All posts by Karen

Governor signs Timber Theft Legislation SB38

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.

 

Ancient American Chestnut makes surprising appearance on Pelle tree farm

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.

Earth Day 2016 - EKU faculty, staff, students and volunteers join The American Chestnut Foundation to plant 1200 American Chestnuts in Taylor Fork Ecological Area on Arbor Day
Earth Day 2016 – EKU faculty, staff, students and volunteers join The American Chestnut Foundation to plant 1200 American Chestnuts in Taylor Fork Ecological Area on Arbor Day

The effort with The American Chestnut Foundation seeks to restore the iconic tree as a staple in eastern forests.

April 22, 2016 – Karen and Harry Pelle volunteer with EKU American Chestnut planting
April 22, 2016 – Karen and Harry Pelle volunteer with EKU American Chestnut planting

 

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.

April 23, 2016 – Newly discovered American Chestnut sprouts on Pelle tree farm
April 23, 2016 – Newly discovered American Chestnut sprouts on Pelle tree farm

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.’”

 

KWOA launches Facebook page

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! 

Facebook clip

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.

Flowering pear trees becoming the scourge of central Kentucky woodland pastures

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 30th Lexington Herald-Leader.

Wild invasive flowering pear trees in a field near a subdivision near Southpoint Dr. in Lexington, Ky., Monday, March 28, 2016.
Wild invasive flowering pear trees in a field near a subdivision near Southpoint Dr. in Lexington Photo courtesy Lexington 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.

Article excerpts courtesy Lexington Herald-Leader

KWOA and NWOA support resolution to create Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force

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

Industry Key to Conserving Forests as Demand for Wood Projected to Triple by 2050

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.

KWOA POSITION STATEMENT

Mission Guide

Kentucky Wood Owners Association (KWOA) is the only statewide organization devoted exclusively to assisting its members in achieving their forest ownership goals. KWOA, a not-for-profit organization, is one of 36 state affiliate of the National Woodland Owners Association.  Membership is diverse with a variety of interests and sizes of ownership. Interests in woodland ownership include timber production, wildlife management, resource conservation and green space.  Membership includes absentee owners as well as those who reside on their woodland property. Ownership ranges from those with several acres to those with more than a thousand acres.

KWOA seeks to promote economically and environmentally sound forest management by advancing the skills of woodland owners and providing communications and networking.

Programs and policies are guided by woodland owner members and aim to protect member interests, seek fairness in addressing woodland issues while enhancing the value and benefits of Kentucky woodlands.

History and Background

An organizing meeting for Kentucky Woodland Owners Association was held February 12, 1994, as part of the University of Kentucky’s annual Forest Owners Seminar in Bardstown.  Later that month an organizing committee met at Gethsemani Abby and identified steps to formally organize.  On July 10, 1994, twelve woodland owners serving as directors approved Articles of Incorporation and By-laws. Formal incorporation was completed in August 1994. The November 6, 1994, directors meeting focused on charting a direction and planning activities that included plans for an annual meeting, membership drive and legislative strategy.

The Association’s initial strategy focused on three areas regarding use and management of Kentucky’s renewable resources:

1. Leadership

2.  Sustainable development and productivity

3.  Public awareness

MAJOR POLICY UPDATE OF 2004

The above policy guidance served the Association for the first 10 years.  Then in 2004 under the Association’s Woodland Economic Development Committee led by Dr. Herb Loyd and Bob Bauer, an updated and comprehensive policy statement was finalized and approved by the board of directors.

2004 POLICIES FOR BUILDING A STRONGER WOODLAND ECONOMY

Some 46 specific policies were outlined in the following areas:

Forest health, diversity and quality

Research and education

Markets

Incentives

Communications and consensus

EFFORTS TO UPDATE 2004 KWOA POSITION PAPER

The Association Board of Directors at the February 11, 2008 meeting adopted a plan prepared by the Policy Committee to update the 2004 KWOA position statement.  The Policy Committee chaired by Joe Ball met in Lexington February 25, 2008, and outlined assignments related to revising and adding new and emerging issues such as Biomass, carbon sequestration, certification, LEEDS, etc.  UK indicated interest in developing a mail survey to identify woodland owners’ areas of interest and emphasis. Response to assignments and enthusiasm was mixed.

Following a hiatus in late 2008 and early 2009 Chairman Ball sought ideas and suggestions related to updating the paper from several directors.  After circulating a discussion paper, he hosted an informal field trip to his tree farm October 21-23, 2009 to discuss a variety of policy, legislative and organizational issue. After reviewing notes and written comments from participants, in February and March of 2010 Don Girton summarized comments and suggestions. The results were then circulated for additional comments from committee members, county agents and some county Farm Bureau presidents.

