Category Archives: Practices

Best management practices for woodland managagement

KY NRCS update on support for forest improvement

By Jerry L. Adams
KY NRCS State Forestry Coordinator

The Kentucky Natural Resources and Conservation Service continues to support forest resource improvement through its Forestland Initiative under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). KY NRCS obligated $823K in 2011 to fund needed conservation practices identified in either a forest stewardship or forest management plan. Fiscal 2011 saw an increase in applications from woodland owners, totaling $1.4M in requests. Eighty two contracts were awarded statewide to fund 1100 acres of Brush Management (invasive species control), 2750 acres of Forest Stand Improvement and 92 acres of Tree & Shrub Establishment. Additionally, just over $550K was obligated from the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) for forestry related practices.

Woodland owners compete statewide among other woodland owners for EQIP funding. This change, along with the establishment of the Forestland Initiative by KY NRCS, demonstrates its commitment to addressing the resource concern issues woodland owners are experiencing. Although funding for FY2012 is still undetermined, sources indicate that there should be little reduction in program dollars. Woodland owners with stewardship and forest management plans containing recommended conservation practices eligible through EQIP should complete a 2012 funding application at any time by stopping by their local USDA Service Center.

Woodland owners with outdated stewardship/forest management plans should consider applying to EQIP for a Conservation Activity Plan -Forest Management (CAP-FM). The CAP-FM is a forest management plan developed by a private consultant forester certified as a Technical Service Provider (TSP) through NRCS. Plans older than 5 years are eligible for the CAP-FM. Woodland owners are free to chose any one of the currently eight TSPs available in KY to complete the plan. Once completed, any CAP-FM recommended practices the TSP identifies can be addressed in future EQIP contracts.

Proposals to expand water quality protection standards could affect private landowners

Several actions taken by or against the US Environmental Protection Agency last spring regarding water quality could ultimately affect timber harvest and woodlands management practices.

The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued draft guidance in April on what constitutes the EPA’s jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. EPA describes “other waters” as “all other waters such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams),mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation or destruction of which could affect interstate or foreign commerce…” The guidance proposes to substantially broaden EPA’s jurisdiction over water resources on private lands.

EPA was also petitioned in April to establish numeric water quality limits for nutrients in the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Finally, the agriculture industry is suing the EPA to contest the agency’s novel, multi-state watershed pollution limit for nutrients and sediments in the Chesapeake Bay.

Although most of the above actions do not directly affect Kentucky woodland owners, the impending decisions may have broad implications for all private landowners.

New Report on Payment for Watershed Services (PWS)

From the USDA Office of Environmental Markets (OEM):
We’re pleased to share with you a new report produced by EcoAgriculture Partners with funding and support from OEM and the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities.  Innovations in Watershed-Based Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners surveys payments for watershed services (PWS) schemes to understand their current role in the U.S. and future potential for increasing cost-effective watershed protection on private lands.
Water is crucial for many human needs; yet water resources in the United States face serious threats from increasing pollution and overuse. PWS can address these challenges effectively as a complement to USDA conservation programs and other existing incentives. Under PWS programs, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can choose to provide watershed protection services—improvements to water quality or increases in water efficiency—and in return receive payments or other forms of compensation from the beneficiaries of these services. PWS can be more affordable than traditional engineering solutions while offering co-benefits including job creation, economic development, cleaner air, and open space.
In addition to the report, a map-based inventory of the identified PWS systems (http://www.conservationregistry.org/search/basic_search?search_term=pws) is available online through The Conservation Registry, a repository of conservation projects in the United States. The PWS inventory is a “living” database and can be updated regularly. Combined, the report and inventory are intended to help policymakers, landowners, conservationists, and water management professionals explore PWS opportunities in their areas.
Many thanks to EcoAgriculture Partners, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, and the PWS practitioners who supported this project for their hard work!
USDA Office of Environmental Markets
http://www.usda.gov/oce/environmental_markets/index.htm

USDA promotes wood in green building rating systems

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made a major announcement March 30th strongly promoting wood as a green building material and recognizing multiple green building rating systems. According to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, the USDA announcement was made during the International Year of Forests celebration in Washington, DC. The event was co-hosted by the American Forest Foundation, the National Association of State Foresters, and the USDA Forest Service.

