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(05/06/21) "Few Specifics" offered on whose land will be taken when the 30 by 30 plan is activated. Would it be wrong to guess that targeted lands will be near national forests like the Bankhead or Talladega, or near federal wildlife refuges like the Cahaba River or the Eufaula? Read Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful (Cached Copy), commentary in The Washington Post, 5/6/21: A narrow path for Biden's ambitious land conservation plan, and a DOI News Release: Biden-Harris Administration Outlines "America the Beautiful" Initiative.

(05/05/21) Roots and Branches -- Tree growth characteristics are discussed in a new "Back Porch Forestry" by Dr. David Mercker, University of Tennessee. He has also recently published Firewood Harvesting as a Forest Management Tool. Click here for the entire collection of Back Porch Forestry.

(05/04/21) A time lapse of Google Earth aerial images of Alabama "shows something special: forests as a renewable resource. Large tracts of land turn brown immediately after harvest, but just as quickly re-green as the forest grows back. Active forest management helps maintain forests as a sustainable industry. Click here to see 35 years of sustainable forestry in 10 seconds!" Source: National Association of State Foresters Weekly Newsletter, 4/23/21.

(05/03/21) F&W Market Update reported Friday that in Florida many sawmills will no longer take sawlogs larger than 18 inches in diameter at the butt. The Update also reported that fire "devastated the East Alabama Lumber Company sawmill on April 22.

(04/30/21) If you're thinking about harvesting timber on your land, you need to find out what some of the experts are telling the loggers. Timber Harvesting Guidelines for Forestry Best Management Practices by Richard Cristan and Carey Potter is full of information that will help you and your forester spell out your requirements for maintaining clean water on your land. A PDF version is available as well as a link to Alabama's Best Management Practices for Forestry. Assistant Professor Cristan assisted with the demonstration of the portable sawmill at our Annual Meeting at the 4-H Center.

(04/29/21) "Property taxes are generally the most hated of all taxes," wrote Jonathan Williams in The Heartland Property-Tax Rebellion, National Review, 4/26/21. While property taxes have been reasonable in Alabama, appraisals of forestland are frequently inconsistent between counties and even within counties. We think you will find Williams' discussion interesting.

(04/28/21) Fence It Right The First Time: Adverse Possession in Alabama by John Allen Nichols, Neighbors, April 2021.

(04/26/21) "As a forest landowner, one of the most important questions you must answer is when to conduct a harvest. How you make that decision can involve several factors specific to your circumstances and objectives." Read more from Cut or Wait Decision-Making for Landowners by Shaun Tanger, Mississippi State University.

(04/23/21) "Biden Eyeing Tax Rate as High as 43.4% in Next Economic Package." Source: Bloomberg, 4/22/21. Read commentary on the proposed increase from Daniel J. Mitchell, 4/23/21, here. Editor's Note: Of course, most forest owners won't make million dollar timber sales, but we suspect the proposed rate changes will reach down to affect many more than a few at the top.

(04/22/21) Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a letter yesterday with 14 other governors objecting to policies that would increase federal ownership and/or control of land.  "Fifteen Governors signed a joint letter notifying President Biden that section 216 of the Climate Crisis Executive Order (14008), to conserve 30 percent of America’s lands by 2030, 'infringes on the sovereignty of the states and rights of the citizens.'" Source: Liberty Matters News Service, 4/21/21.

(04/21/21) "Tight Supplies and Higher Prices for Softwood Lumber Has China Looking at Alternative Solutions," reports Forest Economic Advisors (FEA), 4/20/21. The last sentence in FEA's brief International Markets article reads: "There are several solutions emerging in China, and one of the most practical options is using imported softwood logs to produce lumber products by Chinese domestic sawmills."

(04/20/21) "A FEW SPOTS AVAILABLE." "Live Fire Event." "Interactive Field Day in Walker County." The Alabama Forestry Foundation and Tree Farm are doing a Learn and Burn Live Fire Event in Walker County one day during the week of April 26-30.

(04/19/21) In a recent study published in the journal Forests, John Willis, US Forest Service Researcher and his colleagues discuss mixed stands as a reasonable alternative to pine plantations or exclusively managing for hardwoods. Source: CompassLive, 3/30/21. Listen to Willis when he spoke to AFOA on Mixed Pine & Hardwood Management on April 27, 2019 in Atmore.

(04/16/21) Awaiting Governor's signature, according to ALFA's Capitol Connection, 4/16/21:

  • Police Jurisdiction Bill Passes House, Goes to Governor

  • Feral Hog, Coyote Night Hunting Bill Awaits Governor Signature

(04/15/21) Attorney Banks Ladd is offering several Estate Planning Workshops next week. He plans to cover the following topics:
  o   How to protect your belongings against your kid’s debts, divorce, or disability.
  o   How to maximize the inheritance you leave to your children.
  o   How to protect your belongings if your spouse remarries.
  o   How to plan with blended families.
  o   How to understand the difference between a will and a trust.
  o   How to avoid the expenses and delays of probate.
​  o   How to keep your affairs private.

(04/14/21) Controlling Feral Pigs is on the top of many landowners' ToDo lists. If you want to see demos of trapping devices (some old-school, some high-tech), plan to visit with Mark Smith, Extension Specialist and Auburn University Professor, between 1:30 and 4:30 on April 17 - this Saturday - at AFOA's Annual Meeting at the Alabama 4-H Center, a few miles east of Columbiana in Shelby County.

(04/13/21) "We're still enjoying a booming morel season and we have plenty of time to keep finding those." If you don't know where to look for morel mushrooms or how to cook them once found, you may want to join the Alabama Mushroom Society - $20 per year. Their address is way down at the bottom of the April newsletter, a little ways below a recipe for Morel Cream Sauce - mmmm.

(04/12/21) Editor's Note: I can't think of many things that are more disturbing of a quiet day in the woods than to have a dog hunting group (hunting for deer) drop off their dogs on a road a mile or two east your property and then block the road along side of your property while they wait to get a shot at a fleeing buck.
That said, an AFOA member wrote today, "The Senate has passed out of committee Senate Bill 381 doing away with bans for dog deer hunting in Alabama. Please make forest owners aware that we may lose our property rights should this bill pass." Read more from Alabama Political Reporter, 4/9/21. Find your Senator.

(04/09/21) Hardwood Silviculturist and American Chestnut Expert Stacy Clark has produced two excellent short videos on work being done to restore the American Chestnut to our forests. Part 1 -  Introduction (9 minutes 44 seconds) and Part 2 - Science in Action (10 minutes 15 seconds).

(04/08/21) Drones with "dragon eggs" are being used to start prescribed burns in Virginia. Make plans now to see how it's done by attending AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17. The Alabama Forestry Commission's Kelvin Daniels will demonstrate the drone technology similar to that used in Virginia at the 4-H Center in Shelby County. Register online here or by mail and check here.

(04/07/21) CURB APPEAL: "When the time comes to sell your land, you can maximize your return by making a few simple land improvements, as Pat Porter, broker at RecLand Realty explains. Curb appeal is a term that is usually associated with the general attractiveness of a house, but the concept can also be applied to land." Source: LandThink, 3/30/21

(04/06/21) Brown Gold falls from longleaf pine trees, says The Washington Post, 3/31/21, "generating an estimated $200 million in annual sales across the Southeast." Pine straw harvesting will be featured at AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17. David Sherer, Sherer Straw Supply, and Zachery Hind, MTE Pine Straw will describe Sherer's straw marketing business and MTE's straw harvesting system on Saturday afternoon, April 17 at the 4-H Center in Shelby County. Register online here or by mail and check here.

(04/05/21) National Association of Home Builders wants cheaper lumber, so they are asking federal officials to increase the supply of domestic timber. One wonders how a big organization like NAHB can know so little about their supply chain that they think cheaper stumpage will somehow improve the supply of lumber. Got a problem? Call Uncle Sam to fix it. Sad day. Read more here and here.

(04/02/21) "Just last week I was reading about a western Massachusetts solar project that’s enormous, that’s going to clear forest, and the town can get 450 thousand dollars in tax revenue by allowing it to occur. That’s pretty tempting for some rural towns." Read more from interesting discussion of pros and cons of solar farms, ecoRInews, 3/24/21.

(04/01/21) The Emmett F. Thompson Endowed Deanship was established last week at the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Dr. Thompson is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association (AFOA) and past Chairman of AFOA's Consulting Forester Scholarship Committee. Read more about the scholarship program below.

(03/30/21) A recent attack by NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on private investment advisor, Suze Orman, whose message "is basic financial common sense combined with some discipline," should probably worry all investors, including those who own forestland. Read more on PowerLine Blog, Steven Hayward, 3/29/21.

(03/29/21) "Introduction to Handguns" courses scheduled this spring. "As firearms sales continue to set records, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Law Enforcement Section recognized a demand in basic training for handgun safety and use. Eight million new gun owners were created in 2020 alone."

(03/26/21) Forestry Extension Specialist Becky Barlow talks about her work at Auburn's School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences (starts at 2:34), Alabama Farmers Federation's Preston Roberts describes his efforts to rein in regulatory activities of cities outside their city limits (SB107) (starts at 17:27) on The Land Show Episode 280. Becky will speak to forest owners at AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 17.

(03/23/21) "Tax Tips for Timberland Owners: Maximizing Your Deductions" is the headline for today's Forest2Market Blog.

(03/22/21) Should forest owners be allowed to conduct prescribed burns on their land? What about harvesting timber? That discussion is going on right now in Florida as landowners tell why active forest management is good for the state's economy and environment. Lynetta Usher Griner in The Gainesville Sun, 3/17/21. Jim Karels in Florida Politics, 3/17/21. (04/29/21) Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB 88 this morning.

(03/19/21) Mass Timber is a semiannual publication of The Architect's Newspaper. We think you will enjoy the photos in the Winter 2021 edition demonstrating the numerous ways architects are putting wood to work. Enjoy.

(03/18/21) The cost of a 3D-printed concrete home reported to be competitive with the cost of a stick-built home in New York. What might happen to our stumpage market if interest in the new technology were to catch on across the country? Might high lumber costs push builders in this direction?

(03/17/21) The completion of Westervelt Lumber’s Thomasville, Alabama, mill was celebrated on Friday, March 5. The first load of lumber left the facility, purchased by Great Southern Wood Preserving. Second shift to start up in second quarter of this year.

(03/16/21) Back Porch Forestry's creator David Mercker, University of Tennessee, has been busy this winter. He has released 5 new training programs for forest landowners. They are Forest Measurement - Part 1, Forest Measurement - Part 2, Forest Measurement - Part 3, Options for Treating Degraded Hardwood Stands, and Hardwood Log Defects. See a menu of all Back Porch Forestry episodes here.

(03/15/21) Workaround to mitigate some of the adverse tax effects on timber investors arising from 2017 tax law changes is described by University of Georgia's Dr. Yanshu Li. If your tax advisor treats your forestland activities as an investment, you may want to forward Dr. Li's short explanation to him.

(03/12/21) Red Bugs! Chiggers! It's about to be that time of the year again. David Strickland wrote about the pests in the March 2021 issue of Great Days Outdoors magazine, Chigger Bites: How to Prevent, Identify, and Treat (turn to page 20). Editor's note: Last spring we learned (in May), to our discomfort, that our permethrin treated clothing did not prevent chigger bites, so we added Deep Woods Off to our armor (in June). End of problem.

(03/11/21) Should a city have the right to condemn your property to create a biking or hiking trail? Senate Bill 105, sponsored by Senator Tom Whatley, would prevent that from happening. Read the Alabama Forestry Association's Legislative Alert.

(03/10/21) "Caution Urged with All Burning," reported the Alabama Forestry Commission on March 8. WSFA12 (Central Alabama) and WKRG5 (South Alabama) reported on numerous wildfires in the the state. If you do plan to burn in or near your forestland, burn permit information from the AFC is available here.

(03/09/21) Easements, Agreements, Contracts and Emails. Braun & Gresham's Landowner Newsletter today contains an interesting discussion on the legality of agreements made only by email. Scroll down to Easement Contract Considerations.

(03/08/21)At 3:30 a.m., with such dignity as I can muster of a July morning, I step from my cabin door, bearing in either hand my emblems of sovereignty, a coffee pot and notebook. I seat myself on a bench, facing the white wake of the morning star. I set the pot beside me. I extract a cup from my shirt front, hoping none will notice its informal mode of transport. I get out my watch, pour coffee, and lay notebook on knee.” - Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac. For bench building plans, click here. Topic idea source: Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, 3/8/21.

(03/05/21) When we purchased this land, never in my wildest dreams did I think we would spend such a high percentage of our income on gravel and (my husband’s) time on road maintenance. We are in fact, the “road crew.” Read more from Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update (March 2021), including five linked publications on road building and maintenance.

(03/04/21) Earlier this week, we've been told, Case Western School of Law hosted a seminar entitled: Wildlife as Property Owners: A New Conception of Animal Rights. The speaker was Karen Bradshaw, an Arizona State University Professor of Law. Reading material here.

(03/03/21) Weyerhaeuser will acquire 69,200 acres of "high-quality" timberlands from Soterra in southwest Alabama for $149 million ($2,153 per acre). Highlights from Weyco's press release included:
o   Fee simple ownership
o   Excellent operability
o   Well-stocked timber inventory (76-percent in plantation average age 14)

(03/02/21) Municipal Planning & Police Jurisdictions which reach outside of city limits (SB107) and a Broadband Authority bill (SB215) were discussed by Preston Roberts, Alabama Farmers Federation, in a brief video. About 4 minutes.

(03/01/21) "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" No, that's not what the south Alabama landowner said when filing a lawsuit last week against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over their designation of critical habitat for the "endangered" black pinesnake, but the thought may have been hovering in the air nearby. Read the 35 page lawsuit.

(02/26/21) MARKETS: "Lumber Prices Are Soaring. Why Are Tree Growers Miserable? Sawmill operators harvest gains while Southern landowners struggle with tree surplus; 'I'm not making anything.'" Source: The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2021. Cached version if you have trouble opening the WSJ.

(02/25/21) "Abnormally high amounts of rainfall we have seen over the last few months in the South have caused stumpage prices to surge in some pockets and based on the continued wet weather predictions, these prices will not reverse anytime soon." Read more at Forest2Market Blog by Mike Powell, 2/25/21.

(02/24/21) Two new webinars that you might find interesting are Getting Started Managing Your Land and The Digital Toolbox for the Woodland Owner: There's an app for that! We have not watched either of these webinars, so would very much appreciate a note to tell us if they were useful to you, or not. Thanks.

(02/23/21) Use extra caution when using an electric chainsaw -- even when wearing safety chaps. Video - about 3 1/2 minutes.

(02/22/21) Advances in herbicide technology for pine management with Pat Minogue, Associate Professor of Silviculture at the University of Florida, is the follow-up workshop that Vegetation Management Primer (see below, 2/16/21) prepped you for last week. Starts at about 2:10; about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

(02/19/21) The new Northern Logger App is free and contains information you might find useful, such as "log volume rules, timber volumes, woody biomass tons per acre, lumber tallies, culvert sizing, gravel requirements and a retirement planning calculator." An introductory webinar is on line, but we had trouble viewing it. Let us know if you find the App useful. Thanks.

(02/18/21) Nature Trail Development on Small Acreages is a 36 page booklet published online by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. This is a good time of the year to plan a trail, since visibility in the woods is better now.

(02/17/21) The Overstory is Mississippi State University Extension's newsletter for forest landowners. Topics from the September 2020 issue included: Mississippi Timber Price Report, Successful Hardwood Plantings, and Can a Change in Pine Planting Strategies Provide for a Better Fit for a Changing Market? Past issues archived here. A new issue will be published in March.

(02/16/21) Controlling competition so your planted trees are free to grow, reducing fire hazards, maintaining roads and trails, reclaiming land taken over by kudzu or cogongrass -- these are few of the reasons we can think of that might encourage you to use herbicides (weed killers) on your property. Florida Extension Agent Chris Demers narrates Vegetation Management Primer: Why Use Herbicides? Starts at about 2:06; about 40+ minutes.

(02/15/21) IRS FORM T: "The purpose of IRS Form T is to provide information on timber accounts for your records and to be filed with your tax return when required. If your timber is held as an investment, not as part of a business, you are not required to file IRS Form T. This will be the case if you only make an occasional sale of timber (one or two sales every 3 or 4 years). You are, however, required to maintain records which, at a minimum, provide the information included on Form T. It is recommended that you complete the applicable Parts of Form T even if you are not required to file it with your return for the current tax year. The completed form should be maintained in your records." Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 2/10/21.

(02/12/21) Freeze Injury Alert -- If you have seedlings on hand waiting to be planted, this message from the Southern Nursery Management Cooperative is for you.

(02/11/21) In an attempt to undo restrictions on expansive federal land purchases, 90 members of Congress sent a letter yesterday to the U.S. Department of the Interior. One AFOA member wrote: "If your Representative signed, you may consider giving him/her 'therapy,' as the late great Chuck Cushman said." We did not see anyone from Alabama on the list.

(02/10/21) Take a walk across Alabama with the winners of the Outdoor Alabama Photo Contest.

(02/09/21) Chinese Tallow or Popcorn Tree. If that tree has become a pest on your land, you might want to weigh in on the proposed release of two insects (a beetle and a moth) that could be used to control the tree's spread. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would like your comments before February 22.

(02/08/21) Forest products company stocks up. Raymond James today raised the target for PotlatchDeltic Corporation to $61 per share (it was $50.33 at the time of the notice). They did the same on 2/1/21 for Weyerhaeuser: Target to $37 per share (it was $32.04 at the time of the notice). Source: Raymond James Client Reports.

(02/05/21) LandThink: "When searching rural land for sale, which social media platform are you most likely to use?" Of course, we would be remiss if we didn't tell you to check out AFOA's

(02/04/21) Legacy Planning: A Guide for Virginia Landowners is a new book published by Virginia Tech Extension Service. The 56-page book is available on line, but hard copies may be available - perhaps for a grandparent who is not comfortable with online publications. Check with Jennifer Gagnon, Coordinator, Virginia Forest Landowner Education Program -

(02/03/21) An Estate Planning Basics webinar for landowners was presented by Texas attorney Margaret Menicucci, Braun & Gresham, on January 26th, 2021. "This webinar highlights the 3 common challenges landowners face: protection against exploitation, leaving a legacy, and keeping up with changes in the law. It also identifies basic estate planning documents you should consider when meeting with an advisor." About 14 minutes.

(02/02/21) How much does it cost to plant an acre of loblolly pines? How much does it cost to prescribe burn 40 acres? How much does it cost to ... ? We've all asked questions like these and you may have recently spent money on forestry practices and know very intimately the costs of getting work accomplished. Auburn University's Professor Adam Maggard would like your help to produce a report: Costs and Trends of Southern Forestry Practices. Please consider sharing information with Dr. Maggard by answering a few survey questions. Click here to see 2018 report.

(02/01/21) Woodcock. Did you know the strange looking little birds live in Alabama and other parts of the South in the winter. According to Seth Maddox, the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division’s Migratory Gamebird Coordinator, the ideal habitat for woodcock is forests that have been manipulated. "Logging operations really help,” he said. “Every time you clear-cut a patch of land, when it starts coming back up, that first five or 10 years provides the ideal cover for woodcock. When the trees get tall, the woodcock don’t use it as much because there is less underbrush.”

(01/29/21) We received a rather upbeat timber market report this week from F&W Forestry Services. The F&W Market Update of 1/27/21 contains one sentence that you should pay attention to, if you have marketable timber on land that can be logged in wet weather: "As is common this time of year, timber sales that are wet weather-operable and accessible can bring a significant premium."

(01/28/21) "Missouri Poacher Burns Down Landowner's Cabin in Retaliation," by Patrick Durkin in MeatEater, 1/19/21.

(01/27/21) "NO! We don't want to give anyone an almost unlimited right to raise our taxes!" That's what we think voters in southeast Shelby County said yesterday to proponents of a Southeast Shelby Rescue District when they voted overwhelmingly to prevent the creation of a new taxing authority. Source: Shelby County Reporter, 1/26/21. Alabama legislators must get this destructive method of taxation-without-representation under control. 

(01/25/21) Mark your calendar for 2022. If you are interested and concerned about the health and direction of Alabama state government, you won't want to miss the Alabama Forestry Association’s Governance Policy Seminar next year. Here is the Seminar's 2021 Agenda.

(01/21/21) The Age of Wood by Roland Ennos: "Brilliantly synthesizing recent research with existing knowledge in fields as wide-ranging as primatology, anthropology, archaeology, history, architecture, engineering, and carpentry, Ennos reinterprets human history and shows how our ability to exploit wood’s unique properties has profoundly shaped our bodies and minds, societies, and lives." For Wall Street Journal subscribers: 'The Age of Wood' Review: How to Carve a Civilization.

(01/20/21) Concerns for the comfort of your neighbors was one of the reasons you might want to use a silencer on your high-powered rifle. For an interesting discussion about suppressors or silencers, please listen to a Great Days Outdoors interview with expert Mike Pappas. Starts at 17:16.

(01/18/21) Just gobbledygook to most of us, but to the mushroom people among us, please enjoy the Alabama Mushroom Society's January 2021 Newsletter's Fungi Foragecast:

These colder months bring out familiar friends that may be a bit different depending on where you’re looking in the State of Alabama. Be on the lookout for Pleurotus (the oysters) which are much-less buggy while cold out, Lepista (such as L. nuda, the wood-blewit), many species of Cortinarius (the web-caps), an abundance of wax-caps of the family Hygrophoraceae (including Hygrocybe, Hygrophorus, and Cuphophyllus), Hydnum (hedgehogs), Tolypocladium, Clavaridelphus, Hericium species (including lion’s mane, H. erinaceus), Amanitas, especially in the Lepidella group, a cacophony of Stereum, Trichaptum, and more Trametes than you could count (T.’s versicolor, lactinea, hirsutum, betulina, aesculi, etc.)! Down South you may also find large amounts of Lacarria, Amanitas from the sections Amanita, Lepidella, and Validae, or even some winter Craterellus! Happy Hunting!

(01/15/21) So... What do you think will happen with timber markets this year? Forest2Market experts have made 18 Predictions for the Global Forest, Pulp & Paper, and Chemical Industries in 2021.

(01/14/21) "We've got to have wood and lumber," said Hal.
"Of course we have. But there won't be any unless we go in for forestry. It's been practised in Germany for three hundred years."

Two Pennsylvania boys discuss their future while camping on their parents' land along the Susquehanna River - about 1910. Here's a link to the Zane Grey novel, The Young Forester.

(01/13/21) Control the weeds and brush that slow down the growth of the little pines you plant. Extension's Ryan Mitchell and Richard Cristan have teamed up to help you pick the best herbicides for your special needs in their online publication: Forestry Herbicides for Site Preparation of Pine Plantations. You may find the PDF version handy if you plan to print and carry with you.

(01/12/21) Virtual Upland Hardwood Workshop. "This [16 hour Southern Research Station] workshop was designed to provide foresters and other natural resource practitioners with the most state-of-the-art, science-based information necessary to sustainably manage upland hardwood ecosystems of the Central Hardwoods Region of the US for a wide variety of goods and services. You can view the recorded presentations and course materials from each day!"

(01/11/21) Handbook of Alabama's Prehistoric Indians and Artifacts by David M. Johnson. "Alabama's diverse projectile points and other artifact types get concise and thorough treatment in this paramount book, as each example is eloquently brought to life with full scale photos, geographic distribution charts, and descriptions." $42.95 at Barnes and Noble.

(01/08/21) $50 per first 100 acres property tax proposed for forest landowners in south Shelby County! The not-yet-created Southeast Shelby Emergency Medical Services District proposes to lean heavily on undeveloped forestland for support. A vote open only for residents of the proposed district is to be held on January 26. Town hall meetings are scheduled for Jan. 12 at 6 PM at Risen Life Church and Jan. 14 at 6 PM at Wilsonville Baptist Church. Editor's Note: Alabama legislators must get this destructive method of taxation-without-representation under control.

(01/07/21) Does the South produce a lot of wood pellets? Jay Engle discusses (and shows) how much and where in his blog: How Much Energy is Produced Using Wood? A Forester's Perspective.

(01/06/21) Chronic Wasting Disease Detected in Two Additional Northeast Mississippi Counties. Now within 25 miles of Alabama. See also: CWD Roundup from NDA.

(01/05/21) Clean Water: Good Forestry. If you are planning to work on your woods roads or to make a timber sale, you will benefit from watching Dr. Richard Cristan's webinar, Best Practices for Forest Road and Skid Trail Construction, Maintenance, and Close-out BMPs. About 52 minutes.

(01/04/21) You are invited to join Clemson University forestry students on a Visit to Germany (and Switzerland) in July 2022. "A good way to understand the forest-management activities and limitations from other countries is to actually visit the country as part of a forestry tour or program." Source: Understanding the Other Party!, Journal of Forestry, 11/20. We'll post details and contact information for the visit as soon as they become available.

(12/30/20) How about some good news? "Jasper Lumber announces $45 million expansion, to create 60 jobs."'s headline forgot to mention that the sawmill expansion will also create markets for lots of sawtimber stumpage grown by local forest owners. But that's OK. We'll take expansion any way we can get it. Happy New Year!

(12/29/20) Each month we receive, by email, the Alabama Wildlife and Conservation News from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. We copied two stories from the December issue for you to read. One is on measuring browse pressure on game food plots, the other is on the value of snags (standing dead trees) to wildlife. If you would like to sign up to receive the newsletter or other information from the Department, click here.

(12/28/20) "Some demographers say the baby who will live to 200 years old is already born," says economist Olivia Mitchell, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Source: The Wall Street Journal, 1/10/20. You could grow some mighty big trees in 200 years. Cached copy of WSJ article.

(12/23/20) "Is there a land bubble out there?" Georgia Consulting Forester Bob Hatcher asks that question in a Letter to the Editor to AFOA's Capital Ideas newsletter. Read Bob's letter here.

(12/22/20) How to Keep People Off Your Property. Huntin' Land podcast talks to Josh Phifer, Barn Owl Tech, "about how to keep people off your property, what you can do legally to prevent people from coming on your property, catching trespassers who already are, and the steps you need to take when you do." Interview begins at 6:26. About 26 minutes.

(12/21/20) Volunteers Needed! The folks who are trying to bring back the American chestnut tree are looking for volunteers to plant blight resistant trees in a seed orchard in Moore County, Tennessee, next week, Tuesday and Wednesday. Probably a fun day (or two) with nice people. Invitation and details...

(12/18/20) Volume 2 of Freshwater Fishes of North America is a "monumental, fully illustrated reference (936 pages, hundreds of photos and illustrations) that provides comprehensive details on the freshwater fishes of the United States, Canada, and Mexico." ($150) Volume 1 was published in 2014. ($120)

(12/17/20) Raymond James downgraded their rating of Rayonier Inc. (RYN-NYSE) ($30.48) Tuesday to Market Perform (from Outperform). RJ's headline included: "Covid Surge Limiting Mill Capacity."

(12/16/20) North American Softwood Lumber Capacity Continues to Shift South. "The South surpassed Western Canada to become the largest region in North America for softwood lumber capacity a few years ago, and the shift continues." Source: Forisk Blog, December 15, 2020.

(12/15/20) How Would a Biden Administration Increase Income Tax?, a slide presentation by Robert Tufts, Visiting Professor, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University. About 15 minutes.

(12/14/20) Forest Technology Instructor Wanted! Lurleen B. Wallace Community College Forest Technology Instructor, Mark Hainds (you may have met Mark at past AFOA annual meetings) is retiring, so the College is looking for his successor.

(12/11/20) Can I use my IRA to buy land? Carla McEwen of IRA Innovations discusses the possibility in Great Days Outdoors podcast. Starts at 12:53.

(12/10/20/) Learn more about growing Christmas trees on an excellent virtual farm tour with an Extension Agent in North Carolina.

(12/09/20) Becky Barlow, Auburn professor and Alabama Extension’s Forestry, Wildlife and Natural Resources coordinator, has been appointed the Harry E. Murphy Professor of Forest Measurements and Management in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. Murphy was a consulting forester, a strong advocate of the free market system, and an early supporter of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association.

(12/08/20) World's Tallest Timber Tower Rising in Milwaukee (25 stories - what? about 300 feet?). World's tallest tree is a coast redwood named Hyperion -- 380 feet tall.

(12/07/20) Some truth about hurricanes from a real estate investor. From Ross Rant, 12/5/20:

The press has been playing up the line that climate change has spawned a major uptick in hurricanes. Here is reality. Until the 1970’s there was no way to know about all of the storms in the ocean that never hit land, or just lasted two days, unless a ship spotted it. Now we have satellite coverage of the whole ocean. In addition the former head of hurricane reporting and tracking, who has retired, said there are two day storms that today are labeled as tropical storms, that in the eighties, and prior, they were not even reported because they were classified as just bad storms, or were not even noticed due to no satellite coverage in those days. Since the 1880’s when records began to be kept, there has been no increase in frequency of major storms, just more naming of them and highlighted news about them. In 1950 there were 8 storms labeled as major hurricanes, in 1961 it was 7 and in 2020 it was 6. In summary, there has been no consistent recording of storms over the past 140 years, and no consistent terminology to identify severity of storms, so to try to claim now there are more major storms due to climate change is nonsense, and propaganda by the climate change press and politicians. It is simply that today every big storm is suddenly a name storm and makes the national news. Climate change has spawned a whole industry, and just look at the Biden focus on it. Be careful what you read, and are told about the effects of climate change. Some is true, but some, like hurricanes, is not.

(12/04/20) Thinking about building a cabin? A long list of Log Cabin Kits was provided along with contact information in an article by John Phillips in the December issue of Great Days Outdoors. Turn to page 39.

(12/03/20) Upcoming webinars, woodland owner retreats, and "Noon on Fridays" are topics included in the December Virginia Tech Forest Landowner e-Update from Jennifer Gagnon. Several Alabama Forest Owners' Association members have participated in Gagnon's "On-line Woodland Options for Landowners" in past years.

(12/02/20) Motley Fool discusses: Why Timberland REITS Are Riskier Than They Appear. See middle column at top of page 2 of each issue of Capital Ideas for quotes and links for several timberland REITS. 

(12/01/20) Alabama Mushroom Society Newsletter, November 2020. Enjoy.

(11/30/20) Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers recently completed a video project with marketing students from High Point University (North Carolina). The project is titled Appalachian Hardwood Forest to Finished Products and shows a student learning the process it takes to make beautiful hardwood products. About 5 minutes.

(11/25/20) If Sally or Zeta visited your forestland, you may need to salvage damaged timber and learn more about claiming a casualty loss on your 2020 tax return. University of Tennessee Extension Forester David Mercker wrote a piece for our December newsletter, entitled After the Catastrophe: Steps in Claiming a Timber Casualty Loss (page 4). On page 5 of the same newsletter, we printed Consulting Forester Ed Travis's Timber Sales and Timber Casualty Losses program notes from November 12. See also: Dr. David Mercker's AFOA interview, Back Porch Forestry, June 1, 2020, and When a Tornado Strikes.

(11/24/20) SmartMap, the mapping and drone class that Beau and Christian Brodbeck have led at AFOA's annual meetings for the past few years, is now available online. And while online courses are great, Beau and Christian have agreed to conduct the in-person class at AFOA's 2021 Annual Meeting on April 17.

(11/23/20) Your comments wanted: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed to change the status of the red-cockaded woodpecker from “endangered” to “threatened.” The Service also proposed a “4(d) rule” – new regulations that will govern how landowners can manage their forests when this species is present. These proposals are open to public comment in the Federal Register until December 7, 2020.

(11/20/20) Chestnut Chats: The American Chestnut Foundation has been conducting Chestnut Chats on Fridays since April 17. Topics have included The Art of Grafting, Finding and Conserving Chestnuts in the Wild, Using Drones to Locate and Pollinate Chestnut Trees, Research on Large Scale Reintroduction of American Chestnut, and Cooking With Chestnuts.

(11/19/20) "This week, the Republican governor released a budget recommendation that proposed eliminating Mississippi’s income tax within the next decade in a bid to attract more residents." We wonder how Mississippi will balance its budget when the income tax is put aside.

(11/18/20) Do you need a water well at your cabin or do you have one already? If yes, you may find this University of Georgia webinar just what you need. Well... Let's Talk Water Safety & Protection. Two video recordings and speakers' PowerPoint slides are down near the bottom of the web page.

(11/17/20) A look at the future of forestry education: Forestry 350 at the University of British Columbia. Patrick Culbert, Assistant Professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, provides a taste of the future of forestry education in dozens of unique 360° view videos (use your tablet or smartphone to appreciate the videography - hint -- look up, look down, look behind you). Start with this example: Plant Identification Walk in Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Part 1 (360° Video)

(11/16/20) "In 2020 tax rates on capital gains [income for timber held longer than one year] and dividends remain the same as 2019 rates (0%, 15%, and a top rate of 20%)." Read more -- click, then scroll down to Investment Gains and Losses. Source: DeLoach, Barber & Caspers, P.C. Newsletter, 11/16/20.

(11/13/20) "Explosion of interest." "People tell us they want a place to get away." Read more: Seller's Market by Victoria G. Myers, The Progressive Farmer, November 2020.

(11/12/20) Should game wardens or others be free to trespass on your forestland? 1) Read this story from Tennessee, 2) listen to our interview with Institute for Justice attorney Josh Windham, and 3) read Windham's request for help from Alabama forest owners.

(11/11/20) Mill construction and expansion make a difference. Read F&W Market Update, 11/6/20, and listen to Markets Expert Amanda Lang, Capital Ideas - Live!, 11/11/20.

(11/10/20) The Natural Inquirer program provides a variety of science education materials for PreK through grade 12. We don't know much about the site (Developing a Testable Question looked like it might be interesting), so if you have any suggestions for parents or grandparents, please let AFOA know -- Thanks.

(11/09/20) Critical Habitat for the Canoe Creek Clubshell, a freshwater mussel which lives in St. Clair County and Etowah County (see map in Frequently Asked Questions), has been proposed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Service seeks public comments on their proposal with a deadline of January 4, 2021.

(11/06/20) Reports from Secretary of State on Local Amendments Related to Property Taxes (counties which voted against property tax amendments highlighted in red):
o    Crenshaw County:    Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Elmore County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Fayette County:     Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Geneva County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Greene County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Macon County:       Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Marshall County:    Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Mobile County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Montgomery County:  Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    St. Clair County:   Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Sumter County:      Voting Results    Sample Ballot
o    Washington County:  Voting Results    Sample Ballot

(11/05/20) "Exposure to forest floor enhances young immune systems, study finds," reports Siobhán Dunphy in the European Scientist, 10/27/20. "Scientists have long suspected that increased hygiene, urban lifestyles, and insufficient contact with nature have played a role in the rise of chronic disorders such as asthma, diabetes, and allergies – which are all related to an overreactive immune system."

(11/04/20) Remember economist Milton Friedman? We think you will enjoy his brief comments on free markets and manufacturing a simple wooden pencil (about 3 minutes).

(11/03/20) How much carbon is stored on an average acre of Alabama forestland? Experts will be asking that question as different groups begin pilot projects next year testing out their carbon buying schemes with real Alabama forest owners (Finite Carbon, AFF's Family Forest Carbon, and Natural Capital Exchange). Hint: 24.2 tons in aboveground trees...

(11/02/20) Kith Kitchens opening cabinet factory in Florence, creating 131 jobs. Who is Kith Kitchens?

(10/30/20) Don't wait too long to thin your planted pines. "The importance of thinning at the right time overrides the desire to wait for higher prices" said Consulting Forester Stephen Butler at an Alabama Forest Owners' Association Forestry Field Day in Choctaw County on October 8. Source: Talking Trees by Dee Ann Campbell, The Choctaw Sun-Advocate, 10/21/20.

(10/29/20) Stephen Pyne discusses "The Pyrocene: How Humanity Created a Fire Age." The occasion is the Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History presented by the Forest History Society.

