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Archived 2016 News, Issues & Information

(12/30/16) Marking clear property lines can help reduce trespassing, including inadvertent timber theft by loggers on adjacent property. This video from UK Forestry gives practical advice on marking your boundaries. If you need a surveyor, we recommend contacting Jennifer Sellers with the Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors to find a qualified surveyor in your county. Reach her by email ( or phone: (251-345-0950).

(12/29/16) Managing oil and gas development with forest resources was a presentation by Rachael Carter at the recent annual meeting of the Mississippi Forestry Association that you might find useful. If you have questions about oil and gas development on your land, you can contact her at

(12/28/16)Scientists have now developed a low-cost, environmentally friendly way to create printed materials with rewritable paper. The rewritable paper can be “printed” on with a stencil and ultraviolet light; it erases when exposed to oxygen in air or ozone.”

(12/27/16) “Congressional Republicans are planning a massive overhaul of the nation's tax system … The gist of the plan is to lower tax rates for just about everyone, and make up the lost revenue by scaling back exemptions, deductions and credits.” Henry Barclay talked about these changes and what they could mean for forest landowners on Capital Ideas—Live! If this is important to you, you might want to contribute your thoughts on the issue by calling your Representative.

(12/23/16) "The way you protect and handle seedlings can have a huge impact on their survival. Use the following guidelines to de-risk your investment, increase survival rate and get maximum growth."

(12/22/16) A word of caution to rural communities about broadband consultants. "People think consultants are a mystical group of people who have all the answers,” he said. “They’re selling snake oil. They’ve found a niche for getting taxpayer money.”

(12/21/16) "Agriculture subsidies are bad for taxpayers and bad for consumers. They are a corrupt transfer of unearned wealth to special interest groups...Heaven forbid we actually get the government out of [our] business and simply allow markets to work!"

(12/20/16) "The Rocky Mountain Region is hiring nearly 900 temporary positions across 17 national forests and seven national grasslands located in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming." Applicants are encouraged to begin now to complete the process in time. "Applications for wildland fire and other early seasonal positions will be accepted Jan. 4-11. Applications for recreation, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, engineering, administration and other positions will be accepted Feb. 1-7." Read more or apply here.

(12/19/16)Freres Lumber Co. hopes its new-to-market, veneer-based massive plywood panels will revolutionize construction…Designed to be an alternative to cross-laminated timber, Freres’ massive panels can be as much 12-feet wide, 48-feet long and 2-feet thick.” These panels are part of a larger trend. According to Forbes, “architectural interest in this oldest of building materials is surging globally.” A new exhibit in Berlin previews the possibilities of engineered wood products, with some photos from the exhibit available here.

(12/18/16) "Estate Tax Repeal to Get Renewed Push in New Congress." Valuation discounts will be by-passed in new effort to repeal the death tax. Source: National Federation of Independent Business, 12/18/16.

(12/15/16) "Timber harvesting will not require additional stormwater regulation. In 2014, Congress included in the final Farm Bill a provision that forest roads and forest management continue to be regulated through state BMPs (Best Management Practices) under the Clean Water Act. The action ended litigation that began in an Oregon district court in 2006. Congress did not address EPA’s authority to adopt a regulatory program for stormwater discharges but saw no need for regulatory action." Source: West Virginia Forestry Association eNews Weekly, 12/13/16.

(12/14/16) Standard pump gasoline quickly deteriorates and should not be kept over 30 days in any season. Start each season with a fresh batch of 50:1 2–cycle fuel mix. Read STIHL’s complete steps for prepping outdoor power tools for winter storage.

(12/13/16) We have highlighted this annual Human Freedom Index a few times over the years. For perspective, the US fell out of the top 10 list for economic freedom for the first time in 2005, and fell 12 spots this year to number 24. We are concerned that interest in property rights continues to lessen in the US.

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

(12/9/16) Scott Pruitt has been named to head the EPA. In his statement, Pruitt said: “The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

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

(12/7/16) "Hardwoods are a smaller component of wood production and consumption in the US, but provide diversification due to differences in end-uses and can produce some high-value timber." Source: Forest Research Group, Forest Research Notes, Vol 13, No. 2.

(12/6/16) PRT USA Inc. announced construction of a containerized forest seedling nursery at the former E.A. Hauss Nursery site north of Atmore, to be completed in early 2017. Seedlings will be available for the 2017/18 planting season. According to its website, Canada-based PRT is the largest producer of container-grown seedlings in North America.

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

(12/2/16) Landowners with large power transmission lines joined an AFOA conference call on 11/26/16 to discuss solar farm leasing inquiries. The inquiries are evidently motivated by a request for proposals by Alabama Power Company. Flat land such as pasture land or cleared forestland seemed to be of most interest. An attorney in the discussion group stated that he had negotiated three options to lease. For further reading: additional solar leasing considerations from a Texas perspective.

(12/1/16) Jordan Rappaport, a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City wrote, “Looking forward, single-family construction is likely to continue to drag down residential investment. Single-family housing starts peaked in March 2016 and have since sharply declined. As building a single-family home typically takes about six months, the recent decline in starts will put downward pressure on single-family construction during the third and fourth quarters. Moreover, single-family permits, a more forward-looking and better- measured indicator of construction, have been running considerably below starts, suggesting that single-family construction will remain weak in 2017.” Source: Virginia Tech – U.S. Forest Service housing market report for Sept. 2016. Hear more from Rappaport in his 2014 interview for our Capital Ideas—Live! webcast.

(11/30/16) “Ignoring the potential impacts of running heavy forest products trucks on these access lanes can potentially result in expensive remediation—and in unhappy landowners, neighbors, and members of the general public...One way to mitigate this potential is to spread the weight over a wider area with a temporary and portable plastic road.” An AFOA member recently saw these successfully in use on the Chief Ladiga trail in north Alabama east of Piedmont.

(11/29/16) “…the loss of the International Paper mill in Courtland dealt a severe blow to [northwest Alabama] timber markets,” says forestry consultant and AFOA member Stephan Tomlinson. “…a port on the Tennessee River in Colbert County would provide an inexpensive way for [northwest Alabama] timber owners to get their product to new markets.”

(11/28/16)There are an estimated 10.7 million family forest ownerships across the United States who collectively control 36% or 290 million acres of the nation's forestland. The US Department of Agriculture Forest Service National Woodland Owner Survey (NWOS) provides information on the characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors of these ownerships.” View the full report here by clicking "Download PDF" or listen to the podcast by clicking the blue button (audio x-wav).

(11/23/16) "From planting and habitat to fire and production, this fun-filled book helps children better understand how your work helps forests." The Society of American Foresters is offering a 28-page coloring and activity book in time for the holidays.

(11/22/16) As the head of the EPA transition team, “Mr. Ebell, who revels in taking on the scientific consensus on global warming, will be Mr. Trump’s lead agent in choosing personnel and setting the direction of federal agencies that address climate change and environmental policy more broadly.” Listen to AFOA's conversation with Ebell on Federal Land Acquisition in Alabama.

(11/21/16) This video from SuperTree Seedlings shows the process of preparing bare-root seedlings for sale, from when they are lifted from the nursery through being packaged for shipping out to buyers or planters.

(11/18/16) Alabama forest owner Senator Jeff Sessions was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump for Attorney General, according to this story from View Sessions' remarks at the 2014 AFOA Annual Meeting. 

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

(11/16/16) Former Alabama state representative Seth Hammett said that “prior to looking at the report, he would not have thought Alabama would be fifth in the use of biomass, or fuel from organic material, such as scrap lumber and forest debris. Much of Alabama's contribution comes from wood and wood waste from the state's forest products industry. In fact, Alabama has the third largest amount of timberland acreage in the lower 48 states, according to the report."

(11/15/16)Gov. Robert Bentley announced a $5,000 reward for anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person who is responsible for setting wildfires…People should report violations of the order to local law enforcement.”

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

(11/12/16) Forestry 2017: the Simulation is now available for PlayStation 4, in time for Christmas. Players explore different facets of the forest industry, from operating logging equipment to marketing goods and building a successful business. View a trailer and screenshots of the PC version here.