According to a March 30th USDA press release Secretary Vilsack laid out a three-part plan addressing the Forest Service’s and USDA’s current green building practices. The strategy includes the following parts:
1. The U.S. Forest Service will preferentially select wood in new building construction while maintaining its commitment to certified green building standards. USDA will also make a commitment to using wood and other agricultural products as it fulfills President Obama’s executive order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance.
2. The Secretary has asked the U.S. Forest Service to examine ways to increase its already strong commitment to green building by reporting to him on ways to enhance the research and development being done around green building materials.
3. The U.S. Forest Service will actively look for opportunities to demonstrate the innovative use of wood as a green building material for all new structures of 10,000 square feet or more using recognized green building standards such as LEED, Green Globes or the National Green Building Standard.
The plan explicitly recognizes the Green Globes standard and the National Green Building Standard, both of which recognize multiple forest certification standards. Opening the door to other green building rating systems increases opportunities for third party certified wood to be used and recognized in green buildings.
“This is just the market signal we need to expand markets for sustainably grown wood from ATFS,” said Tom Martin, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation.

Help the USDA Locate the Emerald Ash Borer

America’s neighborhoods and forests are under attack. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle has destroyed tens of millions of ash trees. Help the USDA protect our trees — and stop the beetle. Look for signs of the EAB in your community and report both positive and negative findings at BeetleDetectives.com on behalf of your organization. Then watch your organization rise through the ranks of top beetle detectives.

Identifying the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (EAB)

From May to August, adult EAB emerge from under the bark of ash
trees and mate. Females lay their eggs in bark crevices and the eggs
hatch into wormlike larvae. The larvae tunnel under the bark to feed
and grow throughout the fall and winter. It is this tunneling and feeding
that eventually kills the tree. You should capture the insects you think
are EAB, place them in a jar and freeze them — this will preserve
the insect for easy identification. You can also search for signs of
infestation.

• Bright, metallic green

• 1/2” long, flattened back

• Purple abdominal segments beneath wing cover

New National Management Plan Template improves woodland owner access to cost-share and technical services

ATFS is very pleased to announce the availability of the new national management plan template in partnership with the US Forest Service (USFS) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The three organizations recognized that having three separate management plan requirements for ATFS certification, NRCS financial assistance funds and Forest Service Stewardship program funds inhibited participation by forest owners in these programs. We worked together to develop a national model management plan template that can be used for any of the three programs. This collaborative decision will help minimize costs and redundant processes. The template includes a guide for both landowners and foresters in using this new tool.

The new management plan template was developed to help landowners be more engaged in the plan writing process. We have heard from many landowners and foresters across the country that some management plans are not used by landowners because they do not understand what is in the plan or they find it intimidating because they had no hand in drafting the plan. In the template guides we developed for foresters and landowners, we encourage landowners to seek out the assistance of a professional. We hope that the template format will help you reach more landowners by cultivating more informed and engaged landowners.

Please visit www.treefarmsystem.org/Nationalplantemplate for a copy.

As the program rolls out the plan will streamline access for folks in the system to apply for cost-share dollars for their conservation work.

Local, state and federal government efforts to rein in spending has meant the disappearance of hundreds of forester positions. Combined with the very limited number of forester TSPs, woodland owners have been left with fewer options to get conservation plans and technical assistance for cost-share dollars. The MOU allows additional training for Tree Farm Inspectors to attain TSP status.

Estate Planning for Forest Landowners

Regardless of the number of acres, woodland owners need to make arrangements for their estates while they are living and while they are competent to do so. An extensive guide is now available from the US Forest Service specifically for family-owned forests.