(10/28/20) Wood or Plastic? David Song, a SoCal Edison spokesman (Southern California Edison is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California), "said that when SoCal Edison has the opportunity to replace a [wooden] pole with a plastic one, they’ll do it every time." Editor's note: TimberMart-South reports that a ton of pine sawtimber in Alabama brought $22.70 on the stump (3Q20); a ton of power poles brought $47.54.

(10/27/20) The Wood Yard "is a friendly hardwood and specialty lumber store that caters to the furniture and cabinet builder, the home hobbyist and craftsman." Most of us aren't interested in starting a business like The Wood Yard, but many landowners have hard-to-find or even rare species of trees on their land that might be in demand by craftsmen. The Wood Yard has a newsletter that you might find interesting.

(10/26/20) "The rare Chilean soapbark tree produces compounds that can boost the body's reaction to vaccines." Read about the COVID-19 connection in this fascinating story in The Atlantic, October 21, 2020.

(10/23/20) "National Forest Products Week reminds Americans that well-managed forests supply the wood and fiber essential to the production of everyday goods," said Scott Jones, CEO of Forest Landowners. "Demand for these products, and the timber that is used to create them, make it possible for private forest owners to be economically viable, which in turn provides them with the resources to maintain healthy and productive forests." Read the President's Proclamation on National Forest Products Week, 2020.

(10/22/20) "Plant Seedlings Early," says Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative. "Seedlings should be planted early enough to allow for root growth to start before bud break while seedlings are still dormant."

(10/21/20) Questions: Should we hold cash? buy land? buy gold? buy bitcoin? buy stocks? buy bonds?
o     How Long Can the Fed Keep This Time Bomb from Exploding?, Mises Institute, 10/21/20
o     Global Impact of a "Blue Wave" Election Outcome, Charles Schwab, 10/12/20

(10/20/20) "Dutch to phase out subsidies for wood fired power stations." "Imports [of wood pellets] are expected to reach 2.5 million metric tons this year, with the U.S. supplying up to 500,000 metric tons of that volume."

(10/19/20) Wood Duck Mates Determine Migration Routes, or in terms most of us would understand, "Boy meets girl; girl flies home; boy follows."

(10/16/20) "The prettiest mushrooms are often the tiniest... so get low." Read more in 10 Tips for Photographing Little Mushrooms in the Forest by Albert Dros, PetaPixel, 10/13/20.

(10/15/20) The Alabama Policy Institute shares their perspective (in plain English) on the statewide amendments to the Alabama Constitution that will be on everyone's ballot on November 3rd. Also, click here for local sample ballots and a list of the counties where voters will make property tax decisions -- up or down, etc. Here is a perspective on the amendments from and another from Alabama Farmers Federation. Here is an anonymous perspective on the first four amendments (posted November 2).

(10/14/20) Mouse Utopia Experiment might shed some light on how families can help children develop an interest in and take on the responsibilities of family land management.

(10/13/20) Migrant Workers and Tree Planting: Based on information gathered from employers of H-2B forestry workers, a video was created by Forest Resources Association and Rayonier "to inform and educate elected officials and decision-makers about the critical role of the H-2B visa program in renewing our nation's forest lands..." About 6 minutes.

(10/12/20) "The US Southeast region is the largest supplier of wood in the world," reports the Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association in a 10/12/20 Forest2Market blog post. Read more: Is Southern Yellow Pine Good for the economy?

(10/09/20) In deciding to not designate critical habitat for the "threatened" eastern black rail, did the US Fish & Wildlife Service defer to the concerns of private landowners? If yes, we commend them for their decision. See highlighted words in the FWS press release, dated 10/7/20.

(10/08/20) "An escape from chaos." That is what a Georgia consulting forester and real estate agent attributes the growth in his forestland sales in 2020 as compared to 2019. Read more in the Matre Forestry Newsletter, 10/8/20.

(10/07/20) "Many ecologists believe dead wood is one of the greatest resources for animal species in the forest." Read more from Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association's When Dead Wood is Good Wood.

(10/06/20) "The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right," concluded Pope Francis in his Sunday criticism of free-market capitalism. Read the Foundation for Economic Education's response.

(10/05/20) "As of September, U. S. sales of paper tissue, including paper towels, were still 10% to 15% higher than before the pandemic..." Read more in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/29/20.

(10/02/20) "Ironically, having a cemetery on our property breathes new life into it." Forester Jennifer Gagnon opens the latest issue of Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update, Fall 2020, with a story about her personal forestland and the people with whom she shares it. Enjoy.

(10/01/20) Raymond James upgraded their rating of PotlatchDeltic Corporation (PCH-NASDAQ) ($42.10) today to Strong Buy (from Outperform) with a revised $51 target. RJ's headline included: "Cash Lumber Prices Still Near Record High."

(09/30/20) Georgia Public Broadcasting Education and the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF) have joined forces to launch MAKE THAT PAPER: CAREERS IN FORESTRY, a scenario-based educational game that teaches high school students about working forests and real-world forestry jobs by simulating workplace scenarios and testing forestry industry knowledge.

(09/29/20) Property tax votes or other fees will be on the ballots for the following Alabama counties: Crenshaw, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Greene, Macon, Mobile, Montgomery, St. Clair, Sumter, Washington, and Marshall (Volunteer Fire District 15). Property tax votes typically impose a tax for more than 25 years. All voters will be faced with 6 statewide amendments, and many county ballots contain local amendments. Click here to find your county's sample ballot on the Secretary of State's website.

(09/28/20) You've heard of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite, but do you know anything about the NCREIF Timberland Index? Learn more from economist Jack Lutz in The Tao of Timberland -- another Update, Forest Research Notes, Vol. 17, No. 3.

(09/25/20) "Radical transformation of American medicine" discussed by healthcare policy expert John Goodman (Goodman starts discussion with good question at about 10 minutes into the video). We think some of the discussion on telemedicine and new "user friendly" technology will be of interest to many forest owners.

(09/24/20) Improving stumpage prices ahead? Read F&W Market Update, 9/22/20.

(09/23/20) "Hurricane Laura caused $525.4 million in damage to Louisiana farmers and $1.1 billion to the Louisiana timber industry, according to preliminary estimates by the LSU AgCenter."

(09/22/20) Report from Summerdale, Alabama Christmas tree growers to Mike Buchart, Executive Secretary, Southern Christmas Tree Association (SCTA): "Hi, Michael. Want a hurricane from Hell? If you can, please forward this note to as many SCTA members as you can. Sandra and I are fine but exhausted. Still no power, water, etc., but it is coming soon, we hope. Our house is fine. The farm suffered serious damage with all 20,000 trees blown over or down. We are gradually rescuing them and are learning a lot to share with everyone. Will have plenty of pictures and stories. This sure is a challenge, but might make us tougher. Sure makes us appreciate the modern comforts. Blessings to everyone and stay safe. Steve & Sandra Mannhard."

(09/21/20) "Oregon is the only state to have a private wildfire insurance policy and has been with Lloyd's of London since 1973. The $3.75 million premium is split between the state and private timberland owners. Landowners pay their share through a property tax formula." Learn more.

(09/18/20) "Since 1978, I have kept continual 8”x 11”, hardbound, blank-paged nature journals. Now numbering 54, when I finish one, I go buy another one. Why have I kept these going for so many years? Since the beginning, they have become my basic way of learning about the nature around me, recording it, making sense of it in relation to my own life. In fact, over the many years these piles of journals at my feet have become my best friends, as I often refer back to them, trying to see how my life and the life of nature has changed or not." Claire Walker Leslie, author of A Year in Nature: A Memoir of Solace.

(09/17/20) "The 'Paper Makers' film tells the story of the modern day paper industry through the eyes of the workers who cultivate sustainable forests, apply technologies that nurture and protect them for years to come, and help create nature-based sustainable products — all in one of America’s oldest natural industries." Source: AFA Newsroom, 9/16/20.

(09/16/20) Alabama forest owner Jeff Sessions, former U. S. Senator and former U. S. Attorney General, is returning home from Washington to control privet and kudzu and promote American values. Sessions spoke to a large audience at the Alabama Forestry Association's Annual Meeting in Orange Beach on September 14, 2020.

(09/15/20) Farming/Agriculture is looked upon more favorably this year than last year, according to a Gallup Poll as reported by PowerLine Blog on 9/11/20 (scroll down). We're not sure if Forests and Forest Landowners fit into the Farming/Agriculture category, but it would be nice, in this case, if we did.

(09/14/20) "$5 million power pole factory coming to Tallapoosa County." Source:, 9/14/20. TimberMart-South reported Alabama statewide average pine sawtimber stumpage at $23.28 per ton and pine power poles at $44.46 per ton in their second quarter report for 2020.

(09/11/20) Whether hurricane frequency has increased on not, favoring windfirm tree species should be of interest to forest owners, especially in south Alabama.
     Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer: Even with Laura, Louisiana Hurricanes Have Not Increased Since 1851
o     Hurricane Laura Causes Extensive Damage to Timber Industry
o     Hurricane Katrina Winds Damaged Longleaf Pine Less than Loblolly Pine
o     Longleaf pine stood firm to Hurricane Katrina’s winds

(09/10/20) The defense of property rights by our friends and neighbors and law enforcement officials is critical to those of us who plant little trees. So it may be unsettling to learn that National Public Radio (NPR) discussed looting with author Vicky Osterweil, In Defense of Looting, and didn't seem to raise an eyebrow when she made outlandish statements, such as: "[Looting is] taking those things that would otherwise be commodified and controlled and sharing them for free," she continues. "[Looting] demonstrate[s] that without police and without state oppression, we can have things for free." Please read the Foundation for Economic Education's Debunking NPR's Bizarre 'In Defense of Looting' Interview by Brad Polumbo, 8/31/20. See Copyright page from Osterweil's book.

(09/09/20) It's bird migration time again. Check out The Cornell Lab's Bird Migration Forecast Maps including a local migration alert tool to find out how many birds will be passing over your area tonight.

(09/08/20) Which beetle is killing my trees? Learn more from a video put together by the South Carolina Forestry Commission: Southern Beetles: Identification, Management and Risk Assessment. About 9 minutes.

(09/04/20) North American flying squirrels glow bright pink in response to ultraviolet light. For an educated guess as to why, read Amphibians Aglow by Brett Amy Thelen at Northern Woodlands, 8/24/20. UV flashlight, $12.99

(09/03/20) Remember back on May 21 when we told you about the HuntStand Pro App and it's property mapping and other features? Today we learned about 5 new very short tutorials that you can watch and listen to to get more out of the App. Topics: Getting Started, Adding & Deleting Map Objects (property lines, etc.), Syncing Hunt Areas, Offline Mapping, and Weather Forecasting.

(09/02/20) Have you considered moving closer to your children when you retire? You may want to study the Tax Foundation's Estate/Inheritance Tax Map before making the move. More than a dozen other states impose taxes on estates or inheritances of up to 18 percent.

(09/01/20) "Accumulation of capital under strong property rights gave us what we have today, and without it, we would still be living in the past realities of famine, sickness, and living at all times only a few degrees from death." Source: The Forgotten Horrors of Famine Show Why Americans Should Not Take Prosperity for Granted by J. W. Rich, Foundation for Economic Education, 9/1/20.

(08/31/20) $10 million made available today by Governor Ivey for forest landowners who sold timber during the months of March through July. According to an article in, the payment rate will be $1 per ton of timber sold. Read the Governor's press release here (the press release contains contact information to help you make your application). More details from Forest Landowners Association, 9/2/20.

(08/28/20) "Zippered wood (check out the photos in Architect magazine, 7/12/20) twists standard 2x4 to craft new forms."

(08/27/20) Electric Trail Boarding -- Maybe you've heard of Electric Mountain Boards, but we hadn't - until today. They are being featured at GoFar USA Park, up near Decatur, Alabama. The park also features Electric Trail Carts, a Paintball Shooting Range, Farm Animals, Pony Rides, Mountain Bike Trails, and Electric Scooters. Emily Fagerman, co-owner of GoFar USA Park, talks about the park on The Land Show, Episode 253 (23:28 to 38:08).

(08/26/20) Alabama forest owners who have a good understanding of the need for fire in the forest will appreciate this article on, 8/24/20: Stop Blaming Climate Change For California’s Fires. Many Forests, Including The Redwoods, Need Them.

(08/25/20) Let's say you own forestland here in Alabama, but for some reason you live in another state and will retire soon. If you have given any thought to coming back home, the Tax Foundation's purchasing power map comparing Alabama to other states might help you make a decision. Source, What is the Real Value of $100 in Metropolitan Areas?, 8/12/20.

(08/24/20) Have you ever been so eager to achieve something that you bit off more than you could chew? If you have, we think you will enjoy Declan McCabe's story of The Kingfisher and the Mussel, from Northern Woodlands, 8/17/20.

(08/21/20) Researchers reported "the likelihood of hitting a deer decreased from 35% (truck with headlights only) to 10% (truck with headlights and rear-facing light bar)." Source: Reverse-facing Lightbar Helps Reduce Deer Vehicle Accidents, Kip Adams, QDMA, 8/18/20.

(08/20/20) Read this Alabama Conservation Department 8/14/20 Press Release and then with a straight face tell us why a person who was not raised in a family of hunters would ever consider becoming a hunter. There are so many other outdoor activities that are not wrapped in red tape — red tape that, if not followed, can result in fines or more serious punishments.

(08/19/20) Hindsight is 20/20. Today we share a few "after the wildfire" stanzas from Foresters, a poem by Walter Stephens. Stephens is a member of the Georgia Forestry Association. Source: Georgia Forestry, Summer 2020.

Next day when walking on your land
Which once grew tall and graceful trees
The only things your eyes see now
Are snags which smolder in the breeze.

If only you had burned that ground
When moisture heat and wind were right,
You'd not now see this sterile scene
Of smoking spires against the light.

A burn controlled is man's attempt
To mimic nature's plan,
Except to choose the day that's right
To gently heat the land.

(08/18/20) "...we at the [Cullman County] sheriff's office are proponents of not only having a weapon for self-defense but also being proficient in how to use it," said Sheriff Matt Gentry in an 8/17/20 article headlined "1 of 4 burglars shot by Cullman County homeowner, sheriff says." Editor's Note: Forest owners are fortunate that nearly all of us have a safe place to learn to use a shotgun, rifle, or handgun. The next time you head to the woods, plan to teach someone how to safely load, fire, and reload. Not a bad thing to be "proficient" at. 

(08/17/20) "Move Over Gold. Wood is the Shelter of Choice in the Pandemic." Source: Bloomberg, July 24, 2020.

(08/14/20) CRYSTAL BALL GAZING: "The average pine growth-to-drain for the South in 2019 is 1.26, indicating a general oversupply of timber. Fast-forward six years to 2025 and the timber supply profile balances with a growth-to-drain of 0.95. During this time, 17 sawmills and pellet mills expand or come online in the region." Source: Amanda Lang, Forisk Consulting, at a meeting of the Cahaba Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, 8/11/20.

(08/13/20) Lumber "prices have been sent soaring by saw mills that failed to anticipate the coronavirus pandemic setting off a building boom. ... Restaurants and bars in cities across the country have scrambled to build outdoor seating areas in efforts to stay in business. And some Americans, stuck at home for months, have taken on remodeling projects and have been building decks." Source: The Wall Street Journal, 8/6/20. Of course, as forest owners know, those high lumber prices have not translated into high stumpage prices, because of the huge stumpage oversupply.

(08/12/20) "Today the Department of State issued a National Interest Exemption for H-2B applicants to facilitate the United States' immediate and continued economic recovery. Those working in forestry are considered essential workers and have been given an exemption from the June 22nd proclamation banning additional visas to H-2B workers. This decision means tree planters will have a path forward to get the labor needed to plant seedlings this fall for landowners." Source: ArborGen, 8/12/20 at 3:43 PM.

(08/11/20) "Become a Poll Worker!" beseeches Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill. "Serving as a poll worker is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the election process while contributing to your community."

(08/10/20) The "paper market, like everything else, has been rocked by the coronavirus." Verso Corporation, when announcing the closure of its Wisconsin Rapids coated printing paper mill, said "demand for printing paper fell 38 percent year-over-year in April." Closer to home, Domtar Corporation reported that it would close its Kingsport, Tennessee uncoated freesheet papermill and will spend $300 to $350 million to repurpose the mill to produce linerboard. "Linerboard is the facing material used in the production of corrugated and solid fiber shipping containers."

(08/07/20) "Most grade hardwood is moving again. ..hardwood sawmills ..." are "... paying good prices for most forms of hardwood sawtimber." Read Forest Management Specialists' Timber Market Update - Mid-South Region.

(08/06/20) If you like puzzles, please consider letting the US Fish & Wildlife Service know what you think of their proposed definition of habitat. We think they are concerned that it may not be proper to declare a location as critical habitat for a critter when none live there and the location is inhospitable for the critter. Although this is an important issue, AFOA does not have any answers here. We'd appreciate receiving your thoughts on the issue - if you decide to make an official comment. Comments are due by September 4. Read previous news entries here (11/29/18), here (01/24/18), here (08/25/16), and here (07/20/16).

(08/05/20) Chestnut Chat: Research Forester Stacy Clark will share results of an American Chestnut Tree re-introduction project that is taking place in forests of the southern Appalachians. The session will be conducted on ZOOM beginning at 10:30 AM Central Time on Friday, August 7 -- Details Here.

(08/04/20) What part of "vacant forestland cannot be billed for fire dues" do these folks not understand? Today (it's not too late to vote as we write this) Theodore/Dawes in Mobile County is trying to create its own fire district. One of our members told us they plan to collect $125 per tax parcel, but check this article from WKRG5 dated 8/4/20 for details.

(08/03/20) Georgia consulting forester Mike Matre gives a 3-minute perspective on growing and marketing pole timber (very straight pine trees valued per ton at nearly twice that of pine sawtimber in the latest TimberMart-South price report).

(07/31/20) Could the "work from home" phenomenon reduce property values (and property taxes) of large commercial buildings? Could the loss of property tax revenue from those buildings put pressure on lawmakers to raise property taxes on other properties such as homes and rural property? Scroll down in The Future of Everything to the last bulleted item in Future Feedback.

(07/30/20) $65,000 per drop plus $22,000 per hour! That's what those huge tanker planes (VLATs) which drop fire retardant on West Coast forest fires cost. Just think how many rangers, who could be working year round creating fire breaks and doing prescribed burns to prevent big wildfires, are displaced by those big machines.

(07/29/20) F&W Forestry Services' 7/28/20 Market Update includes a surprising statement from their southwest Alabama reporter: "Sawmills have actually been calling and asking us to put out a sale or are asking for an opportunity to negotiate."

(07/28/20) Spraying woodland herbicides with a drone may be just around the corner if a little company in Iowa continues to make progress on its ag spraying machines. Rantizo "became the first company [in the US] to begin commercial drone spraying," and was licensed in 10 states last fall, including Georgia. Common herbicides used to prepare planting sites for hardwoods and pines.

(07/27/20) The United States of America ranked among the top ten countries for average annual net gains in forest area in a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Read the full report, Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, here.

(07/24/20) Consulting foresters Michael Heatherly and Jack Fillingham led an AFOA Forestry Field Day on Wednesday and we thought you would like to see their handout materials. On the third page they have pictured some "increment cores." Click here to learn more about using an increment borer to determine a tree's age or rate-of-growth. Video - about 4 minutes. Hint: Never leave your increment borer in a tree longer than needed to extract a core. They will sometimes get stuck and can be very difficult to remove.

(07/23/20) Lessons from my grandma - or - A quick-start guide to woodland management for women landowners (and smart men, too!) is the title of an Auburn ForestHer Lunch and Learn hosted on Zoom and recorded last Tuesday. About an hour.

(07/22/20) Trespass to steal ginseng roots may not be a big deal for most forest owners in Alabama, but it might be for some, and definitely is for forest owners in West Virginia. Source: Poaching ginseng is not a victimless crime, The Montgomery Herald, 6/26/20.

(07/21/20) "The state owned enough land in the county," (press F9 key to read) stated a county commissioner. "No more land should be taken off the tax rolls," said another. AFOA was glad to read what the commissioners said about converting more private land to public ownership, even if the message had to come from Wadena County, Minnesota.

(07/20/20) You may have missed Consulting Forester Larry Gibson's Forestry Field Day last week, but we wanted you to see the field notes Larry used with his presentation. In his Stand A example, ninety-six tons per acre of wood were harvested in the first two thinnings by age 22, and the final harvest is less than 10 years away. See also Larry's herbicide recommendations for killing kudzu, wisteria, and cogongrass.  Plan now to not miss Consulting Forester Jack Fillingham's Forestry Field Day, this Wednesday, July 22 in Tallapoosa County.

(07/17/20) Pond Management Basics is a one hour and twelve minute class taught by Extension Agent Bence Carter and recorded on July 9, 2020.

(07/16/20) Our second Dinner & Discussion (via Zoom) has been posted to the web. Just like our face-to-face meetings at local Birmingham area restaurants, we listened to the latest issue of Capital Ideas - Live! (David West from Forest Resources Association answered questions about the ban on migrant tree planters), we sampled a few topics from our News webpage, we shared where our forestland is located, and then had a brief open discussion. Our next face-to-face Dinner & Discussion is scheduled for August 13 at 6 PM at The Fish Market Restaurant on US 280 in Hoover.

(07/15/20) Forest2Market CEO Pete Stewart Talks Lumber, Forest Health on NPR’s Marketplace, reports headline on F2M July 14 blog. NPR conducted "fair and fact-based discussion about lumber industry," says F2M. Listen to 2 minute interview here.

(07/14/20) Heaven help us when "conservatives" begin pandering to the environmental community. That was the first thought we had when we read that Ivanka Trump would be highlighting administration environmental policies at the American Forestry Conference (Georgia Forestry Association's name for their virtual annual meeting) on July 27. Read the Newsweek article here (7/3/20) and tell us why we shouldn't be worried (cached copy). See Consulting Forester Marshall Thomas's comments about the Trillion Trees Act, below.

(07/13/20) Eminent Domain. Taking Private Property for Public Use. When should the power of eminent domain be allowed? not allowed? A Pennsylvania landowner questions the right to use the power when it's used only for the benefit of the pipeline company. Who decides?

(07/10/20) Sequestering greenhouse gas our only hope? Read the discouraging latest issue of F&W Forestry Report, Summer 2020.

(07/09/20) "Obviously." "Naturally." To regenerate an upland hardwood stand: "Obviously, enough desirable trees have to be present in the current stand [before logging] for the process to succeed, but when it is properly conducted, a young stand dominated by desirable species such as oaks will naturally regenerate with good results." If "obviously" and "naturally" don't immediately pop into your head when considering regenerating an upland hardwood stand, you might benefit from reading Upland Hardwoods: Natural Regeneration, a Mississippi State University publication.

(07/08/20) Market Headlines:
o     Japanese wood chip, wood pellet demand expected to grow, June 10, 2020
o     Netherlands to double wood pellet imports in 2020, June 29, 2020

(07/07/20) A video discussion of tree planting tools produced by and starring Dr. Brady Self, Mississippi State Extension Service, will be useful to forest owners who are planning to plant trees themselves or hire a tree planting crew next winter. 17 minutes. Send questions to Brady at

(07/06/20) Maintaining good water quality following a timber sale requires a coordinated effort between the landowner, the logger, and the landowner's consulting forester. Dr. John Auel, Mississippi State Extension Service, offers good (and bad) examples and good advice on how to implement Forestry Best Management Practices (BMPs) to prevent erosion and improve water quality on your land. 24 minutes.

(07/02/20) Have fun celebrating the Fourth, but if you're planning on working with your tractor this weekend, read Phil Bancroft's The Day Food Plots Almost Killed Me before heading to the woods! Editor's note: The following observation was in the last paragraph of Phil's story: "Phil’s hunting land is covered by QDMA’s Hunting Land Liability Insurance. His medical bills from his accident totaled over $200,000, including a $46,800 helicopter ride. His QDMA insurance policy helped defray the out-of-pocket medical costs not covered by his health insurance." AFOA's Hunting Lease Liability Insurance is similar to QDMA's and is purchased from the same insurance agency, Outdoor Underwriters, Inc.

(07/01/20) CANCELLED   The Southern Christmas Tree Association will hold their 2020 Annual Conference in Alabama on August 7 - 9. They'll be headquartered at The Lodge at Gulf State Park. Read their latest newsletter here.

(06/30/20) "Add it all up, and as the country mouse of old learned, the giddiness and opulence of the city are increasingly not worth the danger, noise, and mess of the city, at least after February 2020," says Victor Davis Hanson, American classicist, military historian, columnist, and farmer. He closes an interesting essay entitled, The Triumph of the Country Mouse with, "Wherever we live, in our dreams at least, we are all country mice now."

(06/29/20) "There's always some excitement in the air going with fire." The LSU AgCenter posted a video about the prescribed burn workshop they held on June 2-4, 2020. Their next prescribed burn workshop will be held October 7-9 in Hammond, Louisiana. Contact Extension Forester Whitney Wallace, for more information:

(06/26/20) Carbon Credit Market Bill in Congress: A needed government assist for forest landowners, or a vote buying scheme?

(06/25/20) Tree planting crews will be hard hit by President Trump's ban on H-2B visa forestry workers. Read the Forest Resources Association's statement on the issue.

(06/23/20) OPEN ENROLLMENT FOR ONLINE COURSE: Forest Principles, Practices, and Stewardship for Landowners is the title of a 6-week course organized by Dr. Adam Maggard, Alabama Cooperative Extension. Read the course description with registration information here (updated 7/17/20).

(06/22/20) Maine Project Learning Tree facilitator, Anita Smith, shows how to be a Tree Detective using the rings and markings on stumps and logs to figure out what the lives of trees might have been like. She demonstrates a simple art project we can do to show the patterns of growth in our own lives, and we leave with a challenge to go outside and explore the stumps and logs in our own backyard! YouTube video about 11 minutes.

(06/19/20) Some of you may remember when the Kimberly-Clark paper mill in Childersburg, Alabama (Talladega County) produced newsprint for the Birmingham News and Post Herald. The mill is now owned by Canada's Resolute Forest Products and produces market pulp, not newsprint. (Resolute recently shut down 40 percent of its newsprint capacity (2 mills in Quebec).) The Childersburg pulp mill spends $51.2 million acquiring and hauling wood to the mill and spends a total of $169.4 million operating the mill annually.  

(06/18/20) May we ask how much land governments in the U.S. need to own? May we ask if anyone in Congress has any concept of the huge amount of land already owned by federal, state and local governments? May we ask if anyone in Congress recognizes that the productivity of our country is reduced when government acquires productive private land? The U.S. Senate is poised this week to spend, "forever," nearly one billion dollars a year on the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Please read The "Great American Outdoors Act" is a federal land grab slush fund.

(06/17/20) "Markets are hard to put a finger on at the moment," reports the F & W Market Update of 6/16/20.

(06/16/20) Back Porch Forestry creator Dr. David Mercker has produced a fifth program, this one titled, "Tax Treatment for Timber Casualty Loss." Bookmark this one, because when your trees are damaged in the next tornado, ice storm, hurricane, or wildfire, you'll want to watch it again. Click here for earlier Back Porch Forestry programs.

(06/15/20) "This year, Alabama is predicted to have a low number of Southern Pine Beetle (SPB) infestations. More specifically, high risk counties are expected to have no more than 6 to 9 SPB spots. The overall prediction for the state, Alabama has a 16% chance of having any SPB spots this active season." Source: 2020 Southern Pine Beetle Spring Pheromone Survey Results and Southern Pine Beetle Outbreak Prediction Maps: Alabama 2020, Alabama Forestry Commission, 6/12/20.

(06/12/20) "Produced mostly in the U.S.," supplies of lumber for Japanese furniture makers and whiskey distillers are tight, reports the Nikkei Asian Review, 6/6/20.

(06/11/20) Forty-two percent of respondents to a LandThink Pulse question "believe that demand for land will DECREASE for the remainder of 2020."

(06/10/20) We invite you to take a walk with Tree Farmer Angela Wells on her Montana land. She shares several good ideas on keeping track of things to do on your land. We hope you will enjoy the short walk with Angela.

(06/09/20) Fascinating! We found the speaker's notes and map from last week's Forestry Field Day (see 06/04/20, below) very interesting and think you will, too. The discussion and tour included viewing various ages of mixed plantings of oaks and pines.

(06/08/20) Is there a light at the end of the tunnel, and does the forest supply chain have a reason to be hopeful? Forest2Market President & CEO Pete Stewart speculates about the future in an interview with The Forestry Source, June 2020.

(06/05/20) "Forest School enjoys its moment in the woods." "Founded in the tradition of forest schools that dates to 1950s-era Scandinavia, the school teaches things such as the six ways to get a fire started, the difference between frogs and toads, and how to weigh the risks involved in swinging on a vine."

(06/04/20) Consulting Forester Bruce Lanier met about 2 dozen forest landowners in the Pickens County woods today to discuss Ways to Weather Current Pine Pulpwood Market Conditions, Managing Mixed Pine & Hardwood Stands, and Rethinking Planting Density. Bruce covered the topics well, but questions from the audience kept him on the job an hour beyond the planned adjournment time. His contact information is at here.

(06/03/20) Log Truck Drivers are in demand. "Log truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport logs and other wood products over the road. They can work directly for forest products companies, or they may be self-employed." Pass this message along to children or grandchildren who might be interested.

(06/02/20) Alligator hunters began registering today to win one of 260 tags available in Alabama this year. The world record was taken by Mandy Stokes of Camden in 2014: 15 feet 9 inches and 1,011.5 pounds.

(06/01/20) Why do a timber inventory? ... and a brief discussion about the basics of deciding which trees to measure. This 11 minute video discussion from NC State may help you better understand what your forester measures when cruising your timber.

(05/29/20) Why I Decided to Hunt My Own Food, by Kim Martin, gives us an idea about what goes through the minds of young people today. An interesting read.

(05/28/20) The film that shined too bright a light on green energy schemes, Planet of the Humans, has been removed from the web by YouTube. Source: The Guardian, 5/25/20. See 5/1/20, below. Watch on Vimeo, 6/4/20.

(05/27/20) Low property taxes are the reason many of us have invested in and/or continue to stay invested in forestland in Alabama. Alabama's reliance on property taxes to pay for government services is the lowest in the country, reports the Tax Foundation today. Even then, some studies have shown that the taxes paid for the services received on rural undeveloped land are excessive.

(05/26/20) "The Dove Daddy," Rick Bourne, gives tips on what you can do right now to produce a quality dove field for the fall on Episode 240 of The Land Show. Bourne's interview begins at 51:09.

(05/22/20) Managing for Top Quality White Oak, Fundamentals of Tree Identification, Why Do Trees Die?, and Clues in Determining a Quality Hardwood Stand are the first four of the "Back Porch Forestry" series created by Dr. David Mercker, University of Tennessee Extension Forester. Dr. Mercker presented Managing for Quality White Oaks at AFOA's 2018 Annual Meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park.

(05/21/20) HuntStand Pro, an excellent hunting and land management app for your iPhone or Android phone, is available at a 20% discount to AFOA members and the hunters who hunt on their land. Use the app to find out who owns a tract of land, mark game camera locations, share with your hunters to keep track of their locations on your property, measure distances, map your property, and more. The property ownership service is worth the price of the app: coverage of the whole US for a year for only $19.99 after the discount. The discount code is AFOA20. It is case sensitive.

(05/20/20) Black Walnut trees for valuable lumber and veneer, and for the nuts, too, is a big deal in the Midwest. The May bulletin of the Walnut Council is available on line. Past issues can be accessed here. Enjoy.

(05/19/20) Satellites Show a Decline in [Prescribed] Fire in the U.S. Southeast. Spring 2020 (January 1 through May 9) "had the fewest active fire detections of any spring in the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) record (which began in 2012)." "According to one recent estimate, about 70 percent of all prescribed fires in the United States occur in the Southeast." Editor's note: Sounds like a lot of fuel left in the woods to burn by accident later this fall.

(05/18/20) Markets Work and a host of other forestland oriented white papers are available from Forest Resource Consultants. If you are looking for a consulting forester in Alabama to help you make a timber sale, plant trees, paint boundary lines, kill cogongrass, or estimate timber volumes, find one at

(05/15/20) Alabama Timber Market Outlook was the featured topic of discussion last evening when the Alabama Forest Owners' Association hosted its Dinner & Discussion online. We wish to thank Dr. Adam Maggard, Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor, Auburn University for bringing this interesting and up-to-date perspective on the markets that pay the bills for forest owners.

(05/14/20) "Poor Savings Habits Have Left Americans Vulnerable to Economic Crises," shouts the title of a recent Foundation for Economic Education essay. AFOA suspects and hopes that most forest owners are savers and investors, but we also suspect that many AFOA members worry about the savings habits of their children and/or grandchildren. Potential savers might benefit from reading The Richest Man in Babylon.

(05/13/20) Two bills in Montgomery (HB369 -- you may need to click this link twice -- and SB263) sound like bail outs for the deer-farm industry in case a herd becomes infected with chronic wasting disease. Read the bills and let AFOA know what you think.

(05/12/20) "With school and university systems across the country now employing 'distance learning' for the foreseeable future, tens of millions of K-12 and college students are doing their work online. All of this adds up to a situation where printing and writing papers are simply not needed to accomplish tasks and take tests." Read more from John Greene's May 11, 2020 Forest2Market Blog, Structural Changes to Declining Pulp & Paper Segments Will Accelerate Under Pandemic.

(05/11/20) County Tax Maps are available for Alabama counties. AFOA compiled a list of county tax maps for you to use. They come in handy when someone wants to know where your land is located - like visiting friends, prospective timber buyers, or hunters who are interested in leasing hunting rights on your land. A few of the links may not be the best available URL, so please send additions or corrections to Greene County updated 8/19/20.

(05/08/20) Wildfire Headlines from Florida as reported by Wildfire News of the Day, 5/8/20
o    Santa Rosa County: Florida Forest Service discusses new policies to fight wildfires in time of coronavirus
o    Walton County: 33 homes destroyed as result of South Walton wildfire ignited by illegal burn
o    Walton County: Firefighters battle 85-acre wildfire in Lake Wales near S.R. 60
o    Lake Wales: Firefighters battle 110 acre blaze in Washington County
o    Pace: Florida Forest Service says Pace wildfire is contained after burning 70 acres
o    Woodville: Officials warn of increased risk of fires in coming days

(05/07/20) Coloring Sheets and Virtual Field Trip Videos are available at John Deere for Kids.

(05/06/20) Forestry Newsletters from Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Mississippi State are now available.

(05/05/20) More details now available for the Montgomery County Proposed Property Tax Increase. WSFA12 reported that the bill to allow a tax vote, introduced Monday, 5/4/20, by Democrat Rep. Kirk Hatcher, might be blocked by Republican Rep. Reed Ingram. The WSFA story says the bill would raise property taxes for schools from 10 mills to 18.5 mills, while an earlier report by the Montgomery Advertiser said the proposed tax would raise the millage rate from 10 to 22. Editor's Note: We wonder if Ingram's threat to block the bill unless the referendum date is moved to next February or later is little more than virtue signaling to his base, since the referendum might more easily pass if the election is held on an obscure date next winter. Just a thought.

(05/04/20) Fire Lines is the newsletter of professional and part-time prescribed burners. The March-April 2020 issue contains sections entitled New Technology and Tools, New Fire Science Publications for the South, and Upcoming Events (included are a half dozen on-line webinars).

(05/01/20) So,... even if you nodded your head in agreement with Elon Musk's "forcible imprisonment" comments during a Tesla, Inc. first quarter earnings call, you may still be questioning the rationale behind government subsidies of Musk's electric cars, wind & solar energy, and wood-fired power plants. Questioning that rationale is exactly what the documentary Planet of the Humans does, available, at least today, on YouTube. 6/4/20: Watch on Vimeo.

(04/30/20) "While there has been a lot of ‘hand wringing’ about this asset when the stock market set records last year, we now see, from a risk standpoint, timberland serves well to preserve wealth and still generate cash, especially through tough economic environments." Source: Forisk Consulting LLC Press Release, 4/29/20.

(04/29/20) Alabama Forestry Association's Chris Isaacson discusses the virus panic impact on the forest industry in Alabama on Episode 236 of The Land Show (from 23:14 to 38:06). "It's the uncertainty."

