From the Kentucky Forest Industries Association newsroom:
Jack Stickey from Irvine, Kentucky was recently honored as the 2016 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year at the KFIA 52nd Annual Meeting in Lexington. Stickney was selected from a number of nominations submitted to the state Tree Farm Committee from throughout Kentucky.
Stickney’s 100 acre Tree Farm in Estill County, Kentucky is managed for a wide range of benefits including timber production, wildlife and recreation. The tree farm is also used for numerous educational purposes for environmental classes and has also hosted a regional woodland owners short course.
Doug McLaren, retired from University of Kentucky Department of Forestry in Lexington, KY was recently honored as the 2016 Kentucky Forest Industries Association Communicator of the Year at the Kentucky Forest Industries Association (KFIA) 52nd Annual Meeting in Lexington.
McLaren has reached all segments of the forest products supply chain through his leadership and communication efforts as vice president of the Kentucky Woodland Owners Association.
McLaren has been influential to his profession, community and region aggressively communicating the issues that affect the wood industry all the while promoting professionalism by encouraging others to get involved in outreach efforts
Interest and demand for white oak timber supply is extremely high which has raised some concerns about the long-term sustainability of this invaluable resource. To address this concern, the Sustainability of White Oak Timber Conference was held at the Kentucky Forest Industries Annual Meeting on April 4, 2017. This conference was hosted by UK Forestry Extension—this is the second white oak meeting they have organized to address white oak supply in the last few years. Approximately 100 people attended the one day Sustainability of White Oak Timber Conference which provided information to industries dependent upon white oak and organizations/agencies associated with these industries. State and national experts provided updates on oak stand development, current forest inventory and monitoring, the issues affecting future white oak supply, and the need to establish a White Oak Partnership. There was overwhelming support amongst those in attendance to create a White Oak Partnership to address the following:
Proper monitoring of white oak growth and drain
Resources focused on addressing white oak threats
Economic modelling associated with determining white oak availability
Elected officials and governmental organizations understand the importance of this resource
Development of a National White Oak Initiative to help protect and improve white oak sustainability
If you would like to learn more about the White Oak Partnership please visit www.ukforestry.org or call Dr. Jeff Stringer at 859.257.5994.
The Kentucky Division of Forestry implemented some novel procedures to address the 2016 fall forest fire hazard season (October 1 through December 15). Bill Steele, KDF Director, reported that 50,000 acres burned in the state last fall. KDF gave crash courses in fire fighting to staff from the state Mining and Fish &Wildlife agencies, as well as volunteer firemen in 2016. The agency plans to increase the number of seasonal firefighters whose pay is funded during the fire season. This expansion will free up its rangers in 2017 to implement prescribed burns, trail maintenance, invasives control and streamside management. (The spring fire season stretches from February 15 through April 30.)
The above changes to rangers’ duties also intends for them to conduct fewer logging operation inspections. There are currently 50 rangers qualified to inspect logging sites who conduct 80-90 inspections per year. By law the rangers are only required to respond to complaints, bad actors and requests for assistance.
Kentucky’s two nurseries have lost $400,000 in the last two years. The goal is to have them break even in the next two years. One initiative will be to grow more white oak with assistance from the state’s distilleries who require this species for their bourbon barrels. Another push will be plant tree seedlings on 140,000 acres of abandoned mined lands in eastern Kentucky. Although there are some land preparation and property ownership issues, Pam Snyder reported that there is Abandoned Mined Land Reclamation funding for the tree planting.
Forest management plans and NRCS
Progress in reinstating NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) reimbursement to KDF for marking trees should expedite the backlog of forest management plans. NRCS is also expanding the number of technical service providers (private consulting foresters who have met the TSP certification) to write Conservation Activity Plans for Forest Management (CAP-FM). In addition, the traditional Conservation Stewardship Plan is being expanded to include a practice plan and new program elements now called enhancements. Two thirds of the enhancements are forestry or wildlife related. Hopefully this change will speed up the EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) application process.
