Category Archives: Practices

Best management practices for woodland managagement

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

 

Foresters obtain tree farm inspector certification

On April 14, 2009, 15 industry and consultant foresters underwent American Tree Farm Inspector Training. This training provides the background needed to inspect and re-inspect Kentucky forested land which can then be certified in the American Tree Farm System (ATFS). All Tree Farm inspectors volunteer their time to work with and inspect Kentucky Tree Farm lands. Training was held at Domtar Paper Company, LLC-Hawesville, KY. The training facilitator was Pam Snyder, Forest Management Chief, Kentucky Division of Forestry. The training was sponsored by the Kentucky SIC (Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee).

Fifteen industry & consultant foresters graduated from the American Tree Farm System Inspector Training held at Domtar Paper Company, LLC-Hawesville, KY Mill on April 14th, 2009. Pictured are from left to right (front):  David James, John Williams, Steve Rogier, Pam Snyder KDF instructor, Ken Negray, Tom Broadfoot, Dan Allard.  Back:  Scott Shouse, Melvin Hack, Cary Perkins, Tim Arnzen, Justin Law, Mike Ladd, Darrel Fulghum, Larry Mahler, and Chris Fry.
Fifteen industry & consultant foresters graduated from the American Tree Farm System Inspector Training held at Domtar Paper Company, LLC-Hawesville, KY Mill on April 14th, 2009. Pictured are from left to right (front): David James, John Williams, Steve Rogier, Pam Snyder KDF instructor, Ken Negray, Tom Broadfoot, Dan Allard. Back: Scott Shouse, Melvin Hack, Cary Perkins, Tim Arnzen, Justin Law, Mike Ladd, Darrel Fulghum, Larry Mahler, and Chris Fry.

In August, 2008, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) endorsed the American Tree Farm System. As a result of this endorsement Kentucky tree farms are now third party certified, and are recognized by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) as meeting the standards to qualify tree farms to provide SFI certified wood. The ATFS supports recognized requirements that assure sustainably managed forests. The mission of ATFS is to promote the growing of renewable forest resources on private lands while protecting environmental benefits and increasing public understanding of all benefits of productive forestry.

The ATFS is sponsored nationally by the American Forest Foundation, a 501c3 non profit organization promoting the sustainable management of forests through education and outreach to private forest landowners. Kentucky currently has 801 certified tree farms covering 270,729 acres. Kentucky’s Tree Farms are dedicated to producing wood products, maintaining wildlife habitat, improving water quality, and providing outdoor recreational opportunities. To be eligible for tree farm certification, a landowner must have a minimum of 10 forested acres, have a commitment to practice sustainable, long-term forest management , and demonstrate proactive forest management involvement.

To obtain more information on Kentucky’s Tree Farm Program, contact the Kentucky Division of Forestry at 502-564-4496, or any of the newly trained ATFS inspectors, or visit www.treefarmsystem.org or www.kytreefarm.org.

 

We are not out of the woods yet!

Working the woods(and thank goodness for that!)  Kentucky is blessed with an abuncance of natural woodlands, and most of our forests are in private hands. 

Our association connects Kentucky neighbors with their common interests in improving the value of their property and woodland resources.

Come to our annual meeting.

For more information or to join us, visit our web site at www.kwoa.net