(04/28/20) So, Alabama Forest Owners. You think you have problems? Be glad you only have an oversupply of timber and the virus panic to put up with!
Wildfires being fought in two spots of Chornobyl NPP exclusion zone
The stubborn Ukrainian tradition behind forest fires in Chornobyl
Case Study: Chernobyl wildfire extinguished with help of drones
"Absolute Apocalypse": Ukrainian film director uploads drone footage of Chornobyl wildfire aftermath (Video)
Radioactive Cesium measured up north could origin from Chernobyl forest fires
Wildfires Burning In Ukraine's Western Zhytomyr Region
National Guard conducts anti-sabotage operation due to forest fires
                            Source: Wildfire News of the Day.

(04/27/20) The Big Thinning, number one in The Little Foresters Adventures with Larry the Logger, has just been published, and forester/author Dana Bloome hopes your children will enjoy it. AFOA’s children’s books reviewer, Brinley Laechelt, reported, “It tells some pretty interesting facts. I like how people make stuff out of wood and how they stay strong. And the safety message, I like that. They’ve got safety gear and some of it is funny.” Illustrations by Vanessa J. Thompson. $16.99 at

(04/24/20) MODELS. Most people now probably recognize that government policies based on faulty models got us into the current economic mess. We hope the same concern for policies based on models will cause us to revisit the costly regulations we now live under in the name of preventing global warming. Please read Jane Shaw Stroup's April 22 Environmental Blog, Coronavirus Models and Climate Change Models Have Limits. Ms. Stroup spoke to us at our Annual Meeting in 1995 and she was the first guest on the first issue of Capital Ideas - Live, July 2000.

(04/23/20) "I am not advising anyone to get into timberland right now because I think the last 10 years’ experience is much more relevant than the last 30 years. Nothing in the fundamentals looks bright until timberland prices drop steeply," commented Samuel J. Radcliffe on Forisk Blog, Timberland in Turbulent Times, 4/13/20.

(04/22/20) Timber Market Update from Northwest Alabama. There is a lot of valuable information in the 4/22/20 report we received from Forest Management Specialists. You may want to share the report with your consulting forester and recognize that various product markets will not be the same everywhere in the state. If you do not have a consulting forester, please take the time to find one at

(04/21/20) Two students in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University recently received awards from the Alabama Forest Owners' Association (AFOA). AFOA gives the awards ($1,500 and $1,000) each year to two students who have shown an interest in the consulting forestry profession. Our long-term goal in giving the awards is to improve the services available to forest landowners. Please read Dean Janaki Alavalapati's letter to AFOA recognizing the association's annual support and introducing the student awardees, Andrew Loflin and Robert Sitze.

(04/20/20) Property Tax Increase Proposed by Montgomery County Commissioners. An article in the Montgomery Advertiser on February 25, 2020 reported that the county commissioners decided to ask for approval by the state legislature to conduct a referendum that could more than double the county's millage rate from 10 to 22. We don't know if the legislature approved their request yet, so, if you know anything about this proposed tax increase, please send a note to AFOA at Thanks.

(04/18/20) We think you might enjoy and benefit from listening to Forest2Market's worldwide wood market information exchange. Unfortunately, the short take for forest owners in the South: We are growing more pine trees than are needed and the virus panic has made the supply problem even worse.

(04/17/20) For more than you probably want to know about the global production of toilet paper, please read Bruce Janda's Fisher International article, Coronavirus to Alter Global Toilet Paper & Tissue Production. Two things stood out: 1) The machines that produce toilet and other tissue papers are not very flexible; and 2) China produces a lot more of these products than the U.S. or any other country.

(04/16/20) In case your trees were damaged in the recent spate of storms, two on-line publications from MSU might be helpful. They are: Frequently Asked Questions about Timber Casualty Losses and Income Tax Deduction for Timber Casualty.

(04/15/20) First, do no harm. While we have learned recently that "First, do no harm," is not actually part of the Hippocratic Oath that many medical doctors abide by, we think it would be nice if members of the U.S. Congress were to make that pledge -- in particular as it relates to the Trillion Trees Act. Marshall Thomas, President of F&W Forestry Services, stated very clearly in the F&W Forestry Report, Spring 2020, "We don't need more tree-planting subsidies." See page 1, column 2 of the Report.

(04/14/20) "Did you know you can reduce heating and cooling costs by strategically planting trees around your home?" Since everyone is at home this week, and the weather forecast calls for two or three sunny days, why not download the Project Learning Tree Family Activity: Reduce Your Utility Costs with I-Tree and step outside for a fun and potentially profitable enterprise?

(04/13/20) AGROMINING: We read about a plant that pulls nickel (the metal) out of the soil and thought it might be worth a daydream or two. While newly discovered nickel hyperaccumulator Phyllanthus rufuschaneyi is found only in Sabah (Borneo Island), other hyperaccumulators are evidently found in many parts of the world. Now don't rush out to buy yourself a potted Phyllanthus and make plans to become a nickel baron, but we thought that a story about a plant that can pull valuable nickel ($5.73/pound) from the soil might be of some abstract interest to you.

(04/10/20) The IRS announced on April 9 that tax payments due June 15 may be put off until July 15. Also, Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRAs and similar  accounts will be "completely exempted" for 2020. Source: Lehmann, Ullman and Barclay, LLP, 4/10/20.

(04/09/20) Spring bird migration is now in full effect in Alabama. Open Cornell Ornithology Lab's Species on the Move: mid-April webpage and then scroll down to Gulf Coast and Southeast. Click on Beginning Arrivals and Peaking Arrivals. Newspage Editor Lee is eagerly awaiting the chimney swift family which summers in his old chimneys and winters in Peru.

(04/08/20) The Beginner's Guide to Becoming a Homesteader may be just the distraction you need to get you through the coronavirus panic. Good luck!

(04/07/20) Telemedicine, Once a Hard Sell, Can't Keep Up With Demand (pdf version) is an article in the April 1 Wall Street Journal that may be of interest to you if you live in a region of the state where doctors and medical facilities are in short supply. Of course, high speed access to the internet is a must for telemedicine to work.

(04/06/20) On Line Learning Opportunities:

(04/02/20) Buying and Selling Land during the coronavirus panic and its after effects. This Great Days Outdoors podcast discussion is interesting, but keep in mind that the participants are in the real estate business.

(04/01/20) Christmas tree farmers may qualify for coronavirus stimulus aid. And, unrelated to the virus, two Mississippi State University professors offer  their help to Christmas tree growers. Get details in the latest issue of Southern Christmas Trees, March 31, 2020.

(03/31/20) "They cut some trees to pay for our tuition to college and now some of our trees have been cut to help our granddaughter attend college." Sit back and listen to Billie Smith Hopson describe her family's experience with The Oldest Tree Farm in Arkansas. (about 29 minutes)

(03/27/20) "See the tree instead of the forest," recommends an Ohio Soil & Water Conservation District in a news article that urges families and homeschool science teachers to head outdoors to look for big trees. Alabama keeps a list of big trees -- Champion Trees -- and encourages nominations to the list.

(03/26/20) Tax Deadlines Have Changed. The U. S. Treasury and the State of Alabama announced that tax returns due on April 15, 2020, have been extended until July 15, 2020. Tax payments for Federal returns that had been due April 15, 2020, are extended until July 15, 2020 without interest or penalty. Alabama has followed IRS in extending their filing and payment due dates.
     The due date extension extends the filing date for calendar year C corporations, individual and other returns as well as the time for payment of HSA, IRA and Archer MSA. A great place for answers is the Q&A page of the IRS.
     IRS has also announced its People First Initiative suspending key compliance programs.
     Alabama also includes the pass-through composite payment due date in the delay. Many states are following the lead of federal requirements. Source: Lehmann, Ullman and Barclay, LLP, 3/26/20

(03/25/20) The proposed bridge between Talladega and Shelby counties was nixed by the Shelby County Commission on March 23. Local forestry experts reported to AFOA that the privately funded bridge would have improved stumpage markets in Talladega and Coosa counties.

(03/24/20) Which Issues Are Most Important To You? This is a question posed by the National Woodland Owners Association to its members each year. AFOA would like to know how you would rank these issues as well. Click Here To Rank.

(03/23/20) If you would rather be in the woods than sitting at home checking your Facebook, why not see if you can follow Mercker and Yang's ideas on making a "quick" cruise of your timber (Quick Cruising to Estimate Board-Foot Volume of Standing Hardwood Timber). Forestry Suppliers sells 10 factor prisms; the Jim-Gem Rectangular Prism, 10 BAF ($33.10) should get you started. You may also want to use a Scale Stick, Doyle Scale ($19.95) to measure diameters and heights of trees. Heads-up: The publication focuses only on hardwoods.

(03/20/20) Two perspectives on the paper industry. Take your pick:

(03/19/20) When our Alabama weather heats up in a couple of months, you may wish you were in cool northern Vermont. Biodiversity University "offers in-depth nature study taught by the region's finest experts and educators." Their "students are weekend naturalists, working ecologists, and anyone with an insatiable drive to understand the pieces and patterns of our wild world." Course titles include: Glacial Geology of Northern Vermont, Digital Photography for Naturalists, Field Herpetology, Forest Mosses, Mushrooms - Field Identification and Fungal Ecology, and more.

(03/18/20) "Take your child’s creativity outside! Nature's Art Box by Laura C. Martin offers 65 art projects that kids can make with materials found right in their backyard. There’s no limit to the imaginative possibilities as children mix paints from colorful flower blossoms, dig clay for molding elf-sized furniture, and craft functional twig baskets."

(03/17/20) "Spring turkey season will open March 21 and close May 3, 2020, for most Alabama counties." Source: Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, 10/10/20. AFOA members may use to find turkey hunters eager to lease their land.

(03/16/20) The Alabama Forest Owners’ Association (AFOA) wishes to express our concern for everyone impacted by coronavirus. Like all of you, we have carefully monitored the global health crisis related to COVID-19 coronavirus. Due to the escalation of COVID-19 in the state, after much deliberation and in alignment with the advice from the CDC and public health authorities regarding mass gatherings, we have made the decision to cancel the AFOA Annual Meeting which was due to take place on April 21-22, 2020 in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The AFOA Annual Business Meeting will be rescheduled to a location in the Pelham area.

(03/13/20)It’s an exciting time to be in the corrugated industry. The rise of e-commerce, coupled with concerns about ocean plastics, have created greater awareness among consumers about packaging.” Read more from The Simple Success of Corrugated Containers, Greenville Business Magazine, 3/5/20.

(03/12/20) Why Plant Trees? "One could never discuss the future of forest products without mentioning world population growth and projected growth. Investors in wood-using facilities are also looking at world population growth. As a forester, it is a huge breath of fresh air to see so many forest product mill investors in our state. In the past couple of years the Southeastern United States has become the 'wood basket' for the entire world. In Alabama alone..." Read more in the Spring Newsletter of Ketchum Land & Timber, Vol. 1, #1.

(03/11/20) "Americans, who already consume (by far) the most towel and tissue products in the world, are rushing to purchase toilet paper in bulk." "...retail giants Costco, Walmart, and Target are benefiting during the COVID-19 panic." Source: Fisher International.

(03/10/20) 27,000 hunters who hunt on their own land or were otherwise exempt from needing an Alabama hunting license were caught in the baiting license trap last year and bought a "bait privilege" license to avoid fines. Alabama's Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries has added to the bureaucratic red tape for landowners hunting on their own land and seems happy to brag about it in a March 6, 2020 press release. Evidently turkey hunters have rebelled against the unnecessary regulations of the Division by not reporting their kills. We suspect new regulations will be published soon to whip turkey hunters into line.

(03/09/20) A video by Robert Bush, Sr. showing the "incredible diversity" of wildlife which used a log on a Pennsylvania stream is a must-watch. Lesson learned: point game camera at log across stream. A comment from a parent: I have to tell you, my 3 year old adores this video. I think it’s really neat, but he asks to watch “the log video again and again and again” every day. I never knew nature was so riveting. Thanks for making and sharing this!

(03/05/20) Beavers became big problem after introduction to Navarino Island near Chile's southernmost tip. If you need help removing beavers, coyotes, raccoons and other animals from your property, call Brenda at AFOA for the names of Animal Nuisance Control Experts: 205-624-2225

(03/04/20) 1,430 Bullock County voters (94% of precincts reporting) decided to raise property taxes in the county yesterday. Source: WSFA12 News, 4:02 pm, 3/4/20. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 10,914 people living in Bullock County.

(03/03/20) "When I sell stumpage (the standing trees on my land), where do the logs go?" If you've ever asked yourself that question, you might like to test the interactive Alabama Forest Industry Directory Map. Select "Primary," the second "Query criteria" on the left side of the screen and then click "Apply" down near the bottom of the screen. Some of the little green dots will turn red. Those are the wood processing plants that begin work on your logs -- sawmills, veneer mills, pulpmills. Secondary wood users begin their work on already processed materials. Cabinet makers may use already sawn lumber; paper mills may use already processed pulp, etc. Editor's note: If you need a list of stumpage buyers, contact Brenda at the AFOA office - 205-624-2225.

(03/02/20) "American ginseng is arguably the most valuable non-timber forest crop in Eastern North America." But can it be grown commercially? The Future of Wild-Simulated Ginseng, an article on the website of the Association for Temperate Agroforestry, discusses the difficulty in simulating the wild conditions necessary to produce high value ginseng.

(02/28/20) The Role of Trapping in Wildlife Management will be described as a forest and wildlife management "tool" by Wildlife Biologist Mike Sievering at AFOA's Annual Meeting Field Day on April 21 in Tuscaloosa County. Sievering, who is Conservation Director of the National Trappers Association, will probably set a few traps while describing methods used to control coyotes, beavers, raccoons and possums. Register now.

(02/27/20) Goats can help reduce fire hazards by cleaning up the underbrush on your land. If you want to learn more about goats and their proper care, make plans now to attend Dr. Uma Karki's presentation at AFOA's 39th Annual Meeting in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, April 22.

(02/26/20) A change in attitude? Please read the following press release: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Critical Habitat for Threatened Black Pinesnake, 2/25/20: We may be imagining things, but we think we see a change in attitude at the Service. Wouldn't it be nice if they were able to change from a command and control organization into a service organization, providing guidance on how to nurture rare species of plants and animals? We think many landowners would view the Service a lot more favorably than they do today. Rare plants and animals might benefit from such a change.

(02/25/20) If building that dream cabin in the woods is still on your bucket list, you'll want to visit Brock's Huntin Cabins website to see photos of all the neat little cabins they have to offer. Owner Brock Ray was an interesting guest on The Land Show, Episode 227 (download and then scroll to 23:32 minutes).

(02/24/20) "In Australia, we have reduced our land-management actions and are now suffering the consequences," reported Gary Morgan, a consultant with Global Wildland Fire Management Services and chair of the Institute of Foresters of Australia. "There is a solution. It is certainly not more aircraft. ... Clearly, the current approach is not working. Politicians want to be seen to be doing something, regardless of effectiveness." Source: The Forestry Source, February 2020, page 2.

(02/21/20) 29 YEAR PROPERTY TAX INCREASE PLANNED FOR BULLOCK COUNTY. See March 3 Sample Ballots: Republican; Democratic. We also noticed an amendment on the Tallapoosa County ballot that would create a local "road maintenance district." Tallapoosa voters may want to check that out. Click here for sample ballots for all 67 counties, both Democratic and Republican. 

(02/20/20) "A Visual Account of One Year in the Life of a Longleaf Pine Forest" is a short, but very nicely done, slide show. We think you will enjoy it - and maybe benefit from watching it. Source: The Longleaf Alliance.

(02/19/20)The bottom line for U.S. forest owners: based on our experience with previous government incentive programs, The Trillion Trees Act would not be a boon for U.S. forest owners. In fact, if it massively increased planting in the South, it would exacerbate the timber oversupply issue that plagues many timber markets in the region.” Source: Forisk Blog, 2/19/20.

(02/18/20) "Alabama registered voters will go to the polls on March 3, 2020 to vote in the presidential primary, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Alabama Public Service Commission president and Supreme Court Justices and members of the Court of Civil Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals. Voters will choose ballots for either the Democratic or Republican parties. In addition to candidates, voters will select presidential delegates to represent their votes at the national party conventions." In addition to candidates on the ballot, Amendment One will ask whether you want to allow the Governor to appoint the State Board of Education (to be renamed the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education). Source: NFIB AL Legislative Links, 2/14/20. Click here for election information from the Secretary of State's office.

(02/17/20) When it rains a lot, some tracts of timber become too wet to log, so loggers have to buy timber on high-dry tracts -- usually in a hurry in order to keep the mills running. John Greene tries to shed some light on the subject in his blog: Winter Precipitation Trends: Will Timber Prices be Impacted?

(02/14/20) The Tax Foundation is a great source of information about taxes -- sales, property, income, estate... Check out their blog - click here - and, when you get there, read about our neighbor's plan to eliminate income taxes --  February 10, Tennessee's Governor Lee Pushes to Clear Out Remnants of Income Taxation.

(02/12/20) If controlling coyotes or beavers is on your to-do list, you will want to listen to Ken Peters, Dominion Trapping, on The Land Show, Epitsode 224 (Ken's interview begins at 22:02 and ends at about 36:51). Dominion Trapping on Facebook

(02/11/20) MR. PRESIDENT, IT'S A BAD IDEA FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO PLANT ONE TRILLION TREES DURING THE NEXT 30 YEARS! We are already growing more trees each year than we harvest. Can you imagine how bad pulpwood prices will be in 15 years? How bad sawtimber prices will be in 25 years? IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA. JUST SAY NO!

(02/10/20) "A pulp mill is a timberland manager’s friend, especially in the US South... It is very helpful to have a pulp mill or two within delivery distance of your timberland. Pulp mills consume tremendous volumes of small and low-quality wood, providing a great market for those materials for timberland owners." Read more in Pulp Mills, Forest Management...and People, by Jack Lutz, Forest Research Notes, 4Q19.

(02/07/20) "Engaging" with your woods in the winter: Idea #1. "Walk your property boundary lines. Deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, giving a better line of sight, the weather is cool, making walking rugged terrain easier, briars are less fierce, poison ivy is beaten back, and ticks and mosquitoes are hibernating." Idea #1 and other ideas were found in the Virginia Forest Landowner e-Update, February 2020, published by Jennifer Gagnon, Virginia Tech Forestry Extension.

(02/06/20) Recent research "found deer were [coyotes'] single most important prey item..." To minimize coyote damage, land managers should "ensure that open areas managed as foraging sites for deer, such as food plots, are juxtaposed to dense cover..." Read How Much Venison Are Coyotes Eating? by Dr. Mike Chamberlain and Dr. Joey Hinton published by Quality Deer Management Association, 2/5/20.

(02/05/20) An environmentalist group convinced a federal judge to force the US Fish & Wildlife Service to "look again" at an Endangered Species Act ruling on the Northern Long Eared Bat. The change sought by the court would affect some forest management decisions.

(02/04/20) The Forest Floor is on the Move! Most of us know birds migrate in the spring and fall, but did you know that amphibians migrate too? They might not make the 1000-mile trek that some birds do, but during the winter, several salamander and frog species can be seen in mass migration crawling on the forest floor towards temporary pools. This phenomenon is like salmon traveling upstream to reach their breeding grounds, whereas amphibians will travel toward shallow seasonal pools to lay eggs and then slither back to their comfortable homes in the forest floor.
     While we have over 70 species of amphibians in Alabama, only a few species partake in this migration, one of which is the Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). The spotted salamander is a fairly large salamander that is typically six to eight inches long but has been known to grow as large as 10 inches. As the name suggests, this species is identified by a series of irregular shaped yellow, sometimes orange, spots running down either side of the back from the head to its tail. Spotted salamanders exhibit a strong homing behavior, meaning they return to the pools they hatched from. Source: Alabama Wildlife and Conservation News, January 2020.

(01/31/20) Do you ever worry that enough is not being done to promote the use of the wood we grow? Check out some of the workshops and demonstrations recently conducted by Southern Forest Products Association's international promotions group:

(01/30/20) A bridge that would link Shelby County and south Talladega County east of Columbiana near the 4-H Center has been approved by the Talladega County Commission, but is meeting opposition from some Shelby County residents. A consulting forester told AFOA that the bridge would improve access to wood markets in the area, including Coosa County.

(01/29/20) We were glad to learn that the Opp News covered a visit to Lloyd Culp's forestland in Covington County a few days ago. Loflin Forest Management led the tour which included a drone demonstration and discussion on how to have more successful timber sales.

(01/28/20) Last Thursday "the Environmental Protection Agency released its final rule defining “Waters of the US” (WOTUS) over which EPA will have regulatory jurisdiction. The final regulation excludes from EPA jurisdiction a number of water features, including the following of particular importance to private forest management:
•   Ephemeral streams, defined as flowing only in direct response to precipitation,
•   Manmade ditches that do not flow into a regulated water, and
•   Wetlands that do not touch a regulated water of the US.
The effect of these exclusions is that the listed water features will NOT, by themselves, subject timberland to EPA Clean Water Act permit requirements governing such things as the aerial application of pesticides. The wetlands exclusion will also significantly strengthen the application of 'normal silviculture' permit exemption for forested wetlands. The text of the final rule can be found HERE." Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, 1/23/20.

(01/27/20) Tax Tips for Forest Landowners for the 2019 Tax Year by Linda Wang, National Timber Tax Specialist, USDA Forest Service, is now available. Thank you, Dr. Wang.

(01/24/20) Have you always wanted to know the names of mushrooms you find on your land? There are two branches of the Alabama Mushroom Society which hold meetings in Birmingham and Mobile; first Tuesdays and second Mondays, resp., according to their webpage.

(01/23/20) PAWPAWS. You may not grow them to sell, but have you ever eaten one? "Also called the Indiana banana or the American custard apple, the pawpaw is the largest native North American fruit and has a legendary flavor—many describe it as a cross between a banana and a mango." Source: Civil Eats, 1/9/20

(01/22/20) Hurricanes, tornados, ice storms, floods, and wildfire are among events that can damage standing timber. To help forest landowners minimize taxes related to lost timber value, the Tennessee Forestry Association gathered some information in "Tax Considerations Associated with Timber Casualty Losses."

(01/21/20) "US-China Trade Deal Provides Relief for Hardwood Sector," states Travis Durkee in his January 20 Forest2Market Blog. Besides pointing out the importance of hardwood log and lumber exports, he also makes it very clear that we're growing far more hardwood timber than we're harvesting -- see "US South Growth-to-Removal Ratios" list of hardwood species.

(01/20/20) New York elementary school principal and South Carolina forest owner, Yvonne Knight-Carter, tells her story about returning home to manage her family's land.

(01/17/20) Passing on legacies of forestland and forestland management know-how -- Professor Becky Barlow leads the way. Source: Alabama Living.

(01/16/20) BIRDERS! Imagine pointing your telephoto camera at a bird you don't recognize, snapping a picture, and within a few seconds receiving a message on your phone identifying the bird. Swarovski Optik and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology think they're almost ready to sell you the camera and the service

(01/15/20) "A Talladega County firefighter has temporarily left the Superspeedway to help Australian firefighters contain devastating wildfires ravaging the country." Source: WVTM 13, 1/13/20. For an interesting perspective on the fires, an AFOA member sent us a YouTube story that disagrees with many who believe global warming has been the cause of the fires. Warning: coarse language from Aussie farmer at about the 3 minute mark.

(01/14/20) Davis Fish Farm in Cherokee County was featured this week on The Land Show. Daniel Davis talks about the pond management services they provide, including stocking trout in cold water areas.

(01/13/20) Driptorch Digest is the "Newsletter of the Southern Prescribed Fire Community." If you are a prescribed burner or a wannabe, you'll probably find something useful in their January 2020 newsletter.

(01/10/20) 10 Predictions for Global Forest Industries in 2020 by Pete Stewart, CEO,, 1/6/2020.

(01/09/20) In its quest to "inspire the limitless potential in every girl," Mattel is working with forest scientist Nalini Nadkarni to create a forest scientist Barbie.

(01/08/20) "We stood on a lot of consultants shoulders. I enjoyed learning from the consultants," says Mrs. Gail Burris, Hampton County, South Carolina, in a 3 minute video. If you need a consulting forester to help you, open

(01/07/20) Raymond James Financial Services published a report today: Overweight the Timber REITS - Upgrading PCH to Outperform and Raising Price Targets. If your time is limited, read the first page. Timber REIT prices are published each month in AFOA's newsletter, Capital Ideas, top of middle column on page 2. Source: Howard Sokol, Raymond James Financial Services.

(01/06/20) Lady forest owners - watch this video. Gentlemen forest owners - watch the video with your wife.

(01/03/20) Tree Farm Certification in Virginia is not free anymore. Current Tree Farmers will pay from $50 to $250 per year and new Tree Farms will be assessed a one-time certification fee of $100. Source: Virginia Forest Landowner Update, Winter 2020.

(01/02/20) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like your help to decide whether the Gulf Coast solitary bee should be listed as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. We aren't experts, but we think you have until about March 19, 2020 to send them your comments on scientific and commercial and other information about the bee. For more information, go to the Federal Register, Vol. 84, No. 244, page 69713. If you need help sending your comments, contact Sean Blomquist at 850–769–0552 or

(12/31/19) Weyerhaeuser is selling 630,000 acres of Montana timberland to Southern Pine Plantations. We think the interesting part of this story is the price per acre. Source: Missoula Current, 12/23/19.

(12/30/19) "2/3 of Alabama is covered by forests," declares the headline of a Conservation Alabama Tweet. So, naturally, the non-profit group requests a donation. Perfectly reasonable, don't you think?

(12/27/19) "Pinnacle Renewable Energy Announces Planned Construction of New Industrial Wood Pellet Facility in the U.S. Southeast." "The Demopolis Facility is expected to have annual production volume of 360,000 metric tonnes per annum..." Wood pellet production is expected in the second quarter of 2021. Source: Cision, 12/19/19

(12/26/19) Hardwood Timber and US-China Trade. "US Trade Ambassador Robert Lighthizer appeared on Fox Business News on December 17 and mentioned that hardwoods are part of the trade deal with China. The clip may be viewed here. Hardwood and forest products are mentioned at 1:56 of this clip addressing how other areas of agriculture also classified as manufacturing will be used to get to the $50B/year of agricultural purchases that the President and Administration were pushing for." Source: Tennessee Forestry Association, 12/20/19.

(12/23/19) Rock & roll piano player and Georgia forest landowner Chuck Leavell shares his opinions on the value of forests. Includes some video stories.

(12/20/19) Electrocution, fires... Be aware that high voltage transmission lines can kill you. If you're planning to cut trees near a power line, check out TVA's safety article in the December 2019 Southern Loggin' Times, page 34.

(12/19/19) Mother Nature having an effect on current pine stumpage market in the US South. Source: Forest2Market, 12/10/19.

(12/18/19) Off the grid, tiny house rental business in Australia keeping an eye on "bush" fires. "What started out as one cabin in the bush managed by twin brothers Cam and Chris Grant in their spare time is now on track to be a sizeable travel company..." "The startup turned over A$500,000 last year with more than 2700 nights of accommodation booked and an occupancy rate of 95 per cent." Investors have backed them with A$1.2 million.

(12/17/19) "A new generation of whiskey makers is looking to quickly and cheaply capitalize on bourbon’s booming popularity by maturing it for just a few months, weeks or even seconds." Source: The Wall Street Journal, 12/13/19. Take away from this story: Booming white oak prices may be wispy memories in just a few years. Enjoy them now, while you've got a chance.

(12/16/19) "Before the 1930s, Christmas trees typically were cut down on an individual’s property or out in the wild. Now, tree farms in all 50 states (yes, Hawaii too) are where most Christmas trees come from..." Source: The Washington Post, 12/12/19

(12/13/19) Property tax increase approved by voters in Marengo County on Tuesday. Source: Demopolis Times, 12/10/19. Alabama Forest Owners' Association needs help from landowners across the state to alert us to property tax votes. Send heads-up to

(12/12/19) There are 270 stops on Alabama Birding Trails -- places where you might see some of the 430 bird species documented in Alabama. A Teacher Resource Guide, created by the University of Alabama and the Alabama Extension System, contains lots of information about birds and birding in our state.

(12/11/19) Christmas tree grower Ginger Duncan tells The Landshow about her family's efforts to provide a fun cut-your-own-tree adventure. Ginger's 12 minute interview begins at 4 minutes and 3 seconds into the program

(12/10/19) Everyone says, "Gopher tortoises aren't rare. I have lots of them on my property." ...But no one wants to tell the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) where they are, for fear of forever acquiring the FWS as a permanent partner in their land management activities. Experts who watch the unfolding of endangered species decisions say that if enough tortoises were reported to the FWS, the species might not be listed as threatened or endangered. So... the Forest Landowners Association (FLA) has come up with a way for landowners to anonymously report tortoises. Read the FLA's plan here.

(12/09/19) See what Birmingham boys learned when they visited, behind the scenes, the Alabama River Cellulose, Georgia-Pacific pulp mill in Monroe County, Alabama. Source: Bham Now, 12/4/2019.

(12/06/19) Restoring the American chestnut tree - a 5 minute story by CBS This Morning, 12/5/19.

(12/05/19) Bringing your pine seedlings home from the nursery requires special care to keep them alive. Watch this Arborgen video on "Pine Seedling Care During Transit."

(12/04/19) The groups listed below don't seem to want expanded markets in Alabama for low quality wood. They are evidently being led by a group that doesn't seem to like it when you harvest the timber you grow - The Dogwood Alliance. If you know people who belong to one or more of these groups, it might be helpful if you could invite them to sit down for a cup of coffee and a chat. (Here is an article about possible things to chat about.) (here's another)

  • Alabama Interfaith Power & Light
  • Alabama Rivers Alliance
  • Alabama Sustainable Agriculture Network
  • Black Warrior Riverkeeper
  • Gasp
  • Mobile Bay Sierra Club

(12/03/19) "Forty-three of Alabama’s 67 counties are losing people," reports on 12/1/19. A potential forestland buyer might consider those 43 counties prime investment venues.

(12/02/19) Americans bought more than 15 million "real" Christmas trees in 2017. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there are 461 square miles of Christmas tree farms in the U.S. Source: How Many Christmas Trees Do We Chop Down Each Year?, The Wall Street Journal, 11/29/19.

(11/27/19) Economic needs of local schools prevails in Left Coast timber sales lawsuit. Source: U.S. News & World Report, 11/20/19

(11/26/19) The market for houses is a major driving force behind the demand for southern pine sawtimber, so this headline from yesterday's Fox Business News Bulls & Bears is not very encouraging: Boomer homes to flood US market, but who will buy them?

(11/25/19) "Privately owned forestland is a big problem for central planners who have all the answers," is how one might interpret this article in The Hill, November 12, 2019: The families who control the future of America's forests.

(11/22/19) Sunbelt Forest Ventures cuts ribbon on $30 million sawmill at the South Dallas Industrial Park. Source: The Selma Times-Journal, 11/18/19.

(11/21/19) Driven by U.S. volumes, North American wood pellet exports increased 13% year-over-year through August. Source: Forisk Consulting, 11/13/19.

(11/19/19) The American Forest Foundation reported last week that "important disaster aid funding is now available for family forest owners to recover lost timber value in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia in areas affected by hurricanes Michael and Florence. ... For the first time, landowners will receive aid to recover a portion of their lost timber value..." Find your local USDA Service Center for information on how to apply.

(11/18/19) Armchair loggers and other kids might like to play with Forestry & Logging, Farming Simulator 15. Check out videos here and here.

(11/15/19) Land buyers want to own their land lock, stock, and barrel, according to a survey by LandThink Pulse.

(11/14/19) Gun deer season opens in Alabama on November 23. To find out what hunters may be doing in your woods and your neighbors', check out Alabama's 2019-2020 Seasons and Bag Limits. And WEAR ORANGE when in the woods.

(11/13/19) "With [Florida] Panhandle Timber Down, [Florida] Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried Thinks Hemp Will Come Up Big." Source: WFSU, 10/10/19.

(11/12/19) Tips for improving squirrel habitat from NC State Extension. Check it out.

(11/11/19) CAUTION TO TREE PLANTERS! Freezing temperatures are predicted for portions of Alabama for the next few days. Message from forest nursery company, ArborGen: At this point in the season, seedlings have been not been exposed to acclimatizing cold temperatures (chilling hours) and are therefore susceptible to cold damage. ArborGen recommends avoiding tree planting 48 hours before the onset of these predicted, dangerously low temperatures, especially where lows are expected to dip below 25 degrees F⁰. High, desiccating winds can accompany freeze events like this one. Cold and wind can negatively affect both bareroot and containerized seedlings. After this cold front passes and in the coming weeks, seedlings will become more and more tolerant to cold air temperatures which will improve survivability after planting. It is important to note that planting during a freeze event could significantly limit survivability and vigor of your seedlings. Our best advice is to delay planting until after this cold front passes…..however,

If you must plant during a freeze event:

  • Plant the seedlings as deep as possible. With frozen soils, this may only be possible with machine planters.

  • Ideally, seedlings should be planted when daytime temperatures are above freezing.

  • Minimize seedling exposure to air, especially the roots.

  • Store seedlings in refrigerated coolers, vans or enclosed areas where temperatures will not go below freezing.

  • Do not store seedlings in open sheds or under tarps where the seedlings will freeze.

(11/08/19) Taylor Hart with First South Farm Credit talks to Dave and Johnny on The Land Show (Episode 212) about the great low-interest rates and programs they have that help make land buying easy. Taylor's interview begins at 33:00 minutes into the episode.

(11/07/19) Establishing cattle forage in loblolly pine plantations is just one of many articles available at the website of the Association of Temperate Agroforestry.

(11/06/19) AFOA commends U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, for urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to include representatives with a rural land perspective, including forestland, on the Drone Advisory Committee (DAC). Recognition of the inherent differences in rural and urban environments is very important to this rapidly growing technology.

(11/05/19) If you know someone in high school or college who might be interested in a forestry career, tell them about a guide to accredited forestry and natural resources programs published by the Society of American Foresters. There are more than 3 dozen schools across the U.S. eager to meet your student. Auburn University and Alabama A&M University are at the beginning of the list.

(11/04/19) The recently launched Future Forests + Jobs is an initiative aimed at pushing back against anti-forestry and anti-biomass activists.

(11/01/19) MAYBE! The market for sawtimber and chip-n-saw is not dead, but in Alabama, don't hold your breath. That's how we interpret Forisk Consulting's report: How much longer will pine sawtimber accumulate in the U.S. South? Hint: scroll down to the chart at the bottom of the article -- look for "Alabama" and "Post-2028." Ugh!

(10/31/19) NO! The market for paper is not dead. "Packaging is growing all over the world, along with tissue papers, and pulp for hygiene products." Source: McKinsey & Company, 8/19.

(10/30/19) Why thin your pine stands? "Controlling stand density by thinning can improve the vigor, growth rate, and quality (and value) of the remaining 'crop' trees." Learn more: Thinning Pine Stands - Woodland Owner Notes from NC State Extension.

(10/29/19) How to Plant a Seedling is a short video produced by the Texas A & M Forest Service. The instructor demonstrates how to plant both bareroot and container loblolly pine seedlings using a dibble bar. The 5 minutes of instructions are embedded in an almost 8 minute video, so you may want to skip to the start, which begins at 1 minute 48 seconds into the video.

(10/28/19) Did you know there were 93 million forest tree seedlings produced in Alabama in the 2017-2018 planting year? Most, about 91 million, were pine seedlings. There were 1.2 billion forest tree seedlings produced in the U.S., with most production and planting occurring in the southern states. Source: Forest Nursery Seedling Production in the United States - Fiscal Year 2018, Tree Planters' Notes, Vol. 62, #1,2.

(10/25/19) Berry College is looking for a home for 400 surplus large potted Mountain Longleaf Pine seedlings (click here for photo). "These are in 4" X 4" X 14" deep tree pots and are from mixed mountain LLP sources (Berry College and Sheffield WMA in GA, Mountain Longleaf WR and Talladega NF in AL). I would prefer to send the entire lot to one location and will accept donations to our Berry College Longleaf Pine Project in return. If you would like them, please let me know what you might be willing to donate!" Contact Berry College's Dr. Martin Cipollini.