(11/10/16) "The US South has become the most active region in the country for the forest products industry...Primarily because the South provides ample access to fast-growing, quality wood fiber that is managed on private lands and is therefore not subject to much of the overbearing regulation that is so pervasive in other parts of the country."

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

(11/8/16) The Endangered Species Act defines a “threatened” species as one that “is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future . . .” The Ninth Circuit recently upheld a 2012 “threatened” designation for the Beringia seal that relied heavily on climate change models through the year 2100. We thought this disturbing precedent raised comparisons to the science fiction film Minority Report. What constitutes the “foreseeable future”, and do you trust computer models to dictate laws?

(11/4/16) Property Tax Decisions will be made by voters on Tuesday, November 8. Tax increases will be on the ballots in 5 Alabama counties: Sumter, Marion, Franklin, Marshall, and Tallapoosa. Check out page one of the November issue of Capital Ideas for brief descriptions and links to sample ballots. Sample ballots for all Alabama counties are on the Secretary of State's website at

(11/3/16) “We recommend that even seasoned landowners hire consulting foresters. When the landowner does well, the forester does well, and the land is left with more productive potential.” This article from the The Progressive Farmer, 11/16, gives concrete examples and tips for landowners on why and how to work with consulting foresters to maximize profit from timber sales. Open our November Capital Ideas newsletter, page 2, Classified Section, for consulting forester advertisements, or email AFOA for a list of consulting foresters who seek work in your county.

(11/2/16) "If Americans understood our excellent common law tradition of real property ownership, they might not be so sanguine about losing their ownership rights one right at a time."

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

(10/31/16)Environmentalists are increasingly confronted with two emerging ideas about the natural world: that there is no balance of nature, and that nature cannot be easily separated, if at all, from human action. Many are now embracing a new reality—known as the “Anthropocene”—reflecting the magnitude of human influences over the planet.” A new book of essays from the Property and Environment Research Center explores ideas about environmental policy in light of this new understanding. Read online or download for Kindle.

(10/27/16) Agroforestry integrates trees with crops and/or livestock in a single management unit. These practices can provide landowners with additional short term income opportunities managed alongside their timber. If you practice agroforestry or might be interested, this newsletter from the Association for Temperate Agroforestry is a free resource. You might also listen to our past Capital Ideas--Live! interviews from Richard Straight and Greg Ruark on silvopasture, one type of agroforestry practice.

(10/26/16) "While housing starts continue to ease upward along with lumber prices during the third quarter, prices paid to landowners for pine sawtimber stayed flat—a condition that is unlikely to change until hosing starts rise considerably."
    "Unfortunately the Canadians aren’t helping us with pine sawtimber prices. Since the expiration of the Softwood Lumber Agreement last year, imports into the United States have risen by about 23 percent."
    "The long term outlook for forestry remains good but in the short term it will probably remain more of the same." Source: F&W Forestry Report, Fall 2016

(10/25/16) The Matre Forestry survey highlighted four top sites for researching land for sale: Lands of America, Land & Farm, Landwatch, and Landflip. He notes that Lands of America, Land and Farm, and another site, Loopnet, are all part of the same company. You can also find Alabama-wide listings at the AFOA listings of land for sale in Alabama.

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

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

(10/20/16) "Public cooperation with the burn ban may have reduced fires slightly, but firefighters are still dealing with a major outbreak in areas under an extreme drought."

(10/19/16) "Over the past four decades, the U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the proportion of homeowners to the U.S. population, peaking just short of 70% in the first quarter of 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Since then, homeownership has declined to the low 60s. The rate of homeownership is likely to continue to decline further into the mid-to-low 50s as changes in demographic trends, increased regulation and stagnant real incomes all work to make the dream of homeownership more difficult to achieve.” Source:
Chris Whalen, senior managing director for the Kroll Bond Rating Agency, quoted by Virginia Tech-US Forest Service, August 2016 Housing Commentary: Section I

(10/18/16) "The emerald ash borer is now confirmed in Alabama. … The USDA APHIS, the USDA Forest Service and the Alabama Forestry Commission will work with the Alabama Department of Agriculture to decide on the immediate action and response of this pest. Official statement from the Department of Agriculture and Industries is expected soon." See also our Capital Ideas—Live! segment on the ash borer and the status of ash trees in Alabama.

(10/17/16) Weyerhaeuser announced plans to upgrade its softwood lumber mill in Millport, Ala. “This investment … is designed to improve cost competitiveness and long-term mill viability. In addition, it will add jobs and expand product offerings.” In addition, Two Rivers Lumber Company will build a state of the art sawmill in Demopolis, WSFA in Montgomery reports.

(10/14/16) "Findings from a study led by a U.S. Forest Service scientist suggest that more frequent use of prescribed fire will be needed to reach common management objectives for the hardwood forests in the southern Appalachian region."

(10/13/16) "For those who want to get into the timber sector but do not want to become too dependent on one company. ETFs (exchange-traded funds) like WOOD are ideal for this kind of investor. But what does the fund hold?"

(10/11/16)If you have a taxable estate and you want to make larger gifts or discounted sales to your heirs, it might make sense to do so before the end of the year.” (Article on pages 26-27) For further reading, check out Andy Bielbl’s strategies for both larger and smaller estates.

(10/10/16) "Methods other than clearcutting often find considerable interest on private family forest as well as public lands. There’s no better place in the South to see this variety of successful practices than at the Crossett Experimental Forest." You might find it worthwhile to visit the demonstration site for a closer look at good forest management.

(10/7/16) According to a new report from the American Forest Foundation "family landowners, who own the majority (58 percent) of the forests in the South, are key to providing forested habitat for at-risk species and sustainable wood supplies for the industry...Thus it is possible to grow and support the South’s forest-based economy and improve habitat for wildlife at the same time by working with family landowners." Source: Woods to Mill Blog, Forest Resources Association, 10/5/16

(10/6/16) The Alabama Forestry Commission has issued a Fire Danger Warning for 46 Alabama counties effective immediately, until appreciable rainfall is received. See the news release for more information and list of affected counties.

(10/5/16) We are giving away a hard copy of Southern Pine Beetle II at our October Dinner & Discussion meeting. The publication features full-color photos, maps, and everything you need to know about this destructive pest. The October 20 meeting will be at the Boot at Brook Highland, and Rick Norris, CPA will give a short program on forestry taxes. See our calendar for full info.

(10/4/16) We enjoyed this interesting video about Wayne Sasser of Opp, Alabama, who creates handmade white oak baskets. We encourage you to check out past seasons of this Absolutely Alabama video series, and let us know if you find one that might be interesting to AFOA members. Send suggestions to RLL@AFOA.ORG.

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

(9/30/16) "Big tree hunters from across the country scoured backcountry wilderness, rural farmland, city centers and even college campuses to find 64 new champions to add to the register." Check out the species without a listed national champion - maybe you've got one on your property. Alabama's champion tree list added seven new champions in 2015.

(9/29/16)Alabama can play a vital role in supplying renewable fuel wood energy and make the most out of the uptick in international demand …Without continued growth of our forest products industry to create new markets to utilize these valuable resources, it is very likely that forest owners across our state would be faced with looking at alternative uses for their land.” – John McMillan,, 9/22/16

(9/28/16) “This announcement is a call for help from the administration and an acknowledgement that [the Endangered Species Act] is broken … No matter who wins the White House in November, the law’s failings necessitate reform.” - Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, calling for an end to the “excessive litigation driving ESA-related policy decisions.” Read the full news release here.

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

  •  571 trees planted per acre with an 87.8 percent survival rate
  •  83 percent conduct first thinnings and 71 percent also conduct second thinnings
  •  average age of first thinning is 15 years with $371/acre revenue
  •  average age of second thinning is 21 years with $401/acre revenue
  •  average age of final harvest is 33 years, with range of 21 to 75 years, with average clearcut revenue of $1,614/acre

Source: Report compiled by Forisk Consulting and published by Forest Resources Association, Technical Release 16-R-17, 8/16.

(9/25/16) A new law in New Hampshire allows landowners to sue for treble damages and legal fees for damage caused by off-road vehicles or dumping. “This bill gives courts the authority to order clean-up and restitution to the landowner of any illegal dumping. It’s a strong deterrent for an illegal activity that is all too common,” said New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association executive director Jasen Stock.