Estate Planning for Forest Landowners:
What Will Become of Your Timberland?
2009. General Technical Report SRS-112
Available as a pdf download at http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/gtr/gtr_srs112.pdf

Although the report is more geared to large working timber holdings, its comparison examples of the impact of federal estate tax on family assets with and without estate planning are chilling. In the scenario (chapter 19) with no estate plan estate taxes could equal nearly one-eighth of the original estate. In the second example a simple plan leaving the estate to the surviving spouse avoids immediate estate tax. But the subsequent demise of that spouse could incur an estate tax equal to nearly one-fourth of the original combined estate. The final scenario presents three strategies that could reduce the example family estate tax bill by nearly $1.5 million compared to the simple plan. (These hypothetical examples are based on a family forest estate with assets valued at $10 million.)

The planning guide states that on the national level nearly three-fifths of all forest land is privately owned. More than four-fifths of that land belongs to nonindustrial owners. It also finds that the typical nonindustrial private forest owner is 60 years old. The importance of and urgency for timely forest estate planning should by now be evident. If you are still thinking it’s somebody else’s problem, complete the thirteen question “estate planning readiness” quiz on page 5 to better understand where you are in the process.

According to the book’s abstract, its purpose is to provide quidelines and assistance to nonindustrial private forest owners and the legal, tax, financial, insurance and forestry professionals who serve them on the application of estate planning techniques to forest properties. The book presents a working knowledge of the federal estate and gift tax law as of September 30, 2008.

Timber Theft: A Kentucky Overview

Timber theft is a common occurrence in Kentucky. Successful prosecution of perpetrators is not. Nina Cornett, KWOA member and long-time advocate for victims of timber theft, has graciously provided us with an outline of her extensive experience, research and interviews with timber theft victims and investigators. Cornett urges anyone who has had timber taken from their property to be fully aware of what they may face in the civil and criminal legal systems should they desire to prosecute. Cornett posits that successful prosecutions are rare and only changes in the laws addressing these thefts and an elevation of the importance of preventing and redressing these crimes will alleviate the problem.

For a full copy of Ms. Cornett’s research, please email her at Ngcornett@aol.com.

For a link to the University of Kentucky’s website regarding timber trespass go to www.ca.uky.edu/forestryextension/timbertrespass.php.

The KWOA winter newsletter will publish an article about a recent successfully prosecuted timber theft case. Stay tuned!

TIMBER THEFT – WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE A VICTIM

“What’s all the fuss about a few trees?” (Purported statement by relative of logger indicted for stealing more than a hundred trees and suspected of stealing many more)

“The majority of timber theft occurs under what has been deemed a ‘culture of theft’ [emphasis added]. This [culture] is responsible for the belief that taking. . .trees here or there. . .has no real ‘harm’ but is necessary to allow the logger to ‘make a buck’. (GAP: Field Guide to Timber Theft)

“What murder case do you want me to stop working on to investigate your timber theft?” (Question by Sheriff to more than one victim)

“Why are you clogging up the courts with a civil case?” (Question by Commonwealth’s Attorney to Sheriff’s Deputy who investigated a timber theft and asked for a criminal prosecution)

“Go file a civil suit.” (Statement to a number of victims by legal authorities)

“Many times criminal acts are hidden under the cloak of civil remedy.” (GAP: Field Guide to Timber Theft)

“This won’t come to nothing. You know they [the victims] aren’t going to have the kind of money you need to get a survey and get a timber consultant. He [the logger] don’t have to worry.” [reported statement by relative of person suspected of timber theft.]