(10/24/19) Dog runs over man with 4-wheeler. Man airlifted to hospital. Source: WKRG, Loxley, Alabama.

(10/23/19) New wood products manufacturing plant to open in Montgomery next month. Conner Industries, based in Texas, produces lumber, pallets, crates, and other packaging products. The company currently operates 12 facilities in the U.S.

(10/22/19) Planting Longleaf: "If wildlife is important, [plant about 450 seedlings per acre]. If timber and pine straw are a priority, [plant 600+,] as many as 726 seedlings per acre." Watch the "Three Minute Management" video titled Planting Longleaf on The Longleaf Alliance's YouTube channel. Source: Q & A in The Longleaf Leader, Fall 2019.

(10/21/19) "Oversupplied." If you plan to buy timberland somewhere in Alabama just for the pine timber investment, you might want to the avoid buying land in the area Forisk Consulting says, in their Blog Ranking Timber Supply in the South, is "Oversupplied." See green area (Lamar, Fayette, Pickens, Tuscaloosa counties) on Forisk Consulting's 2029 projection map.

(10/18/19) Read or listen to the news everyday, but question and compare a variety of sources. That's the message we received loud and clear from our West Coast friend and Editor of The Forestry Source, Steve Wilent, in his article: Looking at the News: Reasons for Doubt.

(10/17/19) "Sometimes it is hard to write this article, and this is one of those times. Timber prices are down again just about everywhere in the third quarter. The situation is so bad in the Northeast that sawmills are going out of business because of the U.S.-China trade dispute. You know it is bad when part of the good news for us in the U.S. is really bad news for the folks in Canada. Sawmills are closing in British Columbia and manufacturing capacity is shifting to the U.S. South," wrote Marshall Thomas, President of F & W Forestry Services, in the latest issue of F&W's Forestry Report.

(10/16/19) Biofuel producer Enviva will build a $175 million plant in the Port of Epes in Sumter County, Alabama, manufacturing wood pellets for export to Europe and Asia.

(10/15/19) So, who are the farmers going to endorse in the March 2020 primaries? Senator? President? Judges? Public Service Commission? Check out Alabama Farmers Federation FarmPAC Endorsements.

(10/14/19) Grazing Livestock in Woodlands: Benefits, Detriments and Management Recommendations is a new publication from the University of Tennessee by David Mercker and Jason Smith. Plants favored by livestock and some that are poisonous are listed.

(10/11/19) Between John Phillips and Wayne Fears, you're going to enjoy this great story about building a simple hunting cabin in the woods.

(10/10/19) Wood splinters flying out of logging machine cutter head blew out a truck tire 35 feet away. Always make sure loggers know you are in their work area.

(10/09/19) Because of a combination of high winds and low humidity creating conditions for potentially catastrophic fires, California's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, is shutting off power in the largest preventive outage in state history as a precaution against sparking wildfires from faulty power lines. The state seems to be in a perpetual game of tug of war between those who want to loosen forest management regulations and those who believe that the fires are caused by winds and not bad forest management. Perhaps wildfire education would help. Dr. Karen Abt, a a research Economist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Forestry Sciences Laboratory, thinks so. She spoke to landowners on this month's Capital Ideas--Live! about the importance of and economic benefits of wildfire prevention education efforts.

(10/08/19) Alabama's new litter law, which took effect Sept. 1, has increased the penalties, especially litter thrown from cars, from a Class C to a Class B misdemeanor. Sponsored by Rep. Margie Wilcox (R-Mobile), the bill also includes jail time up to six months, fines up to $3,000 plus court costs, and community service on the trash pick up service. Fifty percent of the fine is earmarked for the state’s General Fund and 50 percent will be retained by the municipality or county. Source: Ala Legislative Link, NFIB, 10/4/19  

(10/07/19) The Rebuild Alabama Act, which increased the statewide gasoline and diesel taxes by 6 cents on September 1, requires transparency with and accountability of taxpayer dollars. One is for each county commission to adopt an annual transportation plan detailing the list of projects to be prioritized in the coming year based on anticipated revenue and to make that plan visible to the public. Adopted by each county governing body, the plans are available on the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA) website.

(10/04/19) Tariffs on imported wood cabinets which are frequently made with US grown timber will probably have a great impact on stumpage prices for cabinet quality trees. This will not be good for forest owners.

(10/03/19) The Lodge at Gulf State Park, A Hilton Hotel, in Gulf Shores has been chosen for the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Southern Christmas Tree Association (SCTA) to be held August 7-9. SCTA has reserved a block of rooms for participants until July 7, 2020. Learn more about the meeting and more in their quarterly newsletter.

(10/02/19) Prescribed burning in Florida is a national model for successfully managing statewide forests and lands through safe, controlled, carefully managed prescribed fire. Earlier this week, agriculture commissioner Nikki Fried announced changes to the state’s prescribed burning program and said that more will come in the near future. AFOA wonders if Florida will stay the national model with these changes.

(10/01/19) So, what do you think of this? The Southern Timber Supply Analysis is a new application that is the first of its kind in the nation. The application uses maps that allow users to estimate the amount of timberland, standing timber, and growth and removals within a user-specified distance or trucking time of any site in the Southern United States.

(09/30/19) Wildfire Prevention Education has significant economic benefits. Preventable wildfires nationwide can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage each year and cost billions more to suppress or manage. A study found that if fire prevention activities in Florida could have been increased during the winter months from 2002 to 2007, then $3.9 million would have been saved from economic losses and avoided firefighting expenditures. Each additional dollar spent on fire prevention education would have reduced fire-related losses and suppression costs by $35,for a benefit-to-cost ratio of 35:1. Source: Fire Management Today.

(09/27/19) In the latest episode of The Land Show, Joel Martin, Director of the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center at Auburn University and Balsie Butler, Fire Operations Chief for the Alabama Forestry Commission, talk about happenings in forestry, dry weather and fires. Brian Watts with the Southeastern Land Group, talks about what type of student may have an interest in going to forestry school. Also with Southeastern Land Group, Randall Upchurch talks poultry farms while Tim Baker shares food plot tips and early season dove and teal hunts.

(09/26/19) To understand how American democracy has worked, and why its future may be limited, it’s critical to look at the issue of property. Owning property remains key to financial security. Homes today account for roughly two-thirds of the wealth of middle-income Americans; homeowners have a median net worth more than 40 times that of renters. Also, people who own something — a house, a farm, a small business — tend to be far more engaged with their communities than those who rent or work merely for wages. Without a policy agenda that creates new opportunities for ownership, those who have nothing, will have less reason to guard the property rights of others.

(09/25/19) The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has upgraded the recent Fire Danger Advisory to a statewide Fire Alert effective immediately.

(09/24/19) The experience of harvesting his own game unexpectedly created not only a deeper connection to nature, but with his family as well.
     “I couldn't believe how proud it made me feel,” [John Kelly, electrical engineer] said. “I finally understand how my granny feels when she fixes us a meal and makes sure we know that this ‘squash is from the garden right here on the farm.’ There is something completely different about the food you harvest yourself from the land.” Source: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 9/24/19.

(09/23/19) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been petitioned to list the Gopher Tortoise east of Mobile (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, & South Carolina) under the Endangered Species Act. 90 percent of the tortoise habitat is on privately owned land. Read a brief report on a July 11 meeting hosted by the USFWS and the National Alliance of Forest Owners as reported by Dan Roach in the Southeastern Forester, Summer 2019.

(09/20/19) Alabama’s forest-based industry is nationally ranked second in pulp, paper, paperboard production, sixth in lumber production, and sixth in panel production. Every county in Alabama benefits economically by forestry and its industrial footprint. The Alabama Forestry Commission, coordinated with the Forest Inventory Analysis, Geographical Information System, and Economic Development personnel, have assembled a database using various data sources to develop their new Forest Industry Directory map application. You can use it to find all of the state’s primary and secondary wood-using industries and associated products.

Insect musicians chirp, click, zip, rattle, and lisp from trees, shrubs, lawns, fields, woodlands and maybe even from inside our homes. These songs, usually created by crickets, katydids, grasshoppers, and cicadas rubbing their body parts against another, are a prominent element of summer and early fall in most of North America. Listen for yourself to hear the different songs of each one.

(09/18/19) "Don't do this," advised Washington State forest landowner Ken Miller to Japanese legislators, as he held up a copy of the state's forest practices regulations. "I'm afraid I'm going to die before they get around to" fixing the burdensome regulations that discourage forest management activities. Source: The Business Institute of Washington, 8/26/19

(09/17/19) Forest landowners met with Consulting Forester Billy Rye on Stan Faulkner's Lauderdale County forestland today. We had the opportunity to visit a stand of white oaks estimated to be worth more than $6,000 per acre. Other experts on hand to answer questions were hardwood silviculturist Callie Jo Schweitzer, U.S. Forest Service, stumpage buyer Mike Trotter, Roach Sawmill & Lumber Company, and wildlife biologist Mitchell Marks. A Consulting Forester visit is scheduled Mobile County on October 24 with Heath Eckert.

(09/16/19) Taking care of land, especially large acres of forestland, can be challenging and overwhelming for landowners. Establishing a long term relationship with a consulting forester can help ease your worries.

(09/13/19) Wildfires in north and south Alabama made the news this week. WKRG reported on a fire in south Alabama and WAAY reported on one in north Alabama. Be careful!

(09/12/19) Have you ever thought of building a little cabin in the woods? Or maybe 5 little cabins for rental income? Check out some of the cabins available for rent on National Forests for ideas.

(09/11/19) Catching spider webs in the face when riding your UTV is not much fun. Watch this short video to see how one hunter solved the problem. Send photos of your solution to

(09/10/19) Wearing the right type of clothing is crucial to safe and effective prescribed fires. For example, make sure the clothing is flame resistant and a one piece is brightly colored. Wear long pants and sleeves and close-toed shoes.

(09/09/19) Photography is one way to enjoy nature and to show off your beautiful property. In an effort to get more folks outside, Outdoor Alabama is now accepting photos in their 2020 Photo Contest. This year's contest is a joint project between the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR), the Alabama Tourism Department (Tourism) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alabama (USFWS). The contest has several different categories, is open to amateur photographers with a limit of 10 entries per contestant.

(09/06/19) Wayne Ford is describing the Trap Museum near Romulus, Alabama, the location where the AFOA will have its field day and Evening Reception on April 21, 2020.

(09/05/19) "I hope that other landowners will hear my story and join me in fighting for fair compensation." Matthew Walsh, a landowner in Blanco, Texas, is one of the first landowners to go through condemnation proceedings associated with a pipeline building project. Kinder Morgan was ordered to pay fair market value for Walsh's land after a Walsh rejected the initial offer of $16,707 and the company forced him into legal proceedings. Although this is Texas, it can happen anywhere, including Alabama.

(09/04/19) Twenty-four pages (7 to 31) of smiling faces in the Alabama Pals Summer Quarter 2019 newsletter, show the happiness of people of all ages getting satisfaction from helping clean up our state. Alabama Pals is a non-profit organization that provides and implements anti-litter programs.

(09/03/19) If you've been asked to give access to your land by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program of the U.S. Forest Service, this video explains why and how an FIA crew measures the forest resource on your land. Working as the nation's tree census, the FIA projects how forests are likely to appear 10 to 50 years from now. The latest report was published last May. And, last month, Dan Chappell, coordinator of the Alabama Forestry Commission's Forest Inventory and Analysis program, spoke to us about Alabama's forest resources.

(08/30/19) MIT scientists believe that releasing genetically altered mice on the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket could curb and even wipe out Lyme disease on these islands.

(08/29/19) Planting Hardwoods for Today’s Timber Markets. Looking to plant hardwoods? Check out the nurseries who advertise in AFOA's monthly newsletter (pages 3 and 8, classifieds on the lower right of page 2). For more information, listen to Dr. John Willis, who spoke at our 2019 Annual Meeting about Managing stands of mixed pine and hardwoods.

(08/28/19) The Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division will conduct a draw hunt of 400 permits to hunt sandhill cranes, becoming the third state east of the Mississippi River to hold a sandhill hunt. This is the first time since 1916 that the species will be open to hunting. If sandhill cranes winter on your north Alabama land, you may want offer a special access fee for this new hunting opportunity. List your offering on or, whichever is appropriate.

(08/27/19) This teaser for Great Southern Wood's Abbeville Fiber, a new southern yellow pine sawmill that will be located in the old West Point Pepperell building could be for any of the new mills coming to Alabama and the Southeast. “...11 NEW OR REBUILT sawmills that have commenced production represent nearly 1.9 billion board feet of additional Southern softwood lumber capacity. Together with the 20 mills that have already completed expansion/upgrade projects, over 2.4 billion board feet of Southern lumber capacity has been added since 2017, increasing total Southern softwood lumber capacity to over 20.3 billion board feet, or a 14% increase over 2016 levels.” Source: TimberMart-South~In Depth & In Focus, 2Q19.

(08/26/19) BE CAUTIOUS! Don't be scammed by get-rich-quick hemp schemes.

(08/23/19) Listen to Forest Landowners Association's CEO Scott Jones express his pride in private forest landowners (scroll down and click on "10. Forest Landowners Association") in an interview with New York's Catskill Forest Association. About 1 hour, but worth it.

(08/22/19) We continue our discussion on biomass for energy with a blog from Forest2Market's Stan Parton: WSJ's Incomplete Reporting Perpetuates Misconceptions About Bioenergy. Among all the topics highlighted in the blog, we hope this sentence will stay with you: "The wood pellet industry is dwarfed by the traditional forest products industry."

(08/21/19) "Wood pellet markets can provide important incentives for private property owners to keep forests intact rather than convert them to other uses..." reports Blake Hudson, A.L. O’Quinn Chair & Professor of Law at University of Houston Law Center, in an opinion piece in The Hill, 8/15/19.

(08/20/19) Forester Brian Watts talks about hunting leases on Episode 201 of The Land Show (download the episode and "slide" to Brian's segment at 44:35 - about 7 minutes).

(08/19/19) "The reason a lot of people do not recognize opportunity is because it goes around wearing overalls looking like hard work." Thomas Edison. Watch this #forestproud video.

(08/16/19) Liabilities related to leasing land to mountain bike clubs can be covered with Alabama Forest Owners' Association's Hunting Lease Liability Insurance Policy. See related discussion including yellow highlights at

(08/15/19) Many forest landowners could make an extra $7 to $10 (or more) per acre each year from their land by leasing to hunting clubs. For background reading, check out: How to Profit from Your Land with Hunting Leases. To find hunters interested in leasing your land, use, a free member service of the Alabama Forest Owners' Association.

(08/14/2019) Pine straw can earn forestland owners additional income, especially when traditional timber markets are down. Becky Barlow, Professor of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University, spoke about this to our landowners on Capital Ideas-Live! And, NC State Extension forestry has a cool video on one way it can be harvested.

(08/13/2019) The Alabama Commerce Department has named Brenda Tuck as the first rural development director. We hope she makes her first priority to find a wood processor to take up the slack created when International Paper closed its Courtland paper mill.

(08/12/2019) The Endangered Species Act is good at preventing extinction but has proven less successful in recovering endangered species. But today, that changed when U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt unveiled improvements to the implementing regulations of the act designed to increase transparency and effectiveness and bring the administration of the Act into the 21st century.

(08/09/2019) As the trade war between America and China intensifies, investors are taking refuge in government bonds, pushing yields down. According to an index calculated by Bloomberg, a quarter of the bonds issued by governments and companies worldwide are now trading at negative yields.

(08/08/2019) Frequent Prescribed Fires Can Reduce Risk of Tick-borne Diseases.

(08/07/2019 On April 9, Roger Pilon, Ph.D, J.D., gave the dinner address at the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of the Property Rights Foundation of America. His speech, "How Undermining Property Rights Has Increased Economic Inequality: A Paradox Explained", discussed the role of property in a free society. He said that it is fundamental, not simply because it encourages economic efficiency and prosperity, which it does, but because, as a moral matter, it draws lines between us, one from another telling us what we may and may not do. In talking about the Declaration of Independence, he said that the theory of rights can be reduced to three simple rules:
One: Don’t take what belongs to someone else.  Two: Keep your promises.  Three: If you fail in rule one or two, give back what you’ve wrongly taken or wrongly withheld.

(08/06/2019) Russia, the world’s largest country by area, has the largest forest cover. It is one of the rare countries that have seen an increase in forest cover since 1990, thanks to the dedication of the Russian government. More than 20% of the world’s untouched forests are in the Russian Federation. However, China’s colossal appetite for wood which has brought jobs and cash to the region, is now helping make Russia the global leader in forest depletion, fueling fears that Siberian logging towns will eventually be left without a livelihood.

(08/05/2019) Polyculture farming is an agricultural method of planting multiple crops in the same field. It's one way to diversify and increase profits from your land. To learn about this and other agroforestry topics, the Center for Agroforestry has a podcast series that covers this and other pertinent topics.

(08/02/2019) Germany’s Longest Bond Goes Negative for First Time. Spooked by a revival of trade tensions, investors piled into safe assets on Friday, pushing 30-year German government yields into negative territory for the first time. With negative interest rates becoming common in Europe and with the Fed reducing rates here in the U.S., investments in the solid positive growth of trees, even with depressed stumpage prices, is beginning to look better and better -- AFOA comment.

(08/01/2019) August 15, 2019 is the deadline for grant application submissions to the Alabama Historical Commission for the 2020 Grant Program. The $900,000 grant program is available to fund improvements at historic properties as well as educational programming at historic sites in Alabama. Grants up to $20,000 will be awarded for any one entity.

(07/31/2019) What do the Marsh Rabbit, Swamp Rabbit, Eastern Cottontail and the Appalachian Cottontail have in common? They are the four species of rabbits native to Alabama.

(07/30/19) Bio-mass company Enviva says it is evaluating a $175 million project to build a wood pellet plant in the Port of Epes Industrial Park in Sumter County. The project could create approximately 85 full-time jobs and an estimated 180 additional jobs in logging, transportation, and local services.

(07/29/19) Pine Resin is considered the new ‘Green Gold’ in Brazil’s planted forests. Elliotti pine trees can produce resin for up to 15 years, and each tree produces roughly 6.6 lbs. of resin per year depending on seedling quality, age, method of resin extraction and forest management protocols. For example, if a landowner uses a planting method with a spacing of 3 x 3 meters (1,111 trees per hectare), the forest can yield 6,124 lbs. of resin per hectare per year with an annual gross revenue of over R$10,000 per hectare. For comparison: one Brazilian Real = USA 26 cents and one hectare equals 2.47 acres.

(07/26/19) This geographic information system (GIS) tool may have some good information about your property.

(07/25/19) Wear orange during hunting season.

(07/24/19) Timber Theft affects everyone. Texas A&M Forest Service is educating Texas landowners on the dangers and how to prevent it. Other states are, too. Read this for a guide on what to do if timber theft happens to you.

(07/23/19) Researchers at Auburn University’s Southern Forest Nursery Management Cooperative, have developed technologies to save seedlings by using Landspring, the chemical 1-methylcyclopropene, which reduces ethylene production and stress on young plants. This has increased the survival rate by 10 percent, which would potentially yield the growth of an additional 120 million (the article said 1.2 million, but 120 million has been confirmed as the correct figure) pine seedlings after outplanting—the process of lifting, packing, storing and replanting—as compared to non-treated seedlings.

(07/22/19) Brothers Steuart and Tom Walton, grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, and part of one of the planet’s wealthiest families, are largely responsible for a cycling fantasyland, "Oz Trails", in Northwest Arkansas. Today there are 400 miles of well-maintained trails—250 or so for mountain biking; another 150 in paved paths—with 2 miles of trails added every week. As Bentonville, Ark. grows as a biking Mecca, cyclists from all over come to ride the different trails. Epic Rides added the Oz Trail as a stop in 2018, and in 2022, nearby Fayetteville will host the UCI Cyclocross World Championships, a Super Bowl for off-road riding. As biking grows in popularity, some landowners are building "pay-to-play" bike trails.

(07/19/19) "Housing Stays Flat, China Remains The Wild Card For Sawtimber" is the lead headline in the Summer 2019 issue of the F&W Forestry Report.

(07/18/19) If you have yet to use a drip torch on your land, this fire spitting drone may be a little more than you need right now. Read about it, here, and be sure to watch the video at the end of the article.

(07/17/19) McDonald's Canada plans to experiment with wooden cutlery. Source: CBC News, 6/21/19

(07/16/19) Many mammals leave their young alone for the majority of the day, and fledgling birds are on the ground for a period of time being fed by their parents before they take flight. If you discover wildlife that looks like it needs rescuing, the first thing to remember is that, despite appearances, this is very rarely the case.

(07/15/19) Trapping plays a vital role in wildlife management. Predator control, nuisance animal trapping, preventing the spread of disease, and damage to timber stands and agricultural crops are just a few of the reasons why.  Furbearers are a valuable and renewable natural resource that are managed and regulated by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

(07/12/19) Sandhill Crane Hunting in Alabama: A new and unique hunting opportunity will be available for Alabama residents beginning in the 2019-20 season. Alabama will join Tennessee and Kentucky, to be the third state east of the Mississippi River to reopen a sandhill crane hunting season. Source: Alabama Hunting News, 7/19.

(07/11/19) China’s imports of US forest products fell by 430 million dollars in the first four months of 2019. The US market share fell by 35%, while Canadian and Russian exporters have increased their shares since 2018, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly, 7/9/19. See also: China still a vital market for hardwood from United States.

(07/10/19) Choose-and-cut Christmas trees are the freshest of fresh trees and it's time to plan for the upcoming season. The 2019 Annual Meeting of the Southern Christmas Tree Association (SCTA) is going to be held in Tupelo/Amory, Miss., August 9-11, 2019. The SCTA's mission is to assist growers in the production and marketing of high quality, REAL Christmas trees for consumers, with members primarily in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Read their latest newsletter here.

(07/09/19) Several factors are keeping prices down for sawtimber, the wood standing on the stump in your woods. Higher prices for lumber, the sawtimber that is manufactured into boards, don’t necessarily lead to higher stumpage prices. Stands are older, meaning they yield more volume and upgraded sawmills can make more lumber from a given number of logs. Also, housing starts have not climbed back to their long-term average level, they have been increasing since 2009. Southern pine lumber production has increased along with housing starts and the two series are very strongly correlated.

(07/08/19) Can wood replace concrete and steel as the go-to building material? The Economist newspaper thinks so. The paper is considered “a political, literary, and general newspaper”, never abandoning its belief in free trade, internationalism and minimum interference by government, especially in the affairs of the market. James Wilson, who established the paper in 1943, insisted that all the arguments and propositions put forward in his paper should be based on fact and rigor. Their stories offer a distinctive blend of news, based on facts, and analysis, incorporating The Economist’s perspective. 

(07/05/19) Growing and Harvesting Dividends from Timber REITs, a Forisk Blog by Brooks Mendell, 6/20/19.

(07/03/19) Massive yellow jacket nests are appearing in Alabama. Again. More than 90 super nests with around 15,000 yellow jackets appeared in 2006. Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, said that 2019 may be shaping up to mirror that year.

(07/02/19)Nationwide, feral swine cause $1 billion annually in damage to agricultural enterprises. Because of the increasing populations of the pests, Congress has included funding for a feral swine removal program in the 2018 Farm Bill. Those funds, $75 million, will soon be available through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program in key states to help agricultural interests reduce feral swine numbers and to restore damaged farmland. Participants are required to submit a grant application by August 19, 2019 and to contribute 25 percent of the cost of projects that can be from cash or in-kind services. Alabama is one of 10 states in the pilot program. Editors Note: We hope this program will actually focus on controlling feral swine and won’t be just another poorly thought-out jobs program reminiscent of the failed Cogongrass control program in 2010.

(07/01/19) Bruce Alber, a retired forester, planted a forest at age 23. For 40-plus years, he documented the lifecycle of it from planting to harvest and then to replanting when he was 65. In addition to seeing the tree and forest grow, the photos he took at the same tree nearly every year captured his own parallel life changes.

(06/27/19) This year's hot summer may make conditions more conducive to wildfires. Prescribed burning can play a role in starting them as well. Fires destroy too many structures and timberlands, but, in the majority of the cases, the entire loss could have been prevented.

(06/25/19) Wealthy Families Are Adding Forests to Their Portfolios. It's a long-term bet on growth." Source: Bloomberg News, 6/16/19.

(06/24/19) Landowners shouldn't have to jump through state-level hoops before heading to federal court to accuse the government of taking their property. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned decades of precedent that barred property owners from going to federal court until their claims had been denied in state court.

(06/21/19) The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) is a conservation and research institute dedicated to free market environmentalism. Their research examines how markets encourage cooperation instead of conflict over natural resources and how property rights make the environment an asset by giving owners incentives for stewardship. While hunting and fishing has declined in recent years, wildlife viewing and other non-consumptive activities are increasing. PERC's Summer 2019 magazine explores these challenges and their implications for wildlife management today.

(06/20/19) Southern pine bark beetles cause more damage to southern pine timber than any other forest insect in Alabama. On average, the state loses 60,000 pine trees a year during a southern pine bark beetle outbreak that totals approximately $800,000 in economic loss. According to the trap data that is based on Southern Pine Beetle population level, Alabama should have a low to moderate number of infestations this year. Although it's only a prediction, this map shows where the risk is for infestations.

(06/19/19) If you've ever watched birds and wondered, what is that bird, Merlin can help. Using your smart phone, Merlin Bird ID is designed to be a birding coach for beginning and intermediate bird watchers. Merlin, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and thousands of volunteer citizen scientists, photographers, audio recordists, field guide authors, and bird enthusiasts is a free app that is a bird ID tool and digital field guide all in one.

(06/18/19) Do the benefits of owner financing outweigh the risks when selling property? Thoughts to ponder include the tax and income benefit versus the possibility of default.

(06/17/19) Several studies have shown that outside time leads to higher test scores, lower anxiety and aggression, more creativity and improved attention spans. Some schools are taking notice and adding their own outdoor classrooms with good results. Studies have focused not so much on what is lost when nature experience fades, but on what is gained through more exposure to natural settings, which we covered in a newscast in November 2005.

(06/14/19) Tom Saunders, the legislative team of the Alabama Forestry Association, and several Alabama senators and representatives deserve a huge thank-you for their hard work to pass Senate Bill 282. The bill exempts timber lands from local fire district service charges and fees, but allows landowners who desire to enter into a voluntary agreement with a local fire district. Also, forestland fees in the Concord and Birmingport fire districts were negotiated down from previous highs of as much as $8 per acre, but not fully exempted. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 91 to 2 in the House with 5 abstentions.

(06/13/19) Dreaming of a bucket list vacation? You can trade the use of your land in exchange for trips and save money doing so. This podcast from Great Days Outdoors tells all about it.

(06/12/19) The global trade of wood pellets jumped more than 21 percent year-over-year in 2018 when a new record of 22.3 million tons was shipped. And pellet production in the US South continued at record pace.

(06/11/19) Alabama has a strong growing forest resource. Our state is growing 2.581 billion cubic feet of wood and harvesting 1.224 billion cubic feet annually, and, for the past five years, averages more than 80,000 acres yearly reverting into forest.

(06/10/19) Georgia Pacific is closing its Monroeville, AL facility but investing and adding jobs in their facilities in Choctaw and Escambia counties.

(06/07/19) Telefonica's trials of early forest fire detection system using ioT drones have been successful in Madrid.

(06/06/19) Alabama and the South aren't the only places with feral pig problems. Wild Boars are spreading their devastation in Canada, too.

(06/05/19) With a forecast of an additional 3 BBFT of sawmill capacity and an additional 13 million tons of truckloads of wood, Bill HB 479,allows Alabama to issue Class A commercial driver licenses (CDLs) to people between the ages of 18 – 21 for intrastate use. Governor Kay Ivey signed this into law May 29.

(06/03/19) Historically, reforestation has been a strong long-term investment for landowners. By understanding planting costs and expected returns, landowners can make appropriate reforestation decisions to ensure profitability at any investment level. This economic analysis assesses the pine reforestation investment based on current stumpage prices and associated costs to determine whether it still offers attractive returns.

(05/31/19) If you're considering buying or building a pond, you want to hear this Hunting Land podcast. Learn what it takes to construct a pond and have everything you need to start the process and how a pond affects property value and marketability.

(05/30/19) The South is the nation's leader in setting small wildfires on purpose which gets rid of duff and kindling, and prevents massive fires like those out West.

(05/29/19) About 30 forest landowners and property managers attended a Forestry Field Day in Baldwin County. Hosted by the AFOA, consulting forester JJ McCool spoke on how to manage property while increasing wildlife habitat quality. Check out the article published in the Baldwin times on May 24 (second page).

(05/28/19) The Alabama Forestry Association's 2019 Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop Series will be held June 25-26 in Tuscaloosa and July 16-18 in Auburn.

(05/24/19) Wildfires can appear on radar. Alan Sealls with WKRG-TV explains how.

(05/23/19) More Canadian owned sawmills may come south. Tolko Industries decided to close its Quest sawmill in Quesnel and one report predicts the equivalent of 12 more will be shuttered in the next decade to cope with B.C.’s shrinking timber supply.

(05/22/19) New hunting license required to hunt over bait. The Alabama Legislature recently passed legislation that allows hunters on privately owned or leased land to purchase a bait privilege license. Listen to what the new baiting law in Alabama means for hunters in the state.

(05/17/19) Anti-Litter Bill Advances in House, reports the Alabama Conservationist. HB500 is sponsored by Rep. Margie Wilcox, (R-Mobile). Please send your comments to AFOA ( about this bill -- is it good or bad for rural forest owners? Thanks.

(05/16/19) This podcast is a good discussion on the reasons to use title insurance when buying land.

(05/15/19)  Maryland-based biomass company Enviva, the world’s largest producer of wood pellets, has plans for a new pellet mill in Lucedale, Mississippi, which would bring jobs to the small town. Andy Gipson, commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, thinks this plant is good idea for Mississippi. The Dogwood Alliance, based in North Carolina, disagrees.

(05/14/19) A 2,624-Year-Old bald cypress tree has just been found growing in a swamp along the Black River in North Carolina. This makes the bald cypress the oldest-known wetland tree species, the oldest living trees in eastern North America, and the fifth oldest known non-clonal tree species on Earth.

(05/13/19) Dog Deer Hunting Regulations Tighten. The Alabama Conservation Advisory Board has recommended a regulation change in dog deer hunting that would allow Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Conservation Enforcement Officers to ticket individual owners of dogs that venture onto neighboring property. “This would be strictly a dog deer hunting regulation,” said Matt Weathers, WFF’s Chief Enforcement Officer. “It is fairly simple. If a landowner or person who has land leased calls us about problems with a dog deer hunting club or dogs showing up on their property, our officer instructs the person who made the call to catch the dog or document in some way who the dog belongs to."

(05/10/19) “Southern yellow pine cross-laminated timber manufactured by International Beams in Dothan, Alabama is the key design feature in the construction of Clemson’s new Outdoor Education Center...”

(05/09/19) Thanks to this week's Wednesday Woodland Word for leading us to the U. S. Forest Service's Environmentally Sensitive Road Maintenance Practices for Dirt and Gravel Roads. Excellent photos and diagrams.

(05/08/19) Roundup safe to use. “EPA has found no risks to public health from the current registered uses of glyphosate,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

(05/06/19) We think you will find NPR's recent lively discussion on bringing back the American chestnut tree from the brink of extinction interesting and thought-provoking. Enjoy.

(05/0319) Georgia-Pacific has announced plans to invest more than $120 million to add a new  tissue machine and roll storage building at its mill in Naheola, Alabama, the latest substantial investment in the facility. In the past five years, Georgia-Pacific’s capital investment in the Choctaw County mill has totaled more than $500 million.

(05/02/19) In order to combat a potential worker shortage, the Alabama Forestry Association, along with the Forest Workforce Training Institute, are holding several logging equipment operator schools throughout Alabama. The course is free, and students will receive $20 per day to help with travel expenses. Applications are still open for the third course of the year that will be held in Ozark from July 8 until August 2. They also have planned teacher workshops this summer and forestry career days this fall.

(05/01/19) The Land Show with Dave and Johnny is a weekly broadcast that offers a lot of information for landowners. During The Land Show Episode 132, AFOA Executive Vice President, Lee Laechelt talks about the benefits of membership in the association. His interview starts at the 4:10 mark and ends at 20:00, however the last five minutes are about last year's (2018) annual meeting.

(04/30/19) Beginning on May 1, 2019, no vegetative or land-clearing burning will be allowed in the following counties: Baldwin, Mobile, DeKalb, Montgomery, Etowah, Morgan, Jefferson (no agricultural or silviculture burning allowed either), Shelby, Lawrence, Russell, Madison and Talladega. Some agricultural and silvicultural burning may be allowed in these counties during these months with prior approval from ADEM and the Alabama Forestry Commission. Unless prohibited for drought and safety reasons, the burn ban does not prohibit the use of outdoor fireplaces and camp fires. The annual burn ban ends on October 31. Source: In the South Next Month (May 2019), by Jim Noles of Barze Taylor Noles Lowther, LLC.

(04/29/19) Battling forest fires requires specialized training and equipment that local fire districts don’t have. Yet, they have been charging forest owners up to $8 per acre in fees. Senate Bill 282, sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), aims to put a stop to that by leaving fire protection on privately owned property used for timber production to the Alabama Forestry Commission. That means that forest owners would not have to pay twice for fire services. Currently, timberland owners pay for fire service through a tax on their products [and a 10 cent per acre fee included in property tax bills] in addition to the fees levied by fire districts.

(04/25/19) Learn more about deer hunting, biology, management and conservation by listening to these podcasts that featured Quality Deer Management Association staff members as guests.

(04/24/19) Out of 56,180 registered voters in Elmore County, only 1,919 decided the outcome of Amendment 382, which approved an additional 3 mils of school tax. It won by a margin of 37 votes: 978 for and 941 against. Voters also approved the continuation of 7 mils ad valorem taxes for the school system.

(04/23/19) Ben Westfall Joins Quality Deer Management Association  (QDMA) as a QDM Cooperative Specialist, giving South Alabamians another resource to improve the quality and overall health of a deer herd. In partnership with the Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF), Ben will work with private landowners and hunting clubs to establish and support QDM Cooperatives in Southwest Alabama. For hunters interested in hunting a quality deer herd, QDMA said that QDM cooperatives can provide the greatest potential for success.

(04/22/19) Think you want to build a pond on your land? Talk to these three professionals first.

(04/19/19) "Measuring wood is a complex process in the US. Wood can be sold by weight or volume and prices can be quoted either way as well. The weight per unit (e.g., tons per 1,000 board feet (MBF)) will vary by species." Forest Economist Jack Lutz provides an interesting discussion in How Much Wood Is That?, Forest Research Notes, Volume 16, Number 1.

(04/18/19) Bleak and categorically mixed is how Virginia Tech described their monthly housing report for February 2019.

(04/17/19) If you own more than 150,000 acres you might make this list. The Land Report, "The Magazine Of The American Landowner," publishes a list of the 100 biggest private landowners in the U.S. every year. Here are the top 20.

(04/16/19) Smoking creates a powerful flavor for meat, but not all smoke is created equally. Different woods are better suited for certain meats and big game while others are better for fish and chicken.

(04/15/19) Complex, complicated and possibly catastrophic: Senator Ron Wyden's (D,WA) proposed capital gains taxation would require investors to pay the capital gains tax on the appreciation of their assets each year instead of when they sell an asset.

(04/12/19) An opinion piece authored by The Dogwood Alliance made an attempt to change the global conversation about working forests based solely on fear. To rebut this misinformation, Biomass101 addressed it with actual facts and science.

(04/11/19) A 70-year-old avid hiker spent three days missing in the Bankhead Forest because searchers could not track his cell phone. One way to lessen the chances of being lost is to use a satellite messenger device or a location sharing app. Stephen Logan, F & W Forestry Services, will share how these different devices work during his seminar, Working Alone in the Woods at the AFOA annual meeting April 27 at Wind Creek Atmore.

