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.’”
Facebook is a social media site that has become a “go-to” informational source among a large section of the population, both young and old. Most use it to post personal activities about health, love and travel or to stay in touch with family and friends across the globe. Many non-profit, professional and business organizations have added a Facebook page as yet another way to inform the public and their members of upcoming events, current topics of interest and calls to action.
KWOA has now joined the Facebook ranks with their own page!
Jerry Adams, a KWOA East Director, is the current administrator of the site and responsible for approving posts to the page. Anyone can post items of interest to other woodland owners, pictures of events or updates on their own timber related activities. Jerry will review the posts submitted daily and then approve them to be published to the site.
KWOA members are encouraged to use the Facebook site to inform others of items for sale (sawmills, logging equipment), woodland property, wood working tools, etc. If you’re not a Facebook user, then jump on board and get started. You’ll need to create your own profile to be able to see other User pages. It’s pretty simple with just a few steps to follow. If you already have a profile, you can find the KWOA site by typing in Kentucky Woodland Owners Association in the search engine of Facebook. Once you’ve “Liked” the page, you’ll see the posts to the site on a regular basis when you open your Facebook account.
Central Kentucky still boasts one of the largest populations of presettlement trees in the nation according to Tom Kimmerer, scientist, photographer and former UK faculty member, in his new book Venerable Trees. However, these ancient trees and the remaining woodland pastures in which they reside are in danger. Chief among the culprits threatening these ancient trees is the flowering pear tree. “We have to stop planting Callery pears” says Kimmerer in an article in the March 30thLexington Herald-Leader.
Going by various names – Bradford, Callery, Cleveland Select -these cultivars interbreed and create an invasive wild population of hybrid Callery pear trees.
Birds and wind distribute the tasty fruit of these trees across fields where new trees are crowding out natives plants and trees. Callery pears have four-inch thorns that can’t be mowed down and can be removed only by steel-tracked bulldozers.
HCR 29 directs the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission to establish a Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force to study issues regarding timber theft and trespass and to develop consensus recommendations to address those issues.
The task force would meet three times before submitting its final report to the LRCommission by November 30, 2016. The LRC has authority to alternatively assign the issues identified in the Resolution to interim joint committees or subcommittees.
Sponsored in the House by representatives Combs, Denham, Howard, Montell, Nelson, Osborne and Riggs, the resolution passed 95-0 in February. It is now in the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee.
KWOA voted at its annual meeting to support the resolution with a letter from President Frank Hicks. In addition, Keith Argow, President, National Woodland Owners Association submitted a letter of support to the senate committee. In his letter Argow notes that “…Kentucky has one of the weakest positions against timber theft of any state.” He argues that, in addition to inherent flaws, Kentucky’s current statute with respect to timber theft, KRS 364.130, is a civil statute that requires timber theft victims to file civil suits, an action that is out of reach for many landowners. The result, Argow concludes, is that “logging theft is an almost risk-free crime.”
KWOA members are encouraged to call and/or write their senators on the Natural Resources and Energy Committee in support of HCR 29. The 2016 legislative session adjourns April 12.
Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee
• Sen. Jared Carpenter [Chair]
• Sen. Brandon Smith [Vice Chair]
• Sen. C.B. Embry Jr.
• Sen. Chris Girdler
• Sen. Ernie Harris
• Sen. Paul Hornback
• Sen. Ray S. Jones II
• Sen. John Schickel
• Sen. Johnny Ray Turner
• Sen. Robin L. Webb
• Sen. Whitney Westerfield
World Wildlife Fund (January 28) – According to the latest installment of the World Wildlife Fund’s”Living Forests Report,”paper production and consumption is likely to double in the next three decades, and overall wood consumption may triple.
“A scenario of tripling the amount of wood society takes from forests and plantations needs to motivate good stewardship that safeguards forests, otherwise we could destroy the very places where wood grows,” said Rod Taylor, director of WWF’s Global Forest Program.