Acre In, Acre Out
(HR 4423), but the results will likely be the same if the
legislation were to be passed into law. "This bill would require the
Federal Government to sell an acre of land it already owns for every new
acre of land that it acquires. Proceeds from the land sales would go
towards paying down our national debt."
"As in previous months, the near-term outlook on the U.S. housing market
remains unchanged -- there are potentially several negative
macro-factors or headwinds at this point in time for a robust housing
recovery (based on historical long-term averages). Once the economy
improves, we should expect to see housing activity increase as well."
Source: Virginia Tech's
March 2014 Housing Commentary.
Last week the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives
"approved four bills that will improve and modernize the Endangered
Species Act (ESA)." The measures seek to improve scientific
and litigation transparency, enhance states’ role in species
restoration, and cap government-paid attorneys’ fees under ESA-related
litigation. Source: The Westerner, 5/2/14.
American Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots to bring
attention to its concerns regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA) proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and how it will
negatively affect farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau wants members to get
involved in its new
“Ditch the Rule”
More on the same subject from the
"The EPA and Corps of Engineers continue their effort
to bypass the word “Navigable” in the Clean Water Act thereby expanding
the lands and waters they can regulate to nearly all waters and lands in
the United States.
"If successful, the EPA and Corps will effectively
undermine the word “Navigable” in Clean Water Act so the EPA and Corps
of Engineers will have wetlands jurisdiction over all waters of the
United States and “all activities affecting all waters of the United
"That means private property, ranching, farming,
mining, logging, recreation, rural roads and many other uses. That
includes nearly all land in the U.S. also.
"Congress must take away the money (defund) the
EPA and Corps can use for new Clean Water Act regulations.
"You can stop the EPA and Corps by getting both
your Senators and your Congressman to support taking the funding away
from the EPA and Corps for their proposed new Clean Water Act
"This is important because the EPA just released
their proposed new Wetlands Jurisdiction Regulations and a new
report on Wetlands and the jurisdiction of EPA and the Corps of
Engineers over most of the water and land in the US.
"Call your Senator at 202-224-3121 for a copy of
the new EPA wetlands jurisdiction report. That is important to engage
them in a dialogue about the term “Navigable” and Wetlands Jurisdiction.
You can also
"Call your Congressman at (202) 225-3121 and
make the same request. It idea is to get both your Senators and your
Congressman up to speed on this issue and taking action to protect you.
That means taking the money away from EPA and Corps for these new
American Farm Bureau is calling on its grassroots to bring attention to
its concerns regarding the proposed Waters of the U.S.
rule and how it will negatively affect farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau
wants members to get involved in its new “Ditch the Rule” grassroots
Property Tax Increase to be voted on in Macon County Soon. “A
referendum allowing a 7.5% increase in property taxes will be on the
ballot soon in Macon County. The bill (SB468- Act 14-310) was a local
bill and the proceeds from the increase will go to fund the Little Texas
Volunteer Fire Department. If this measure prevails at the ballot box,
we will most likely see similar initiatives in other areas of the
state.” Source: Legislative Session Wrap Up, From the Weeds,
Wood pellet exports from North America to Europe have doubled in two
years to reach 4.7 million tons in 2013 with the U.S. South
accounting for 63% of the volume, according to the North American
Wood Fiber Review. There are about a half dozen wood pellet mills in
“It is simplistic to assume that people will blindly use up what
sustains them without regard to the incentive structures they face; if
they have incentives to conserve, they will do so.” And yet, some
members of our society fear that we’re running out of natural resources
and that government must manage those resources. Source:
Clichés of Progressivism #2, 4/22/14 by Max Borders. “Private
property is a powerful incentive to conserve resources. You lose if you
squander what’s yours.”
An interesting video series on Forest Farming Non-Timber Products
focuses on Growing Ramps - a wild onion or leek - was produced
by Research Forest Products Technologist,
Chamberlain, Southern Research Station.
The Longleaf Alliance, in collaboration with the
Forestry Extension staff at the University of Georgia, has
developed a self-taught web-based course in the Economics of Longleaf.
The course seems easy to open and use and allows users to back up
and listen to the presented information several times, if needed. A
spreadsheet calculates “economic metrics like Net Present Value
and Internal Rate of Return from longleaf investments.