(04/10/19) Management by objectives will save you time and money while increasing returns and enjoyment of your forest property. A clear plan gives you a greater chance for success. Wondering how to start? This will help.

(04/09/19) Discover what you don't know about planting summer and spring food plots for deer and turkey. The Huntin' Land Podcast covers why it's important information to know.

(04/08/19) Following a wildfire, direct seeding can be a quick way to regenerate your forest. Once your site is prepared for receiving the seed (either by a wildfire or a prescribed burn), it can be cost effective. Gary Delaney with Louisiana Forest Seed will speak on this topic at the AFOA's annual meeting April 27 at Wind Creek Atmore.

(04/05/19) Kudos to the National Association of State Foresters for such a useful newsletter full of information for landowners each Friday. Check it out here: Highlights for the week of April 1, 2019.

(04/04/19) Elmore County is set to have their Ad Valorem School Tax Special Election on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, and after reviewing the ballot, it seems to have a new tax added to the continuation measures. What do you think?

(04/03/19) Whether you are planning to prepare sites for tree planting, release natural pine seedlings from competing brush and herbaceous weeds, or maintain trails or fire lanes, you will find Forestry Herbicide Prescriptions chock full of useful information.

(04/01/19) "The most destructive pest in Southern forests is the Southern pine beetle," reports Andrew Baril in The News Courier, 03/24/19. To learn more about the Southern Pine Beetle Monitoring & Notification System developed by the Alabama Forestry Commission, make plans now to attend AFOA's Annual Meeting on April 27 at Wind Creek Casino and Hotel in Atmore.

(03/29/19) Four feet long! Big tegu lizards are being found in South Georgia; we suspect Alabama will have them soon.

(03/28/19) “For wise stewardship of our natural resources, to maintain the current high quality of our hunting and buck harvest, and to combat the increasing spread of Chronic Wasting Disease, we need to refocus some of our efforts on antlerless deer or we will lose the gains we’ve accomplished over the past two decades.”

(03/27/19) Timber Rights and Life-Estates -- Recent case in North Carolina will be interesting to some.

(3/26/19) Alabama Forestry Commission Urges Caution with All Burning.

(3/25/19) Long periods of wet weather frequently lead to higher stumpage prices for timber on easily drained soils (uplands with sandy soil, for example). Most wood buyers and many landowners are aware of this, but the smart folks at Forest2Market have gone a step further. Read Correlating Rainfall & Timber Prices: What Does the Data Say? by John Greene.

(3/22/19) Landowners and officials from agriculture, environmental and property rights groups told the committee that while they understand the necessity of eminent domain, [Texas] state law makes it impossible for landowners to get a fair shake.” We think this story deserves more attention – eminent domain is a serious concern for the owners of the land in question.

(3/21/19) The US Fish and Wildlife Service is evaluating the Alabama pearlshell mussel, which is listed as endangered, to see if reclassification is warranted. As critical habitat regulations often affect landowners, those with land in the Alabama and Conecuh river drainages in Conecuh, Crenshaw, Monroe, and Escambia counties should be aware of this action. Read the full release here.

(3/20/19) South Alabama landowners, particularly those who own cypress swamps and low-lying, wetland forest, may appreciate these flyers on natural reforestation and replanting in cypress swamps. They’re available for free on the North Carolina Forest Service website here, under the “Water Quality” tab.

(3/19/19)) Salvage harvest, determining casualty loss, and a reforestation plan: a consulting forester describes the next steps and possible resources for landowners who have lost timber to Hurricane Michael.

(3/18/19) “If we want more trees, we should all be using more products made from trees.” This op-ed comes from Congressman Bruce Westerman, Chairman of the House Working Forests Caucus.

(3/15/19)Hardwoods, including red oak, are less dependent on US housing than are softwoods. Red oak goes into flooring and, depending on consumer demand, furniture, moulding and millworks, and cabinets. It also is used in truck trailer beds, railroad ties, pallets, and commercial furniture and fittings.” More about red oak here from the Forest Research Group.

(3/14/19)Our old way of thinking about paper is obsolete. …There is technology today that can turn paper products into fabric used on everything from handbags to soccer balls and car dashboards.” This article about the future of forest products includes a summary of the TedTalk "Why I think Paper is Sexy," about innovation in the paper industry.

(3/13/19) Who is affected by the estate tax? Banks Ladd, the author of this post about the estate tax and estate tax exemptions, will speak to us about estate planning at our Annual Meeting on April 27, at 1:50 p.m. at the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Atmore. Orman Wilson will speak the same day on Forest Taxation: Income, Basis, Capital Gains, Tree Planting, & Management Expenses. He’ll be at the podium at 3:35 p.m. to speak and answer questions. Check the program agenda here regularly for new additions to the lineup.

(3/12/19) The Alabama Forestry Commission released this estimate of timber damage across the state from the March 3 tornadoes. The document includes marked aerial photos of the affected areas. The AFC also issued a warning against burning tornado debris: “With the large amount of timber that was downed by the storms, we must take every precaution necessary to avoid the start of wildfires and further loss of homes and property.”

(3/11/19)) This video illustrates why the El Nino phenomenon happens and how it affects weather patterns all over the country, including Alabama. The wet winters of El Nino may provide an opportunity for forest landowners with high, well drained soil to sell timber when other stands are too wet for logging.

(3/8/19)Stores are struggling to keep wood pellets on the shelves, impacting those who rely on them to heat their homes.” Unlike the international pellet market, wood pellet demand in the US is driven by individuals, not government policy.

(3/7/19) “Today, the U.S. South is the largest wood pellet producing region in North America….Driven by export-oriented projects, [wood pellet] capacity in the U.S. South is expected to advance 47% over the next two years.” However, forest landowners interested in pellet markets should be aware that there is resistance to the pellet industry.

(3/6/19) “With forecasted slow, steady increases in housing starts and increased sawmilling activity across the South, what does the future for lumber look like?” Forest2Market explores three data-based possibilities in its five-year forecast for lumber demand.

(3/5/19) After a hurricane or tornado, timber is often damaged and hard to get out. “Prescribed burning can help forest ecosystems recover. It can also help reduce the potential wildfire risk…

(3/4/19) Some reassuring news for parents and grandparents worried about screen time for kids: “Farmville is coming to farming. These kids that have grown up in this virtual world of gaming will be running our precision farming tools…”

(3/1/19) HEALTH INSURANCE: Are you interested in lower premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs, lower co-pays, and lower prescription costs? We need your help! We’ve created a webpage to keep you informed on our progress. If you are interested in buying more affordable health insurance, please join our Census of Forest Landowners. Click Here For More Information.

(2/28/19) COSTS & COST TRENDS FOR FORESTRY: Dr. Adam Maggard, Auburn University, is gathering information on the costs of forestry practices, such as tree planting and prescribed burning. If you would like to provide input, take the survey here.

(2/27/19) "Spring food plots for deer and turkey continue to provide forage and help keep them on your hunting property."

(2/26/19)Potential buyers need to be aware that we are in a rising rate environment and that, while interest rates aren’t at rock bottom, they are still very near historic lows. You can hear a full discussion of Borrowing Money to Buy Land on Saturday, April 27 at the 2019 AFOA Annual Meeting. Click here and scroll to page 2 for the list of speakers and times.

(2/25/19) Gov. Kay Ivey is expected to announce proposed legislation on the gas tax at a conference in Maplesville on Wednesday. “Deficiencies in county roads and bridges have been one of the main problems cited by supporters of an increase in the state gasoline tax, which hasn’t changed since 1992.”

(2/22/19) “ reforms by ending the drainage of the Road and Bridge Fund to outside agencies and by eliminating the practice of rebating gas tax revenues.” Read more from the Alabama Policy Institute on gas taxes and infrastructure. Remember: Timber trapped behind bad roads and bridges is very difficult to sell.

(2/21/19) "Hand-applied herbicides are effective tools that selectively control vegetation in a variety of circumstances. This guide reviews the most efficient and cost effective methods and formulations to conduct forest resource management on your land."

(2/20/19) These interesting watershed maps highlight the world’s river basins in brilliant color. You can see the Alabama watershed map, largely dominated by one system of waterways, in more detail at the artist’s website here.

(2/19/19)) "In total, there are approximately 458 establishments in Alabama that are engaged in the production of hardwood products." This translates to $6.4 billion in value to the Alabama economy in 2016, according to the Hardwood Federation. Visit their site for more details and to see the economic impact of hardwoods in other states or the entire region.

(2/18/19) Turkey season starts as early as March 16 in some zones. Click here and scroll down to see the turkey season dates and zone map. Useful whether you hunt turkey or lease your land for turkey hunting and want to avoid scaring off the gobblers.

(2/15/19) “2,000,000,000: the number of wood pallets used in the US each day to move and store goods.”  See more videos about forests and the forest industry at #forestproud.

(2/14/19) Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) highlighted some of the strangest ways people found shed antlers in the woods. As you’re out and about in your forest, remember it’s shed season, and be on the lookout for a good find.

(2/13/19)What we’d like to see is tree farmers and forest landowners create a co-op to help offset the imbalance. … You can do it for soybeans, cotton and other agricultural products, but it’s not allowed for forestry. That would take a legislative change. It would take a long time to push it through, but we’re not afraid to give it a go.” We haven’t heard about a timber sellers’ cooperative – if you know anything about efforts to make this possible, please contact us at

(2/12/19) "Forest Landowners Association (FLA) praised the approval of a "Buy America" executive order which prioritizes buying goods made in the United States, including lumber, for any federally funded infrastructure projects. Read more about FLA's thoughts on this bill here." This seems to be good for wood growers, but maybe not for taxpayers. What do you think?

(2/8/19)The scenario that comes up the most often is stand initialization. Schweitzer is often asked about using prescribed fire to ensure that oaks outcompete other woody vegetation.” Dr. Callie Schweitzer’s presentation at the 2018 AFOA Annual Meeting has more useful information about managing forestland for quality hardwood.

(2/7/19)State programs that offer tax breaks to forest landowners indirectly promote ecosystem services,” or the public value that forestland provides, like cleaner air and water. In Alabama, it’s called current-use assessment. Landowners have to apply for current-use at the tax assessor’s office. Property taxes on forestland assessed under current-use are usually no more than $2 per acre.

(2/6/19)This latest winter cold snap is leading to a shortage in wood pellets.” Not only are people in the Ozarks region using more pellets because of the severity of the cold, but some mills aren’t operating in the severe weather, so the sawdust byproduct used to make the pellets is in short supply.

(2/5/19) Video: How to measure tree diameter with a scale stick. We often give away scale sticks to those who do best in the tree measuring workshop at the AFOA annual meeting, so study up! Check here for an updated schedule for the 2019 AFOA Annual Meeting.

(2/4/19) “According to USDA ERS, farm incomes in 2017 were 32% higher than average U.S. household incomes– higher than the taxpayers subsiding them--while about 60% of subsidies for the three main farm programs went to the biggest 10% of farms.” LANDTHINK readers were divided nearly down the middle on whether the timber industry should receive government subsidies.

(2/1/19) “During the month of February, The American Chestnut Foundation will once again be selling pure American bareroot seedlings in bundles of 10, 25, and 50. … The pure American chestnuts can survive many years and may even produce seeds, but the trees are susceptible to blight.”

(1/31/18) In a vote on Tuesday, Butler County voters overwhelmingly rejected a six-mill property tax increase.

(1/30/19) We will see Southern Yellow Pine “production capacity increasing by more than 25 percent,” between 2017 and 2022, thanks to new mills using technologies that get higher piece counts and better quality. Read more about the technologies changing the SYP lumber industry.

(1/29/19) This is probably not available to Alabama landowners, but an interesting idea: "The WEST CENTRAL GEORGIA PRESCRIBED BURNING TRAILER is ready to RENT! It contains all of the tools you requested to help you burn your land. The cost is $100 per day.”

(1/28/19) If you’re considering building home or cabin in the woods, these fact sheets cover wildfire-preparedness for residential homes, from crawl spaces to fencing.

(1/25/19) "The Beck Group projects that average SYP sawmill production levels will rise from 125 million board feet in 2012 to over 200 million board feet a decade later. … This change in scale will have significant impacts on productivity and manufacturing costs, delivered log costs, and other operating metrics in the coming year.”

(1/24/19) In this video, Florida landowner John Alter and Caroline Dauzat, owner of Rex Lumber Company, testified before the Florida Senate Agriculture Committee about the catastrophic damage, current and future challenges, and potential effect to the state economy from Hurricane Michael. Dauzat's testimony begins at 1:12:18, and Alter's begins at 1:17:23. Read more about the accomplishments of John Alter here, dubbed “King of the Trees” by friends because of the large acreage of forestland he manages.

(1/23/19) White-Nose Syndrome is devastating certain bat populations, which in turn brings restrictions on land use and maintenance for timberland owners with land designated “critical habitat.” (See a previous post on this issue here.) New research shows simple UV light kills the fungus that causes the disease, which could bring relief for bats and forest landowners.

(1/22/19) If you have timber ready to harvest, on land dry enough to log, check with your consulting forester. Our wet weather may be providing you an opportunity to sell stumpage at a good price. Then read on here for more discussion of the many variables that go into choosing a good time to harvest.

(1/21/19)This project focuses on families who own large tracts of forestland [and have owned their land for multiple generations] in the United States and manage them for economic return.” There may be lessons for other landowners on how these families acquired so many acres of timberland and continue to maintain it so well.

(1/17/19) According to the Southern Forestry Nursery Management Cooperative at Auburn University, parts of Alabama will experience temperatures well below freezing, down to 20°F on Sunday and again the following Friday. In a special alert, ArborGen advised against planting during a freeze event, but said if it is unavoidable, plant seedlings deep, during the daytime when temperatures are above freezing, and store seedlings in refrigerated coolers or enclosed areas where temperatures will not go below freezing—never outside or simply under a tarp.

(1/16/19) On April 26, AFOA will be touring some of the forestry work of the Poarch Creek Band of Creek Indians. This video will give us an understanding of the goals they’ve set for their forest management activities.  This trip is part of the AFOA Annual Meeting. Registration instructions for the Annual Meeting will be in the February newsletter, but you can go ahead and reserve your room now. Details: 2019 Annual Meeting: April 26-27. Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, Atmore, Alabama. Room Reservations: (251) 446-4290, Group Code: AFOA

(1/15/19) Georgia-Pacific to shut down all paper machines, wood yard, and pulp mill at its Port Hudson, LA mill. The company cited a “declining market,” for paper, but also said “roughly 300 employees will stay on as part of its consumer tissue and towel business.” In other market news, a Maryland company plans to invest millions in a new wood pellet mill and ship-loading terminal on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Edited to add: This “could ripple into an estimated loss of nearly 2,150 other jobs across Louisiana, an economic model produced by an LSU AgCenter economist shows. … The layoffs will result in the loss of nearly $188 million in labor income and nearly $22.8 million in tax revenue for state and local governments.” This does not include lost revenue for landowners, or the economic ripple effect in Mississippi.

(1/14/19) Are you planting longleaf pine, burning an existing stand, or replanting longleaf after hurricane damage? "The Forest Landowners Association has cost-share funds for private forest landowners available … Unlike other cost-share opportunities, the process to receive these funds is simple and straightforward. There are no AGI limits or government forms to complete." Please contact Lauren Ward, FLA Director of Stewardship Initiatives, at to inquire about receiving cost-share for longleaf activities.

(1/11/19) The QDMA (Quality Deer Management Association) is offering a “Conservation Seed Program to help get viable seed planted across the landscape to benefit whitetails, other wildlife species, and your hunting this fall.” The seed is $9 per 50 lb. bag to QDMA members, but nonmembers can buy it by adding a $35 membership to their first bag of seed.

(1/10/19) Old growth forests are great for some species of birds, such as many of Alabama’s woodpecker species. However, “logging can be essential to creating bird habitat. … Scientists are just now coming to realize how critical young forest is for a host of species.”

(1/9/19)Researchers found that high levels of major compounds in soil organic matter — humic acids — degrade CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) prions.” Finally some good news about this lethal cervid disease that has been very difficult to fight or even slow down.

(1/8/19) "For the first time in history, science and technology have advanced to the point that we have the tools to restore much that we’re losing." How a Mass Extinction Can Help Save Our Forest – A TEDx talk from retired US Forest Ranger Rex Mann.

(1/7/19) With Chronic Wasting Disease creeping closer to Alabama, this discussion on eating venison is relevant to hunters and landowners who lease their land for hunting. More episodes of Deer University from Mississippi State University Extension Service can be viewed here.

(1/4/19) "Oak is tasty and all, but what flavors might be able to coaxed of out of other types of wood?" Not all wood has the cellular structure to create watertight barrels, but the use of other woods in aging spirits may be important for forest owners with white oak, or thinking of planting white oak. Market changes are hard to predict fifty years ahead of time, the growing period for many hardwoods.

(1/3/19) "International Paper is once again planning a major re-investment in its Coosa linerboard mill [in Rome, Georgia], to the tune of up to $150 million."

(1/2/19) “With an additional 1 billion board feet (BBF) of production coming online in 2019, the [southeast] region will consume 2-3 million more tons of sawtimber, but there will not be any appreciable movement in price.” Read more about this and other predictions for global wood markets from Forest2Market.

(12/31/18) "Officials confirm 10 deer in Hardeman and Fayette counties in Tennessee have CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease). The easternmost cases fall within 50 miles of Lauderdale County and Colbert County." This makes Tennessee the 24th state to verify the disease.
"The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is increasing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) sampling surveillance efforts in northwest Alabama."

(12/27/18) Keep up with worldwide trends that may affect US prices with these stories on international wood markets:

(12/21/18) "Unlike consumers of most other wood raw materials, real Christmas tree farmers must compete with the popularity of artificial Christmas trees in the marketplace."

(12/20/18) "Over the past 25 years, Hepatica Falls Tree Farm in Ohio has seen five timber harvests. But thanks to the wise stewardship of Koral and Randy Clum, the land today holds larger trees and more volume growing than when the couple bought it in 1993." This Ohio couple who won National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year for 2018.

(12/19/18) “...wood pallets account for nearly 49% of hardwood lumber applications,” and 849 million wood pallets were produced in the U.S. in 2016, up 14% from five years before.

(12/18/18)A Coosa County sawmill is doubling its production capacity through an $18 million project.” The project will upgrade a Central Alabama Wood Products mill in Nixburg that produces hardwood crossties.

(12/17/18) "There are still a few openings for the youth trapping workshops offered by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The workshops are free, but registration is required."

(12/14/18) Landowners with an interest in managing their land for quail might find this useful: USDA multimedia presentation on restoring the Northern Bobwhite Quail. The website includes quail calls, interactive maps, and an overview of the species and restoration efforts.

(12/13/18)The market for selling timber is not encouraging right now, but patience is a virtue in any investment.”

(12/12/18) A new definition of “waters of the United States” is being proposed: “Our simpler and clearer definition would help landowners understand whether a project on their property will require a federal permit or not, without spending thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.”

(12/11/18) Below is a correction to an article in the December issue of Capital Ideas (top left column, page 3 -- about Gift Taxes:

“The annual gift tax exclusion is the amount you may give away per person, per year, in a tax-free manner. Gifts given as either lump sum amounts, or as a series of amounts to the same person throughout the course of one calendar year, are not subject to the gift tax, if totals do not exceed $15,000. In 2018, the annual gift tax exclusion grew by $1000--up from $14,000 in 2017.

“The annual gift tax exclusion figures are applied individually, based on each gift recipient. For example, let's say that in 2018, you gave $15,000 in cash to your daughter, a $15,000 car to your son, a $15,000 diamond ring to your best friend, and $15,000 worth of stock to each of your grandkids. In this scenario, none of these offerings would be federally taxable, since no single individual received more than the $15,000 limit.” Source: The Balance, 12/10/18.

(12/10/18) Today’s decision is a victory for fairness and common sense and a loss for overreaching federal bureaucrats.” Alabama’s Attorney General applauds Supreme Court decision in favor of property rights.

(12/7/18) "Alabama hunters harvested 144 alligators during the 2018 season, with the heaviest weighing in at 700 pounds." Lower Alabama landowners and next year's alligator hunters, take note: "We still only had a few alligators harvested south of I-10. There are a lot of big alligators down there that are not being hunted.”

(12/6/18) Gene Wengert, known as the Wood Doctor, says Canadian purchases of southern sawmills “may lead to additional shortages of lumber used in home construction in the U.S.,” which would then reduce housing starts and demand for wood products used in home remodeling. He says, “anything we can do to encourage housing starts and remodeling will be an advantage to our industry.”

(12/5/18) Jeff Peters gives a Southern perspective on wood-based building design trends: “In this region…more designers [are] leveraging the aesthetic of heavy timber for commercial buildings and the economy of wood framing to achieve quality mid-rise projects at less cost.”

(12/4/18) "The Westervelt Company is expanding its wood products manufacturing business through the construction of a new facility that will produce Southern yellow pine lumber." The new mill will be built in Thomasville, Ala., in Clarke County.

(12/3/18) If you're you'd like to learn more about conducting controlled burns, start with Prescribed Fire 101, a "free one and a half hour webinar from the Southern Fire Exchange" and its partners. See the full list of free webinars on prescribed fire from some of the regional – and national – experts.

(11/30/18) The Trucks, Construction, Forestry, and Farm auction at JM Wood Auction is next week, December 5-6, 2018, in Montgomery. Check out some of the offerings online first if you’re in the market.

(11/29/18) The final word on the dusky gopher frog: "The federal government can’t designate land as a habitat for an endangered species on the expectation that the animals might eventually want to move there, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday, delivering a victory to property owners."

(11/28/18) The ABAC Foundation has purchased approximately 1,000 acres to create the ABAC Teaching Forest. This forest will be used to increase the experiential learning opportunities of the students in the forestry and wildlife management programs. Degrees are offered in 3 tracks: Forestry, Wildlife Management, and Conservation Law Enforcement. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), located in Tifton, Georgia, focuses on “essential skills and knowledge that prepare them to be productive employees immediately upon graduation.

(11/27/18)Interest in selling agricultural land is picking up among landowners.” Farmland and forestland sales aren’t always exactly in tandem, but trends between the two probably have some connection, so it's good for forest landowners to keep an eye on these things. Source: Alabama Agribusiness Council, AgAlert, Nov. 27, 2018.

(11/26/18) Although this fun video imagines possible forestry machines of the future, the fascinating tree de-limber in this video is already a reality.

(11/20/18) This handy machine might not be practical for stocking your wood pile, but it would be nice to have on hand this winter. The Forestry Equipment in Action Facebook page has this and other videos of forest equipment, including this low-tech method of loading logs.

(11/19/18) A third deer in Mississippi has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD). Outdoor Alabama reports that if CWD spreads to Alabama, the economics of hunting in Alabama are likely to be permanently altered. The latest infected deer in Mississippi was found within 50 miles of the Alabama border.

(11/16/18) "Today, Georgia-Pacific celebrated the official start of production at its newest lumber facility in Talladega, Alabama. The $100-million, 300,000-square-foot, technologically advanced plant took nine months to complete." Good news for forest landowners in the region with timber to sell. 

(11/15/18) Congratulations to AFOA members Stan and Suzanne Wood of Cullman County, “named the Alabama Tree Farmers of the Year during the Alabama Landowners Conference Awards Program Oct. 15, 2018.”

(11/14/18) Deer gun season opens Saturday, November 17. You can see the deer season zone map here. Even if you're not hunting, be sure to wear safety orange if you're in the woods during hunting season.

(11/13/18) "At MSU (Missouri State University), a research team is … trying to breed a better walnut tree with a more consistent yield that is disease-resistant, has a thinner shell and a large kernel. They're using DNA technology to identify the varieties of trees that have the best qualities.” This isn’t a major species in Alabama, but still might be of interest to hardwood growers especially.

(11/12/18) Two different groups posted their housing starts predictions: “Forisk projects 2018 housing starts of 1.285 million, up 6.8% from 2017 actuals...”  “Because of headwinds facing both demand and supply, Forest2Market's current 2020 forecast for housing starts is 1.259 million units, roughly the same as it is for 2018 and 2019.”

(11/9/18) This video uses the kids’ movie Wreck it Ralph to illustrate the misuse of eminent domain and how it works in a colorful way. It doesn’t happen to forestland often, but it has happened.

(11/8/18) An information session on hurricane recovery hosted by the University of Georgia is available online. The program focuses on “disaster assistance information from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies including the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Rural Development (RD), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).” Resources for both agricultural and forest producers are covered. See the AFOA calendar for details on a tax workshop on casualty loss and income tax deductions on December 7, 2018.

(11/7/18) “If people start getting pessimistic about housing … pull back and don’t want to buy, then there will be a drop in construction jobs and that could be a seed for another recession,” Yale Economics Professor and Nobel Laureate Robert J. Shiller said. “We are overdue for another recession. These things come with regularity.” Source: Yahoo Finance, courtesy of the NFIB Small Business Weekly, 11/6/18

(11/6/18) "Many rural students can earn full scholarships to trade schools in their area and can graduate debt-free with a stable, secure, well-paying skilled job with a little help and support. ... Our Forestry Works website is a dedicated sight for students to find information about careers and further training that may be needed to reach their goals. Visit this site for more information.

(11/5/18) Tolko Industries (U.S.) Ltd. and Southeastern Timber Products (STP) announced a joint-venture partnership in a lumber mill in Ackerman, Mississippi, expanding an existing facility's capacity  from 100 million board feet to 300 million board feet. Even though this isn’t Alabama, more regional demand for timber should be a good thing for Alabama timber growers.

(11/2/18) When you find yourself in hole and can’t get out, stop digging...“Historically low prices for pine stumpage over the past several years are unlikely to encourage more conversions to planted pine...”

(11/1/18) Get ready to burn: "On November 1, 2018, the summer burn ban associated with vegetative or land-clearing burning, as imposed for Baldwin, Mobile, DeKalb, Montgomery, Etowah, Morgan, Jefferson, Shelby, Lawrence, Russell, Madison and Talladega counties, expires." This ban is usually renewed in the spring, and doesn’t affect prescribed burns, which do still need a permit. Source: In the South Next Month (November 2018).

(10/31/18)How can we best use [drones] and make us more productive, get more work done, and better quality work in the same amount of time?” This forestry program is exploring how to integrate drones into their forestry curriculum.

(10/30/18) The Quality Deer Management Association sent its members a letter in support of the state’s plan for reducing the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD): “While some actions may be unpopular, it is QDMA’s professional opinion that the plan is solidly grounded in the best available science and represents the most viable approach to reduce the risk of CWD introduction.” Read the full letter here. This map shows the location of the second found case in Mississippi.


(10/29/18) Here are a couple of perspectives on the hardwood and softwood markets.

(10/26/18) "Forest landowners need markets, not a layer of extra costs. Forest management often championed as a solution to this false narrative about the sustainability of our private forests, but in many cases certification is a solution looking for a problem."

(10/25/18) "The US government’s Conservation Reserve subsidy program started with the best of intentions. … Unfortunately, the program became a boondoggle where the farmers who went along with it are now facing a plunge in prices for their timber crop." The Wall Street Journal ran an article on this topic by the man who invented the program, and who now regrets it.

(10/24/18) A second deer has been confirmed with Chronic Wasting disease (CWD) in Mississippi. This video is a good summary of the disease, and the official release from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks is here. AFOA has detailed the measures Alabama is taking to keep CWD out as well as some of the consequences of the disease to the hunting industry.

(10/23/18)Aerial surveys conducted by the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) last week indicated approximately 42,357 forested acres were damaged by the storm,” mainly in Houston County, at a value of nearly $20 million according to Forest Inventory and Analysis data.

(10/22/18) For those facing Hurricane Michael timber losses: "Timber or landscape trees destroyed by the hurricane, fire, earthquake, ice, hail, tornado, and other storms are “casualty losses” that may allow the property owners to take a deduction on their federal income tax returns. The key for most cases is to figure out the “adjusted basis” of the timber." Source: National Woodlands, Fall 2018

(10/19/18) The Wall Street Journal on how many Southern landowners lost their retirement plans: “A crush of maturing trees arrived just as U.S. housing markets collapsed in 2007 and 2008, creating a supply imbalance that in some places has never ended.”

(10/18/18) Researchers at the University of Dayton simulated a midair collision of a drone and an airplane wing at 238 mph -- this is the result.

(10/17/18) The SAF College Guide is a downloadable, sharable resource for students interested in a career in forestry or natural resources. "The 2018 guide includes a listing of all SAF-accredited programs, as well as 19 institutions describing their programs in their own words."

(10/16/18) "If your property is approximately in the red or yellow shaded area [of the map found here], expect some degree of timber damage. For properties further south and/or closer to the eye path, expect significant timber damage. The Alabama Forestry Commission is doing a flyover of affected areas and is expected to have a report available by the end of the week. You can address questions to them about Hurricane Michael at the following email address:

(10/15/18) Threatened species could become endangered one day. Will their protected habitat be imposed on your land? 33 threatened species in Jefferson County; 24 in Baldwin. Find out how many protected species are in your home county, or in the county where you own land, with this map. Click on the county, then click "Show related records."

(10/12/18) The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures over $200 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 men and women. Via the American Forestry and Paper Association, check out the economic impact of the forest products industry nationwide at the previous link, or go directly to the economic impact in Alabama.

(10/11/18) The comment period on critical habitat designation for the black pinesnake has been reopened. The revised rule and associated documents, along with directions on how to submit comments are available at using docket No. FWS– R4-ES-2014-0065. Further instructions are available here at the FAQ. Comment by Nov. 13 to voice your feelings about changes made to the rules about critical habitat designation, including: “fewer proposed acres are now on private land and more are on state-owned land.”

(10/10/18) "If you wish to improve your land with ponds, barns, cabins, country homes, or in the case of the Bromleys, a barndominium, these are all improvements that we can finance."

(10/9/18) "Though experts say biomass should continue to play a key role in the U.S. renewable power portfolio for its baseload properties, contributions to forest management, and other reasons, a swath of uneconomic biomass power plants across the U.S.—especially in the West—have been recently idled or shut down."

(10/8/18) "On per-unit sales (sealed bids in particular), sales that involved consultants exceeded the non-consultant sale prices by no less than 11%. … Not only did the trend hold over time, but it also held over various tract sizes, with consultant sales bringing higher total bids on all four separate acreage categories." This data-driven approach shows the real value of consulting foresters in timber sales.

(10/5/18)a new state law … allows counties to collect delinquent taxes through the auction of liens against the propertiesinstead of auctioning the properties themselves.” We advise everyone to pay taxes promptly, but this law addresses a process that allowed investors to profit off landowners who got behind on tax payments.

(10/4/18) Based on the response AFOA has received from members who have shown an interest in acquiring lower cost health insurance, small business owners aren’t the only people in the U.S. who are concerned about health care costs. 84 AFOA members along with 70 family members have asked the association to help them find lower cost health insurance. If you are interested in lower cost health insurance, send AFOA the following for yourself and each family member who would be included:

• name
• birthdate
• zip code
• gender

(10/3/18)The United States has returned to the list of the top ten freest economies in the world after an absence of many years... Five broad areas of freedom that the report measures—size of government, legal system and property rights, monetary policy, trade openness, and regulation...” AFOA interviewed Vasquez and O’Grady back in 2004. Listen to Vasquez on Property Rights, and O’Grady on Free Markets and this index.

(10/2/18) "This book, beautifully illustrated with photos and filled with useful information, tells the stories of nine unique forest landowners—how they got started, their goals, stewardship philosophies, challenges, and the rich natural and human histories of the land they tend."

(10/1/18)/a> The Forest2Market blog asks and answers the question "How much is an acre of timber worth?"

(9/28/18)What ‘everybody knows’ is not quite correct.” This issue takes a somewhat light-hearted look at the growth in demand for paper and paperboard packaging. Source: Forest Research Notes, Vol. 15, No. 3

(9/27/18) What can you do with rabbit? Check out the Wild Game Cook-off in several locations around the state. Click the county name for details: Morgan County, Mobile County, Dallas County, Tuscaloosa County, Covington County

(9/26/18) KyKenKee Inc. is investing $28.2 million at its plant in Vance. "KyKenKee manufactures hardwoods and Southern Yellow Pine, as well as specialty cut items and Greenscape products such as wood chips and bark."

(9/25/18) LOCAL AMENDMENTS NEED YOUR REVIEW BEFORE NOVEMBER 6. We scanned each sample ballot on Secretary of State John Merrill’s website and found several local ballot measures that may be of interest to some AFOA members. Source: Capital Ideas, October 2018, middle column of page 3

  • BLOUNT COUNTY voters and GENEVA COUNTY voters will decide whether to form or create fire districts with dues assessments described in each local amendment. AFOA has been hearing horror stories about completely out-of-control fire districts, some with charges as high as $8 per acre for undeveloped forestland! Until the laws are passed that rein in fire district taxing authority, we would advise landowners to use extreme caution before approving these districts.

  • MOBILE COUNTY voters will decide whether to pass a 6 1/2 mill property tax for roads, bridges, and drainage.

  • ELMORE COUNTY voters will be asked to repeal “Home Rule” and

  • CLEBURNE COUNTY voters will be asked to approve “Home Rule.”

  • MADISON COUNTY voters will decide whether the county commission can impose ordinances regulating excessive noise. We don’t know if the regulations might include discharge of firearms or operation of logging equipment, but local voters may want to check on this before voting yes.

  • CALHOUN COUNTY voters will decide whether police and planning jurisdictions should extend outside of some municipalities into unincorporated areas. Probably not a big deal for most voters, but a plan for your land that prevents timber harvests could be a big negative for you.

(9/24/18) Logging has extra challenges out west…In a video, “A log truck driver has had enough when a couple of California ecological protesters climb up on his truck.”

(9/21/18) Narrative Gone Wrong: 3 Myths that Reveal the Inaccurate Story About America's Family Forests is a just-released, hard-hitting critique of the U.S. Forest Service's misleading use of information gathered to describe and understand owners of forestland in the U.S. Source: Forest Landowners Association.

(9/20/18) North Alabama market news and things to do at this time of year from Forest Management Specialists newsletter, volume 5, issue 3.

(9/19/18) Tips on Generating Multiple Incomes From Your Property, from

(9/18/18) This blogger accompanied the 2018 AFOA Annual Meeting tour of the Jack Daniels cooperage. For more information about growing hardwoods, listen to Drs. David Mercker and Callie Schweitzer, Managing for Quality White Oaks and Managing for Quality Hardwoods, at the 2018 AFOA Annual Meeting. There are 9 video presentations from the meeting available, free and online.

(9/17/18) Although sportsmen and women are a significant economic force, “The number of people who participate in sportfishing, hunting and target shooting represents [ONLY]16.5 percent of the total U.S. population.”

(9/14/18) "Getting market value for your timber should be the primary consideration when making a decision to harvest." The Forest2Market guide to selling timber.

(9/13/18)It has a range of more than 50 miles with six gallons of gas, and can fly for more than 20 hours.” This type of working drone will soon be playing a part in the management of forests in Alabama, I am sure — storm damage recon, herbicide spraying, planting survival checks, Southern Pine Beetle monitoring, wildfire detection and surveillance, and much more.

(9/12/18) An electric hunting bike might be useful for more than just hunters. Read this assessment to see whether you might find use for one of these in getting around your forest land.

(9/10/18) Mass timber “project, intended as a showcase for mass timber products in Oregon and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has turned into a complicated cautionary tale.” Two layers of a panel came unglued and crashed down as a result of a process change that affected the adhesive. We like the idea of CLT (Cross-Laminated Timber) and hope the experts take their time and make this work.

(9/7/18) “Timber is a unique commodity, in that it is only sold once or twice in a lifetime. … By following the eight steps outlined [from Tennessee Ag Extension], you can ensure a successful and profitable sale.”

(9/6/18) This site has charts and clickable maps that let users compare forest and forest-related economic data by state. (Note: ESRI’s Story Maps work best when opened on a desktop (not ipad or tablet), with a high speed internet connection, and using Microsoft Edge software.)

