Category Archives: Practices

Best management practices for woodland managagement

A CASE OF TIMBER THEFT IN KENTUCKY

Editor note to timber theft article

Editor’s note:  The following article is submitted by KWOA member Ed Sheehan. Although the owners do not live on the property in western Kentucky where the timber theft occurred, they had a boundary survey on file and immediately gathered extensive documentation regarding the theft that expedited prosecution of the thief. However, an unexpected action on the defendant’s part may have extended the prosecution for quite some time. Updates on this situation will be added as they become available.

Further information on Timber Theft and Trespass is available from the Kentucky Division of Forestry:

http://forestry.ky.gov/LandownerServices/Pages/TimberTheftandTrespass.aspx

And the UK Forestry Extension:  http://forestry.ca.uky.edu/trespass_theft

 

My wife and I have owned 20+ acres in Kentucky since 2010. The property was surveyed in 2010 and was only partially fenced.  In January, 2018 we found a freshly cut area on the back side of the property.  Someone had stolen multiple trees and damaged several more.  The damage trail led all the way to a neighbor’s property and we could see a logging truck loaded with fresh timber.  Aha, caught red-handed!

I immediately contacted the Kentucky Division of Forestry who informed me they could not help me and suggested I call the county sheriff. I called the county sheriff and he told me to call the police department, which I did. The police officer informed me that it was a civil matter and I would have to hire lawyer.  So, no one would come out to file a report!

I then contacted two lawyers. The first lawyer said he was too busy and gave me the name of another lawyer.

I was determined to fight for my property and this is the process I followed.

In February 2018 I hired a surveyor, at a cost of $1,100.00, to survey the unfenced area of my property and stake it for fencing.

In March 2018 I hired a forestry consultant for an estimate of damages.  I was also given a restitution estimate of $10,332.00 and $450.00 for erosion control cost. The cost for the estimate, documentation and photos was $250.00.

I contacted the second lawyer and was told he charged 1/3 of the settlement and 1/3 of $10,332.00 was not worth his time.  So, I wasn’t getting any help anywhere!

When I compiled all my information concerning the timber theft, I visited the county attorney’s office and completed a COMPLAINT INFORMATION FORM. I presented the completed form and my folder of documentation to the county attorney. I was informed that they did not have much luck in winning these cases. So, it looked like another turn down!

Then she looked at my documentation.  I believe my thorough file (containing the property survey, loss and damage estimates, and photos of tree stumps, damaged trees, and trails of the loggers) helped to change her mind rather quickly as it only took about 15 to 20 minutes for them to decide to take action.

I was informed that the penalty of three times the value of the timber could not be applied in this situation or any damages to property because that would require a civil suit.  I was just relieved that the prosecutor was going to prosecute the thief and bring attention to the situation.  We were on our way!

When we went to court in June 2018, I was surprised to be informed before the hearing began that the defendant had agreed to reimburse me $3,000.00 (this was the cost of the stolen trees per the forestry consultant) per an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor.  The defendant agreed to this in order to keep from being charged with a felony and the money would be paid in three monthly payments. After to agreeing to the settlement, the Defendant paid $1,000.00 to me and then changed his mind and decided not to pay the remaining $2,000.00.  He has been indicted by the county prosecutor and we are awaiting a court date.

Things must change.

Timber theft is a big problem in Kentucky and counties do not have the resources to investigate these thefts.  I believe we landowners need a process to follow and I have some suggestions.

  • The police should be required to come out and complete a written report to the land owner. The officer does not need to know the value of the timber or be certain of the boundary lines. The report only needs to list the number of trees or the approximate acreage involved. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • The landowner can then contact a surveyor to confirm the boundary lines if the landowner needs an updated survey. The original or updated survey is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • The land owner could then hire a forestry consultant for an estimate of the stolen and damaged trees along with any damages to the property which will require seeding. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • Take photos of tree stumps, damaged trees, trails of the loggers and anything else that applies. This is to be included in the folder of documentation.
  • All documentation can then be turned over to the county prosecutor for necessary action.

I believe the most important part of this process is the police report. The police report states that a crime (theft and property damage) has occurred. This report should be added to state statistics concerning timber theft. This gives a more accurate representation of timber thefts occurring in the state. Without statistics, it is not recognized as a problem and no action will be taken. The landowner needs to work with the police department because this documentation is necessary when contacting the prosecutor.