(9/23/16) The Family Business Consulting Group offers advice on wealth continuity. "In my view, the key to successful wealth continuity (i.e., preserving both family relationships and family assets) lies in ensuring that the structures created to preserve family assets are aligned with the hopes, dreams and capacities of family members."

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

(9/21/16) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not add the angular dwarf crayfish, Icebox Cave beetle, Clifton Cave beetle, and the Virgin Island coqui to the threatened and endangered species list, the service said this week. This decision comes after petitions from outside organizations to list these species. Read the news release here.

(9/20/16) The "My Land Handbook" provides a document to help landowners ensure land is "smoothly and effectively passed on to the next caretakers." Although it was written for Wisconsin landowners, much of it will be useful for landowners in any state.

(9/19/16) Cultivating ginseng on your land could be a low-investment way to bring in income. Purdue University Extension is researching “simulated wild grow” of the native plant. “Our interest in ginseng kind of arises from the whole area of forest farming and agro-forestry,” says Lenny Farlee of Purdue Extension. “So, it’s the idea of combining forest management with some sort of crop that might be planted either underneath the forest or with the trees.” Wild ginseng has fetched upwards of $700 per pound in the past, but be careful – you can run afoul of regulations in place to prevent overharvesting due to high overseas demand.

(9/16/16) "Gov. Robert Bentley issued an executive order Thursday declaring a state of emergency in Alabama over concerns about fuel shortages in the wake of a gasoline pipeline spill that released about 250,000 gallons of gasoline south of Birmingham and shut down a major pipeline connecting refineries in Houston with the rest of the country."

(9/15/16) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is placing the white fringeless orchid on the federal threatened and endangered species list as threatened. This plant occurs in eight Alabama counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, Dekalb, Jackson, Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. A map of the affected counties can be viewed here.

(9/14/16) The newly announced Alabama Master Naturalist Program will offer a course in East Central Alabama beginning October 13, 2016. We look forward to attending these to learn more about the land we own and manage. Class locations will be at Wind Creek State Park in Alexander City and other to be determined locations. Cost of this course is $30 per day or $200 for all 8 sessions. Full course details as well as online registration can be found here.

(9/13/16) The Alabama Forestry Commission has hired Ray Metzler to serve as a Threatened and Endangered Species Specialist. In addition to gathering information and providing comments to state and federal agencies, Metzler will also be a resource for landowners. See the full news release here.

(9/12/16) If you’re interested in turning your drone hobby into a business, Auburn University is preparing to offer a class on UAS (drones) that will help individuals get certified to become Remote Pilots. Please email Earle Thompson at to ask questions or express interest in this Part 107 UAS class. If you have other questions about UAS related to agriculture or forestry, email Christian Brodbeck in Auburn's biosystems engineering department.

(9/9/16) In some areas of the south, replanting with longleaf after a disaster can reduce a plantation’s future vulnerability to hurricanes, fire, and pine beetles. U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) established the Restoring and Managing Longleaf Pine Ecosystems unit to help landowners interested in exploring this option.

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

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

(9/2/16) Wildfire prevention cited as reason for subsidizing use of biomass in power plants in California: “Here is the real issue: there are 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada that need to be removed. The taxpayer is going to pay either way."

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

(8/31/16) The Alabama Graphite Belt, located in western Coosa County, was once home to significant graphite production. Alabama Graphite Corp acquired 42,000 acres of mineral rights in 2012 and is “focused on exploration and development.” Driving this project is the market for highly refined graphite for lithium-ion batteries. Source:

(8/30/16) If you own land in one of the fifteen Alabama counties with shale formations, you might want to consult an expert before selling mineral rights too cheaply. “Last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data showing the world’s tight [shale] oil production could more than double by 2040.” Furthermore, “the United States is expected to contribute the vast majority of the tight oil increase." Read the full article here.

(8/29/16) Research from South Carolina suggests that coyote predation on deer fawns could force changes in hunting regulations and deer management. “Deer numbers in some areas of the Southeast have declined below the level desired by wildlife managers,” says an article from the Southern Research Station. A long term study from 2012 “established predation by coyotes as the leading cause of death of fawns and suggested that levels of deer harvest in South Carolina at that time were unsustainable.”

(8/26/16) As the FWS reaches the end of its court-mandated work plan, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is again threatening to sue the FWS over the listing of 417 species. The Westerner points out, “These sue and settle tactics do nothing to actually recover species, which the FWS has accomplished for less than two percent of the species on the endangered list.” These listings and resulting “critical habitat” designations can lock up forestland and greatly restrict landowners’ options for managing their own land.

(8/25/16) "Fifteen states including Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama filed a petition in support of a landowner’s request to have his case heard by the entire 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In the case of Markle vs. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Louisiana landowner is hoping to keep his 1500 forested acres from being classified as “critical habitat” to the dusky gopher frog, a species classified as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service." The frog hasn't lived on the land in question since the 1960s, and the FWS deemed it unlikely to ever live there again. Read more about it in an article posted here.

(8/24/16) A Sumter County, Florida man is fighting charges after shooting an alligator that was in his horse enclosure, and which then injured his son. The local news station reported that some details are unclear, but the FWC report noted that he knew a license was required to shoot an alligator. This story seems to suggest that a person can legally use a firearm to protect his home against intruders, but possibly go to jail for protecting livestock and a person from an attacking animal.

(8/23/16) Videos of selected presentations from AFOA's 2016 annual meeting are now available online. More will be added soon, so check back in for helpful seminars for landowners from experts.

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

(8/19/16) Hunters: Early Canada goose season runs from September 1-15 in several states, a tool to help manage the populations of resident geese.The focus of these hunts is to target resident geese. Resident geese reside year round in areas where in large numbers they are often considered a nuisance for the damage they can cause.” Goose season in Alabama is September 1-30, with a five-bird bag limit. Full information about waterfowl hunting is here. You can purchase a hunting license here, and must join the HIP (Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program) if you intend to hunt selected migratory birds.

(8/18/18) "Shelby County is one of 16 counties in Alabama where there have been positive tests for the Zika virus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health." On Capital Ideas--Live!, John Phillips gave his three point system for keeping mosquitoes away. You may also be interested in mosquito repellent and safety information from the CDC.

(8/17/16) "There is good reason to feel optimistic about the economic contributions the wood energy industry has the potential to make in Alabama and beyond," said Lance Brown of PACE. For example, "Wood energy is proving to be a critical asset to British energy security, allowing the U.K. to meet its emissions goals and avoid over-dependence on foreign natural gas."

(8/16/16) With sorrow, we announce the passing of forestry leader Mike Dixon, Jr. from brain cancer. We were pleased to have Mike as an AFOA board member who helped us by giving us good advice over the years. Funeral services for Mike will be held Wednesday 8-17-16 at 2 PM at the First Baptist Church in Eufaula. Source: Alabama Forestry Association Newsroom, 8/15/16

(8/15/16) Alabama is not the only state facing hard decisions. "A budget cut of more than $3,000,000 forces the Mississippi Forestry Commission to lay off 25 employees, four of which are state arson investigators."

(8/12/16) Single family houses are getting larger, but that does not necessarily mean more lumber. The 2016 first-quarter analysis of the housing market by the Forest Research Group has current and historical data on housing starts, and also some good information about trends in lumber use in one of the biggest markets for pine growers.

(8/11/16) Many landowners would benefit from the upcoming workshop Forestry for Non-Foresters. “This course will be especially useful for landowners and those who work with foresters and the forest industry such as forestry agencies, associations, forestry investment firms, real estate investment trusts and banking institutions with forest investments.” The two speakers also presented a successful seminar on this topic at our annual meeting. The meeting program and links to speaker bios can be found here.

(8/10/16) The portable basketball courts used for the Rio Olympics are made of US hardwood, milled and put together in Michigan, and painted and sealed in Tennessee. “We were competing against companies from Europe, to U.S., Canada and Asia, and in the end, they chose us…in our industry, we won a gold medal.