(9/5/18) Let sleeping fawns lie: "If you find a fawn this time of year it may appear lost or abandoned, but its mother’s absence is purposeful … to decrease attracting predators to the fawn. While the mother is feeding nearby, the fawn avoids detection by hiding motionless in a grassy area." If a fawn is found with serious injuries or confirmed to be orphaned, contact the nearest wildlife rehabilitator (list available at permitted to handle deer.

(9/4/18) Caterpillar, Inc. announced the proposed sale, to Weiler Inc., of its purpose-built forestry product line “consisting of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders, and related operations facilities including … the demonstration and training center in Auburn, Alabama.”

(8/31/18) American Chestnuts were “fast growing trees [that] were straight-grained and the wood was rot-resistant. … By the 1950s, virtually all-mature American chestnuts had succumbed to the disease.” Several groups are working to produce a blight resistant tree, and you can learn more about them close to home at The American Chestnut Foundation’s national meeting in Huntsville this October.

(8/30/19) Read this and be glad your forestland is in Alabama: “...Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing broad new changes to California’s logging rules that would allow landowners to cut [some] larger trees and build temporary roads [up to 600 feet long] without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state. The proposal ... is being opposed by more than a dozen environmental groups.”

(8/29/18) "'Frequent prescribed fires in Southeastern forests can help prevent raging wildfires like those that have engulfed much of Northern California,' a Clemson University researcher says."

(8/28/18) Auburn University’s new degree program in wildlife enterprise management is designed so graduates “hit the ground running with lodges, hunting preserves, fishing resorts, outdoor experience companies and many other types” of outdoor careers. Students will earn a minor in business and take courses in three different units across campus.

(8/27/18) To our dismay, “A surge in lumber prices and modest increases in sawlog costs have resulted in record profits for many lumber companies in North America and Europe in 2018,” reports the Wood Resource Quarterly.

(8/24/18)If you’re going on a hunt out of state, you’ve got to be careful about what you’re bringing back.” Restrictions on bringing cervid (deer, elk, moose, etc.) carcasses into Alabama have now been extended to carcasses from all states and Canada, in order to stop the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Remember, preventing CWD in Alabama is important for landowners as well as hunters. Property values will probably take a hit as CWD affects interest in deer hunting.

(8/23/18) A helpful chart for our would-be prescribed burners, long-range target shooters or hunters, drone pilots, or others who need a quick and dirty estimate of wind-speed.

(8/22/18)As it turns out, the time of year a property is listed or closes can have a big impact on its price.” Things to consider about when to buy or sell property from LANDTHINK.

(8/21/18) When making an offer on rural land, “purchasers often accept unnecessary risk they later regret, or make excessive demands that spoil a great purchase opportunity.” LANDTHINK blog offers points to consider before you act.

(8/20/18) "We believe the key to restoring prosperity in Rural America--and specifically our four-county area--is to remove barriers by bringing fiber to every home and business.” Part one focuses getting remote healthcare to rural Americans via broadband internet. Read the full description and watch the three-part video discussion on e-connectivity in rural America.

(8/17/18) "McDonald's recently opened its redesigned flagship store in Chicago and it's dominated by wood and cross-laminated timber (CLT)." Read the full story for more pictures of the interior and details on McDonald’s plan to remodel locations nationwide with a similar look.

(8/16/18) Be sure to scroll through all these maps of land use in America. Each one tells an interesting story, culminating with a side-by-side comparison.

(8/15/18) Interesting LASER technology being tested in Israel might stop crown fires (not common in Alabama), provide escape routes for trapped fire fighters, or help create fire breaks. However, it’s no replacement for regular prescribed burning programs and other management actions that can be employed but are not used much in the West (and not near enough in Alabama, for that matter).

(8/14/18)Deer may actually be adapted for growing-season fire.” While the idea has potential liabilities and difficulties, bow-range burning in September has interesting potential gains in the right circumstances. If you lease your land for hunting, this might be something to start thinking about. To start, learn more about Alabama burn permits here.

(8/13/18) Alabama's 4-H Forestry team placed first among the 15 states that competed in the 39th Annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational July 29 - August 2 in Weston, West Virginia. Read the press release here.

(8/10/18) This year's Alabama Hunting and Fishing Digest is now online. Click for information about 2018-2019 hunting seasons, bag limits, regulations and more. Be sure to check out the major changes and what you need to know to avoid getting a ticket (page 6).

(8/9/18) "Outdoorswomen like Judy Rhodes, Brenda Valentine, and Georgia Pellegrini...pioneered the way" for women who want to hunt and learn more about the outdoors life. Check out these upcoming events for women who love the outdoors or want to know more:

(8/8/18) If you plan to purchase rural land, “here is a “to-do” list that will help you find your dream property at a dream price.”

(8/7/18) “Over the last 30 years, [Monty Marengo of Polson, Montana] has built a business that allows him to make a comfortable living as a part-time cone broker…On average, cones fetch between four and six cents each, he said, though certain varieties [such as Austrica] are more valuable than others.” This famous Evergreen, Alabama business gathers, prepares and sells much more than pine cones for the floral industry.

(8/6/18) "CNBC's Diana Olick reports the price of lumber is climbing, thanks in part to tariffs on Canadian lumber and that is prompting some U.S. companies to ramp up production."

(8/3/18) These webinars from Auburn’s Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center give practical herbicide treatment information to help you manage your land.

(8/2/18) "As firefighters battled the flames and worked to protect homes, goats were a key tool in saving one man's El Dorado County property." Be sure to watch the full story in the video.

(8/1/18)Announced softwood sawmill capacity increases in the South total 3.2 BBFT. Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas have the largest increases in projected lumber production. In the past five years, four OSB mills resumed operations in the South and two greenfield mills were established.” Included in the increased capacity are new mills in Georgia and Talladega, welcome news for Alabama timber growers. Source: Forisk News, Q3 2018

(7/31/18) "See that line of standing timber in the middle of a cutover? That's a streamside management zone (SMZ), and it protects long-term water quality on a property and everything downstream." Thanks to Timber Marketing & Management of the Carolinas for this handy guide to SMZs.

(7/30/18) “…imagine a township law that tells a farmer when to harvest his corn, or what kind of feed to use to fatten up her hogs.” What would be unthinkable for edible crop farmers is not uncommon for those who grow trees. This story is from Pennsylvania, but it has happened in Alabama as well. Watch out for local ordinances that could hinder your ability to harvest and sell your timber.

(7/27/18) “The urge to keep up appearances is also driving … unproductive practice[s].” Ineffective wildfire fighting methods are only one example of how public pressure can steer local policies away from understanding the whole problem in favor of flashy, expensive measures (like aerial fire retardant drops) that may not be right for the situation.

(7/26/18) The Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) has begun posting the results of their periodic Southern Pine Beetle Detection Flights to the Internet. Go to the current beetle report and map here. If you’d like to receive updates from AFOA when AFC does a flight in the county where your land is located, make sure we have your email address and the county in which you own land in your membership records. Email to update your record.

(7/25/18)) The National Woodland Owners Association published their survey of the top issues facing woodland owners nationwide. Read their take on these issues here.

(7/24/18) "Ontario government cancels 758 renewable energy contracts, says it will save millions." If one government can make rational decisions, others might not be far behind. Watch out wood pellet export industry.

(7/23/18) Sunbelt Forest Ventures announced a high tech sawmill coming to Dallas County.

(07/20/18) "Wow! [Pine Log] Exports to China from Southern ports almost doubled in 2017 from the previous three years." Those are the words of Marshall Thomas, President of F&W Forestry Services in his latest Forestry Report, Summer 2018. Read Marshall's short article on page 1 of the report and don't miss the graph in the second column. The graph shows that exports from the Port of Mobile, while small compared to Savannah and Norfolk, saw huge increases in 2017.

(07/19/18) Mow down thick brush with a Brush Blazer walk-behind rotary brush cutter. Click here to watch a demo video.

(07/18/18) For those situations where you can't or don't want to drive a dozer, back hoe, or skid steer, a radio controlled machine might be just what you need.

(07/17/18) Longtime AFOA members Jon & Carol Gould named Southern Regional Outstanding Tree Farmers of the Year!

(07/16/18) Primary Runoff Election Tomorrow! Tuesday July 17, 7 AM to 7 PM. Sample ballots are on the Secretary of State's website. While the Alabama Forest Owners' Association does not endorse candidates for political office, we thought you might want to know who the Alabama Forestry Association has endorsed: Click Here.

(7/12/18) "He's driving around with my money, my timber and nobody's doing anything about it." At least two landowners say an Alabama man cut their timber and failed to pay before declaring bankruptcy. Nancy Fincher left more detail about her experience in this review at the BBB. The Alabama Forestry Commission has helpful advice on selling timber here, beginning with hiring a consulting forester who is a licensed/registered forester in Alabama. Here is a roster of all licensed/registered foresters in Alabama -- use this primarily to make sure your consulting forester is licensed in Alabama -- do not use the roster to find a consulting forester -- you can contact AFOA to help you with that.

(7/11/18) When you need to share photos and maps of your land with a contractor, forester, or maybe someone interested in a hunting lease, you can use online storage, or “cloud” based services, to more easily share those files. Most services have a free option for smaller amounts of online storage space. One hunting lease advertiser uploaded their images here for others to see. You can see a list and comparison of top sites here.

(7/10/18)A Hoover man was killed Monday after he was pinned under his tractor at his home.” The article notes that the man was wearing a safety belt, and his tractor was equipped with a roll bar.

(7/9/18) The second half of a collapsed whiskey distillery came down this week. Click to see how 9,000 ruined white oak whiskey barrels look in a big, messy pile.

(7/6/18)Prescribed fire practitioners should consider the biology of various wildlife species when wildlife is an objective.” North Alabama landowners might benefit most from this publication, from Craig Harper at the University of Tennessee, about prescribed fire and wildlife in the lower Appalachians, but the species-by-species breakdown could be useful for all landowners who utilize fire.

(7/3/18) "Initiated investors who wish to add timberland to their retirement portfolio and who are willing to do the necessary homework can do so successfully via a self-directed IRA." For timberland owners with an IRA or thinking about an IRA, this might be a good option.

(7/2/18) The Southern Christmas Tree Association’s newsletter has been uploaded to the AFOA website here. Includes lots of details about their upcoming Annual Meeting, August 3-5 in Monroe, Louisiana, as well as other resources related to growing Christmas trees.

(6/29/18) This downloadable guide covers the management and restoration of shortleaf pine, one of the native southern pine species. To learn more about all aspects of shortleaf pine, explore the Shortleaf Pine Initiative website.

(6/28/18) Trump's reorganization plan would make significant changes to the education and agriculture departments. Removing the food stamps program from the Department of Agriculture would reduce support for non-essential ag and forestry subsidy programs, don’t you think?

(6/27/18) “The increased capacity from existing mill upgrades and planned greenfield mills will undoubtedly help to close the gap between log and lumber prices, but it will take time to work through the enormous amount of standing timber volume throughout the US South. When looking at the entire southern region, there is unlikely to be any significant upward movement in log prices in the near term.”

(6/26/18) Domtar, a Canadian pulp and paper company that has owned land in Alabama for many years, produced this video demonstrating the ways they use drones in forest management “to save time, improve efficiencies and help keep its foresters safe.”

(6/25/18) “...critical habitat of endangered species is important,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said. “But we have an interest not only in environmental protection but to preserve the rights of landowners." Protecting private property rights is something we wish we heard state officials talk about more often.

(6/22/18) Forisk Consulting tracks the top ten timberland owners and managers each year. On the 2018 list, American Forest Management frequently advertises in the AFOA newsletter, and F&W Forestry is frequently quoted on our new page and in the newsletter. Resource Management Services is also close to home, based in Birmingham.

(6/21/18) We found this extensive guide to recreational trail design via Wednesday Woodland Word. With clear instructions, photos, and detailed diagrams, this guide covers both planning and execution of a trail that fits your needs.

(6/20/18) This set of videos shows an inside look at different careers in the wood industry. If a young person you know might be interested in a forest products career in Alabama, Ashley Watts can offer information and guidance. Reach her at 334-322-2435 or

(6/19/18) Hunter safety courses like the one described here are vital for younger hunters, but “Even the most experienced hunters will learn something new, which will help them become even better hunters or mentors – and safer ones.” Check here for Hunter Education courses in Alabama.

(6/18/18) This site has a brief history and overview of the oil and gas resources found in Alabama. Includes a map of these resources in the state.

(6/15/18) Happy Father's Day! We know this video is an ad, but it's still a nice tribute from a grandson to a grandpa.

(6/14/18)It's OK to cut some trees.” This article on the Sierra Club’s website explains what foresters know: sensible forest management also helps wildlife.

(6/13/18)During [building] fires, exposed mass timber chars on the outside, which forms an insulating layer protecting interior wood from damage.”

(6/12/18) This guide from University of Tennessee Extension has a lot of good information about what hunters and landowners may want to include in a lease. Especially helpful are the sample leases included at the end of the document.

(6/11/18) “Individual tree herbicide applications offer forest landowners a "hands-on" option to reach forest management objectives. This publication alerts readers to the many herbicides labeled for this use and discusses application technology options.” A helpful backpack sprayer calibration method is described toward the end of the publication.

(6/8/18) "A Corpus Christi man is still recovering after he was bitten by a rattlesnake, even after the snake had already been beheaded." Handle all snakes with care--even dead ones.

(6/7/18) These are great points for landowners to consider when drawing up a lease agreement that works for both landowner and hunter. Insurance can cover a landowner's liability for any hunting related activities. An application for the use of AFOA’s Hunting Lease Liability Insurance is online at

(6/6/18) "For the past four years, the Forest Service has been reviving its traditional tools training methods." Many of these skills would be valuable to anyone who owns or spends time in the woods. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 6/6/18

(6/5/18) Planning to buy land with borrowed money? Keep an eye on predictions of rising interest rates, as current rates may be an opportunity that’s fast going away.

(6/4/18)Early signs indicate national forest lands will face a second consecutive year of a severe southern pine beetle outbreak…in Mississippi.” A map of pine beetle infestation last year shows significantly more outbreaks on federally owned land. Mississippi is not alone in this problem of poor federal forest management. A new U.S. Forest Service (USFS) report says “forest mortality exceeded net growth on America’s national forest timberlands in 2016.”

(6/1/18) “…the legal fees that Mrs. Allen would have spent to have an attorney help with her will were likely minuscule compared to the legal fees spent by her family” in taking the case to court. This Texas case is a reminder to consult an attorney in order to avoid the expense and bad feelings heirs can incur with a poorly written will.

(5/31/18)  ALFA Farmers also released their endorsements for the upcoming primaries, available here.  

(5/30/18) This research program clones trees that appear to be naturally resistant to the emerald ash borer, the invasive beetle that has recently been found in Alabama (map of detected EAB activity). “Maybe most importantly, Koch says the cloned trees appear to be even more resistant to the ash borer.”

(5/29/18) These videos from North Carolina extension are a good starting point to learn how to estimate the volume of wood on your land. These could also be excellent real-life math skills for the younger generation, too.

(5/25/18)Wood use is not a choice, it is essential to our survival.” The circumstances in Michigan aren’t exactly the same as here, but this article that debunks common misconceptions about forests might be useful to Alabama forest owners as well.

(5/24/18) Members of the forestry community might be interested in seeing who the Alabama Forestry Association endorses for the upcoming primary elections. See the full list of AFA endorsements here.

(5/23/18) The county-specific measures below will be on June 5 ballots, and can be found on both Democrat and Republican Sample Ballots for the specific counties listed on the Secretary of State’s website.

  • DeKalb County voters will vote on 11.5 mills of property taxes that will be in effect for 27 years. That’s equivalent to $31.05 per $100 of assessed value of the taxable property for the life of these taxes.

  • St. Clair County voters will decide whether to establish a Davis Lake Volunteer Fire Department and levy a $150 per year tax on each residence or commercial building in the district. Based on serious complaints AFOA has received related to huge out-of-control fire dues collections on undeveloped forestland from several other fire districts, AFOA urges voters to be cautious before voting yes on this measure.

  • Marshall County voters will decide whether to allow a $60 per year tax (per parcel, per building, ???) to fund Fire District 21. We have reservations similar to those described above for St. Clair County.

  • Elmore County voters will decide whether to repeal “The Alabama Limited Self-Governance Act.” Since we’ve heard strong criticisms of the way this law has been applied in other counties, we urge voters to learn more about the reasons this measure is on the local ballot.

  • Franklin County voters will decide whether to allocate one-fourth of an existing 1 cent sales tax for public schools for purposes of providing matching money for road improvements (ATRIP). We don’t know which roads or bridges the county plans to repair, so forest owners may want to check with the county engineer before voting.

(5/22/18) Are you prepared for the primary election on June 5? Enter your street address (email address not needed) at the Ballotpedia website to see the candidates on the ballot in your district for the upcoming primary so you can be an informed voter.

(5/21/18)Adams told investors he was buying rights to cut timber cheaply and then selling them for higher prices to sawmills.” Forest landowners weren’t necessarily involved in this timber fraud scheme, but it’s good to be aware of things that happen involving the forest industry—even if it’s imaginary timber.

(5/18/18) Canadian companies Conifex and Blue Wolf Capital Partners announced plans to acquire two mills in southeastern US.

(5/17/18) This map from Forisk Consulting shows a large area in north Alabama with an oversupply of timber for the available sawmills, but according to Forisk’s Timber Price Forecast, the US still needs to import lumber to keep up with demand.

(5/16/18) A proposed farm bill amendment would restrict the definition of wetlands. “Scalia wrote that the Clean Water Act should protect only relatively permanent waters and wetlands with a continuous surface water connection to them.” We all like having clean water, but maybe some rules have gotten out of hand.

(5/15/18)The GOP food stamp changes would shuffle the deck chairs, but the CBO finds that the reduction in government dependence would be relatively tiny.” This free-market group says the proposed bill would expand the government safety net for wealthy farm households, too. "Most subsidies go to farm households that have much greater income and wealth than non-farm households."

(5/14/18) In Rhode Island, groups are battling over proposed restrictions on clearcutting forestland to build solar facilities. As more companies seek to lease private land for solar farms, it’s worthwhile for Alabama landowners to follow these disputes and exercise caution.

(5/10/18) Private pipeline companies have long-enjoyed the power of eminent domain. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Alabama landowners should be interested in the way Texas landowners are looking to challenge companies that invoke eminent domain when it doesn’t serve the public.

(5/9/18) "A simple tick bite, left untreated, can result in full body paralysis, and even death." And don't forget Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and the increasingly common alpha-gal syndrome, which leaves you with a red meat allergy. Read more about tick bite prevention here. Update: Another case of tick paralysis in June put the spotlight on this uncommon condition.

(5/8/18) "The first and biggest cross-laminated timber (CLT) manufacturing plant in the eastern U.S." is nearly up and running in Dothan, Ala. The plant should be 100 percent operational by September…and will use southern pine lumber to construct the panels."

(5/4/18) "Chris Fields-Johnson uses agroforestry on his 300-acre loblolly pine forest in Scottsville, VA. … To help keep invasives in check, he employs 30 Katahdin hair sheep. Each year trees are harvested for profit, and additional trees are planted. The trees help keep the sheep out of the summer sun while they munch on the invasives."

(5/3/18) "Stable demand from the forest products industry helps protect forestland from its greatest, irreversible threat: urbanization. … Planted stands, which are some of the most productive, have been the least likely to succumb to the pressures of conversion." Thanks to the Wednesday Woodland Word for pointing us to this article.

(5/2/18)On May 1, 2018, summer “burn bans” for the outdoor burning of land-cleared vegetation commence in the following Alabama counties: Baldwin, Mobile, DeKalb, Montgomery, Etowah, Morgan, Jefferson*, Shelby, Lawrence, Russell, Madison and Talladega. This ban lasts until October 31, 2018.” (Source: In the South Next Month, May 2018.) This shouldn’t affect you unless you’re burning slash piles, but be prepared with a burn permit from the Forestry Commission in case local enforcement officials question your right to conduct a prescribed burn.

(5/1/18) This forest service satellite imaging program will show latitude and longitude of a point on a map with one click. Google maps also shows coordinates when you right click. We can think of lots of uses for this technology.

(4/30/18) We’ve missed the morel mushroom season in Alabama for 2018, but if anyone in northern Alabama would be willing to host and lead a morel hunt next year, please let us know.

(4/27/18) “A building material that is sustainable and durable, quick to erect, quiet to work with, and could, one day, ensure the future of Ireland’s bioeconomy. Surely there’s something in this timber revolution that we can learn from?” This article outlines why builders in Ireland should consider a return to wood construction, cross-laminated timber (CLT) in particlar.

(4/26/18) This map of Chronic Wasting Disease spells trouble for the future of deer hunting. Learn more about the CWD threat to Alabama hunters and landowners at AFOA’s Annual Meeting with a session led by Keith Gauldin, Chief of Wildlife Section, Alabama Div. of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries.

(4/25/18) "John Frank Deese can’t think of much he loves more than the smell of fresh-cut lumber and the roar of a sawmill ripping through trees destined for a second life." This video from ALFA and the accompanying  article shows working with wood can be more than just a living.

(4/24/18) A new movie, Little Pink House, details an infamous Supreme Court case in which “the court ruled, 5-4, that property owners can be stripped of their land whenever the government decides that a wealthier owner would put it to more lucrative use.” It could be a little pink house or 40 acres of your forestland; this is an issue important to forest owners.

(4/23/18) The Foundation for Economic Education posted its annual list of “18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970,” when Earth Day was first observed.

(4/20/18) "It is extremely important to hire a professional forester to conduct a timber inventory if you plan to sell your timber or timberland, if you need to know the estimated value for tax or financial planning purposes, or if you are planning to purchase forestland.” But if you just want to know your timber's value, you can learn how to cruise your own timber. This article explains the process, and for in-person, hands-on guidance, we’ll have two presentations on this topic for landowners at the 2018 AFOA Annual Meeting.

(4/19/18) "Kimberly-Clark Corp. announced today that it has approved a capacity expansion at its manufacturing facility in Mobile to support K-C Professional’s continued bath tissue category growth in North America."

(4/18/18) A Vermont bill intended to protect loggers and working forestsestablishes a 'rebuttable presumption' that logging is not a nuisance, meaning that a logging or forestry operation can only be found to be a nuisance if it is negligent or violates state or federal law.” Alabama foresters and loggers could also benefit from this kind of common-sense legislation.

(4/17/18) Don’t count out paper yet. “Magazine ads that change color at the push of a button, inserts that collect solar power to charge a cell phone, a car ad that actually checks your pulse while making it race ... It's all possible, in the new world of high-tech, interactive print marketing.” Watch this video to see paper marketing materials do things you’ve never seen before.

(4/16/18) These "Your Legacy, Your Land" videos from the American Forest Foundation cover estate planning topics for landowners, from family meetings to conservation easements. Note; these were produced before tax law changes of 2017, so talk over any changes based on this series with your tax professional.

(4/13/18) The next time you’re done washing your hands in a public restroom, maybe make your next stop the paper towel dispenser.

(4/12/18) "Over the past several days, at least three Alabama newspapers [including the Shelby County Reporter] have warned that President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs could come at a significant cost to their businesses."

(4/11/18)Tree growers may gain some optimism for the future based on several recent announcements of plans for greenfield mills to expand lumber production in the South.” Good news on the horizon for demand, first quarter stumpage prices, and a tree planting report in the latest F&W Forestry Report.

(4/10/18)I think it also has to do with Millennials being ready to settle down. Then they take a look at interest rates going up and see money is not getting cheaper and they are ready to start looking. ... It’s clear the foundation of home ownership desire hasn’t changed in decades."

(4/9/18)Preventative measures are the only way to avoid being bitten by ticks and acquiring an infection.” Auburn tick researcher explains why ticks are cause for caution and how you can be safe.

(4/6/18) This report “reinforces the potential of active forest management to generate more value for landowners,” with a reminder that “...forest investments can endure large swings in management costs and volumes or prices of lower grade products; however, the financial returns of forest management are highly sensitive to discount rates, realized sawtimber volumes, and sawtimber prices.”

(4/5/18) Westervelt Co. announced plans to build a new mill in South Alabama, which will complement the company’s Moundville facility, one of the largest Southern Yellow Pine facilities in the country.

(4/3/18) If you’re looking for an Alabama-based company for a structure on your property, we read about this company at in the March 2018 magazine: Brock’s Log Cabins come in kits that someone handy can put together, or the company’s crews can handle assembly.

(4/2/18)A person writing a will must take great care to ensure their wishes are spelled out clearly, completely, and in accordance with the law of interpretation.” Vague wording in a will (or no will at all) could divide your property and your family. Be sure your intentions for your property are legally protected.

(3/30/18) This map of federal land ownership demonstrates why people in western states view the federal government so differently from those of us in the east.


(3/29/18)As a small land owner, I have had to deal with free roamers for years. They damage my property and the environment.” An AFOA member wrote this in a letter to Men’s Journal to express displeasure with their feature of a recent book that encourages trespassing. Thanks to our members for speaking up for property rights.

(3/28/18)Your investment portfolio can also grow under the calming shade of trees … [A flexible] operating backdrop makes timber stocks and ETFs sturdy investments even in a market crash.” Capital Ideas quotes prices for the timber ETFs CUT & WOOD each month (top, middle column, page 2).

(3/27/18) Just when we thought the kudzu bug had come to rescue us, Auburn researchers are now trying to kill the kudzu bug.

(3/26/18) "A bill that would erase Dunwoody and Sandy Springs’ [Georgia] restrictions on wood-frame apartments awaits Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature .... Both cities have codes that require certain large buildings, especially multi-family housing over three stories tall, to be built of concrete and steel rather than wood…"

(3/23/18) "Operators have been anxious to actually receive lumber that was ordered many weeks ago. For their part, sawmills have been doing their best to work through the backorders to get new lumber out the door."

(3/22/18) This new fire-proof shed was made with the idea that having a completely safe place to leave valuable or cherished items can save time and money for those in the path of a fire. Forest landowners might find a use for a structure like this. .

(3/21/18) "Trade of softwood lumber reached an all-time-high in 2017 as demand for wood was strong in most key markets around the world. An estimated 126 million m3 of softwood lumber was shipped from forest-rich countries such as Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland to markets with high consumption of lumber, including China, the US, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Since the global recession in 2008, international trade of lumber has gone up by as much as 50%. With the economy forecasted to stay healthy in the US and Europe in 2018, this might be another good year for lumber exporters." Source: Wood Resource Quarterly, March 2018

If you’re interested in growing hardwoods like white oak, don't miss the first two speakers on the agenda at the 2018 Annual Meeting. View the agenda and register here.

(3/20/18)New Mexico is a battleground in the fight over once public waterways…” With as many rivers as there are in Alabama, our members might be interested in this question of property rights and waterways.

(3/19/18) "When the clear-cuts green up after controlled burns, they attract turkeys like a magnet."

(3/16/18) Connecticut-based company Mohegan Renewable Energy will reopen the Crossville pellet plant that was formerly Lee Energy Solutions. AFOA may remember touring this plant during the 2014 Annual Meeting.

(3/15/18) “The current industry retirement wave continues, and the job market for recent forestry graduates who want to work with FRA member companies is probably better than it has been in the last 40 years.” More reasons why forestry careers are a solid option for young family members who love the outdoors or might even be interested in managing the family land some day.

(3/14/18) "The Supreme Court announced Monday that it would hear arguments in [a case that] could potentially overturn part of a previous ruling that critics have attacked as making it much harder for property owners to protect their rights in federal court." This scenario might seem unlikely for Alabama, but for more reading see our interview with Dr. Robert Tufts and this Progressive Farmer story about old cemeteries on private property.

(3/13/18) “...fresh clear-cut was a prime nesting spot. ... The gobblers will always follow the hens to their nesting grounds.” Landowners don't need to fear that cutting timber will interfere with hunting.

(3/12/18) "When making forestland management decisions, landowners are often concerned with the cost of forestry practices. … This report summarizes the results of a 2016 survey to examine the costs of forestry practices across the southeastern United States."

(3/9/18) "Forests in the United States have been growing for about 50 years. Today, more than 90% of US paper comes from high-yield forests planted specifically to be harvested." So printing that email won’t hurt our forests. In fact, many states are eyeing a return to paper for election day. A survey of millennials found that the majority of respondents “considered paper as more official, trusted, and safer and more secure as compared to digital documents.”

(3/8/18) "CWD is fatal to all deer that contract it," although reduced defenses against infections and predators might kill them before the disease takes its course. This article seeks to clear up some common misconceptions about Chronic Wasting Disease and its danger to the deer population and hunting industry. Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, says: "We have been testing an average of 400 deer per year since 2002. There are no known CWD cases in Alabama as of today."

(3/7/18) "...after California's worst fire season on record, policymakers appear set to make the same decisions that put homeowners at risk in the first place." Perhaps there are some similarities to the way people rebuild in hurricane-prone areas.

(3/6/18)I’m always thinking in terms of generations. Interesting article about the youngest son of the von Trapp family from the musical The Sound of Music, who was a forester before returning to manage the family property in Vermont.

(3/5/18) We’ve seen bamboo promoted in the past, but so far it hasn’t saved the world. Landowners and county officials should be very cautious before investing money or land in bamboo projects.

(3/2/18) "Using drones, foresters can now quickly check for infestations. What used to be a half day’s work is now accomplished in 20 minutes." This article outlines various ways one forest products company uses drone technology for forestry tasks.

(3/1/18) Demand for pine sawtimber will increase in Pike County, where Rex Lumber Co. will break ground on a $110 million lumber manufacturing facility later this month. “[Rex Lumber] is among the 10 largest softwood lumber producers in the United States, according to the state's Department of Commerce.”

(2/28/18) Officials identified the victim of an ATV accident in Cullman County over the weekend. We are saddened by the tragedy for this family and reminded that recreational forest activities can carry risk, so safety measures are important for all forest landowners and enthusiasts.

(2/27/18)Six new southern pine sawmills started up production in the South in 2017 and early 2018. Along with seven mill expansions and upgrades planned for 2018 and 2019, there are three other new sawmills planned … The combined total investment associated with these projects exceeds $1.3 billion and could create an estimated 1,400 new jobs across the South."

(2/26/18) “…growth in the European industrial pellet market is decelerating as fewer coal units remain to be converted to wood pellets … Like the European countries that facilitated the first round of wood pellet development, Japan and Korea have some key characteristics that make them attractive markets for wood pellets."

(2/22/18) "Alabama is known as a low tax state, but are we the lowest? Not even close." See how Alabama stacks up among its neighboring states.

(2/21/18) Succession planning is hard. Expectations can be a killer. The “Real” Family Dinner Table. Values and purpose make a wonderful life. Click here to see how these video clips relate to planning for the next generation in the family business.

(2/20/18) The Alabama Farmer’s Federation has released a list of endorsements for the June 5, 2018 primary election. AFOA does not endorse candidates itself, but if you know of another organization with endorsements in the interest of landowners, please let us know at

(2/19/18) A white-tailed deer collected on January 25, 2018, in Issaquena County [Mississippi] has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). See our past news items last October and in July of 2016 for more information.

(2/16/18) On Feb. 12, the Trump administration released its 2019 budget proposal for changes to make to the federal government’s spending. Here is a breakdown of his proposed cuts and changes.

(2/15/18) Landowners might consider thinning their pine plantation to “improve the economic rate of return from their planted pines, to improve wildlife habitat, or to protect the health of their pines.” Here are 10 things landowners should know before undertaking this step.

(2/14/18) Policy positions from the Forest Landowners Association: "A series of policy priorities to foster a strong business environment and balanced regulatory climate for the benefit of the families who own and manage forestland."

(2/13/18) "While there has been some increase in the use of fire in woodlands in the last decade … there are many more millions of acres that need burning and are not getting it." Ted DeVos, who penned this article, has been a frequent speaker at AFOA events. We don’t want to see Alabama with the problems facing California. At the least, be sure to leave a significant buffer if you build a house in a forested area.

(2/12/18) While the idea of deducting actual casualty losses following natural disasters (hurricanes, tornados, fires, etc.) instead of our basis, might make forest owners happy, would it be inappropriate for a small special interest group to ask for a special carve-out of tax law while constantly urging Congress and the President to keep a tight rein on spending? Read the full text of HR4962 here.

(2/9/18) International Paper announced "plans to invest $552.7 million in its Riverdale Mill in Dallas County ... The additional investment just announced will allow the mill to convert a line making uncoated freesheet, or copy paper, to [high grade packaging materials]."

(2/8/18) "While this example by no means gives an absolute valuation to pine plantation management, it does make the case that current improvements in pine genetics and operational techniques have maintained a level of financial performance despite long-term, downward stumpage price trends." Note that this example assumes professional forest management at every stage on a scale not available to every private forest owner.

(2/7/18) "Chinese buyers are buying more logs directly from log exporters, bypassing the U.S. sawmills. …The species they want are red oak, white oak, hickory and cherry." Come to AFOA Annual Meeting April 27-28 to learn how to grow hardwoods.

(2/6/18) "We’re trying to get it to the next generation, or the next two generations, intact with the smallest amount of tax pain that we could possibly have.” Forest owners, ranchers, and farmers are often in the same boat when it comes to passing land down intact to the next generation.

(2/5/18) The IKEA Group “has purchased approximately 25,000 acres in Lowndes County, according to an announcement from the company….The purchase is part of a "broader strategy to invest in the sustainable production of resources that IKEA Group consumes directly," the company said.”

(2/2/18) These bills may be of interest to our members, especially those who live in rural areas of the state. Look up the complete text of bills here. Reported to us by Alabama Agribusiness Council:
SB79- increases the number of years a state income tax credit is given for doctors and dentists who reside and practice in rural areas. Goes to House.
SB61-Dial- allows the taking of whitetail deer and feral swine by means of bait. In Committee (AC&F)
HB 242- clarifies the existing sales tax exemption for agricultural products would apply when a farmer cultivates and harvests an agricultural product on leased or rented land. The bill would exempt the gross receipts from the sale of pine straw products and the produce would be exempt from the state sales tax.

(2/1/18)Young people today are more likely to develop an interest in [logging] by seeing it. ... Mechanized logging is an exciting industry.” This video aimed at high schoolers shows what a logging career can look like.

(1/31/18) In St. Clair County, voters rejected a 5 mil property tax increase on January 30. Of the four St. Clair school districts, only Leeds voted to approve a 3 mil increase.

(1/30/18) A simple search on this Webinar Portal for Forestry and Natural Resources turns up several forest-related programs of interest to landowners.

(1/29/18) This report from Oregon on stream temperatures suggests that we might need more research on Streamside Management Zones in Alabama. Current recommendations for logging around streams might be more aggressive than are actually needed.

(1/26/18) A man in North Carolina captured this image of an unusual means of death for a deer, a reminder that life and death struggles happen in our own forests.

(1/25/18) This video from ArborGen gives some good tips for planting loblolly and slash pine seedlings.

(1/24/18) The Supreme Court will hear the dusky gopher frog case, a serious problem with far reaching implications.

(1/23/18) "The State of Alabama has abundant natural resources and forests in addition to a diverse agricultural industry…The results of this study show that the removal or diminishment of agriculture production, forestry, and related industries would have a negative impact on a wide variety of industries across the State of Alabama.

(1/22/18) We knew about the softwood lumber dispute but hadn’t heard about this trade dispute involving newsprint.

(1/19/18) "Global sawlog prices were higher throughout the world in the 3Q/17 and are likely to continue upward into 2018 because of strong demand for lumber in key markets … With the outlook for continued strong demand for lumber in key markets and higher consumption of sawlogs, it is likely that the price index will continue upward in the coming quarters. For the complete report, visit the Wood Resource Quarterly.

(1/18/18)Too much is at stake for you to sell timber without an understanding of the markets and of the quality and quantity of your timber.” Remember this is from North Carolina, so there may be some differences, but this timber selling guide is a good start to understanding the process. - Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 1/17/18.

(1/17/18) The Alabama Forest Owners’ Association frequently refers members to consulting foresters. If you would like to know more about the profession how they can help you, check out this article.