Timber thieves must be held accountable and doing so will help to reduce the temptation of stealing others property. Landowners really need to work with county prosecutors to lessen timber thefts and reduce the financial burdens they must endure.

Gov. Bevin Makes Appointments to Kentucky Forestry Best Management Practice Board

Media Contact: Nicole Burton

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 1, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin has made the following appointments to Kentucky Boards and Commissions:

Jack Stickney, Christopher Scott and Jeffrey Stringer have been appointed to the Forestry Best Management Practices Board.

  • Jack Stickney, of Irvine, is a farmer and senior geologist for the Kentucky Rural Water Association. He will represent at-large woodland owners and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2022. Jack is a KWOA board member.
  • Christopher Scott, of Bowling Green, is a forest ranger technician with the Kentucky Division of Forestry. He will represent the Kentucky Division of Forestry and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2019.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Stringer, of Lexington, is a professor at the University of Kentucky. He will represent the UK Department of Forestry and serve for a term expiring April 22, 2022.

The Forestry Best Management Practices Board updates Kentucky’s forest practice guidelines for water quality management and the Division of Forestry’s administrative regulations regarding timber harvesting operations.

Also serving on the board are Portia Brown, KWOA vice president, Harry Pelle and Lyndle Barnes, KWOA board members.

Cooperative Forestry Act Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Private Forest Owners

Posted by Joyce El Kouarti, Office of Communication, USDA Forest Service in Forestry

Jun 28, 2018

The Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 empowered the USDA Forest Service to partner with state forestry agencies to provide technical forest management assistance to landowners. Today the Forest Service Cooperative Forestry programs, created through the Act, help individual and family forest owners balance timber management with the conservation of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, wildfire management, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. To learn more about the Forest Legacy, Landscape Restoration, and Urban and Community Forestry programs go to:

https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2018/06/28/cooperative-forestry-act-celebrates-40-years-helping-private-forest-owners

Single Oak Project at Buffalo Trace Distillery focuses on oak wood

The Single Oak Project displays the culmination of an eight year study of, among other factors, the effect of different types of oak wood on the final bourbon product.

Started in 1999 the experiment individually selected 96 American oak trees that differed according to grain size (tight, average or coarse based on growth rings per inch) and growing location. A single barrel was constructed from the top and bottom each tree with various stave seasonings and charrings. These single oak barrels were then filled with different recipe whiskeys, at various entry proofs and aged in a variety of different warehouse styles. All of the single Oak Project bourbons were aged for eight years.

“Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” —Johnny Carson

This experiment allows whiskey connoisseurs to directly compare the impact of seven different critical variables across 192 bottles for a total of 1,396 taste combinations. The Single Oak Project is undoubtedly the most extensive bourbon experiment ever undertaken.

And the winner is …

The winning bourbon from Barrel #80 was a rye recipe bourbon, entered into a barrel made from oak harvested from the bottom half of the tree with staves seasoned for 12 months. The grain size of the wood was considered average and the barrel received a number four char inside. The whiskey entered the barrel at 125 proof and was aged in a concrete floor warehouse.

For more information:  www.singleoakproject.com

 

Legislative Alert: A NEW Challenge to Forest Health and State Focused Funding

A set of bipartisan bills introduced in the US House and Senate as Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health of 2018 which aim to “fix” the problem of proposed budgets from the US Forest Service that reduce funding to state based initiatives.

Empowering State Forestry to Improve Forest Health Act of 2018

KWOA members are encouraged to contact federal legislators to request their support for the bills.

New Challenge to Forest Health

A message to new woodland owners

Thank you for your interest in being good stewards of your newly acquired woodlands. Kentucky Woodland Owners Association (KWOA) is an all-volunteer affiliate of the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA); as such, we are a great resource for the journey of learning about and practicing sustainable woodland management. Field days, short courses, annual meetings, and other events help woodland owners learn about programs and resources to help them achieve their goals. KWOA advocates for public policies that promote sound management practices.

As you may have seen on our website (www.KWOA.net ), the 2018 KWOA Annual Meeting is just around the corner on March 20-21 at General Butler State Park. This is a great opportunity to network with some fellow woodland owners and learn more.