These spreadsheets can be manipulated by the user, offering the
opportunity to alter costs, returns, and timing of management and
harvests at the user’s will.” The course and spreadsheets can be
accessed at http://lleconomics.sref.info/, or, for Continuing Education Credit,
Source: The Longleaf Leader, Spring 2014.
"A property tax case [that could significantly raise forestland ad
valorem taxes in Alabama] has taken a new turn when the plaintiffs
filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the property tax
case. Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange representing Alabama
taxpayers won the case in the Alabama Northern District Court and also
at the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The attorneys for the
plaintiffs argued Alabama’s property tax system is unfair to public
schools attended by children in Alabama’s rural black belt. The
plaintiffs are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to scrap Alabama’s property
tax system. Attorney General Luther Strange will file a petition with
the U.S. Supreme Court in response to this petition.” Source: National
Federation of Independent Business Legislative Links, 4/16/14.
Forecasts by Forisk Consulting were announced today concerning
U.S. housing starts projections (Feb. 2014 projection of peak demand
was lowered since Forisk’s Feb. 2013 projection), and the
Panama Canal expansion and its implications for the U.S. forest industry
(“…no material, measurable implications to timberland investors, forest
industry firms, and timber prices.”). An archive of past Forisk
Newsletters is at
Preventing Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) outbreaks by encouraging
landowners to reduce the susceptibility of their pines to beetle
infestations is the announced purpose of the Alabama Forestry
Commission’s (AFC) SPB Prevention Cost-Share Program.
Applications are available at
local AFC offices.
The deadline to apply is May 30, 2014. The
$160,000 was provided by the U.S. Forest Service.
Alabama Voters this fall will get to decide whether the
to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife should be further "enshrined" as
an amendment to the Alabama constitution (Voters
will really be amending a previously passed amendment (#597 approved
back in 1996).
HB322 was sponsored by
state Representative Mark Tuggle, (R, 81). The bill passed the
House, 90 to 2 on March 13 and passed the Senate 32 to 1 on April 3.
Don’t take away our right to treat timber income as capital gains and
our right to deduct tree planting and forest management expenses.
That’s the message the Forest Landowners Association urges you to carry
to your member of the U.S. House of Representatives while he or she is
home April 11 through April 28.
Find your representative
Corky Pugh, former Director of the Alabama Freshwater Fisheries
Division, in Great Days Outdoors, 4/14, recommends three books
and urges readers to consider science and common sense when state
rules and regulations are initiated. The books are
Common Sense Wildlife Management by Nathaniel R.
A Matter of Context (Pugh suggests reading Chapter 8, “Et Up
With the Dumbs”) by Tom Kelly, and
The Wild Turkey in Alabama by Steven Barnett and Victoria
Woodstoves have been in the news lately, thanks to new rules
proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Paul LePage,
Governor of Maine, wrote in
The Wall Street Journal, 4/4/14, “An EPA proposal may end up
increasing the amount of harmful smoke in the air.”
The Southeast Missourian, 4/2/14, reported, “Members of the
Missouri House of Representatives came together in a bipartisan effort …
to approve a bill that prohibits the implementation of regulations on
wood-burning heaters.” A woodstove that won a recent Popular
Mechanics contest is the
Soapstone Ideal Steel Hybrid. The Ideal Steel Hybrid draws “exhaust
gases into a second chamber where temperatures reach 1800 F – hot enough
to incinerate all particulates.”
The Transformation of Timberland Ownership and Markets in North America
– a lecture by Mike Covey, CEO of
Corporation at the University of Montana on March 12, 2014. Covey’s
whole lecture should be interesting to forest owners, but if your time
is limited, be sure to listen to the question and answer session from
54:15 to 56:45.
“In upland hardwood
forests of the Southeastern U.S., prescribed fire is increasingly used
by land managers citing objectives that include hazardous fuels
reduction, wildlife habitat improvement, promoting oak regeneration, or
restoring forest composition or structure to an historic condition.”
Source: Prescribed Fire in Upland Hardwood Forests, US Forest
Service Science Update – 99.
The American Farm Bureau is not happy with EPA’s proposed ‘Waters’ rule,
released March 25, 2014. “The EPA proposal poses a serious threat to
farmers, ranchers, and other landowners. Under EPA’s proposed new rule,
waters – even ditches – are regulated even if they are miles from the
nearest ‘navigable’ waters. … The American Farm Bureau Federation will
dedicate itself to opposing this attempted end run around the limits set
by Congress and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has ruled
repeatedly that Congress meant what it said: ‘navigable waters’ does not
mean all waters. This proposed rule shows that EPA refuses to accept
If you are planning to build a trail or road on your land, you
may want to review the information available in
Trail Design for Small Properties by Baughman and
A Landowner’s Guide to Building Forest Access Roads by Wiest.