(1/16/18) Two stories in this quarter’s F&W Forestry Report may be useful/of interest: Canadian Sawmill Investments Make U.S. South the Leader in Lumber Production in North America (p. 7), and Tax Bill Has More Positives than Negatives for Forest Landowners (p.5)

(1/15/18) The Alabama state legislature is back in session. “Of note to forestry is SB131, sponsored by Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) which redistributes 20% of the forest severance tax from the Alabama Forestry Commission to the State’s General Fund. Pittman’s bill will be taken up in the Senate’s Finance & Taxation General Fund Appropriations committee (which Pittman chairs) on next Wednesday.” The fuel tax will likely be taken up again after the midterm elections. See the AFA’s complete brief on the issue of fuel tax here.

(1/12/18) Firehawks “have been seen carrying smouldering or flaming sticks in their beaks or talons to spread the fire to where prey may be sheltering.” Although fire can be an important forest management tool, we don't want to see these raptors as an invasive species!

(1/11/18) Scientists will be field testing poison baits as feral hog control in central Alabama beginning in summer of 2018. Read more about the program here.

(1/10/18)One of the state’s largest solar energy facilities, built in partnership with Alabama Power, is up and running in Chambers County.” Tony Hubbard’s presentation “Solar Power: Opportunities and Pitfalls,” given at the AFOA annual meeting, has key information for forest landowners to consider about potential solar power projects.

1/9/18) If you grow or are interested in growing Christmas trees, you might be interested to know that you can get insurance designed specifically for Christmas tree growers.

(1/8/18) For members interested in forestry and stock investments—Raymond James offers an industry update heading into the new year. You can view the full report here, but some key points from the summary include:

  • Upgrading Potlatch to Outperform from Market Perform

  • Raising our price targets for Rayonier and CatchMark

  • Introducing initial 2019 estimates

  • Incorporating the new tax law into our estimates for Weyerhaeuser and Potlatch

(1/5/18) “At a cost of $1.6 to $2.9 billion in 2016 (including syndicated and non-syndicated deals), conservation easements rank among the largest federal environmental and land management programs in the budget.” For comparison, this program costs nearly as much as the entire National Park Service, but benefits only a few.

(1/4/18) The Black Warrior waterdog, or “mudpuppy”, is now a federally protected species. Critical habitat for the species will include “five tributaries within the Black Warrior River Basin have been designated critical habitat: Sipsey Fork (Lawrence and Winston Counties); Locust Fork (Blount, Etowah, Jefferson, and Marshall Counties); Blackwater Creek (Walker and Winston Counties); and Yellow Creek (Tuscaloosa County). …The designation will also have no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.”

(1/3/18) "We want people to understand that harvesting trees is a good thing.” This great video profiles John and Ann Boutwell, owners of Cedar Creek tree farm in Butler County.

(1/2/18) This explanation of the new tax bill was sent by an AFOA member who said: "Sen. Susan Collins' awesome defense of her tax cut vote. She hits this out of the park..most of the time I am NOT one of her fans."

(12/28/17) A deep freeze warning is in effect for the southeast. You should "...avoid tree planting 48 hours prior to the onset of these predicted, dangerously low temperatures, especially where lows are expected to dip below 25°F." Check here for the forecasted lows and advice on planting if you must plant during or just before a freeze event.

(12/27/17) "Owning this farm has really changed my life." This school teacher manages his inherited forestland with a Christmas tree farm alongside sensible forestry practices. Watch if you've considered growing Christmas trees on your land.

(12/22/17) The Farm Bureau has a summary of the changes coming with the new tax legislation. They note: “…taxpayers should work with their tax advisors to see if there are steps that should be taken before year end in preparation for the new law.” Barfield Murphy Shank & Smith, LLC lay out a summary of key provisions here and details of the changes for individuals here. In addition, the AFOA newsletter coming next week will feature a more focused look at provisions of special interest from Henry Barclay, III, CPA.

(12/21/17) According to the Tribune, “Sales of fresh grass-fed beef soared from $17 million in 2012 to $272 million just four years later.” Although grass-fed operations operate with limitations like higher costs and slower production, this might be interesting if you're a forest owner considering cattle, especially silvopasture methods.

(12/20/17) “...if the lower courts’ decisions stands, the [U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service] could pick any plot of private land anywhere in the United States, designate it a “critical habitat” regardless of whether an endangered species actually lives there and then tell the landowner exactly how the land is to be used.”

(12/19/17) In this helpful video, Reforestation Advisor Geoffrey Lee Hill shares some great tips on how to maximize survivability of your seedling investment.

(12/18/17) “And the great thing about our program is some of the extracurricular activities can now count toward credit for a student to graduate. We want our students to pick a career that they’re passionate about. If they’re passionate about it, they’ll be successful.” University of Montevallo students can now create custom, career-track degrees to help them succeed in outdoors-based careers.

(12/14/17) Results of the property tax votes that were held on December 12:
Madison County voters approved a property tax for schools.
Tallapoosa County voters rejected a tax measure on the ballot.
Lowndes County voters renewed the tax on their ballot.
Baldwin County voters approved the tax measure on that ballot

(12/13/17)) Know a dibble bar from an increment borer. This “Glossary of Common Forestry Terms” by Dr. David Mercker for the University of Tennessee extension is a “handy guide to terminology used in reference to growing and harvesting trees.

(12/12/17) This extension video project wants input on how to highlight private forest lands around the nation. This is your chance to tell the public and other landowners about the value of private forest land and private forest ownership to our region and the nation. You might mention how rare the unfettered right to manage forestland is in the world and even in major portions of North America.

(12/11/17)For many standalone wood-fired electricity plants [nearly all of which are government subsidized], the cost of fuel (wood chips) and operations exceed what they get paid for the electricity they generate.” As forest owners look to replace pulpwood markets, they should be cautious about biomass. This video discusses challenges for the forest industry in Maine, some of which will sound familiar, like shortages of experienced loggers and softwood mills.

(12/7/17) "Tax planning is rarely easy, but this year it is especially difficult due to the potential for sweeping tax reforms." This 2017 Year-End Tax Planning Letter from JamisonMoneyFarmer PC can help you prepare for your year-end tax planning decision.

(12/6/17)A Texas-based solar power company is eyeing two sites in Colbert County for a solar power farm. … Two sites are up for consideration: one east of Leighton and one in the Cherokee area.” Even if the proposed sites aren’t on your land, you might want to ask whether transmission lines could affect forest productivity or trespass on your forestland.

(12/5/17) Voters in Lowndes and Madison Counties will make a property tax decision on the December 12 ballot. Read more about the $58 million Madison County initiative here, and about the$770,000 one in Lowndes County here.

(12/1/17) For now, President Trump has kept the ban on importing elephant trophies. For another angle, read this article from PERC’s Terry Anderson on the issue of elephant hunting from a property rights and community-based resource management perspective.

(11/30/17) Aside from the US Senate race, Limestone, Morgan, Montgomery, and Baldwin Counties have issues on the ballot December 12. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Thursday, December 7, and Monday, December 11, 2017 is the last day to postmark an absentee ballot. Apply for an absentee ballot here. Find your polling place here.

(11/29/17) As part of forest fire prevention, Israel may "reintroduce the black goat, also known as the Syrian goat, into the country’s forests, woodlands and nature reserves as a way to regulate natural vegetation...after banning them from grazing there almost 70 years ago."

(11/28/17)Giving now can also be a savvy tax move for families with substantial wealth because both the present value and any potential future growth of the transferred assets are removed from your taxable estate. … although the IRS generally doesn’t care when you make a major gift, the timing can make a big difference to your heirs.”

(11/27/17) Watch a video demonstration that showcases forest uses of this portable winch that you can carry in a backpack.

(11/22/17) "The Appalachian Forest Farming Coalition … has been busy creating a variety of video presentations and hosting a number of workshops this year.” You might start with "What is forest farming," for an overview. Their 9-video playlist also includes information about specific crops and interviews with practicing forest farmers for those interested in forest farming as a potential revenue stream on their land.

(11/21/17) If you missed this on the AFOA calendar, you can watch full videos of presentations from the Shortleaf Pine Conference held in October 2017.

(11/20/17) The conversation about this mechanical exoskeleton technology starts with manufacturing, but at about the 2 minutes and 45 seconds mark, Varney asks whether he could use it on his tree farm. It could perhaps help with repetitive forest management tasks – tree planting and pruning, for example.

(11/16/17) Our thoughts are with the family of a Jefferson County teen who died in a hunting-related accident this week. Whether you hunt or lease your land to hunters, please remember to practice the utmost safety in the woods this season.

(11/14/17) Drone tree planting isn't feasible yet, but some people already use direct seeding after a fire. Louisiana Forest Seed Company can help you with products and information on this technique if you’re interested. See their listing in the classified section of our newsletter (in bottom half of right column, page 2).

(11/13/17) "While clients may see timber as an inflation hedge, it's also a global growth industry." This article discusses the two timber Exchange Traded Funds we report on each month in the AFOA newsletter (top of the middle column, page 2).

(11/10/17) A taste of the discussion on the repeal of the death tax included eloquent statements from Rep. Kristi Noem and Rep. Mike Kelly. There’s more than these clips, if you are interested. Be sure to watch if the estate tax might affect your family.

(11/09/17) Is capitalism a farmer's best friend? Perhaps, and a forest owner's too. Here is a partial list of conveniences we have thanks to private industry:

  • Laser and sonic distance measuring tools
  • Online ownership maps
  • Aerial imagery from satellites, planes, and drones
  • GPS & GIS smartphone technology
  • 4-wheel drive pickups
  • Near universal phone service
  • Genetically improved seedlings - many sources
  • Stumpage price services
  • Hunting land lease services
  • Timber buyer lists
  • Landowner educational events
  • Herbicides for many uses
  • Online tutorials for everything
  • Insect monitoring flights

(11/8/17) "But one of the benefits of private property rights is it encourages people to become better informed about the decisions that affect them directly." This PERC article examines how the exercise of eminent domain increases conflict between business interests, property rights, and conservation.

(11/7/17) Many would be surprised to learn that the softwood lumber industry employs more people than oil and gas extraction (181,430 jobs) or primary steel manufacturing (140,200 jobs). The US Commerce Department has finalized anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports, but these tariffs must be approved by the International trade Commission to go into effect.

(11/6/17)At the peak of the season this year, toward the end of September, brokers paid up to $2.50 per pound of berries.” Resourceful way to make money on a native plant you might have on your own land.

(11/3/17) According to an update from the American Forest Foundation, the draft proposal for tax reform legislation includes these forest-related provisions:

  • Maintain deductions for regular forest management expenses.
  • Maintain deductions for and amortization of reforestation expenses after harvest.
  • Maintain the capital gains treatment of harvested timber.
  • Reduce the estate tax burden; maintain stepped-up basis, even with estate tax repeal. Estate tax exemption levels are doubled from $5.5M per spouse ($11M total) to $11M per spouse ($22M total). The estate tax will be fully repealed after six years. After repeal, the stepped-up basis on inheritances will be preserved.

(11/2/17) We are saddened by this industry news of alleged fraud at Boatright Railroad Products, Inc., formerly Seaman Timber Company. Members might remember tours at this facility when it was owned by longtime AFOA friends Jan and Jim Seaman, and again at the 2017 Annual Meeting after Stella Jones purchased the plant.

(11/1/17) The article runs a little long, but the point at the bottom is important for keeping hunting alive in Alabama. "Simplify hunting laws: Research shows that overly-complex rules and regulations negatively impact hunting participation, so simplifying these rules would encourage greater participation."

(10/31/17) Identify the spiders of Alabama with this slideshow that can give you a head start on learning about the Alabama's Arthropods—including awesome arachnids—at one of these Master Naturalist programs in either Crenshaw or Tallapoosa County.

(10/30/17) Some positive news in this Forest Research Note, but note that his data on timberland returns assume well-managed, industrial forest land as a starting point.

(10/27/17)Everybody else is using boxes and bags...” Uh-oh, what is Amazon up to now? “With these … they’re gonna rule everything from the refrigerator to the freezer to the cupboard to the closet.”

(10/26/17)We are selling sawtimber trees for roughly the same price that we did in the 1980s...We are surviving like computer manufacturers--by reducing the cost of production.” The F&W Forestry Report includes third quarter stumpage reports, news on tax reform and Canadian softwood, and a look at how tree growers are surviving in today’s market.

(10/25/17)The days of regulation through litigation are over”—at least at the EPA. Director Scott Pruitt ended the practice in a directive issued this month. Can Endangered Species Act "sue and settle" lawsuits be stopped, too?

(10/24/17) “By 2050, more than 600,000 houses are expected to be built in areas at a very high risk of wildfire.” Out west, one community was saved by forest-thinning efforts just months before a wildfire came through, but much of the west is still a “powder keg.” Alabama landowners and home owners should also remain aware of the dangers of building in dense forest without taking measures to prepare for eventual wildfire. Or this could happen here, too.

(10/23/17) If you missed it at the annual meeting, this Discovering Alabama episode covers the important relationship between private landowners and consulting foresters. Catch it this Sunday on APT. You can also set a reminder or download teaching guides for the Discovering Alabama program.

(10/20/17) These videos show two more forest careers for those who love the outdoors: "Tonight I could be out mist-netting, surveying bats, and tomorrow we might be putting prescribed burn on the ground," says Allison Cochran, Wildlife Biologist with the US Forest Service. "A forest engineer makes sure things get from Point A to Point B in a working forest," says Mary Castle, Forest Engineer.

(10/19/17) "It's either we burn it, or it's going burn on its own.” In Florida, Parks and Natural Resources crews are conducting a prescribed burn at Tippecanoe Environmental Park. They cited concerns about extra debris from Irma as one of the reasons for the burn. Here in Alabama, the casualties of last year’s drought might be cause for similar concern.

(10/18/17) "A former volunteer firefighter will spend time on probation and pay fines after he pleaded guilty to setting three fires in central Alabama...including two vacant houses and one woodlands fire."

(10/17/17) "SmartAsset's interactive map highlights the counties with the highest net wealth across the country." You can see the top ten list or scroll over to view details of the net wealth of each Alabama County.

(10/16/17) Spotting timber theft, insect and disease outbreaks, hurricane or tornado damage, tracking planned timber harvests, are just a few of the uses forest owners might have for daily imagery. If you know how to use Planet’s satellite imaging technology, please contact AFOA at

(10/13/17)I’ve seen the housing market go up and down, but demand (for real wood) doesn’t seem to fluctuate.” Another way to make a living in the forest industry: this specialty sawmill delivers custom cuts of high grade wood.

(10/12/17) Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has devastating economic effects on deer hunting. The deer hunting industry results in $1.8 billion in annual revenues for the State of Alabama. States where CWD occurs have experienced a 10-40 percent decrease in license sales. Roughly 5,000 of AFOA’s members lease their land for hunting, so measures to keep CWD out of Alabama are important to many who aren’t hunters themselves.

(10/11/17)Alabama’s forest industry has been a large and consistent source of new capital investment.” Read more about the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and their efforts to “attract, retain, and grow” businesses, including markets for Alabama timber.

(10/10/17) These free workshops teach students and their parents "the proper techniques that include the use of trapping as a sound wildlife management tool."  The first class is Nov. 4-5, so sign your trapper up soon. 

(10/9/17)7))) In this Q&A, Robert Crosby discusses what the Softwood Lumber Agreement means for private landowners: “So, while the Canadian mills are seeing record profits in their Canadian and U.S.-owned sawmills, U.S. landowners … including those who own the asset in their pension accounts, are seeing one of the worst markets in modern times.”

(10/6/17) Two more forest-related career options for young people interested in natural resources, working outdoors, and a job doing something different every day. The two young men in these videos are foresters, one working for the government and the other on his own as a consulting forester.

(10/5/17) Baldwin County will vote on a 1 mill property tax on December 12, on the same ballot as the US Senate race. “The current 1 mill tax requiring 60 percent approval was first passed in March 1988 and expired at the end of fiscal year 2016-17. By allowing it to expire, the county can ask voters to replace it with a 1 mill tax under a different amendment to the Alabama Constitution, which requires only a simple majority.”

(10/4/17) A Forest Service study compared water use of loblolly pine and eucalyptus, and some landowners might be pleasantly surprised to learn that “Because of Eucalyptus’ greater water use efficiency, it actually used less water than loblolly pine to produce the same amount of woody biomass.”

(10/3/17) If you own a brushcutter, chainsaw, or other gas-powered, small-engine machines, you may already know about the problems small engines have with ethanol. You can sign a petition here to end the federal ethanol mandate. Listen to a discussion of some of the problems with ethanol by sawmill owner Craig Blake on our Capital Ideas—Live! webcast.

(10/2/17)A movement called forest farming is emerging to grow [medicinal plants] in private forestland to decrease strains on plant populations and strengthen the market for Appalachian botanicals.” Check this calendar for available training if forest farming might be a good fit for your land.

(9/29/17) This article looks at the idea that “the [state and local] tax deduction redistributes income from people in low-tax states to people in high-tax states.” The idea is that between two people in different states with equal income, one in New York will get a larger deduction than one in Alabama for state and local taxes paid, and that this amounts to more money paid by low-tax states to the federal government. 

(9/28/17) CNN reported this week on "a Republican framework for tax reform that has been in the works for months." Notable for forest owners among the provisions outlined is the proposed repeal of the estate tax.

(9/27/17) Forestry Pilot Dale Hill believes that with dedication and hard work, anyone can have a career as a forestry pilot. “We strive hard to take care of the environment and be good stewards of the land,” he says in this video in the Forestry Works series.

(9/26/17) Tyler Slay is twenty-one and owns his own sustainable forestry business. He got his start by talking to loggers, who were glad to help him succeed. If you know a young person who is interested in an outdoor career and being their own boss, this video shows how Tyler got started in the business.

(9/25/17)Alabama's Underwater Forest was featured on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt Sunday night …The forest appears to be a wholly unique relic of our planet's past, the only known site where a coastal ice age forest this old has been preserved in place…” Read more at and watch the NBC segment or view the Alabama-produced documentary in full.

(9/22/17)Landowners’ bottom lines are tied to stewardship practices that balance land sustainability and economic viability.” To highlight conservation efforts on privately owned working lands, the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) collected case studies that highlight “examples of ranchers, farmers, and timber producers managing their properties with a conviction for conservation.”

(9/21/17) On September 25 at 2 pm EST, the American Forest Foundation (AFF) Farm Bill Report, a conference call with AFF CEO Tom Martin, will discuss the Farm Bill and AFF's plan of action for the reauthorization process. Dial-in number: 1-866-299-7945 and Participant code: 2594# You can count on the AFF to make sure legislators hear their point of view, so if you have a different opinion about the government assistance, call your U.S. House (202-225-3121) and Senate (202-224-3121) members, or email via this site, to make sure they hear your perspective

(9/20/17) If you’re planning to vote in next week’s run-off election on the 26th, you can check out Roy Moore’s positions here, and can read about Luther Strange’s position on issues that affect landowners here.

(9/19/17)Conecuh Ridge Distiller has announced its plan to open a $13.6 million [interactive] distillery in Troy, Alabama.” You can read an amusing review of the whiskey here, which mentions that in 2004, "the Alabama legislature…passed a joint resolution declaring Conecuh Ridge to be 'Alabama’s Official State Spirit.'" The articles don’t mention the barrels for the whiskey, but the new demand should maintain demand (and prices) for quality white oak stumpage. Read more about white oak barrels and listen to our interview with Bob Russell, head of procurement at the Jack Daniel Stave Mill.

(9/18/17) These PowerPoint presentations from the Florida Forestry Association have insights about different aspects of the forest industry and timber markets. John Pait’s presentation is hosted by Dropbox and requires a log in, but the others download from the site. You can also see video of several speakers from the AFOA annual meeting here.

(9/14/17) "The role of family forest owners is more important than ever. Unfortunately, these families also face a unique situation that is often overlooked by current tax policy." The treatment of forest income as capital gains and tax breaks for reforestation and forest management are both at risk in upcoming tax reform. Read more about what this means for private landowners.

(9/13/17) For anyone in the hurricane paths, a quick guide to timber casualty losses.

(9/12/17) The first topic here is especially important to forest landowners: “Republican lawmakers are pursuing a revamp of the corporate and individual tax systems. … The road to a final legislative tax reform will be bumpy, and we need to remain engaged to ensure that forest landowners’ unique needs are protected.” AFOA does not write letters to legislators; it’s important that you write these letters to your representatives and senators to ensure that your voice is heard.

(9/11/17) For those who hunt on their land or lease land for hunting, QDMA offers this suggestion for planting or updating a food plot: "Clover is relatively easy to establish, readily available, affordable, and there are a variety of species to handle most any climate or soil type. To put it simply, clovers are a very versatile deer forage."

(9/7/17) The latest on Canadian softwood: "Canadian softwood lumber producers are getting a temporary reprieve as a large portion of preliminary duties in place for four months have ended pending a final decision." Interestingly, just like in the US, privately owned Canadian forests are more productive than publicly owned forestland.

(9/6/17) You might find some good ideas for building on forest land from this rammed-earth home that was designed to survive wildfire. If you’d like to know more about rammed-earth homes, you can still visit these rammed-earth homes built in Trussville, Alabama in the 1930s.

(9/5/17) "Hunter orange saves lives." Good advice for non-hunters in the woods during hunting seasons as well.

(9/1/17) Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature deficit disorder,” has a new book about getting back to nature as a family: Vitamin N is a “guidebook for the whole family and the wider community, including tips not only for parents eager to share nature with their kids but also for those seeking nature-smart schools, medical professionals, and even careers.”

(8/31/17) Hunters are the original locavores. The book Living the Locavore Lifestyle: Hunting, Fishing, Gathering Wild Fruit and Nuts, Growing a Garden, and Raising Chickens toward a More Sustainable and Healthy Way of Living is a resource for harvesting and cultivating “nature’s bounty” close to home, whether you live on rural land or not.

(8/30/17)Average annual net growth for softwood species is 48.7 million tons and for hardwood species it is 18.3 million tons.” The Forest Resource Report, courtesy of Dan Chappell, shows that Alabama’s forests continue to thrive alongside a healthy forest industry. Both timber land owners and industry leaders might find a great deal of interest here, such as a breakdown by species of standing timber inventory in each county.

(8/29/17) The President’s Outdoor Scholars Program at the University of Montevallo is a scholarship program for outdoors-minded students who might not qualify for traditional scholarships and are interested in careers in natural resources, with an emphasis on conservation and game management. The successful program recently won the Conservation Educator of the Year Award from the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

(8/28/17)Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Attorney Mark Miller joins Andy Caldwell to discuss the federal government’s unprecedented designation of private property as ‘critical habitat’ for a species that isn’t found there, and for which the property isn’t usable in any case.” Read more about the baffling decision here. If the audio does not begin automatically, click the round red button at the upper left of the page.

(8/26/17) This company’s grilling planks from a variety of woods were featured in an article in Independent Sawmill and Woodlot Management magazine, July 2017. This video shows how to use a wood plank to add flavor to grilled food.

(8/24/17) A prescribed burn can help protect your home if it's on forested land. Click to read about one couple's decision to burn, and see breathtaking photos of the burn.

(8/23/17)Timber losses may be significant,” said the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) of the current outbreak of southern pine beetle. “This summer, we have seen a large number of trees dying across our state’s pine forests, and the culprit is southern pine beetle. In Montgomery County, AFC foresters have aerially detected over 100 beetle spots.” Landowners are encouraged to monitor their land for damage and seek the advice of a consulting forester on the management of this pest. View the current map of known SPB spots here.

*8/22/17) is giving the 4-H club a $1.5 million grant to help teach its 6 million members about computer science.” The initiative includes lessons designed to emphasize real-world issues and career applications, such as “weather modeling for agriculture projects or using an e-textile application in 4-H sewing clubs.”

(8/21/17) Alabama got a mention on a “list of 12 states that offer the most favorable tax breaks for retirees, in a recent ranking by personal finance website Money and Career CheatSheet.” States were ranked not just on income tax, but on a variety of levies that affect retires’ finances.

(8/17/17) The Alabama Forestry Commission's employee newsletter reports that emerald ash borers spread to Alabama: “…now ash trees are dead and dying. Auburn University’s Plant Diagnostic Lab has confirmed that sample insects taken from both Calhoun and Talladega County ash trees are emerald ash borer larvae, Agrilus planipennis." For further reading, see the AFOA webcast on the topic and general information from the Southern Forest Health website.

(8/16/17)Cogongrass can spell disaster for native plants once it takes hold.” See how and why cogongrass is such a deadly threat to Alabama’s ecosystems, and learn steps to prevent the spread of this vicious invasive to your land.

(8/15/17) Canada-based Irving Consumer Products has announced plans for a $400 million paper plant in Macon, Georgia. The plant will produce tissue, toilet paper, and other paper products, and “plans to hire 200 at the new complex.”

(8/14/17) In Mississippi, “242 suspected southern pine beetle spots were identified on privately owned forestland during [monitoring] flights. According to the U.S. Forest Service, more than 3,500 southern pine beetle infestation spots were found in the Homochitto, Bienville, Tombigbee and Holly Springs National Forests.” AFOA would ask whether there’s something different about national forest management that could explain a difference of this magnitude.

(8/11/17) This new app uses a crowdsourced database of photos to identify any plant or animal. “In some cases, it’ll nail a particular species,” but often it will offer a more general ID with photos of possible species. Click here for the app website. Source: Wednesday Woodland Word, 8/9/17

(8/10/17) "...valuable environmental benefits are largely underwritten by the investments of private landowners over decades, and in most cases are provided to the public for free."

(8/9/17) "A military official in the Indonesian province of Jambi said Saturday he has ordered that anyone who deliberately sets fire to forest areas be shot, as authorities struggle to contain fires that cause choking smoke in the region."

(8/8/17) "Why would Audubon allow drilling on its own sanctuaries but oppose it elsewhere? The answer, in short, is property rights. Private ownership creates incentives that often lead to more reasonable outcomes than in the political arena."

(8/7/17) This article includes diagrams and photos of a hiking trail bridge built by volunteers in the town of Groton, Mass. for about $200. The simple but sturdy design and cost might be attractive to landowners looking to improve their trails.

(8/4/17) A message about the Endangered Species Act to the House Committee on Natural Resources, from selected members of Congress: We ask that your Committees work together to address the numerous regulatory inefficiencies and statutory roadblocks in the agriculture community by modernizing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and similarly outdated laws and regulations. These much-needed updates would ease the stranglehold on farmers and ranchers who often face the brunt of these job-killing mandates.

(8/3/2017) As hunting seasons begin, be aware of when hunters might be on your land and dress for safety. More information on hunting seasons and regulations can be viewed here.

(8/2/17) "The evidence is clear: Increases in removals are associated with more timberland acres, better growth, and larger inventories." Page 5 of the Executive Summary of this Forest2Market report has great information about demand and forest productivity, presented in a short, readable format.

(8/1/17) According to this article, Best Management Practices for Water Quality (BMP) "programs appear to be implemented at relatively high levels across the U.S.” regardless of the level of regulation imposed by the state. The Alabama Forestry Commission lays out BMPs for managing pollutants from forest management in easy-to read sections on their website.

(7/31/17)Making your land pay for itself is an important goal to help keep your land in the family for generations to come." One landowner accountant shares her family’s strategies for making sure their land pays for itself and stays in the family.

(7/28/17)Forest bathing” is the latest name for an idea forest owners know well: spending time in the forest is good for us. Author Richard Louv wrote about this idea in two books about the benefits of nature. Listen here to AFOA’s interview with Louv in 2011 about his books that discuss the evidence that time in the forest provides real benefits for the mind and body.

(7/27/17) Prior to planting seedlings, an operation known as subsoiling, breaking up the ground before planting, should be performed to shatter the compaction pan associated with past agricultural practices. This video discusses when and how to consider subsoiling on your land.

(7/26/17) Forester Bob Williams shared this story about “collaborative behavior from former antagonists” in New Jersey: “The New Jersey Audubon used to be opposed to forest management, but that changed as they started seeing greater abundance of rare and threatened species in treated areas.”

(7/25/17) Swiss researchers have developed a new lightweight construction material "combining wood and concrete to create a load-bearing concrete consisting of mostly wood…The new combination of wood and concrete acts as a thermal insulator and also offers flame retardance…The material is also suitable for slab and wall elements and can offer a load-bearing function in construction.”

(7/24/17) Dr. John Auel, Professional Logging Manager Program Coordinator, discusses best management practices with landowners at a 2016 County Forestry Association Field Day. Note: After the introduction, the content begins around the one minute thirteen seconds mark.

(7/20/17) “On July 7th Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met with an array of forest and forestry advocates including Scott Jones, CEO of the Forest Landowners Association (FLA)... ‘More than half of the forested acres in this country are owned privately,’ said Jones. ‘The environmental benefits provided to the entire country by these privately owned forests is just enormous…to be able to share the scope of private forestlands with Administrator Pruitt is just huge for our association and our members.”’

(7/19/17) Federal tax dollars go up in smoke when political leaders force agencies to spend more on fighting forest fires than is prudent and necessary. Wouldn't it be nice if a state's governor were to say, "We are doing what is sensible and useful in this circumstance and will not indulge in political theater for its own sake."

(7/18/17)The forest products industry remains one of the strongest industries in Alabama in terms of annual capital investment and employment.” This article highlights four Northwest Alabama forest industry companies listed on the recently released 2016 New and Expanding Industry Report.

(7/17/17) "The biggest danger with an overheating catalytic converter is that it's the lowest hanging part of the car, laying just inches above the ground." Poorly maintained exhaust systems can set forest fires.

(7/14/17) International Beams, a cross-laminated timber (CLT) producer, announced plans to move into a facility in Dothan, Alabama. The supply of Southern Yellow Pine was cited as one of the factors inducing the company to locate there.

(7/13/17) We know many landowners try not to keep their investment eggs in one basket. As some countries move toward limiting or eliminating cash, this source of value could become scarce. “However, cash is one of the best ways to manage your privacy, economic strategy, and the risks in your financial life.”

(7/12/17) The Montevallo community is mourning 74-year-old pharmacy owner Larry Wayne Smitherman, who was killed in a bush hog accident July 8. From the Shelby County Reporter:

Smitherman’s wife found him under his bush hog, his tractor still running at a low idle.
“It appears,” Assistant Chief Deputy Shane Mayfield said, “that a section of garden hose wrapped around the blades of the bush hog, and he had gotten under it to try to untangle it.”
Mayfield suggested the hydraulic pressure of the tractor was insufficient for suspending the bush hog for an extended period of time, issuing a tragic accident and immense loss to the Montevallo community when it could hold no longer.

(7/11/17) Fire might be the only way to fight Chronic Wasting Disease, which affects deer and elk. Though this disease hasn't been found in Alabama, the near-impossibility of eliminating it from the environment is a reason for caution.

(7/10/17) Landowners who lease their land for hunting, or are considering it, might find the hunter’s perspective in this article useful.

(7/7/17) For our North Alabama members, some reassurance that well-managed forest is the best protection for mountain roads. " shows how important it is to prevent erosion by using best management practices and the remarkable capacity of forests to filter sediment from storm runoff.” See this post for instructions on installing a culvert to further protect your forest roads.

(7/6/17) Perhaps we've let things get out of hand: “The CWA [Clean Waters Act]…gave the federal government the authority to regulate the obstruction and fill of navigable waters. The operational term was “navigable waters” and this meant for vessels engaged in commerce. … Soon, “navigable” waters and rivers became tributary streams, creeks, and even irrigation runoff ditches. Regulatory agencies began to control the use of private lands and waters that were merely adjacent to navigable waters, and then ever-farther afield until it had placed a straightjacket of regulatory control over lands that only became wet during rainy seasons or following prolonged storms.”

(7/5/17) “In recent years, many states have adopted a 'bright-line' or factor presence nexus standard. This means companies with property, payroll or sales in a particular state above certain thresholds are presumed to have nexus in the state and are therefore required to file income tax returns and pay tax in that state.” JamisonMoneyFarmer’s Jennifer Stripling adds that the bright-line test would apply to forest land that generates income in another state. She encourages landowners with forest land in other states to discuss the issue with their CPA.

(7/3/17) You might be interested in how differently timber is taxed in the United Kingdom: " of timber is free of income tax, and forest assets can also be used for rollover relief purposes and as a shelter against inheritance tax."

(6/30/17) Some sources predict an upcoming lumber supply gap for 2018 based on growth trends and a tight US housing market. Chile and Brazil could fill some of the projected shortfall, but Forest 2 Market notes: “Based on southern yellow pine lumber capacity throughout the region, a bulk of the supply gap will likely be filled by sawmills in the US South in the near term.”

(6/29/17) You can see photos here of the high school students learning about forestry at Auburn University this summer. We announce this event each year, so if the teens you know didn’t get a chance to participate, look out for the announcement next spring.

(6/28/17) "On June 26th, the Commerce Department announced a preliminary determination that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber into the United States at a 4.59 – 7.72 percent discount from fair value." The US will impose additional duties on Canadian softwood lumber. "Together the new duty rates can range from 17.4 to 30.1%."

(6/27/17) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering “technical and financial assistance to landowners” for longleaf restoration, focusing on four main conservation actions: managing competing vegetation; prescribed fire; planting; and easements.

(6/26/17) The Forest Resources Association says the American Chestnut Foundation is asking anyone working in Southern forests to be on the lookout for flowering American chestnuts this year. Though the species dies before reaching maturity, young stump sprouts can still be found in the wild. This article includes instructions for sending genetic samples to aid efforts to restore this “iconic timber and wildlife tree.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(3/24/17) Bringing back pork projects is no way to keep government costs under control. If forest owners may lose capital gains treatment of timber sale income and the ability to annually deduct tree planting and other forest management costs, there is no place in the federal budget for new pork barrel projects. Remind your friends that when the government pays for it, it’s not 'free.'”

(3/22/17)Nordic forestry firms racing to replace paper business lost to the internet are trying to transform their pulp mill by-products into glue, biofuel and carbon fiber for aircraft and wind turbines.” Meanwhile, “as retail sales [of incontinence products] grow so does the demand of fluff pulp, a moisture-absorbing fiber made by such paper companies as International Paper Co. and Domtar Corp.”

(3/21/17) Almost 50% of the wood fiber for pellets came from sawmill waste and forest residue after logging so far in 2017, which represents a shift in source material, according to a news release Wood Resources International, LLC. However, the energy fairness organization PACE reports that Europe could be rethinking their green energy initiatives: “Meanwhile, after spending $750 billion on subsidies and doubling power bills, the European Union has decided to quietly step back from its green energy programs."

(3/20/17) Auburn University is offering the Forestry Field Camp again this summer. “This hands-on camp will give students an opportunity to get outdoors and learn about forestry in Alabama and the importance of forestry field measurements in making forest management decisions.” This is a good learning opportunity for students interested in natural resource professions as well as the next generation of forest landowners. Listen to Dr. Becky Barlow describe the program on Capital Ideas—Live! in 2015, or learn more and sign up at the Auburn website.

(3/17/17) Economist Dr. Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center suggested in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal that a 10% excise tax on outdoor gear should be imposed to pay for public land access and maintenance. The AFOA sent this response to Dr. Anderson and the Journal:

Since private landowners already subsidize public land recreation through our property and income taxes, adding an excise tax on the gear that is used on private land would just be adding insult to injury. Thousands of our members provide outdoor recreation access to tens of thousands of hunters, campers, hikers, birdwatchers, ATV enthusiasts and others. We suspect that most of the gear purchased for these outdoor activities is never used on public land. Please rethink your idea and re-propose.”

(3/16/17) In his newsletter, Georgia-based consulting forester Mike Matre presented a side-by-side comparison of tracts planted with different seedlings and preparations. He outlines the difference in cost per acre and lists the differences in his site prep and planting practices for each tract.

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

(3/14/17) Forest owners need loggers, tree planters, road builders, and many other "doers" to improve our forests and harvest timber. Mike Rowe's message on the value of work and pride of accomplishment may help your child or grandchild find their own place on your forest management team.

(3/13/17) The “privilege to hunt with dogs ends when it infringes on someone else’s property. … private property rights have to be defended,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) Division. His comments came in support of a recent regulation that attempts to reduce trespass from dog hunters.