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

(8/8/16) A timely reminder: If you order seedlings now, suppliers are more likely to have what you want; if you wait until they're needed, you might not be able to get what you need. Contact information for some seedling suppliers is below:

(08/05/16) TerraStride Pro is an "online mapping platform" used by real estate professionals. See how Matre Forestry Consulting used the software to show property boundaries and embed photos in the maps they are using to sell 368 acres of forestland in southwest Georgia. Click here and scroll to the bottom to look at the aerial image.

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

(08/02/16) Webinar tomorrow, August 3, from 1 PM to 2 PM Central Time on a mobile GIS app, Wolf GIS Apex. The developers will go over the basics, functions, and features of this brand new smart phone app that should be of special interest to forest landowners.

(08/01/16) A successful model for "common sense, science-based approach to managing forests" is the privately owned working forest, according to Suz-Anne Kinney in her Forest2Market blog, The West's Ravaged Woodlands -- A Problem with a Proven Solution.

(7/29/16) You don't have to negotiate a timber sale by yourself. "Working with professional foresters and consultants consistently brings in higher bids on timber sales...There are many benefits that a landowner can receive by working with professionals such as local regulation expertise, tax advice, timber sale administration, reforestation assistance, financial cost share assistance, etc." Source: National Woodland Owners Association's Wednesday Woodland Word, 7/27/16

(7/28/16) “'For sixty years now, the sign of active fire protection has been an airplane dropping retardant or a helicopter dropping water,' says Stephen Pyne, a professor of history at Arizona State University and the author of over a dozen books on wildfire.“  This article is the best we’ve seen on the topic of the cost and effectiveness of fighting fire with aircraft. It argues that with any significant fire, “the effect is a bit like spitting on a campfire.” Some call unnecessary use of planes and helicopters to fight wildfire “the CNN drop” because good "media optics" reassure the public that enough is being done. 

(7/27/16) AFOA's current Hunting Insurance Liability Policy ends at midnight on July 31. To prevent a lapse in coverage, current users need to send renewal applications and payments ASAP.. New users can click here for the application. If you are renewing, your renewal application should have been received in early June. Please call our office at 205-987-8811 if you cannot locate yours.

(7/26/16) "Healthy forests, just like healthy human populations, are sustained by a diversity of age classes. Each class has a role to play in maintaining wildlife and human communities for years to come," says an article on Foster Folly News from July 13, 2016. For practical information, check out the segment on nurturing young forest with Dr. Katie Greenberg in this Capital Ideas--Live! interview from 2015.

(7/25/16) Pokemon Go and the free market: "People are walking, and even running, some for the first time in their lives ... it took a nostalgic video game available on every smartphone in the country to accomplish what no government program ever really could." Source:, 7/22/16

(7/22/16) The Republican 2016 platform calls for big changes to the EPA and administration of the Endangered Species Act. The platform calls for changing the EPA from a federal agency to a bipartisan commission to “…shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states.” The platform also calls for the end of the practice called "sue-and-settle"—"in which environmental groups sue federal agencies whose officials are complicit in the litigation so that, with the taxpayers excluded, both parties can reach agreement behind closed doors.” Read more at this July 20 post from The Westerner.

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

(7/20/16) The Fifth Circuit Court in Louisiana handed down a baffling decision recently about the dusky gopher frog: "The decision [to reject the challenge to the critical habitat designation] is remarkable because it upholds the determination by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to designate areas as “critical habitat” that are not currently habitable by the frog and have not been shown likely to be habitable in the foreseeable future."

(7/19/16) Lil' Lodges, based in Bear Creek, Alabama, makes mobile, customizable cabins. We were impressed--photos show lots of wood in the interiors and exteriors. The March 2016 issue of Business Alabama placed the cabins in the larger trend of tiny homes: "Steve Sullivan, sales director, now sees a different audience as three or four of these 400-square-foot park models are produced every week, covering the gamut from the most elegantly appointed and modernized to rustic and functional. Lil’ Lodges, too, was featured on Tiny House Nation, with a spectacular mini-structure built as a posh family getaway in the Northeast."

(7/18/16) Are you considering purchasing a bulldozer for your land? "ForesTree Equipment Trader is a new marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of used forestry machines, attachments, components, and parts; it connects allied service providers with potential customers; and it connects employers with potential employees." The service is provided in partnership by Hatton Brown Publishers and Southern Loggin' Times.

(7/15/16) The F&W Forestry Report, available here now, features second quarter stumpage prices, a surprising move by Weyerhaeuser, the first new pulp and paper mill in the US south since 1985, and more timber market news.

(7/14/16) We haven’t heard of issues problems in Alabama lately with the designation of a river under Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but William Perry Pendley, President of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, is looking for evidence that these designations can have adverse effects for locals and their property rights. If you have any experience with or information about problems related to this act, please share them with him at 303-292-2021. He can also be reached via contact form on the MSLF website.

(7/13/16) The West could learn some lessons about fire from the South, this article reports, but attitudes here might also be changing as people unused to prescribed fire move closer to forests that need it. “They want the experience of living near nature, but they bring attitudes of not wanting to smell cattle urine or smoke from fires,” says Johnny Stowe, who manages fire in South Carolina. Managing where people and wild lands meet is an issue worldwide: this city has imposed new rules to regulate building near wildfire prone areas.

(7/12/16) “It is a rich irony that it is often experts who have exacerbated economic problems.” Forest landowners might want to watch the growing field of behavioral economics, which suggests that experts are needed to guide the decisions of irrational citizens. This article calls behavioral econ an “assault on reason,” and we agree it’s wise to think hard before completely turning over your rights to the experts.

(7/11/16) The Fort Payne City Council passed an ordinance last week requiring permits for logging operations. “The council [also] enacted a 2-month moratorium forbidding the issuance of the newly required logging permits, effectively shutting down new logging projects in Fort Payne for the next 60 days.” All Alabama landowners should be aware of this troubling precedent.

(7/8/16) Bringing deer parts into Alabama from Chronic Wasting Disease-affected areas (see this map) is now prohibited. "Body parts from [CWD] infected animals can carry the same deadly risk to Alabama’s deer herd as live animals ... Under this new regulation they must take steps to debone the meat or remove all brain tissue from their harvested deer before returning home to Alabama." Read the full news release from Outdoor Alabama.

(7/7/16) “In enterprising families, there are many facets to preparation: leadership, ownership, independence and stewardship…Continuity in the family business is dependent upon the next generation.” This article from the Family Business Consulting Group on how to get teens and young adults interested in the family business might be helpful for forest landowner families.

(7/6/16) We have expressed our misgivings about the Game Check Program, but since game checks will be mandatory in the 2016-17 hunting seasons, the Game Check Seminars happening statewide can give you the information you need to be in compliance.

(7/5/16) Technology could offer expanded markets for Alabama wood. Oxford's Kronospan plant, which makes wood-based panels and laminate flooring, is expanding, investing $362 million in a multi-phase plan which could result in hiring another 160 to 200 employees. Cross-laminated timber is also making advances in the US, and this commentator expects CLT manufacturing to grow as "research and demonstration projects fuel interest in prefabricated engineered wood systems."

(7/1/16) "Alabama had a great year in 2015 for new and expanding industry with over $7 billion in new capital investment. The forest products industry had its best year since the recession with nearly $900 million invested in the state, continuing a 7- year upward trend." - Ken Muehlenfeld, Director of the Forest Products Development Center, Alabama Department of Commerce. Read the news release from the Alabama Forestry Association here.

(6/30/16) "A pair of 90-second animations are delivering key messages for using softwood materials around the home at, the website sponsored by the Softwood Lumber Board targeting residential construction markets." Watch: "Wood: the Go-To Choice for Your Outdoor Oasis" and "Wood Wise: Building Planet- and People-Friendly Homes." Source: Southern Forest Products Association Newsletter, 6/28/16

(6/29/16) “Forest owners are pleased EPA exercised its broad discretion under the CWA by keeping management of water quality programs at the local level through state Best Management Practices (BMPs),” said Dave Tenny, NAFO President and CEO. Read the news release at the NAFO website.