You may also find it useful to listen to road and trail discussions from
past issues of Capital Ideas – Live!:
Troy Scott Parker,
Tom Sauret, and
$250 million in legal costs – that’s the financial cost of
Arizona’s Yarnell Hill Fire that resulted in the deaths of 19 firefighters
last June. While it would be highly unlikely for 19 forest rangers to
ever work together on one fire in Alabama, it probably wouldn’t be a bad
idea if legislation similar to that being debated in Arizona were
discussed in Montgomery. The entire annual budget of the Alabama
Forestry Commission is around $21 million.
Environment of Uncertainty Undermines Economic Growth. Source:
The EPA Administrator is a prankster by
Reed Hopper in
Liberty Blog 3/26/14
The State of Oregon is making plans to sell state-owned forestland.
We are told there was a large ad in The Wall Street Journal,
2/26/14, describing the sale. We suspect this land sale may be in some
way related to the concerns of the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate in
Oregon. See 3/18/14 below.
Mineral Documentary Tax: If you own mineral rights that have
been “severed” from the surface rights, you can pay the ad valorem taxes
in a one-time lump sum of 15 cents per acre instead of paying an annual
tax. Thanks to landman
Mark Chapman for the information.
Joe Hopkins, President of the Forest Landowners Association, will be
leading the "My Vision for My Forestland" panel discussion at the
Meeting. Read his testimony
on the Endangered Species Act given today, March 26, 2014, to the
Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry of the U. S. House of
Representatives Committee on
Can it disc a green field? Can it mow roads and
fire lanes? We wonder what would stop it from running over a child or
“Black Smoke on the Horizon.” The Alabama Senate Bill (SB411)
that would have merged the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) with the
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries is dead, reports the
Alabama Forestry Association in its March 21 blog, From the Weeds. BUT, the really interesting news in the blog is not the
possible merger of the AFC into non-existence, but the budget cuts the
Commission will face next year – 4 percent in FY2015 – and even bigger
cuts, possibly 15%, in FY2016. If you were the State Forester, what
would you cut? Fire suppression, prescribed burning services, Alabama's
Treasured Forests magazine, wildfire prevention campaigns, Forest
Inventory & Analysis, landowner advice and services, Champion Tree
program, Tree Farm inspections, water quality complaints, Treasure
Forest Certification Program support…?
Timber Tax Website contains everything you ever wanted to know
about federal income and estate taxes related to forestland. Previously
hosted by Purdue University, the site is now hosted by the University of
"Boatright Companies to sell Montevallo railroad tie treatment
facility" to Montreal-based Stella-Jones.
Pine Sawtimber Prices Depend Heavily on Single-Family Housing Starts.
Unfortunately, while housing starts are projected to increase for the
next six to eight years, the numbers slowly decline after that. Get more
details by listening to
Kansas City Fed
Economist Jordan Rappaport on AFOA's Capital Ideas - Live!,
Oregon GOP Candidates for U.S. Senate are sending a strong message to
those who might believe federal forestland ownership is a good idea.
Is there a message here for Alabama, where 94% of the forestland is
privately owned? Source: The Westerner, 3/18/14, quoting from the
Herald and News, 3/18/14.
Letters were sent by AFOA to three candidates for Secretary of State
asking the candidates to respond to a need for the
State’s website to publicly announce dates of Property Tax
Referenda throughout the state. Property tax votes are usually held
on odd dates, announced in local newspapers just days in advance, and
experience very low voter turnout. We asked that special elections,
primaries and runoffs also be accurately posted to the SOS website. The
three candidates are
Jim Perdue, and
Merrill (we did not find address information for Lula Albert-Kaigler).
The first response to our letters is from Judge Reese McKinney: “Informing the public about election matters should be a priority for
our chief elections official…As Secretary of State, I will see to it
that we develop a first class web-based platform that becomes the source
for election information on local, state, and national issues for the
citizens of Alabama.”