In addition to the annual meeting, KWOA supports and promotes other educational programs such as the Woodland Owners Short Course, Tree Farmer Field Days, Master Woodland Steward Program and others. In fact the 2016 Tree Farmer of the Year for Kentucky is Jack Stickney, a KWOA board member. Jack & Teresa Stickney just hosted the Annual Tree Farm Field Day in October 2017 on their farm in Estill County!

We send out hard copy newsletters quarterly. We are also in the process of developing a Mail Chimp email function to alert members to more time sensitive issues or opportunities as they arise. Available resources vary over time, by region and by practice focus, so there is not a specific program that meets everyone’s needs all the time.

You can join KWOA online http://kwoa.net/join.htm or print & mail in a hardcopy form. We hope you will join KWOA and attend some of the 2018 woodland owners’ events. Most importantly, you can help us carry the message that sustainable management practices create healthy forests that provide long term economic and environmental benefits to the larger community.

Ambrosia beetle damage to standing dead ash

This report  is based on a survey of KY Master Loggers in response to concern about the occurrence of this damage and its potential to degrade and devalue logs. The white paper provides educational information and can inform decision-making by landowners, loggers, and the forest industry at large. Given the increasing amount of standing dead ash being logged due to the emerald ash borer, the issue of ambrosia beetle damage is likely to increase and affect new areas in the future.

2017 Ash Ambrosia Beetle Damage White Paper

For more info contact:

Ellen V. Crocker, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Forest Health Research and Education Center

Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Kentucky

e.crocker@uky.edu

In Arizona, the trees have become the enemy of the forest.

Masses of spindly young trees crowd the forest floor and become tinder for destructive forest fires. Instead of focusing on the value of the trees to loggers, the Nature Conservancy’s Future Forests project would make it more viable to remove the young trees that make Arizona forests so dangerous. But thus far the project’s loggers, truckers and sawmills have not met tree removal targets.

Read more…

KWOA member’s experience with a timber harvest

Eric Shrader, KWOA member and woodland owner in western Kentucky, discussed his experience regarding a recent timber harvest at the KWOA board’s May 19, 2017 quarterly board meeting. The summary of his comments may be useful to other woodland owners contemplating a timber harvest.

Eric and Jo Lynn Shrader contracted with a consulting forester in 2014 to mark, sell and oversee a timber harvest on their 220+ acre woodlands. The consultant, a retired Kentucky Division of Forestry forester, developed a timber sale contract for them. The contract did not include clauses requested by the Shraders for addressing wet weather conditions and disposal of cigarette butts.

The Shraders met with the consulting forester for an initial walkthrough at their farm after the timber sale contract was signed and before the harvest began to identify control points, stream crossings, skid trails, the haul road, etc., as outlined in the BMP Handbook and master logger instructions/classes. The consultant declined to conduct a walkthrough with the loggers to discuss the preparation of the haul road. He also advised that the best management practices for harvesting timber (which are codified in the Kentucky Revised Statutes) are not meant to be literally followed in the field. Eric also requested a site visit by the KDF logging inspector prior to the start of the logging in April 2015. The inspector only reviewed the landing area and a small section of the timber to be harvested.

During 2015 the Kentucky Division of Water cited Eric and the timber purchaser for BMP #3 streamside management zones non-compliance and orders to fix. The timber purchaser fixed the damaged areas with assistance from Eric to avoid additional violation notices. DOW reports referenced BMP #4 sinkhole violations) water, silt, and mud running into sinkholes) but did not issue citations and provided instruction to divert water away from sinkholes.

The first logging crew was terminated in August 2015. A second crew was more responsive to Eric’s concerns although he found that it had not been informed of the specific contract requirements. He discussed the violations with the consulting forester prior to the loggers departing.

The loggers completed the timber harvest and left on May 9, 2016. The Shraders were pleased with the amount of timber harvested – almost 3/4 million board feet. However, they were still very concerned with the damage caused by what they considered a lack of adherence to BMPs and contract enforcement by those responsible. A KDF final Logging Inspection Report dated June 2, 2016 found no BMP violations. Eric submitted numerous requests to KDF that the report be corrected to reflect the BMP violations. No such correction has been forthcoming.

Mr. Shrader responded to questions and comments from board members. He noted several lessons learned from the timber harvest experience and expressed hope that KWOA would take an active role in educating and informing other woodland owners as to expectations, preparation and participation in timber harvests.