(6/28/16) "The Hoover City Board of Education is facing decisions regarding Jefferson County's renewal of the ad valorem taxes set to expire in the next few years." Source: Shelby County Reporter, 6/15/16

(6/27/16) "Incredible video footage shows an air tanker dropping ten thousand gallons of water over a tiny fire and drenching the cameraman and a bystander." Source: Wildfire News of the Day, 6/14/16

(6/23/16) "Unfortunately, certain toxic chemicals have been found in some lakes and rivers in Alabama.  Some of these chemicals can accumulate in fish.  With some of the chemicals, higher levels of the contaminants can be found in older and/or larger fish.  When chemical concentrations are elevated in fish, they can pose health risks to people who eat them." Read the full report on toxins in Alabama fish.

(6/22/16) "The Obama administration is on the verge of approving routine commercial use of small drones. The long-anticipated rules will mean drone operators would be able to fly without special permission." Source: The Westerner, 6/21/16. Update, 7/5/16: The FAA has released the final rules on the use of small, unmanned aerial systems.

(6/21/16) For a worthwhile read on the background and management of shortleaf pine, check out the Shortleaf Pine Restoration Plan released by the Shortleaf Pine Initiative. “The Plan is intended for use by practitioners of such disciplines as forestry, wildlife and conservation biology, and natural resources management, as well as policy makers in state and federal governments, and most importantly, by the private landowners and public lands managers whose land management decisions are so vital to the future of shortleaf.” According to the plan, shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata) has the largest geographic extent of the southern yellow pines, and commercially, shortleaf pine was once a valued timber commodity.

(6/20/16) Brooks Mendell's Forest Finance Simplified is a solid guide to forest investment and the financial side of forest management, according to Steve Wilent in his article "Net Present Value: A Business Skills Refresher" in The Forestry Source, June 2016.  “'At the end of the day,' Mendell said at the workshop, 'the ability to do the math about where capital is spent or allocated responsibly and getting returns [is important because] the research shows—and we know from experience—that when forest owners and investors have the opportunity to manage their resources and generate a reasonable rate of return, they replant.'” Mendell also writes the Aunt Fanny series on forestry for beginners.

(6/17/16) A recently signed law in New Mexico bars the public from walking or wading in streams that run through private property without written permission. Source: The Westerner, 6/16/16

(6/16/16) AFOA member J. Hudson Hines of Beatrice, Alabama was named "Young Forest Landowner of the Year"  by the Forest Landowners Association at their national conference in Orlando, Florida on June 6, 2016. This national award is given to an outstanding FLA member under 50 years old and involved in the promotion and sustainability of timberland.

(6/15/16) The banning of the "hack and squirt" technique in California shows why it’s important to keep local and state lawmakers informed about forestry and land management practices.

(6/14/16) Wooden high-rise buildings? The University of British Columbia’s, 18-storey, mass-timber Brock Commons student residence will be the world’s tallest mass-timber building. “Brock Commons is intended to stand as a showpiece not only for the sustainability features of wood, but also for its cost-competitiveness with more traditional concrete and steel construction.” A 12-story building of cross laminated timber (CLT) is set to go up in Portland, Ore. later this year. "It's going to change the way we build here in the U.S.," said John Redfield, the chief operating officer at D.R. Johnson, the only lumber mill in the U.S. certified to make CLT.

(6/13/16) Bourbon producers testified recently to the Kentucky state legislature about the demand for white oak and their efforts to educate landowners on management techniques favorable for white oak. “'We need forests the size of Rhode Island populated with white oak just for our use,' said Jason Underwood with Sazerac, the parent company of Buffalo Trace and Barton 1792. Underwood said his company’s demand for white oak has reached “crisis” proportions as Buffalo Trace and the company’s other distilleries ramp up bourbon production each year."  Source: River City News, 6/3/16

(6/10/16) The Economic Impact of Privately-Owned Forests in the United States is the third update of a study begun by the National Alliance of Forest Owners back in 2009. See Dave Tenny’s interview with AFOA back in 2013.

(6/9/16) This video interview features Bobby Watkins, the Mississippi Forestry Association's 2015 Tree Farmer of the Year. "Watkins has a tree farm where multiple use is more than a label, it’s the guiding management principle. You’ll find beautiful pine timber, wildflowers, wild life, and family history at Coontail Farm."

(6/8/16) NAFO’s “A Visual Guide to Working Forests” is a learning resource (in pdf or jpeg format)  that might be useful for teachers and home bulletin boards. Some of particular interest are:

(6/7/16) "When tree removal starts, people jump to the conclusion that houses or a new Walmart is coming," says New Jersey forester Bob Williams. He says this article on educating the general public about forest management gets it right.  Bob talked more about his practice of putting up signs near timber harvests on our May episode of Capital Ideas--Live!

(6/6/16)Most people will conduct just one (or two) sales from an individual timber tract in their lifetimes. Getting full market value for the timber is therefore critical.” This primer from walks you through the basics of selling your timber.

(6/3/16) “…solid flooring sales have been impacted by the overall slump in the market across the United States in the past year and losing ground to and market share to engineered flooring.” Source: Woodworking Network, 5/19/16.

(6/2/16) At a special called meeting of the Alabama Forestry Commission on Tuesday, May 31, the Commission voted 4 to 2 to dismiss State Forester Greg Pate. Source: AFA Newsroom, June 1, 2016.

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

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

     “One of the species listed was the Black Pinesnake, and in the second meeting, they said it could be found in the Scotch Wildlife Management Area (WMA). At first, they indicated they were not likely to designate any critical habitat in Alabama, but rather on Federal land in Mississippi.
     “There had been a possible sighting in 1994 and another in 1995, for what was believed to be a Black Pinesnake. In 2014, they went back to sightings that were 20 years old, even though a single snake lives only about 11 years in the wild.
     “All it takes is for someone to think they see it and report it to your state’s agency. You don’t have to be a herpetologist. Or have a photograph. That becomes the 'best available science.'
     “The two sightings were three and half miles apart. From their studies of the New Jersey Pinesnake, the snake needs at least 5,200 acres. So, based on these two sightings and the satellite imagery, topography and soil, they decided they might make the two sightings into a 32,000-acre critical habitat.” Source: Gray Skipper, Scotch Land Management Company

     “…the listing of the Black Pinesnake as a Threatened Species … was based on insufficient scientific evidence that was presumably gathered by individuals accessing the WMA for their own purposes.” - Scotch Land Management, "Why we reached this decision."

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

(5/27/16) Woodland Owner Profiles developed by the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative break down landowner data by state and region. Some things, like landowner demographics and the average tenure of the land, remain remarkably similar nationwide. Some factors vary widely, like landowner objectives and reasons for owning forestland. Peruse the cache of information at

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

(5/25/16) "What message does this send regarding our priorities? Timber and Agriculture are two of the most important segments to the state’s economy. At the rate that Medicaid and Corrections are expanding, the other General Fund agencies will soon be completely swallowed up. To make matters worse, the other agencies are forced to adopt higher fees and earmarked taxes in order to make up their reduced budget appropriations." Source: From the Weeds, Alabama Forestry Association, 5/24/16. Editor's Note: Agencies are not "forced" to adopt higher fees and raise earmarked taxes. It is the nature of agencies to almost always seek higher funding than appropriated by the legislature. It is the responsibility of lawmakers (appropriators) and voters to rein in this instinct. 

(5/24/16) How bad is it? This interactive map can zoom in to the street address of cogongrass infestations. This "highly invasive pest permanently alters plant and animal communities, increases fire frequency and intensity, and requires extensive investment to control." For Capital Ideas--Live! in 2015, Nancy Loewenstein talked about her research, which proved for the first time that the pest can be eradicated.

(5/23/16) We liked these videos for their perspective on two very different forestry operations in Oregon. The first is a drone's eye view of a cable logging operation on federal land, a technique not often used in Alabama. The second is an interview with a small-scale tree farmer many of us can relate to, showing his old-fashioned but still effective equipment.

(5/20/16) This free online workshop from FEE teaches the value of free markets. “It is designed to be delivered by non-economists using interactive, hands-on activities and guided discussions … Our expertise is teaching students how freedom matters to their lives and the lives of all.”

(5/19/16) “Once in the environment, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) prions may remain infectious for many years.” If you lease your land for hunting or hunt on it yourself, CWD, which affects deer species, is a threat to keep an eye on. We were glad to see this map from the USGS, which shows Alabama and its neighbors free of Chronic Wasting Disease. More info from the USGS National Wildlife Health Center here.