"For the fourth consecutive year, shipments of Southern Pine lumber
recorded an increase from the previous year. Shipments in 2013
totaled 15.026 billion board feet (Bbf), an increase of 5% over the
volume shipped in 2012 (14.279 Bbf) and 27% above 2009 shipments (11.79
Bbf)." Source: Southern Forest Products Association NewsNote,
3/6/14. The good news doesn't stop: In Woodworking Net, we read
on 3/7/14, "U.S. hardwood lumber exports totaled a record 1.463 billion board feet
in 2013, besting the previous one-year high set in 2006 by 11%.
Record shipments to China and Vietnam, and the strongest shipments to
Mexico in seven years, offset a 2% decline in exports to Canada and the
slowest exports to Europe since 1986. It marked the fourth consecutive
annual increase since exports bottomed out at 802 million board feet in
A Primer on State and Local Tax Policy published by
Mercatus Research: Alabama is at the low end of Total State Tax
Collections per Capita in the U.S. (page 32), BUT Alabama’s Property
Tax Collections per Capita are much higher than our neighboring states
(page 38). Interesting, too, Alabama’s Sales Tax Collections per Capita
are lower than our neighboring states (page 37) and our Individual
Income Tax Collections per Capita are higher than most of our
neighboring states (page 36). The information reported by Mercatus Research is
so different from what we read in many Alabama news sources that it’s
hard to believe. Please let us know how it is in error. Thanks.
The Piedmont Plateau
Birding Trail now has a newsletter and a scheduled event (May
31-June 1 Hatchett Creek Canoe Float).
The Trail consists of 34 birding sites in nine counties.
From the Weeds is a new political news blog recently created
by the Alabama Forestry Association (AFA). The blog will “provide
legislative, legal and political matters of interest” to AFA members.
We’re not sure if the blog will be password protected in the future, but
it isn’t today. SB411, the bill that
would merge the Alabama Forestry Commission into the Alabama Department
of Agriculture and Industries is the top story today. The 3/11/14 blog
contains links to
an analysis of the bill and
a copy of the bill.
“The Supreme Court sided today with a Wyoming landowner who
challenged the Forest Service's construction of a bicycle trail on an
abandoned railway that slices through his property…. The ruling is a
broad victory for property rights activists. There have been many
lawsuits filed challenging so-called rail trails under the
Constitution's takings clause, which states that no property may be
taken without just compensation. … potentially a third of the
country's 270,000 miles of rail lies on rights of way granted under the
law at issue in the case. Trails or highways built on that land are now
susceptible to legal challenges, potentially putting the government on
the hook for millions of dollars in settlements.” Source: E&E
Publishing, LLC, 3/10/14.
Click here for the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“The expansion of the February deer season to cover most of Alabama
south of Montgomery and a reduction in the daily bag limit for
antlerless deer statewide were among the recommendations
presented by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF)
Division to the Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) for the
2014-2015 hunting seasons.”
Click here to see a map of
the recommended February deer season expansion. We thought you also
might enjoy reading an opinion piece on hunting regulations by
“legendary woodsman, author Tom Kelly:”
Why ending Alabama’s fall turkey season is so completely preposterous.
Free Market Environmentalists are invited to participate in "the 14th
annual Enviropreneur Institute sponsored by the
Property and Environment
Research Center (PERC). This two-week professional development
program for entrepreneurs and conservation leaders will be held in
Bozeman, Montana from July 17-18, 2014. The application deadline is
March 17, 2014. A young person who dreams of improving wildlife
habitat on family land, making possible successful guided hunts, a busy
lodge and cabins, and even off-season trail riding and for-fee bird
watching might be the perfect candidate for the Enviropreneur Institute.
The Alabama Forestry Commission may become a Division of the Alabama
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Industries if
Senate Bill 411 becomes law. SB411 (117 pages) was passed out of the
Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee today (with one
amendment) to be debated at some future date in the full Alabama Senate.
We heard that no comments from the public were allowed by the committee.
We also understand that there is no companion legislation in the House.
Send comments about the legislation, pro or con, to
Aerogel, made from wood, may someday be used to clean-up oil spills.
Institute for Discovery video demonstration.
North Alabama woodland owners may find the
Tennessee Forest Products Bulletin a useful resource. Check
out the price for Grade 1 White Oak Stave Logs (for whiskey barrels)
($950+ per thousand board feet (mbf),
Rule) (page 4) compared to Miscellaneous Hardwoods, Region II ($167+
per mbf, Doyle) (page 6). Moving the tree species that remain on the
land after thinning towards higher quality species holds potentially big
rewards for landowners and their heirs.