“I have heard through the rumor mill that________________ bragged that they had in fact stolen your timber. _________________________ has apparently said the same thing according to the sources, none of which are willing to give a statement to these comments”. (Prosecutor to victim of timber theft after a trial in which an accused timber thief got off)

“The reason people continue to steal timber is because they can.” (statement by timber theft victim)

TIMBER THEFT: WHAT A VICTIM NEEDS TO KNOW

A. Victims, Losses, and Victimization Methods
1. Victims.
1. Losses
2. Victimization Methods

B. Recourse
1. Criminal Law
2. State Civil Action
3. Federal Racketeering Statute

C. Obstacles:
1. “Boundary dispute”
2. “You’re not from here.”
3. “Clogging” the courts
4. Foot-dragging

D. Property rights

E. “Get-Even/Strike First” Warrant:
1. The “Keep off your own land” tactic.
2. The Fake charge
3. “Harassment without contact”
4. Countersuit for Defamation Threat

F. The “entry” fee
1. Survey costs
2. Timber Appraisal
3. Witness Fees
4. Legal Fees

G. The Loss Valuation problem
1. “Clean Water Act” limitation
2. “Can’t count in court” problem
3. “Garage” analogy

H. The “Legal” aspect
1. Finding a lawyer
2. Dealing with legal tactics; evidence gathering, etc
3. Bar Association Futility
4. Rights in court.
5. Be the Criminal

I. Trial Issues:
1. Delays
2. “Don’t get me involved.”
3. Reluctance to testify
4. “Let’s Settle It” issue

J. Incentivizing the Thief:
1. Ray’s case
2. Jeannette’s situation
3. “Undergoing chemotherapy”
4. Nobody goes after the “fence” or the transporter
5. Bad Actor” if pollute water, but not if steal.

K. What Other States Do

L. Where to from Here?

Emerald ash borer quarantine specifics addressed

By Katie Pratt

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Jul 1, 2009)

Recently, the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist, in consultation with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, issued a quarantine for 20 counties due to the emerald ash borer. Since the quarantine was issued, questions have arisen about the emerald ash borer, including controlling its spread and effects on ash trees.

The emerald ash borer attacks ash trees. Within several years, it can kill a tree. Thus far, the emerald ash borer has been collected at sites in seven Kentucky counties: Fayette, Franklin, Jessamine, Jefferson, Kenton, Campbell and Shelby. All of these counties are included in the quarantine along with neighboring counties or counties with a high number of ash trees: Boone, Bourbon, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Oldham, Owen, Pendleton, Scott, Trimble and Woodford counties.

“The quarantine prevents the transportation of all hardwood species of firewood, ash trees, lumber, nursery stock or other material where the emerald ash borer is suspected into a non-quarantined area without a certificate or limited permit,” said John Obrycki, state entomologist and chair of the UK Department of Entomology.

Permits also are needed if ash wood products are transported from one state to another state that has quarantined areas. Untreated products in a quarantine area may be moved out of the area with a permit between October and March, which is the pest’s non-flight season. Wood materials moved within Kentucky’s quarantined area do not need a permit. No permit is needed on ash products and firewood moving into a quarantined area as long as they did not originate in a quarantined area in another state or were not transported through a quarantined area.

“The idea of the quarantine is to limit the movement of the pest,” said Carl Harper, UK senior nursery inspector.

To obtain a limited permit or certificate, individuals must have their wood products inspected by a member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Office of the State Entomologist. To obtain a certificate or limited permit, contact the Office of the State Entomologist at 859-257-5838.

Individuals with ash trees should inspect their trees for the pest. The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green bug. If the pest is present in a tree, it will leave pronounced D-shaped holes in the bark. If people see holes in the bark but are unsure if they were caused by the emerald ash borer, they may want to take a knife and smooth out the bark. The D-shape hole should become apparent.

A treatment to control emerald ash borers containing the chemical imidacloprid is available at most major garden centers; but it is expensive, so it may not be cost effective for an individual to treat infected ash trees.

Possible infestations should be reported to the Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512 or the state entomologist’s office at 859-257-5838.

More information on emerald ash borer can be obtained at the National Emerald Ash Borer Web site at http://emeraldashborer.info, on the Kentucky Office of the State Entomologist Web site at http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NurseryInspection/, or on the UK Entomology emerald ash borer Web site at http://pest.ca.uky.edu/EXT/EAB/welcome.html