Using the comments and suggestions from the above described sources; Chairman Ball using material from the aforementioned work prepared the following revised draft.

2011

I. CURRENT SITUATION – Indicators for future actions

Forest Resources

· 47% of land area in trees, with urban forests an important part.

· 95% of the private family timberland holdings are less than 100 acres.

· Kentucky 3rd In production of hardwood lumber, 10% of US production.

· Kentucky leading state in production of white oak timber.

Forest Economy

· Forestry is a major segment of Kentucky’s economy — $6-8 billion.

· Most lumber demand has not recovered following recession of 08-09.

· Returns to woodland owners estimated at only $186 million annually.

· 35,000 jobs in timber related industries, concentration in Louisville area.

Forest Management Challenges

· High percentage of timber is low quality and slow growth rate, resulting from past harvests of taking the best and leaving the rest.

· Tremendous potential to improve timber quality and quantity.

· Only a limited acreage of timber stand improvement carried out.

· Much of forest management, marketing and promotion are status quo.

· Market system is “primitive” and market prices difficult to obtain.

· Many veneer log sales handled by middle men, traders or “pin hookers,” making it difficult for landowners to know if they are realizing full value.

· Returns on investment for tree farmers are very low.

· Very limited acreage of timberland involved in structured stewardship or management program.

· Presently have 842 certified “Tree Farms” with approximately 220,000 acres in addition about 1,000 acres certified under Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). Supply of certified wood limited.

· Certified “Tree Farm” numbers not growing, may be declining.

· Investing in timber stand improvement for positive economic return requires careful consideration of costs and returns.

Policy Opportunities

· Kentucky lacks a comprehensive forestry statute, setting forth a shared vision for Kentucky’s forests.

· Presently public funding for forestry is very disproportional to the size of the forest economy.

· Interest in urban forest activities are growing and environmental groups are expressing a stronger concern for sustainable forests.

· Kentucky Revenue Cabinet’s guidelines for assessing timberlands are not fair or equitable when compared with other agricultural activities.

· Growing numbers of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) add concerns about increases in private property trespass, timber theft and wild fires.

KWOA Role

· An organization for woodland owner (KWOA) was established in 1994 and is affiliated with the National Woodland Owners Association (NWOA). KWOA has established itself by “networking” with other organizations sharing interest in forests.

· A limited number of county affiliates have been established. Most counties are without any kind of established forest organization or committee, even those with 90%+ of their land in forests.

II. NEW EMPHASIS – The trend of the day is to go “Green.”

Most of the major primary and secondary forest industries are pursuing ways to participate in some level of green certification. Pulp and paper people seem to be leading the charge.

Growing concern by the general public as they become stakeholders and exhibit interest in sequestering carbon in forests, clean water, aesthetics as well as more local utilization of products of the forest.

Government actions will greatly affect the timeliness of change as well as guidelines to follow.

Building codes are rapidly going green

Furniture and consumer products are going green

Energy production is going green and the forests may provide the greatest abundance of sustainable raw material such as:

· Biomass to alcohol

· Wood fiber to electricity

· Home and industrial heating from wood fibers

III. STRATEGIC PLAN – Actions Kentucky can take to enhance the value and sustain its most abundant natural resource to benefit all the citizens of the state; woodland owners up to the consumer of the environment.

1. Kentucky General Assembly needs to enact legislation to create a comprehensive forest program for Kentucky. Such an act would provide a shared (for all the players) identifiable vision for Kentucky forestry to move forward and include incentives for woodland owners to invest and better manage their woodlands to expand the resource base. Other states have such programs and we need to catch up.

2. KWOA favors implementing other sections of the Forest Conservation Act of 1998 in addition to water quality sections. Renew and modify sections of the act that speak to implementing Silvicultural practices as well as infrastructure for dedicated timber tracts which would provide for truck roads, landings, fire lanes, trails and water control measures.

3. KWOA favors an emphasis on third party certification to document green standards. Some form of 3rd party certification is necessary and becomes prerequisite to most future actions the woodland owner would take.  It might enable selling certified wood products, more fully participate in government assistance programs, selling carbon credits and documenting the fact that a timber tract is a managed farm, thus making it eligible to be assessed in accordance with farmland guidelines or other state mandated programs.

4. KWOA favors a “whole land practice” approach to implementing managing timber tracts, especially when government cost share is involved.

The stewardship plan would be the guide to the practices needed and the amount of cost share justified for the acreage.

