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Archived 2019 News, Issues & Information


(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 RLL@AFOA.org.

(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 Al.com 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.

(09/19/19)
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 RLL@AFOA.org

(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 www.HuntingLand.bz or www.HuntingClub.bz, 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 www.afoa.org/CILive/2019/08.htm#metcalf.

(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 www.HuntingLand.bz, 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 (RLL@AFOA.org) 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) “...institute 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 RLL@afoa.org

(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 lward@forestlandowners.com 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.