(3/10/17) Yes, baiting might be legalized soon. But with a new fee and permit. “Alabama sportsmen could eventually use bait legally to hunt deer and hogs if a bill passed by the state house of representatives becomes law. … However, the baiting privilege will come with a price tag if the bill becomes law as written.

(3/9/17)Both hardwood and pine trees of various ages and sizes are dying as a direct result of the recent drought. Many more pines are being killed due to bark beetle infestations, also a complication associated with the drought of last fall…Landowners are advised to monitor their property for signs of damage.” You should contact your consulting forester immediately if you suspect you have damaged or infested trees. You can see photos of some common signs of infestation here. If you haven’t worked with a consulting forester before, you can contact AFOA for a list of consulting foresters in your county.

(3/8/17) "Property rights are an effective means for conserving and recovering endangered species. If someone owns these animals and sees some gain from their flourishing, recovery is more likely. But if endangered species are merely a liability and any economic incentive to protect them is vigorously opposed, we can’t expect much better results than the Endangered Species Act’s woeful 2% recovery rate."

(3/7/17) The composite southern yellow pine lumber price has surged since week 4 of 2017. Though there has been no resolution to the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA), the price increase is reflective of the larger market optimism and major stock market indices that have also soared since President Trump’s inauguration on January 20. Mild winter weather and an early arrival of Spring in many regions has also prompted inventory building that is a few weeks ahead of schedule.

(3/6/17) This demonstration by the University of Kentucky Extension Service shows how to make your own sheets of paper using a kit they have available and household items. A great forest products educational activity to complete with young ones.

(3/3/17)Often, it makes sense to give family members financial gifts or gifts of property while you are still living.” This blog post from a Texas law firm outlines an example of how you can strategically make tax-free gifts that help your loved ones.

(3/2/17) Any landowners who sell timber indirectly pay severance taxes twice. Recent interpretations of the statute [regarding the severance tax and processing tax] have highlighted the need to remove the ambiguities and vagueness created by the archaic language of the law. As such, the [Alabama Forestry] Association has drafted changes to the statute that will hopefully clear up the current confusion. You can view the text of the bills at this link by doing a search for the bills below:

  • HB313- Beech- further defines the types of forest products subject to the forest products severance tax and the manufacturer's forest products tax liability. In House (A&F)
  • SB244- Albritton- further defines the types of forest products subject to the forest products severance tax and the manufacturer's forest products tax liability. In Senate (AC&F)

(3/1/17) The Tennessee Department of Agriculture recently produced a video profile of Traci Middleton of Middleton Lumber in Tennessee as part of a video series on women in agriculture. Middleton talks about her love of the forest industry and what led her to stick with the family business.

(2/28/17) If you know any teachers interested in the environment and conservation, be sure to let them know about the annual Alabama Teachers Conservation Workshop by the Alabama Forestry Association. This four-day program gives educators of all kinds hands-on learning, valuable classroom resources, and an in-depth perspective on the role of forests in the environment. AFOA is a proud sponsor of this event each year, including a scholarship to fund one educator’s attendance, so help us spread the word. Learn more here, or register online.

(2/27/17) Do you know how big an acre is? At the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting, Alabama Cooperative Extension Specialist and Auburn University Associate Professor Becky Barlow will teach landowners key field skills, such as how to estimate acreage or determine the wood volume (and by extension the value) of a tree.

(2/24/17) Culverts can prevent erosion and make driving on your roads more pleasant, and can also facilitate movement of fish and wildlife on your property. As drier weather approaches, you might be thinking about installing a culvert on your land. This resource from Oklahoma Forestry Services gives good tips and helpful photos on correct installation of culverts.

(2/23/17) The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) announced a new program for students: "Enhancing Environmental Quality through Property Rights and Markets." PERC will provide a full scholarship to cover tuition, meals, lodging, and a stipend of $500 for each student's travel expenses. A great program for students concerned about the environment and who would like to explore solving problems without command and control methods.

(2/22/17)There is a whole month of hunting opportunity in February that many Alabama hunters miss. … Squirrel season occurs immediately after the close of deer season, and deer signs are still evident. It provides an opportunity for hunters to scout and learn more about their hunting property.”

(2/21/17) Dr. John Goodman discusses Health Savings Accounts (HSA) on CSPAN's Washington Journal. HSAs may be useful to forest owners who are working full time to manage their land.

(2/20/17) The Q1 Forisk News is available now, with highlights including the timber price forecast, trucking capacity and prices, timber market growth potential, and a year-end analysis of Forisk’s 2016 forecasting.

(2/16/17) We’re glad to announce two more speakers for the AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting: Joe Stephenson, a professional registered landman, will describe how his services can help you keep a handle on your mineral rights. In addition, Auburn University Research Engineer James Johnson will speak about the current and potential future uses of UAVs (drones) by forest landowners.

(2/15/17)Drought-stressed trees can be weakened, causing them to be more susceptible to insects and diseases,” said Dana Stone of the Alabama Forestry Commission in a recent news release. Stone told AFOA that areas hit hardest by last year's drought, including DeKalb, Cherokee, Calhoun, and Shelby counties, are reporting the most pine beetle infestations. But she says any landowner north of Montgomery should be especially vigilant.

(2/14/17) Alabama Private Forests, a Discovering Alabama Production sponsored by the Bradley/Murphy Forestry & Natural Resources Extension Trust, is scheduled for statewide broadcast on Alabama Public Television three times in April: 9 PM Monday, April 17th, 9 PM Friday, April 21st, and 6 PM Sunday, April 30th. The Discovering Alabama host, Dr. Doug Phillips, will be at the AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting to introduce a special showing of this segment of his long-running program.

(2/13/17) We're pleased to announce two more speakers  for the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting: Joe Clark, Stumpage Forester at Forest2Market, Inc., will talk about market realities and finding your niche market, and Gary Lemme, Director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, will present the newest data about the impact of forestry and agriculture on Alabama's economy.

(2/10/17) A little background on Neil Gorsuch, nominee for Supreme Court: His mother, Ann Gorsuch Burford, was the first female head of the EPA. "She became known for her efforts under Reagan for working to lessen the clout of the federal government in the area of environmental regulations, trying instead to devolve authority and give the states more leeway over their own jurisdictions."

(2/9/17) We are happy to report all seven Alabama representatives are members of the Working Forests Caucus. If you live or have land in another state, check this list to see if your representatives are members. Updating the tax code is one of the goals of the caucus.

(2/8/17) "An estimated 1.17 million housing units were started in 2016—a nearly 5 percent increase over 2015—making it the strongest year since 2007. However, there was a continued divergence in the types of residential buildings under construction; single-family starts were up 9.3 percent last year, but multifamily units fell 3.1 percent." This Forest2Market analysis also predicts what we can expect from Millennials and housing.

(2/7/17) File this one under “If it ain’t broke…” How to work around the EPA-mandated gas cans, “things that work worse thanks to geniuses in the federal bureaucracy.”

(2/6/17) For AFOA members interested in becoming more active in politics at the national level, the Forest Landowners Association Political Action Committee offers some interesting opportunities.

(2/3/17) "A story map developed by U.S. Forest Service researchers allows users to interactively chart the ebb and flow of forest products across the southern states... Southern Forest Products – An Economic Engine provides a constantly updated guide to southern timber product outputs and the mills that process them."

(2/2/17) Mark Thomas, Certified Wildlife Biologist and Consulting Forester, will bring humor and expertise as he leads a discussion on common forest and wildlife management problems and how a variety of herbicides can be used to solve them at the AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting.

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

(1/31/17) "The optimal planting window for bareroot seedlings is late November until mid March and containerized seedlings can be planted from October until May." This guide gives detailed tips for improving planting success. Also available in Spanish if you work with a planting crew that might benefit from the guide.

(1/30/17)The simple truth is that [the estate tax] is a particularly damaging tax policy for our members. In many instances, this tax can lead to untimely timber harvests or even worse, a land sale.” - Scott Jones, Forest Landowners Association president

(1/27/17) "'If you look at the statistics from the U.S. South, close to two-thirds of the timber harvest is coming from small landowners,' said Robert G. Flynn, director, international timber, for RISI, a forest-products research firm." This NY Times article looks at the risks and returns of three ways to invest in forests.

(1/26/17) Birmingham attorney Leslie Klasing, a partner at Waldrep, Stewart, & Kendrick, LLC, has joined the roster of presenters for the AFOA 2017 Annual Meeting. Klasing will speak on timber theft and other boundary related problems for landowners. Read her advice for foresters on this topic here. Additionally, AFOA member Tommy Sellers: The Man With The Hillabee Creek Band will be playing at the Friday night reception. Listen to some of his music here.

(1/25/17) Since a fuel tax may be on the 2017 legislative agenda, we want to be sure lawmakers know that timber and agriculture crops locked behind low-weight bridges and roads are worthless. If we maintain and improve our major highways, but neglect the maintenance of rural roads and bridges, there will be nothing to ship on the highways and Alabama will be poorer for the neglect.

(1/24/17) A California sheriff is using a high tech chemical for ag theft prevention. "The product is made up of water and solvent-based traceable liquids. Each vial has a unique chemical code that can be traced back to the farmer or person who registers it through a database...Once sprayed on ag equipment, the liquid which is invisible, odorless, stays on a thief for up to five years without them noticing and is picked up using an ultra-violet light." Could this also help with logging equipment theft? 

(1/23/17) “The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled there is a reasonable indication that softwood lumber imports from Canada materially injure the U.S. industry.” This means the case for renegotiating the disputed agreement will move forward. Bloomberg analyst Joshua Zaret talks about what it means for US producers in this video.

(1/20/17) "Donald Trump said Thursday that he expects that former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, his choice to lead the Agriculture Department, will 'deliver big results for all Americans who earn their living off the land.' ... Perdue showed little interest in pushing big programs or signature legislation during his two terms. Instead he focused on finding ways to save money while improving customer service by state agencies."

(1/19/17) The deadline to apply for financial assistance through the 2017 Wild Pig Program with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is Friday, January 20. Eligibility rules and payment information are available here. You must sign the agreement in person at a local NRCS office or fax a signed copy. Address and contact info for each county’s office can be found by finding your county on this map.

(1/18/17) The Alabama Forestry Association invites young professionals to participate in an exclusive professional development training program. The AFA hopes to attract participants across the whole spectrum of the Alabama forestry community to connect with peers and mentors, and grow professionally. Anyone interested should apply as soon as possible to secure a spot. Application and more details here.

(1/17/17) Scott Lockyear, Senior National Director, Design and Construction Services at WoodWorks, will introduce some of the interesting new wood uses and new wood products (Multi-story buildings, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Massive Plywood Panels, etc.) to forest landowners at AFOA’s 2017 Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held at the Alabama 4-H Center (about 40 miles south of Birmingham) on April 22. Read more about Massive Plywood Panels and other wood technology expected to give a boost to timber.

(1/16/17) Beth Richardson, a Clemson University Extension Service forester, will return as a speaker for the 2017 AFOA Annual Meeting. Her message on practical forest management and energy-packed delivery have made her one of the most talked-about speakers we’ve ever had. She has previously spoken with AFOA on “Getting the Best from your Pine Plantation” and “Improving the Return of Your Forestry Investments."

(1/13/17) "The possibility for permanent, positive change was there, but appears to have been “trumped” by the existing power structure. There will be no 'draining of the swamp' at Interior." - Frank DuBois on the Secretary of the Interior appointment.

(1/12/17) "It looks as if 2017 could bring another seismic rewrite of our federal tax system ... This could be a year to extend your 2016 tax filing and keep your options open."

(1/11/17) "IFCO Bareroot, LLC is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement with Weyerhaeuser Company to purchase four forest seedling nurseries as well as the Flint River Seed Orchard. These nurseries are located in Jesup, Georgia, Washington,North Carolina, Pine Hill, Alabama, and Shubuta, Mississippi."

(1/10/17) “We believe the stage is set for the timber REITs to outperform in 2017.” Raymond James recommends timber REITs Rayonier and Weyerhauser as strong stocks to buy in 2017. It remains to be seen whether good news for REITs means good news for private forest landowners, but we should definitely be paying attention.

(1/9/17) "Industry consumption remains strong and if US GDP growth improves, the pulp and paper industry will have a good year." More predictions for global wood markets in 2017, courtesy of Forest2Market.

(1/6/17)Freezing weather can have a detrimental effect on seedling vigor and survival both in the nursery beds and after planting.” Advice from ArborGen on protecting your seedlings through cold weather events, before and after planting.

(1/5/17) Our belief that the current top-down, government controlled wildlife management system could be effectively replaced by rigorous trespass protection generated some interesting discussion at the ALDEER online forum. Our ideas were a response to an article by Chuck Sykes, Chief of the Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division, available here. Read our article near the bottom of page 6 of the January Capital Ideas newsletter.

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

(1/3/17) Senticnel is a tree-mounted sensor system designed to identify the location of a forest fire, alert responders, and predict the path of the fire using modeling software. Though this system might not be practical yet, we think it’s an interesting technology with promise for forest landowners.

(1/2/17) "The trade-off between the benefits of sustainable energy and the negative impacts of razing swaths of forest has come up multiple several locations around the United States." Alabama Power issued a call for proposals on renewable energy last fall. Edward (Tony) Hubbard has experience negotiating solar leases, and will be speaking on April 22 at the AFOA annual meeting.

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

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

(12/29/15) "It is time to admit the Endangered Species Act’s penalty-based approach is a mistake, end this country’s senseless 42-year war on its most vulnerable species and chart a new, successful course for endangered species conservation based on a new approach that has been around for a long time."

(12/28/15) It's too easy to grow trees for 30 years, only to make disastrous choices at the end. Watch this video from the University of Kentucky if you're thinking of making a timber sale.

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

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

(12/18/15) We thought you might like this newsletter from the Southern Christmas Tree Association. Note the ads in the newsletter for equipment and supplies you may need if you decide to grow Christmas trees.

(12/17/15) According to the American Land Rights Association (ALRA), "The Land and Water Conservation Fund is the enemy of rural America, ranching, farming and private land ownership." ALRA would like you to "Call your Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund as a permanent Trust Fund. Call any Congressman at (202) 225-3121." Read ALRA's recent email for details.

(12/16/15) “After you have harvested several deer from your ground blind, you might wonder why you don’t hunt this way more often.” One hunter says ground blinds offer safety, concealment, and ease of set-up. Read the full story at Georgia Forestry Today, page 27.

(12/15/15) “Landowners may face different types of eminent domain situations with local utility companies or government agencies [called the “condemning authority”] that will take private land for public use [think power lines or pipelines], with payment or compensation.” Here are tips to consider if you find yourself in this situation (Source: Georgia Forestry Today, p. 14):

  1. How did the condemning authority arrive at its offer amount? Request a written summary of the appraiser’s valuation. 
  2. Request a drawing or map identifying the land being acquired. Is the location of the land being acquired established or is the location subject to change?
  3. Is the land going to be owned by the condemning authority, or is it acquiring a permanent easement and/or temporary easement?
  4. What use limitations will the landowner be subject to with regard to the land being acquired?
  5. Did the landowner have any plans to use his/her land for any particular purpose?If so, will the acquisition impact the future planned use?
  6. What impact will the loss of land have on the value of the remaining land?
  7. If the land being acquired does not abut a public road, how will the condemning authority gain access to the land being acquired, and is the landowner being compensated for that access right?
  8. Most of all, contact an attorney and a local appraiser with expertise in condemnation law. This is a complicated area of the law with many pitfalls for the unwary landowner.

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

(12/11/15) Seedlings need to experience cold weather acclimation to withstand freezing and below-freezing temperatures, says an alert from the Southern Forest Nursery Management Co-op. Warm days and nights before a freeze can compromise dormancy, especially in pine seedlings. Take special care with your seedlings this winter, and learn more about how to protect them with tips from SuperTree seedlings.

(12/10/15) Message to Lawmakers and Government Procurement Officials buying lumber and other construction materials made from wood: Buy the best quality products at the lowest possible prices. We have been watching various “certification schemes” pressuring government agencies and lawmakers to reject lumber and other forest products not blessed by their particular organization. Please ignore emotional pleas from Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm System, and others. Buy the best quality wood product at the lowest possible price, whether “certified” by one of these schemes or not.

(12/9/15) The Agriculture and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU) currently has 12 agents assigned throughout the state. Click here for a map of agent location and contact information. The stats listed below are for FY2015 ARCU (the timber cases only include Jan-Oct 2015, after consolidation with Alabama Forestry Commission’s law enforcement personnel). Editor’s note: If you called ARCU to report a timber theft in the past 11 months, were you satisfied with their handling of your problem? Write to AFOA at

  • Cases: Total 277
  • Property Crimes Cases – 200
  • Animal Crime Cases – 85
  • Timber Crime Cases – 10 (all of these cases were resolved by the parties involved or turned out to be civil cases)
  • Other Cases – 82
  • Calls for Service: Total 165 (calls phoned into the hotline [1-855-75-CRIME] or ALEA dispatch)
  • Property Crime Calls – 27
  • Animal Crime Calls – 95
  • Timber Crime Calls – 36
  • Other Crime Calls - 7

(12/8/15) Thinking about a family trip to cut a Christmas tree? Here are a few places in Alabama to choose and cut your own tree. (Full list at Southern Christmas Tree Association):

(12/7/15) "The [Pacific Northwest] fires have been in the mainstream news for months, but a recent Wall Street Journal piece about the “controversial” subject of forest thinning and its impact on fire suppression simply gets it wrong. In the article, journalist Jim Carlton failed to discuss the myriad benefits that regular thinnings have on the overall health of our forests and their peripheral ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and the safety and economic wellbeing of the communities that border them." Read the six reasons thinning trees is good for the forest here.

(12/4/15) Treat your venison right: “Sometimes you’ll get a gamey flavor if you don’t get it on ice and get it processed right. If you process it right, you’re going to get great flavor from your venison.” Find out how to age venison for great flavor and other tips here. Source: Outdoor Alabama. Past outdoor essays from David Rainer.

(12/3/15) Intended as a comprehensive and authoritative history, "Forestry in the U.S. South explores the remarkable commercial and environmental gains made possible through the collaboration of industry, universities, and other agencies." Purchase directly from the Forest History Society here.

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

(12/1/15) Deer farmers and the state of Texas are battling over actions taken to manage Chronic Wasting Disease in whitetail deer. CWD poses a serious threat to deer species and hunting-related activities and income in the states where it is found.

(11/30/15) Landowners can submit comments here until December 11, 2015 regarding the Sabal Trails Pipeline Project, a 515-mile natural gas transmission pipeline. “Roughly 86 of those miles are located in Alabama. The current study corridor affects four counties in Alabama, including Tallapoosa, Chambers, Lee and Russell Counties.” Source: The South Next Month, Jim Noles, Balch & Bingham LLP.

(11/24/15) "A country’s long-term “potential” growth rate depends on two things: the number of workers, and how productive they are. Slower population growth directly chips away at the number of workers." We thought this was interesting in light of the housing reports this month.

(11/23/15) This interactive Federal Footprint map is an interesting, detailed look at land owned by the U.S. government. "The feds control a lot of land and shouldn’t be rushing out to add more territory and responsibility. In these days of budget deficits and spending cuts, the federal government clearly is becoming hard pressed to manage what it already owns." Source: Ketchican Daily News, 11/21/15

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

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

(11/20/15) "Georgia-Pacific last week announced plans for $110 million in upgrades to its Alabama River Cellulose (ARC) mill in Monroe County." Work will begin in early 2016, and is expected to take 18 months. Source: Yellowhammer News, 11/19/15

(11/18/15) A new report says wood pellet export markets pose no threat to the sustainability of U.S. Southern forests or the viability of other forest products manufacturers. In fact, removals for export pellet production represented .08% of the total forest inventory in 2014. Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, 11/18/15.

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

(11/13/15) According to the European Food Safety Authority, glyphosate/Roundup “is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.” This news should bring relief to many forest owners, who use Roundup for a variety of forestry uses, after a March 2015 World Health Organization report, based on “limited evidence of carcinogenicity,” classified glyphosate “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

(11/12/15) Virginia Tech’s latest housing report remains dismal and provides little hope for a quick upturn in sawtimber stumpage prices. On the other hand, while American’s are not building as many single family homes as they were pre-recession, we are slowly recovering from the recession lows – lows that are very high for much of the rest of the world.

(11/10/15) The EPA wants information from the public on any ongoing efforts to address stormwater discharge from forest roads to determine whether additional measures to protect water quality are necessary. Since these “additional measures” could include regulations or a permitting program imposed on the owners of forest roads, consider whether you want to take advantage of this opportunity. Such input could very well shape any future regulatory rulemaking on this topic. Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OW–2015–0668, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Read the entire announcement from the Federal Register. (1/5/15) Update: Comment period has been extended to Feb. 11

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

(11/6/15) Prescribed Grazing is a term we hadn’t heard before for using goats and other livestock to control unwanted vegetation. A Google search found Rent A Goat, unfortunately based in North Carolina, but with a focused message that will be of interest to anyone in Alabama who is thinking about setting up a prescribed grazing business. A 2010 WBHM story, Rent-a-Goat Business Takes Off, featured Todd & Allison Sluiss. The Michigan couple were also featured in a Farm Show article back in 2009. At that time they charged $300 per day with a 2-day minimum. Goat Busters were used in 2014 to clear privet and other brush and vines on Birmingham’s Red Mountain Park.

(11/5/15) Could an organized, well-informed group of forest landowners harm local wood markets? That is the interesting situation described in Antti Kämäräinen's recent Forest2Market Blog, "The Cost of Market Power: When is Too Much Market Power Detrimental to a Market’s Global Competitiveness?"

(11/4/15) Cogongrass, a weed that burns hot enough to kill mature pines, now infests over 65,000 acres in the South, and is, unfortunately, common in south Alabama. Herbicides applied in late April and late September have proven to be the most effective form of eradication. "The two herbicides currently being used are 41% glyphosate [Roundup] and 52% imazapyr [Arsenal]. A good tank mix is two quarts of glyphosate and 12 to 15 ounces of imazapyr per 25 gallons of water. Adding a non-ionic surfactant at one pint per 25 gallons, or AMS (ammonium sulfate) at five pounds granular per 25 gallons can increase herbicide efficiency." For more details about identification and control, go to Source: Great Days Outdoors, 11/15.

(11/3/15) The White Fringeless Orchid has been proposed for the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The orchid has been found in 8 Alabama counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, DeKalb, Jackson, Marion, Tuscaloosa, and Winston. Since forestry practices may cause modification of the orchid’s habitat that could harm individual plants, forest owners may want to learn more about the proposed listing, and possibly send comments to the Fish & Wildlife Service before the November 16, 2015 comments deadline. See 9/14/15 press release for contact information.

(11/2/15) Timber Markets In a Nutshell: pine stumpage prices down; hardwood stumpage prices up -- more or less. Source: Forest2Market Blog, US South Stumpage Market Trends: YDT 2015 Results and Historic Data by Daniel Stuber, 11/15.

(10/30/15) "US Department of Agriculture Terminates Consideration of Hardwood Checkoff." "Based on comments received, outstanding substantive questions and significant proposed modifications from stakeholders, USDA is terminating the proceeding." Many of the wood processors were so unhappy with the proposed tax that they created a website entitled Editor's note: While stumpage growers (landowners) do not directly pay the tax (the check-off is paid by the wood processors), the burden of the tax falls directly on stumpage growers, since payments for standing timber tend to be the amount left over after costs of producing lumber and plywood are covered. Stumpage growers would not have been given a seat on the decision making board, if the checkoff had been imposed.

(10/29/15) A Tree Identification webinar kicked off a series of webinars designed for woodland owners in Kentucky. The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service webinars will continue on October 29, November 12, November 19 and December 1. More details including registration information is available on the UKAgNews website.

(10/28/15) Aunt Fanny Learns Forestry: Managing Timberland as an Investment "highlights the key obligations, risks and metrics for owning and managing timberland investments. The book serves any investor, from individual to institution, interested in a tight and entertaining tutorial for prioritizing what matters and what does not when managing their timber assets as an investment." $12 from Forisk Consulting. To read some of the Aunt Fanny essays click here and here.

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

(10/26/15) "Understory Prescribe Burns: Understory burns in pine plantations are typically conducted during the dormant season. Now is the time to begin planning for those burns. Install firelanes after leaf fall and have both a prescribe burn and smoke management plan prepared by a Certified Burn Prescriptionist." Source: Newsletter of Forest Management Specialists, Inc., Vol. 2, Issue 3. Other topics in the newsletter include Timber Market Update, Focus Industry, Timber Sales, Boundary Line Maintenance, and Mineral Leases.

(10/23/15) Letters to Dad is a short video created by the Paper Check-off as part of a consumer campaign to "slow the decline in paper usage." A check-off for softwood lumber similar to the Paper Check-off has been opposed by Resolute Forest Products, Inc., as an unconstitutional tax. A hardwood check-off under discussion has been reduced in size so much as a result of complaints that "it would exclude over 80% of the hardwood forest products industry," and be "severely underfunded." Source: Timber Mart-South ~ Market News Quarterly, 3Q15. 

(10/22/15) Helpful fire weather links are available at the Alabama Forestry Commission website. Even if you're not planning a prescribed burn, we think you'll find some of this data fascinating.

(10/21/15) The domestic cat is the top killer of America's native birds. A new study suggests that even with this knowledge, cat owners are unwilling to restrain their cats to protect wildlife. Source: Great Days Outdoors magazine, October 2015

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

(10/19/15) Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forest by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel may be of interest to some Alabama forest owners, even though the authors' target audience are forest owners in the northern U.S.

(10/16/15) Confiscatory Property Taxes Push Wisconsin Forest Owners into Untenable Position. In order to avoid very high forestland property taxes, many Wisconsin forest owners signed on to the Managed Forest Law program which reduced property taxes, but also forced participants to open their lands to public access. Now a district court has "approved regulations allowing Wisconsin's Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to conduct night hunting for deer on lands open to public hunting (including Managed Forest Law "open" lands)..." Source: Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, 10/14/15.

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

(10/14/15) Lyme Disease is present in 7 Alabama counties. They are Calhoun, Chambers, Jefferson, Mobile, Russell, Shelby, and Tuscaloosa counties, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.

(10/13/15) The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today stayed the waters of the U.S. rule issued by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that became effective on August 28. The court vote of 2-1 suspended the effectiveness of the rule nationwide. The following statement in response to the court’s decision was issued by Dave Tenny, President and CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners:

“We are pleased the court took the prudent step of staying the rule while it sorts through the legal issues. The finding of the court that the petitioners have a strong likelihood of success on the procedural and substantive issues in the case is encouraging, but it will take time for the court to consider these issues individually. Postponing implementation of the rule pending a determination of its legality makes good sense. In the meantime, we continue to encourage Congress to enact legislation that will enable all parties to take a fresh look at this issue outside of the courtroom.”

The next step in the case will be a decision by the Sixth Circuit as to whether or not that court has jurisdiction to review the validity of the rule. Source: National Alliance of Forest Owners, 10/9/15. See also: The Washington Times, 10/9/15.

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

(10/08/15) "The black pinesnake, a burrowing constrictor found only in pine forests of southern Mississippi and Alabama, is now listed as threatened, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday." Source:, 10/5/15. We understand that another 65 species in the southeast have been proposed for federal protection under the same lawsuit that forced the US Fish & Wildlife Service to consider listing the black pinesnake as threatened. See: Black Pine Snakes Protected Under Endangered Species Act: Declines Driven by Destruction of Southeast's Longleaf Pine Ecosystem.

(10/06/15) Is it reasonable to ask why government should be in the entertainment business? If entertainment is not an important function of government, why do we worry if several state parks will soon be closed? See: 5 Alabama state parks to close following budget cuts.

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

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

(09/27/15) Facing a 19.6 percent cut in state funding, "Alabama State Forester Greg Pate said the commission couldn't handle any cuts, especially one so drastic." Source: WSFA, 9/24/15. 

(09/25/15) Forest and Humans: From the Midwest to Madagascar is the focus of a University of Wisconsin "Massive Open Online Course," scheduled to begin on 9/30/15. "Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), are unique virtual teaching, learning and research experiences that are not for credit, aimed at unlimited participation and available at no cost to learners around the world." An introductory video about the course and enrollment information is at:  

(09/24/15) Three species of parasitoid wasps have been released in North America in an attempt to control the emerald ash borer, the "most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America."

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

(09/21/15) Forest Economist Dr. Jack Lutz discusses the growth of trees and the growth of stands of trees in Limits to [Tree] Growth, Forest Research Notes, Volume 12, Number 3. Be sure to look at Figure 2, which focuses on the value of planting, site preparation, competition control, fertilization, and tree improvement. (MAI = Mean Annual Increment)

(09/18/15) Seattle, USA. Softwood lumber prices (in US $) have fallen throughout a majority of the main markets in the world during the 2Q/15 because of weaker demand, ample supply throughout the distribution chain and a strengthening US dollar. The biggest declines have occurred in the US, Canada and the Nordic countries, while the drop in import prices to China and Japan has been more modest. Source: Wood Resource Quarterly Press Release, 9/16/15.

(09/17/15) U.S. Forest Service scientist not allowed to discuss federal fire policy. A paper written by the scientist, "Reform Forest Fire Management," says suppressing every fire in overgrown forests is not only expensive, but dangerous and ill-advised.

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

(09/9/15) Private forestry plays a key role in in both Finland and the United States. "In Finland, 80 percent of the domestic wood used by the forest industry comes from privately owned forests. In the United States, the number varies by region, but is roughly 55 percent." Source: Forest2Market Blog by Antti Kamarainen.

(09/3/15) A gun law passed during the 2015 Regular Legislative Session went into effect Tuesday, after a bipartisan effort ushered through several significant reforms.
     The changes, sponsored by Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), were backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
     Governor Bentley signed the bill into law on June 4.
     “This is a victory for the Second Amendment and Alabama’s law-abiding gun owners”, said executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action Chris W. Cox. “Among other reforms, the new law gives young people greater opportunities to learn and enjoy our firearms and hunting heritage…” Source: Yellowhammer, 9/2/15

(08/31/15) Seven new Champion Trees were recently registered in Alabama's list of big trees. Two of the seven new champions have a good chance of being declared national champions next year - a post oak and a red hickory. Champion Trees of Alabama 2015 contains measurements of the largest trees by species recorded in Alabama and is published periodically by the Alabama Forestry Commission.

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

(08/27/15) Tom the Sawyer was introduced to us in the latest issue of Independent Sawmill and Woodlot Management magazine and we thought you might like to visit Tom's Portable Sawmill Service webpage. One of the links on his Resources page is the "Portable Sawmill Finder" which can help you find portable sawmilling services here in Alabama and other states.

(08/26/15) IF YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A HOLE...the first thing to do is stop digging. Good advice from the Property and Environment Research Center to the U.S. Congress as it debates whether to continue spending $900 million per year to acquire more land (Land & Water Conservation Fund, LWCF) while National Parks has an $11.5 billion maintenance backlog. Perhaps good advice, too, for Alabama lawmakers who are struggling to keep Alabama parks open while Forever Wild continues to spend millions of dollars every year on more land.

(08/25/15) Western Forest Fires: "Same sad stories, new year." If forest growth is not harvested, all that useful wood becomes nothing more than fuel. An opinion piece in The Washington Post (8/21/15) reviews "Five myths about wildfires," while a logger spokesman in Oregon (GoLocal, 8/21/15) points out, "When a fire starts on federal land, it is almost always bigger than one that starts on a private owned area."  "In fact, there are examples of fires that start on federal land and are very severe but once they get to private land, where forests are healthier, they weaken considerably."

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

(08/20/15) Four recent headlines:

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

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

(08/04/15) The U.S. South remains significantly cost competitive for delivered softwood fiber when compared to Coastal British Columbia, Scandinavia, U.S. Northwest, and New Zealand/Australia. Only Southern Brazil is close to us according to a chart in a F2M Market Watch article by Suz-Anne Kinney, Finnish Forestry Expansion: Increased Demand Affects Supply and Price.

(07/24/15) Need a land surveyor in Alabama? Use the Find a Surveyor webpage of the Alabama Society of Professional Land Surveyors. We selected "Marion" in the "Professional County" drop down menu and then clicked on the "Continue" button. In about 10 seconds Phillip Lindley's name popped onto the screen. When we hovered over his name with the mouse/cursor, Mr. Lindley's name, address, and phone number popped up. When we selected Talladega in Professional County, seven names popped up. A great service.

(07/23/15) "Threatened bats halt some timber projects." "Some members of the industry are already being affected, even with the interim rule in place. Five hundred timber projects that were to receive federal funding from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, have been tabled for the summer. June and July are the months when the bats tend to raise their pups in the trees, and the NRCS has opted to err on the side of caution and stop funding all projects until the pup season ends." Source: North Andover, Massachusetts Eagle Tribune, 7/19/15.

(07/21/15) "Americans should not have to fear the government’s taking their homes, farms, or businesses to give to other persons. Governments should not abuse the power of eminent domain to force rural property owners from their land in order to develop rural land into industrial and commercial property. Congress has a duty to protect the property rights of rural Americans in the face of eminent domain abuse." Source: Private Property Rights Protection Act of 2015, a Bill introduced by James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI-5) in the 114th Congress, July 9, 2015.

(07/19/15) Walker County voters will decide whether to continue a 3 mill property tax on September 8. Original source: Daily Mountain Eagle, 7/14/15. The Daily Mountain Eagle has since removed the article, but we have posted a picture of it to AFOA's Facebook page. Baldwin County voters will make a similar decision on March 1, 2016. Source:, 6/16/15.

(07/17/15) "How much rain fell on my land during the last 24 hours?" If you have ever asked yourself that question, Intellicast might have an answer for you. Check out their 24 hour precipitation map here.

(07/13/15) State Budget Mess - Part II -- a morning commentary from forest industry lobbyist, Tom Saunders, in From the Weeds, July 13, 2015. You may also find Tom's commentary from June 16, June 12, June 10, and June 5 useful background information for what you will read or hear in the daily news duing the next 30 days.

(07/07/15) Hearing: The State of Property Rights in America Ten Years after Kelo v. City of New London, 2 PM Eastern Time on July 9, 2015 in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC. Brian Seasholes, Reason Foundation, one of the witnesses, will focus on the impacts on property rights from the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. You can listen to the hearing on your computer.

(07/06/15) New housing starts down in May. Scroll down to slide 4. Source: Virginia Tech May 2015 Housing Commentary by Urs Buehlmann and Al Shuler. Archive of past reports.

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

(06/30/15) "Adding more land to the federal estate is irresponsible when the government is failing to maintain the parks, forests and grazing lands it currently owns. Rather than using the conservation fund to acquire more land, Congress should use the money to help address the deferred maintenance backlog." Source: Property and Environment Research Center, 6/30/15.

(06/26/15) "Beetle Plague Spurs Canadians on U.S. Lumber-Mill Buying Spree." "Chased from their home forests by rising costs and a plague of tree-killing beetles, West Fraser Timber Co., Canfor Corp. and Interfor Corp. have been on a buying spree, doubling the number of mills they own in the South since 2009 to about 34. The Canadians are drawn by the region’s 210 million acres of fast-growing forests and expanding housing markets from Texas to Virginia to Florida, according to Brooks Mendell, president of Forisk Consulting, an Athens, Georgia-based timberland researcher." Source:, 6/22/15.

(06/22/15) The Case Against Pope Francis's Green Encyclical. Source: Anything Peaceful, 6/22/15.

  • Pope Francis: Let us realize, for example, that most of the paper that is produced is thrown away and not recycled.
  • Borders & Bier: So would Pope Francis have us burn fossil fuels to go around and collect processed pulp? Is he unaware that demand for paper is what drives the supply of new trees? We aren’t running out of trees because we throw away paper. The Pope’s plan sounds like it could have been hatched in Berkeley, California, instead of Vatican City.

(06/18/15) "On May 26, 2015, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a Notice of Intent (Notice) that initiated environmental review of a proposal to regulate the incidental take of most of the bird species found in the United States. In the Notice, FWS outlined