Talladega County passed a “Logging Notice Ordinance” that will go into
effect on March 10, 2014. “The county now joins 15 others
scattered across the state in requiring notification before logging on
farm-to-market roads. Talladega’s version is basically a copy of that
being used in the other counties.”
The Alabama Loggers
Council believes this ordinance violates state law
2012-257) and goes beyond “notification” into the realm of
“permitting.” If you would like to help the Alabama Loggers Council stop
unnecessary regulations, contact Ray Clifton at (334) 265-8733 x 130.
“Southern Pine exports finished 2013 at a volume approaching 445 million
board feet (MMbf), a jump of 13% above the 2012 export total,
according to the latest trade data released by the USDA’s Foreign
Agricultural Service. That 2013 volume exported represents an increase
of 43% above the 312 MMbf exported in 2010. The top three destinations
for Southern Pine exports in 2013 were the Dominican Republic (69.9 MMbf),
China (64.2 MMbf) and Mexico (60.7 MMbf).” Source: Southern Forest
Products Association News Note, 2/26/14.
"I shudder at the idea..."
Vermont lawmakers are considering a
bill that would require a permit for development within contiguous
forest. The restriction on development rights is being done “to curb
[forest] fragmentation.” In Colorado, a county government is using
the power of eminent domain to take private forestland
“to preserve open space.”
The Colorado case received national
attention on the
February 21 Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren show.
“The United States’ high tax burden on capital gains has long-term
negative implications for the economy. This non-neutral tax creates a
bias against savings, slows economic growth, and harms U.S.’s
competitiveness,” reported the Tax Foundation in a February 11, 2014
paper entitled The High Burden of State and Federal Capital Gains
Tax Rates. To make matters worse for forest owners, the
U.S. Congress is considering removing timber income from long-term
capital gains tax treatment.
High school students who want to learn about forestry as a career are
urged to sign up for
Auburn University Summer Youth Program Forestry Camp.
The camp will run from July 13 – 18. Tuition is $605. For more
information about the camp, contact Dr. Becky Barlow at (334) 844-1019
email@example.com. If you would like to donate a copy of the
book, Managing Forests on Private Lands in Alabama and the Southeast,
to be given to a camper upon completion of the camp, send your check in
the amount of $60, made payable to Auburn University Foundation,
to School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Attn: Heather Crozier, 602
Duncan Drive, Auburn University, AL 36849 or contact Heather at (334)
844-2791 or Sharon Tatum at (334) 844-1983 or
Alabama now officially
has a new State Forester. Greg Pate was sworn in by Gov. Bentley
on February 18th.
The demand for furs is increasing as the "buyers in China, Russia, and
Korea watch their incomes grow," reported The Missoulian on 12/26/13.
The Alabama Trappers and
Predator Control Association (ATPCA) reported to AFOA that there
is a market for Alabama wild fur, the reporter having recently sold
otter and beaver pelts. The ATPCA is planning to conduct a 3 day
Education Workshop in Greenville, Alabama, February
AFOA has 10 copies (ALL HAVE BEEN DISTRIBUTED 3/14/14) of the
Forest Landowners Guide to the Federal
Income Tax, Ag Handbook No. 731, and will give them to AFOA
members who pay shipping costs of $3.75 each. Make your check payable to
AFOA and send to AFOA Tax Guide, P. O. Box 361434, Birmingham, AL 35236.
If you don't need a hardcopy of the Guide, you can read it on line at
www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/42921. Last year the Southern Research
Station paid the cost of printing and AFOA paid shipping costs to
provide copies of the Guide to more than 200 public libraries in
Firewood Ministry begun by the men’s ministry of the Ethelsville
Baptist Church grows to cover several counties. 75 pickup loads of
firewood were recently delivered to families in need. Source: McShan
Plane Dealer, February 2014.
“The greatest risk in timberland investing is paying too much for a
property and this is driven largely by uncertainty around future
timber volumes and values.” For an interesting discussion on investment
Forest Research Notes, Vol. 10, No. 2. An archive to all past
Forest Research Notes is at
In a conversation last week with Extension Agent Beau Brodbeck,
we asked him about Apps for iPhone or Android that would help landowners
navigate around their properties – record paths where they walked or
drove and mark special places like property corners. He quickly held out
his smartphone with
showing us the last few trails he followed on his morning exercise
routes. If you know of an App that other forest owners might find
useful, please write to AFOA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
bio for Beau)
Election results from February 4th.