Dr. Red Baker has left the UK Department of Forestry to accept a position at the University of Florida.
Terrell “Red” Baker assumed the position of chair of the University of Kentucky Department of Forestry in 2010. Baker came to UK from New Mexico State University. His assessment of his new duties at that time were that “The bones of this department are very strong. There’s a group of very motivated faculty and staff who are 100 percent committed to making good things happen. I view it as part of my job to help them do that, to help them be successful.”
Dr. Baker was a regular at KWOA events and a valuable resource throughout his tenure at UK. His thoughts regarding his departure from UK: “I am proud of what we accomplished together over the last 7 years. I am confident the department will continue to do great things and I look forward to hearing about its many successes to come in the future.”
Red began his new position in his home state at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as the new director of the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation on April 1.
KWOA appreciates the time, travel and expertise of the many professionals who participated in its annual meeting at Natural Bridge State Park. Their expertise, availability for questions and dedication to their various roles in private woodlands management inspired and clarified the future for woodlands owners attending the annual meeting.
Brown Forman Corporation
H&S Lumber Mill
Kentucky Division of Forestry
Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Powell Valley Millwork
University of Kentucky Forestry Extension
University of Kentucky Department of Forestry
Christopher J. Will, ACF, Central Kentucky Forest Management, Inc.
Kate Robie, Retired Timberland Investment Professional
The Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation has been a long-time financial supporter of the Woodland Owners Short Course, an annual UK Forestry Extension student scholarship and the Leopold Conservation Award. At its February quarterly board meeting, members approved financial assistance to three projects that will inform and enhance woodland and watershed management.
$650 for the 2017 Woodland Owners Short Course (WOSC) workshops
$400 for two $200 competitive scholarships to the Kentucky Forestry Leadership Program, a weeklong program at Jabez for students interested in natural resource management
$500 to the Salt River Watershed Project managed through the Kentucky Waterways Alliance
Senate Bill 38 relating to timber theft passed both the Senate and the House with one amendment and was signed by the Governor.
The bill amends KRS 364.130 to specify that a person, regardless of state of mind or whether the person believes to be authorized or not, is liable for three times the stumpage value of the timber and three times the cost of any damages to property when he or she takes the timber of another without legal right or color of title.
The amendment exempts residential property owners and farmland owners maintaining their fence rows who mistakenly remove the timber of an adjoining property owner from the requirement to pay treble damages.
Thanks to Harry Pelle, KWOA board member, for sharing this story
While marking fifty acres for a timber stand improvement project on their property on April 23rd, Harry and Karen Pelle along with Chris Will, their consulting forester, found quite a welcome surprise. They discovered a couple of American Chestnut root sprouts. Harry admits there have been other aspiring chestnut seedlings over the thirty years the Pelle’s have been traversing their tree farm near Bradfordsville but they didn’t know what to look for.
The day before, Earth Day, they had helped plant 1200 American Chestnuts at Eastern Kentucky University’s Taylor Fork Ecological Area.
The effort with The American Chestnut Foundation seeks to restore the iconic tree as a staple in eastern forests.
That recent experience may have made the Pelle’s more aware of the chestnut’s latest effort to re-establish itself in the territory where it once reigned.
The Pelle’s marked the spot where they found the tree sprouts on Chris’s GPS and with a tee post.
The Pelle’s also cleared the area around the sprouts of fallen tops and brush. They intend to monitor the potential trees’ progress and just maybe these two will beat the Chestnut Blight that decimated the regions mighty giants. It may be the next generation of Pelles that will have to continue the watch over the seedlings.
The newest trees are in good company. Harry has an American Chestnut restoration grove just down the hill from the little guys. He likes to think the trees’ ancestors are looking down the hill and cheering on their new cousins in the fight to beat the blight. Harry thinks the finding of the sprouts “might have been the chestnuts’ way of saying ‘thanks for the help.’”