(5/18/16) Subdividing, selling and developing land is the sad result forced on many landowners by this country’s laws and regulations that have unintended adverse environmental consequences.- Source: The Daily Caller, 4/14/16. Read the full article here. Additional information: Panel discussion on family-owned forestland at the AFOA Annual Meeting, led by Joe Hopkins, quoted in the above article.

(5/17/16)A lot of times it’s a result of dragging trailer chains, dragging exhaust systems, pulling over and parking on high grass.  Either that or poorly maintained vehicles.” - Dolores Garcia, fire mitigation and fire communication specialist. Read the full article for other less known hazards and mitigation tips.

(5/16/16) The Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop (TCW) will be held July 11-14, 2016 at Auburn University. The TCW program focuses on forest ecology, management, and products through guest speakers, field trips, and hands-on activities. Please spread the word about this outstanding workshop and encourage teachers in your area schools to attend. If you are interested in financially supporting this effort, email Ashley Smith. Click here to learn more or register for the event.

(5/13/16) "...the housing sector remains a welcome support to an otherwise fragile economy; however, unlike the run-up leading into the Great Recession, the housing market will no longer be the driver of the economy with a positive but limited contribution." - Lindsey Piegza, Chief Economist, Stifel Fixed Income. Read the VT/USFS March 2016 housing commentary here, and get past commentaries along with a new economic conditions report here. Both reports contain in-depth housing data, useful for market-minded forest landowners.

(5/12/16) The new monthly Driptorch Digest newsletter from SERPPAS Prescribed Fire Work Group offers current relevant news stories; articles and online resources of interest; training, webinar, workshop and conference listings; and more. It should be useful to any landowner or professional with an interest in prescribed fire. Click here to read and subscribe.

(5/11/16) "AFA supports sufficient funding for rural infrastructure, specifically, the repair/replacement of the approximate 1,000 bridges that are posted. HOWEVER, AFA further believes that adequate funding would exist for this purpose if existing fuel tax revenues are allocated fairly between ALDOT and the counties. Currently, 99% of the tax on diesel fuel is directed to ALDOT, while the current tax on gasoline is distributed 55% to ALDOT and 45% to the counties. AFA supports allocating the existing diesel tax in a similar fashion to that of the gasoline tax." Read the AFA's full position on the fuel tax here.

(5/10/16) We found this relevant in light of yesterday’s article about Tata Steel and green energy in the UK: “The main driver for wood pellet demand is the European Commission’s 2020 climate and energy plan… The United Kingdom is far and away the primary destination for wood pellets from North America.” We spotted this on page seven of F&W Forestry’s newsletter, available online here. Read through for more good articles on tree planting numbers, housing starts, and timber markets.

(5/9/16) If you sell to the export pellet market, it might be a good idea to watch that market carefully. Tata Steel has announced an immediate withdrawal from Britain, threatening 4000 steel working jobs, and 40,000 jobs in dependent industries. The main reason given for abandoning Britain, is the high price Tata is forced to pay for energy, thanks to Britain’s green energy policies.

(5/6/16) "Katrenia Pruitt Kier of Huntsville and Robert N. Turner of Sulligent, the two newest appointments by Governor Robert Bentley to the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), began their five-year terms by attending their first Commission meeting on April 19." Read the news release here.

(5/5/16) Both the Property and Environmental Research Center (PERC) and the American Land Rights Association (ALRA) call for stopping the continued conversion of private lands to the federal estate under a permanently funded Land and Water Conservation Fund. An ALRA newsletter tells what to say to your Congressman. PERC describes why, “Without reform, the LWCF should be terminated.” Update: The LWCF amendment was barely defeated 212 to 205. Rep. Terri Sewell is the Alabama representative we spotted who voted "Yes" in favor of permanent funding of the LWCF. Source: American Land Rights Association, June 1, 2016

(5/4/16) The Land Show covers Alabama rural land issues on the radio (times and stations here) or on your device with podcasts. One topic in this episode covers how European mills in Live Oak, FL might affect Alabama Timber Markets. Segment starts at 20:40. Listeners can also email questions to the show to be answered on air.

(5/3/16) International Paper (IP) announced an agreement to purchase Weyerhaeuser's pulp business. "IP said it expects to save about $175 million annually in "synergies" — business lingo often used to refer to cost cuts, revenue improvements and savings from combined purchasing power."

(5/2/16) "The out-of-control logs flew over the landowner and rested across the partially loaded log trailer." A reminder that it's a good idea to take precautions and make sure you are seen when visiting logging sites.

(4/29/16) We're not sure if SB416 - allowing the use of purple paint on trees to mark property lines and boundaries as a conspicuous notice against trespassing - is a good idea or not. Be sure to let Senator Melson and your House member know what you think. If your property lines are already painted bright white, blue, or something other than purple, will trespassing loggers and hunters be allowed to ignore those colors?

(4/28/16) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced it will not designate “critical habitat” for the “threatened” Northern Long-Eared Bat. According to the Forest Resources Association's Neil Ward, the announcement is generally favorable, but "for landowners attempting to perform due diligence on project areas, the decision may reduce the availability of FWS resources in identifying hibernacula when planning harvest or management projects." Read the FWS explanation of the decision here.

(4/27/16) Alabama is home to 23.1 million acres of forest land. The number of live trees on Alabama’s forest land in 2014 is estimated at 17.0 billion trees, an increase of 2.0 percent from 2013. Read the full report from the USDA.

(4/26/16) To "ensure that affordable wood supplies remain available on the market," the "forest products industry needs to revitalize mutually beneficial landowner assistance programs," blogs Consultant Fred Souba, with ProVision Forestry, LLC, in Forest2Market's April newsletter. He suggests more commercial support for small landowners will “foster a stronger forest industry.”

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

(4/22/16) Privately-owned housing starts in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,089,000. This is 8.8 percent below the revised February estimate of 1,194,000, but is 14.2 percent above the March 2015 rate of 954,000. Single-family housing starts in March were at a rate of 764,000; this is 9.2 percent below the revised February figure of 841,000. The March rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 312,000. Read the full report.

(4/21/16) Florida officials are planning second bear hunt after last year’s successful hunt, the first in many years. Bear numbers are increasing in that state. Georgia has established bear hunting season dates. We are keeping an eye on neighboring states, with the possibility that Alabama’s bear population might be increasing.

(4/20/16) On April 5, Verso Corporation announced the closure of its Wickliffe, Kentucky coated paper mill, which had been idle since November 2015, “the result of a continuing and accelerated decline in demand for the company’s coated paper products and a significant influx of imports driven by the strength of the U.S. dollar.”

(4/19/16) From a healthier stand to better return on investment, thinning forestland can yield many benefits. This page from the University of Florida will tell you everything you need to know about thinning your stand before maturity.

(4/18/16) "If the forces behind this show-us-your-papers subpoena succeed in punishing (or simply inflicting prolonged legal harassment on) groups conducting supposedly wrongful advocacy, there’s every reason to think they will come after other advocacy groups later. Like yours."

(4/15/16) "If pulp prices fall, older, high-cost producers, mainly in the northern hemisphere, may go out of business, reducing any excess capacity. In the long run, demand for tissue can only grow." Click here for the full article about Brazil's fast-growing eucalyptus plantations in a weak national economy, and what it could mean for the global pulp market.(4/8/16)

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

(4/13/16)Only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water ‘forming geographic features’ that are described in ordinary parlance as ‘streams,’ ‘oceans, rivers, [and] lakes.’” Could a more specific definition of waters of the United States curb property rights infringement by the Army Corps of Engineers?

(4/12/16) This might help you get ready to talk with your tax professional, especially if you sold timber last year, or are thinking about selling timber this year.

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

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

(4/7/16) LEED now recognizes alternate paths to certification. But it must be remembered that Certified Tree Farms, SFI, and FSC, now all recognized by LEED, still only account for a small fraction of the wood grown in Alabama and the rest of the U.S. Most forestland is "self-certified" as “private forestland managed in the best interests of the owners’ families and their forested acres.” Organizations, private or government, who bias their wood purchases in favor of certification schemes negatively impact the vast majority of American private forest owners and the forests they manage.