Mike Holmes, Tree Farmer, won the runoff in Alabama House District 31
(Elmore & Coosa counties) and, since there was no Democrat Party
opposition, will complete the term of former Rep. Barry Mask.
Margie Wilcox won the District 104 (Mobile County) special general
Anthony “Alann” Johnson won the Democrat Primary Runoff for District 53
(Birmingham) and will face
Republican Willie (W.A.) Casey in a
special election on March 25.
House District Map.
You are invited to assist the Forest Landowners Association by
nominating individuals for the following awards:
Forest Landowner of the Year, Extension Forester of the Year, and Young
Forest Landowner of the Year.
Picture a Litter-Free
Alabama is the theme for this year’s
Against a Littered State) Poster (K-6) and Essay
Contests (7-12). Litter clean-up and prevention of trash
dumping are important to forest owners. If your child’s or grandchild’s
school participates in the contest, please take time to thank the
teacher or administrator who makes it happen. Thanks too, to PALS.
Congress passed the $956 billion Farm Bill today. The pony in the
legislation (there must be one in there someplace) is
“a provision preserving the treatment of forest roads and forest
management as nonpoint sources subject to state-derived Best Management
Practices (BMPs) under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).”
to go into effect in second quarter 2014, a new biomass
sustainability verification policy requires [UK] electricity generators to
offer proof that the biomass they process originates in forests that are
sustainably managed. ... Because the vast majority of timberland owners
[in the US South] have small timber tracts—less than 50 acres—and
because they make harvest decisions based on sawtimber markets in which
no price premium for certified wood is offered, few will be inclined to
submit to the certification process.” Source: The Wood Pellet
Manufacturer’s Guide to Biomass Sustainability Verification by Suz-Anne
Kinney, F2M Market Watch Blog, 11/25/13.
Special Elections (see below) scheduled for Tuesday, January 28 were
postponed to February 4 by Gov. Bentley due to the winter storm.
Be sure to Vote Tomorrow if you live in these counties:
• Mobile (Special General Election for Alabama House of
Representatives District 104, formerly held by Jim Barton)
• Coosa and Elmore (Republican Party Primary Election for
Alabama House of Representatives District 31, formerly held by Barry
• Jefferson (Democratic Party Primary Runoff for Alabama
House of Representatives District 53, formerly held by Demetrius Newton)
“USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service recently reported exports of
Southern Pine to be approximately 41.3 million board feet (MMbf) for
November 2013. This volume represents an increase of 23% above the same
month last year, supporting a solid year-to-date boost of 16% when
compared with the first eleven months of 2012. Offshore shipments during
November roughly break down as follows: 23.9 MMbf dressed, 8.9 MMbf
rough, and 8.5 MMbf treated lumber.
“Softwood lumber imports to the U.S. during November were
just over 985 million board feet (MMbf), up 13% from the volume imported
during November of 2012. Canada shipped approximately 955 MMbf into the
U.S. in November. For the first eleven months of last year, the volume
of imports remained steady, running 15% ahead of the rate recorded
during the first eleven months of 2012.” Source:
Southern Forest Products Association Newsletter,
January 21, 2014.
How might a pine tree grown by a gray haired Alabamian be related to a
Chinese manufactured smart phone used by a text messaging, 20-something
Pencil, The Movie, may help you appreciate the small but
very significant role we, forest landowners, play in producing many
important products used here in Alabama and all over the world. You may
also find valuable
a series of video commentaries featuring, among others,
Samford University Professor Art Carden.
Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic American Getaway
by architect/author Dale Mulfinger, is available on Amazon.com.
$24.59 hardcover, $15.39 Kindle. “In this new collection of 37 cabins,
Mulfinger rekindles his love for this treasured American icon with fresh
insight and seasoned strategies for the logic, utility, and beauty of
Utah Prairie Dogs and Dusky Gopher Frogs in Louisiana are protected by
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake and the
Gopher Tortoise are declared threatened or endangered in South
Alabama, can we expect different behavior from the agency?
Watch Shoot, Shovel & Shut-Up.