Rather than just doing a harvest – approach your timber tract with a comprehensive plan—layout (NRCS technical help) and construct roads, log landings and fire lanes prior to harvest.

Harvest would focus on taking mature trees, removing culls, thinning and fighting invasive species. Upon completion, your forest would be ready to grow and produce the next crop.

Benefits of this practice are numerous. Cost of timber stand improvement would be less, roads would make all work easier and harvest more economical and water control maintenance more manageable. (90% of the negative effect of logging is erosion from poor roads.)

The “whole land practice” of managing a timber tract would very much involve the logger, if the landowner does not perform the harvest. Loggers are where the action takes place on the land and until the advent of the Master Logger Program these vital people had not been formally involved in education. The logger with the appropriate equipment and know how could perform the multiple practices more economically than individual practices.

5. KWOA is committed to a state level organization to represent the interest of woodland owners.  Resources are needed to meet that commitment. KWOA should explore all opportunities, following experiences of other states and continue to explore other opportunities such as government funds, private grants, product check off, mineral severance, etc.

6. In addition to a statewide organization, more structures need to be developed at the county and community level. KWOA is committed to networking with all government agencies and private organizations to provide a vehicle to provide education and technical assistance at those levels. This is especially an opportunity for the Land Grant University.

7. KWOA was successful in pulling together the resources at the state level of those most concerned with health of Kentucky forests. In addition to problems of invasive insects, diseases and plants, natural disasters take a toll on forests. Ice storm, tornados, droughts and other happenings stimulate federal disaster programs. A Health Task Force should be granted the responsibility and authority to take leadership for these programs at the state level.

8. KWOA favors a formal evaluation of the primary market system for wood material with special emphasis on looking at openness, fairness and competition from the position of the tree farmer selling logs and chip material. Most of the veneer logs are sold through middle men, traders or pin hookers who may subtract a high percentage of the profits from the woodland owner. What are the alternatives to making the market system more efficient and profitable for the logger and producer as well as providing mills the kinds of raw materials they process? Presently mills buy a lot of materials they are unable to process, thus requiring resale to other processors.

9. The Kentucky Agriculture News Service in cooperation with USDA provides market price information for most agriculture commodities. Such market information is not presently available to the logger and woodland owner. KWOA favors fairness in service from the Market News Service, thus make the markets more transparent.

10. The suppression of forest fires is a major budget item for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Fire damage to woodlands and wildlife have untold economic impact. KWOA recommends creation of an “Ad Hock Task Force” to evaluate the economic and ecological impacts of wild fires along with an in-depth analysis of the existing fire prevention and suppression programs and related costs for the eastern Kentucky forests. If improvements could be made, recommendations would be forthcoming.

11. KWOA favors requiring a percentage of Kentucky electric generation to be powered from green sources. Since wood fiber is an abundant and renewable resource in the state, the utilization of low quality timber could have positive effects. To the logger and woodland owner it could become profitable to harvest this material and result in increased growth and quality of the next crop. To the electric generator it could improve combustion and reduce harmful emissions. Serious consideration should be given to possible negative consequences. Therefore, sustainable harvest protection would be required.

12. Continue to advocate fairness in timberland taxes. Seek to correct existing unlawful assessments of timberland by utilizing the recently completed study of University of Kentucky Department of Forestry that has developed assessed values for a variety of timber types and conditions.

13. Promote youth forestry education by offering scholarships for individuals intending to pursue careers in natural resources. Our Kentucky Woodland Owners Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation is in place to service the scholarship program as well as working with 4H and FFA on youth project.

14. Explore opportunities to develop through grants or partnerships a youth initiative utilizing social networking and/or programs such as Project Learning Tree.

15. Timber theft-property trespass – Open timber tracts in isolated locations are prone to timber theft and unauthorized trespass. The expanding number of all-terrain vehicles (ATV) continues to exacerbate the problems of soil erosion, noise, littering and increases the difficulty of dealing with arson fires.  The legislature needs to provide the public and law enforcement more tools for action in addressing this problem.

August 18, 2011, Draft Position Statement reviewed at KWOA Board meeting.

October 14, 2011, Revised with member and partner comments.

KWOA Policy Committee

L. D. “Joe” Ball, Chairman; Dr. James “Greg” Kuhns. Dr. James Corum; J. Henry Duncan; Don Girton

The Policy Committee thanks all association members and our many partners who provided ideas, comments and guidance in developing this policy statement.

APPROVED BY KENTUCKY WOODLAND OWNERS ASSOCIATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT ITS REGULAR MEETING ON NOVEMBER 17, 2011.

J. Henry Duncan, President

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.