(4/6/16) "Opponents to the fuel tax increase maintain that there is plenty of opportunity to cut the size of government to address the critical need for infrastructure…without having to raise taxes."

(4/5/16) “Here’s to a fully loaded truck leaving our landowners’ forest heading on a county road to the mill!” We are following with interest a Tennessee bill that would require a 2/3 vote of a County Commission before a county road could be posted at a lower weight limit than normal state highway weight limits. “TFA believes this bill will alleviate the arbitrary decision making powers in certain counties.” UPDATE: This bill has been sent to the Tennessee governor for signature. 4/13/16

(4/1/16) Check this map from the Forestry Commission to determine whether or not your property is in the habitat range of the protected Northern Long-Eared Bat. It also notes which counties have documented cases of White Nose Syndrome, and the article lays out the Endangered Species Act rules for landowners in areas where the bat lives.

(3/31/16) John Lancaster and Wilson Lowe were presented cash awards on March 30, 2015 from the Alabama Forest Owners' Association Educational Fund at the Auburn University School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences' Student Awards Ceremony. John and Wilson were selected by an AFOA committee led by Dr. Emmett Thompson, former Dean of the School and a forest landowner. Award applicants were required to submit course transcripts and an essay reflecting their appreciation for the profession of consulting forestry. These awards totaled $2,500 and are given with the goal of improving the availability of quality forestry services to forest landowners.

(3/29/16) America's First Forest: Carl Schenck and the Asheville Experiment will air Thursday, April 7 at 9:00 pm on Alabama Public television. Based on Schenck’s memoir, the program examines the pivotal role played by pioneering forestry educator Carl Schenck and his founding of America's first school of forestry—the Biltmore Forest School. Click here for more info and additional air dates.

(3/28/16) Our deepest sympathy and prayers to the family of Dr. Robert Parker, who passed away from injuries received in a prescribed burning accident on his forestland last week.

(3/25/16) Forestry 2017: The Simulation is available for PC today, March 25, with console versions coming later. Players will “use first- or third-person views to operate heavy machinery, process the wood in a sawmill, and then afterwards market the goods.” AFOA will give one copy away at the end of the annual meeting in April (must sign up and be present to win) and tentatively plans to have the game running on a PC during the meeting.

(3/24/16) The role that forests play in the water cycle is widely known and celebrated. Yet, many are unaware of the contributions of forest product markets in the forest/water relationship. Read the full article.

(3/23/16) A bi-partisan group in the US House of Representatives launched the Working Forests Caucus to “create awareness and facilitate discussions on America’s private-owned working forests.” See the letter from the co-chairs to their colleagues, and consider reaching out to your Members to encourage them to join the Caucus. Find your representative here.

(3/22/16) Biologists have determined [four] species found in the southeastern United States do not require further review for federal protection at this time. The Southern Dusky Salamander is found statewide, so its listing would have potentially affected many Alabama landowners.

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

(3/18/16) As expected, Representative Mac McCutcheon (R- Madison) introduced the second bill of a two bill package that will result in an increase in taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel of six cents per gallon. Source: AFA blog, 3/17/16

(3/17/16) If you want a food plot on your land, you might need chainsaws instead of tractors. “Savvy deer managers know that planted food plots are nice, but native vegetation is necessary part of the deer property equation.” Click here for the full article. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, National Woodland Owners Association, 3/16/16

(3/16/16) The Foundation for Economic Education is offering a full scholarship to its economic seminars for students (ages 14-26) who apply by this Friday, March 18."Economic thinking gives you an advantage in life. You’ll be better equipped to make decisions, take advantage of emerging opportunities, and gain a clearer view of the world around you." Use tuition scholarship code FEE2016 when you apply to take advantage of this opportunity.

(3/15/16) The AFA remains opposed to a proposed fuel tax increase until it is clear that some of the funds will go to county roads and bridges. It also opposes a 5-mill property tax increase (SB136) supported by 7 state senators, including Trip Pittman (R-Montrose), who, only a few weeks ago, tested the water for possible legislation that would increase property taxes on forestland. From the Weeds lists the six senators who opposed the 5-mill tax increase. You can find their phone numbers here to thank them directly for their continuing support in opposing the property tax increase. Source: From the Weeds blog, 3/14/16

(3/14/16) The Property and Environment Research Center is accepting applications for three educational programs for students and business people:

  • The Undergraduate and Graduate Colloquium will introduce students to a property rights and market approach to environmental issues. A scholarship covers tuition and lodging, and a travel stipend is included. Information and application here.
  • The Summer Graduate Fellows program offers a mentored research experience for students who have a well-defined natural resources or environmental economics topic. This opportunity includes a monthly stipend. Apply here.
  • The Enviropreneur Institute offers in-depth training for entrepreneurs to take their environmental business or solution to the next level. Success stories and application here.

(3/11/16) Forest landowners in the Birmingham area: learn how hunting regulations are developed and turned into state laws that can directly affect enjoyment and income of private landowners who lease hunting rights. The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) will meet Saturday, March 26, in Pelham, AL. Click here for full meeting information.

(3/10/16) If you are leasing land for turkey hunting, it might be a good idea to coordinate with your hunters before you visit in the morning during turkey hunting season. Even if you're not leasing it, be sure to wear bright colors in the woods for safety. Click here for official turkey season dates.

(3/9/16) "The South’s forests are so productive that, while they makeup only 2 percent of the global forest cover, they produce 12 percent of the world’s industrial roundwood and 19 percent of its pulp and paper products—greater production than that of any other nation." This data-rich slideshow from the Southern Forest Products Industry includes graphics and interactive maps for large or small scale perspectives on the industry.

(3/8/16) If your forestland property tax exceeds $2/acre, you could benefit from current use property tax assessment, available in all counties. Click here for more information and an application.

(3/7/16) "If you are contemplating selling stands with hardwood sawtimber, this is the time before the prices plateau or even fall. Any tract with merchantable timber that can be harvested during wet weather should do well relative to wet tracts with similar timber." Source: Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 3, Iss. 2. Other topics include: Timber market update; like-Kind exchanges; forest-use trends; pricing reports.

(3/4/16) Alabama's roads received a grade of D+, and its bridges received a C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2015.According to NFIB, this puts the state's businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Would the gas tax increase being considered fix the problem?

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

(3/2/16) This new app is a pocket guide to the native plants of North Georgia. Plants are searchable by bloom time, common name or scientific name and feature descriptions with color photos. Available on Google Play and the App Store. Source: SREF Annual Report, 2014-2015

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

(2/29/16) Property tax and timber severance tax increase proposals: Senator Trip Pittman (a Republican from Daphne), is exploring legislation that would almost double the forestland property tax (now 10 cents/acre, proposed 19 cents/acre). The tax would be called an “assessment” to avoid the “burdensome” necessity of requiring a vote of the people to raise the tax.

(2/26/16) Senate bill SB24 (full text here), which would remove sales tax on farm equipment and machinery, may be helpful for forest landowners. If it might affect you, take action: contact the bill's sponsor, Tom Whatley, to voice your opinion, get more info, or suggest changes.

(2/25/16) We suspect there may be some critical information hidden in the US Fish & Wildlife Services’s 2/11/16 announced “Changes to the Regulations for Designating Critical Habitat” and “Final Policy on Exclusions from Critical Habitat.” Many private landowners equate the designation of critical habitat as nothing more than a federal seizure of private land, as was done in southwest Alabama with the designation of critical habitat for the black pine snake. If you consider yourself “informed” on the ESA, please email us ( if there is anything noteworthy buried in these two announcements.

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

(2/23/16) The Mississippi Forestry Commission released Mississippi Trees, a free Tree ID app available on Google Play and the App Store. Based on their popular handbook, the app has photos and information for both native and non-native species, searchable by common name, scientific name, or family group.

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

(2/19/16) A bill that would allow hunters to use bait to hunt white-tail deer and feral swine passed in the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday. Read the full text of the bill here. Source:, 2/18/16

(2/18/16) "These reforms would enable parks to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on Congress for annual appropriations." Proposed reforms begin with "Stop acquiring more land for the park system and start prioritizing the care and maintenance of existing lands." Source: Property and Environment Research Center, 2/16/16

(2/17/16) Strong local resistance to a proposed expansion of a New Hampshire wildlife refuge calls to mind similar circumstances around the Cahaba River in 2010. It is vital for landowners to stay informed in these situations.