Delta National Park Study Stopped. The
Save Our Delta
group was able to convince Rep. Bradley Byrne to
removal of Alabama from H.R. 3131, The National Park Service Study
Act of 2013.
Listen to an AFOA interview with David Peterson, head of Save Our
Delta. On January 17, Peterson wrote on the Save Our Delta Facebook
page: “I urge any of you to email Congressman Byrne and thank him for
his efforts to stop the attempted Federalization of the Delta. Click on
the following link and it will take you to his website and click the
contact link. http://byrne.house.gov/.”
Tax reform targets include 1031 property exchanges,
12/14/13, will worry you if you plan to use the tax-free exchange
provision of the tax code to defer income tax from land sales. See also,
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Proposes Repeal of Like-Kind Exchange
Deferral and Other Changes Affecting Real Estate, BakerHostetler,
Construction of a wood pellet mill is being considered in Childersburg,
Alabama. If built, the mill will export wood fuel to Great
Britain. Source: The Daily Home, 11/27/13
Lynch Lawsuit Decision: Home owners and forest and farmland
owners will be happy to know that a "federal appeals court has rejected
a lawsuit challenging Alabama's property tax structure and has kept
intact one of the nation's lowest tax rates." Had we lost this case,
forestland property taxes could have increased significantly. Source: Montgomery Advertiser, 1/10/14.
More information is available from the Alabama Forestry Association.
Let's not let this happen in Alabama. "A Virginia county barred
a landowner from allowing a friend to camp on his 86-acre farm for a
hunting excursion... The county, in southeast Virginia, contends that
use of the camper would constitute an unauthorized 'campground' in
violation of local zoning ordinances." Source: WND Politics,
Prescribed Burning Insurance Available to Foresters. “All
certified or graduate foresters can apply for commercial general
liability insurance. A forester’s special liability form is available
with limits up to $1.0 million. The forester’s special liability
coverage includes herbicide application, prescribed burn liability,
smoke liability, and professional errors and omissions. Master policies
can also be issued to consultant foresters and wildlife biologists who
burn for multiple landowners.” Call Outdoor Underwriters at
1-866-961-4101. Source: The Longleaf Leader, Winter 2013.
Under threat of elimination
by Congress as part of a tax reform
discussion, capital gains tax rates are also, unfortunately, effectively boosted by inflation.
Source: Tax Foundation, 12/17/13
Sustainability with a Timber Sale Contract. The way that timber
is sold in the US South provides a strong legal framework for ensuring
that harvests are being conducted in a sustainable fashion. The process
for selling timber and the documentation that accompanies it — the
timber sale contract — are critical for demonstrating not only the
legality of the sale but that all laws and best management practices are
being followed as well.” Source: F2M Market Watch Blog, 12/10/13
“Drone for aerial photographs and video” to improve service to
clients was among the new investments made by Tutt Land Company’s Sean
Brown, as listed in an email sent by Sean this morning.
demonstration of “drone for aerial photographs and video,” make
plans now to attend the
Alabama Forest Owners’ Association’s Annual Meeting at Lake Guntersville
State Park Lodge, April 25-26. Make room reservations by calling
(256) 505-6621 or (256) 571-5540 (after hours or weekends). To receive
our special rate be sure to mention Alabama Forest Owners'
Association - market code 3654. Most attendees will make room
reservations for Friday night only, but some will stay Saturday night to
enjoy the park for a few hours on Sunday.
Movement to Create a Mobile-Tensaw Delta National Park could remove quarter
million acres from property tax rolls, timber production, and hunting.
“If they had done this in ’79 there would be no ThyssenKrupp steel
mill,” [David Peterson] said. “That would come off our tax rolls, would
take ad valorem tax away from our schools, hunting and fishing would be
more restrictive, you would have to buy state and federal licenses.
There would be severe restrictions on where you can and can’t run your
boat and put massive restrictions on what we can or can’t do.” Source:
Should the delta become a national park?, Lagniappe,
“Alabama is doing its part in utilizing renewable energy sources
including, of course, biomass. This is largely based on the long
practice of paper and wood production companies using woody debris and
wood waste to generate electricity for their facilities. Among other
interesting facts noted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration
recently, is that Alabama ranked fifth in the United States in net
electricity generation from wood waste, landfill gas, and other biomass
in 2011; virtually all of that electricity was generated by non-utility
power producers.” Source:
AFA Newsroom, January 1, 2014.