(2/16/16) This video series from the Alabama Forestry Commission features the 2016 winners of the Treasure Forests Helene Mosley Award talking about their land and how they approach stewardship.

(2/15/16) Tax changes related to property and roads will be on the ballot in five Alabama counties on March 1. Click the county name to view the sample ballot.

BALDWIN: 1 mill, 30 years; 3 mills, 30 years
BARBOUR: 2 mills – no end date specified on ballot
CHOCTAW: ½ mill, 30 years
FRANKLIN: ¼ cent sales tax from schools to be moved to roads (ATRIP) – to be continued with elections every 2 years
RUSSELL: $50/residence and $100/business for volunteer fire protection outside city limits of Phenix City

(2/12/16) Rural county roads and bridges are vital to the income of forest landowners and farmers, and they need your support. Click here to read more.


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

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

(2/10/16) "With the real unemployment rate in the U.S. at 10.3% (16 million individuals unemployed, stopped locking, or work part-time) and household income growth nonexistent or negative, it's hard to envision a scenario where the U.S. housing market returns to "normal" anytime soon." Read Virginia Tech's December 2015 Housing Commentary report here.

(2/9/16) "Senator Cam Ward (R- Alabaster) introduced SB15 to un-earmark approximately $400 million in taxes to direct them to the General Fund as opposed to specific state agencies. Included in his bill is the Forest Products Severance Tax and the Forest Product Processor’s Privilege Tax. These taxes amounted to $5.865 million in FY15 and had previously been directed to the Alabama Forestry Commission. AFC’s total budget for FY15 was $22.4 million which included the $5.865 earmarked tax and also a $8.757 million General Fund Appropriation. AFC’s budget for FY16 (the current year) is $25.2 million which includes a $7.042 million General Fund Appropriation. Potentially losing the earmark for AFC will have a dramatic effect on services provided to Alabama’s timberland owners. Additionally, by removing the earmark, the bill also removes the statutory requirement that AFC must use 85% of the severance tax for fire protection." Source: From the Weeds blog. We wonder if the severance tax on timber would have passed had the funds not been earmarked for fire protection? Is it time to repeal the timber severance tax? AFOA members will be attending the Alabama Agribusiness Council's Legislative Reception at 5 PM tonight. (see AFOA Calendar of Events)

(2/8/16) This Agroforestry Handbook is a good starting place if you want to know more about the principles of agroforestry and how they can work for you. Source: Tuskegee University, 1890 Agroforestry Consortium, Southern SARE

(2/5/16) "The Forest Landowners Association Awards recognize outstanding landowners and forestry professionals contributing to the stewardship and sustainability of private forests – and protecting the rights of the families who own them …Think of private forest landowners who set an example in the landowner community and nominate your peers for the recognition they deserve.

(2/4/16) A new Senate bill will set forest biomass on equal footing with other bioenergy sources. The amendment directs federal agencies to establish policies that:

  • Reflect the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy;
  • Recognize biomass as a renewable energy source;
  • Encourage private investment throughout the biomass supply chain,
  • Encourage forest management to improve forest health; and
  • Recognize state initiatives to use biomass.

(2/3/16) An update of Linda Wang's Tax Tips for Forest Landowners is now online. The second page contains an important change on Depreciation and Sec. 179 Expensing. Compare to the original version at page four of the November issue of our newsletter.

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

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

(1/29/16) Five key factors can affect the price you get for your timber (stumpage). It's good information to consider when buying land as well. Source: Forest2Market blog, 1/12/16

(1/28/16) The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board (CAB) assists in shaping Alabama’s natural resources policies and regulations, including hunting seasons and bag limits that can affect hunting leases. Citizens can address the CAB at their meeting on Saturday, February 20, in Montgomery. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m., and those who wish to speak should bring 16 copies of any printed materials they wish to share with the Board. Get full meeting details here, or view a map of CAB districts and representatives here.

(1/26/16) Speaking today to the Alabama Forestry Council in Millbrook, Alabama, Oscar Berry, Deputy District Director for Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D, AL 7) reassured Council members that Sewell continues her support for important forestry tax provisions. AFOA board member Henry Barclay, III, CPA, described the importance of the provisions in the 1/20/16 issue of Capital Ideas - Live!

(1/25/16) "Republicans on Thursday moved a bill to the brink of Senate passage that would overhaul Wisconsin's managed forest land program." Wisconsin forest owners struggle with confiscatory taxes, state intrusion in their management activities, and rules that force them to allow trespass on their land. We hope that doesn't happen here. Source: Journal Sentinel Online, 1/14/16.

(1/22/16) "Despite slower growth in China’s overall economy, the nation’s high timber deficit will sustain growth in its already high import volumes of wood fiber." Read the full article at RISI, Inc.

(1/21/16) The law allows landowners to deduct from their income tax return up to $10,000 in reforestation expenditures per tax year, per qualified timber property. Note that you are allowed more than one qualified property. We strongly advise you to consult your tax advisor about what constitutes a "qualified timber property."

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

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

(1/18/16) How do you determine the age of a tree? Just count the rings, of course! One ring equals one year of growth. But if you're counting rings on a stump, the life of that tree is over. So how do you count those rings while the tree is alive? Foresters use a special tool called an "increment borer". Read more and listen to the audio segment here. You can buy this tool from Ben Meadows or Forestry Suppliers. Thanks to the Wednesday Woodland Word (Volume 4 Number 2) for this story.

(1/15/16) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service published its much-awaited Final Rule concerning the threatened Northern Long-Eared Bat, found in north Alabama. One notable change from the Interim Final Rule reduces the protected radius from 1/4 mile to 150 feet around “known, occupied maternity roost trees” during the June 1-July 31 pup season. Read more at the FWS website.

(1/14/16) The website Ballotpedia has sourced information about each of the candidates for the upcoming March 1 primary for US Senator in Alabama. Links to the candidate's campaign site can be found in the "External Links" section on each page.

(1/13/16) This article suggests that forestland might soon be facing an ownership crisis, but savvy commenters disagree. A 2014 age survey of AFOA membership reveals 78% of members are age 60 or older, but we are not convinced this is either new or a source of worry. Source: American Public Media’s Marketplace, 1/11/16. Editor’s Note: For as long as I can remember, typical hair color for forest landowners has been gray.

(1/12/16) "The Southeast accounted for a little over 8 million acres [68%] of the total activity and continues to lead the nation in all categories of prescribed fire use." Source: 2015 Prescribed Fire Use Survey Report, National Association of State Foresters

(1/11/16) The Big Short attempts to describe the cause of The Great Recession (and the crash of sawtimber stumpage markets), but the movie leaves out the role of government in creating the housing bubble that led to the crash. The House That Uncle Sam Built by Steven Horwitz & Peter Boettke provides background information not included in the film. On a related note, Virginia Tech's Housing Report for November 2015 is out and mostly positive; see slide 6 for a useful synopsis.

(1/8/16) "The recent listing of the Black Pine Snake is the first time I know of where a landowner must get approval from the US Fish & Wildlife Service to change land use (e.g. longleaf to loblolly, or longleaf to agriculture or pasture)." Tune in to Capital Ideas - Live! on January 20 to hear more from Keville Larson, quoted above, about how the Endangered Species Act could affect you. For additional reading, a Q & A from the USFWS - scroll down to the last paragraph of Q5.

(1/7/16) In light of events in Oregon, we suspect the 2010 resistance to a government land grab in Bibb County and neighboring counties was justified. Does it surprise you when private landowners are not excited to have the federal government as a neighbor? Source: National Review, January 2016.

(1/6/16) MachineryLink is betting that the sharing economy can cut costs for the agriculture industry. Could the Uber and Airbnb model work for forestry equipment? Source: Progressive Farmer, Winter 2015

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

(1/4/16) "...increasing overall profit on timber sales is only one of several benefits that a landowner should consider when contemplating hiring a consulting forester to help manage their land. Consulting foresters also provide other valuable services that improve the quality of the timber and, therefore, the overall value of the timberland. Read the full article here.