Category Archives: Policy

Government and Industry Policy Discussion

Bill Would Help Woodland Owners Weather Storm Losses

The Forestry Recovery Act of 2019 (H.R. 144) would help woodland owners recover from natural disasters by increasing the amount of financial relief provided by the casualty loss tax deduction.

 

The legislation allows forest landowners to take a casualty loss tax deduction of up to fair market value of their timber when it is destroyed by a catastrophic disaster. The tax deduction is especially important because timber growers do not have access to crop insurance and private insurance is often too expensive and provides inconsistent coverage.

HR 1444 currently has 36 sponsors representing both parties and states from Florida to Texas and Maine to Colorado.  The bill has been stalled in Ways and Means Committee since it was introduced last year.

For more info…

Loggers Seek Parity with Agriculture on Trade, Tariff Policies

The American Loggers Council (ALC) and its member state logging associations delivered letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, asking the administration to include unrefined forest products as an agricultural commodity. ALC and its members say aligning timber and agriculture would enable impacted loggers to receive relief as the industry continues to be impacted by retaliatory tariffs.

 

What’s the Difference Between Forests, Woods, and Jungles?

According to Merriam-Webster, a forest is “a dense growth of trees and underbrush covering a large tract,” while woods are “a dense growth of trees usually greater in extent than a grove and smaller than a forest.” To set it apart from woods, or woodland, a forest usually has to meet certain density qualifications. Unlike forests, jungles don’t have specific scientific classifications, because the word jungle isn’t really used by scientists. According to Sciencing, it’s a colloquial term that usually denotes what scientists refer to as tropical forests.

Read more….

Petition to protect the Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor

Louisville Gas and Electric (LG&E) requested an easement from Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest for the proposed Bullitt County Natural Gas Pipeline. Alternative routes exist that would not destroy conservation lands.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please consider signing a Petition to protect the Cedar Grove Wildlife Corridor. This Corridor is the section of Bernheim property that LG&Eequested easement and deed restrictions for.

Older trees remove more carbon from the atmosphere

Helping existing forests grow to their full potential is more beneficial than reforesting areas that were previously logged or growing trees in areas where there were none.

The research paper “Intact Forests in the United States: Proforestation Mitigates Climate Change and Serves the Greatest Good,” published in scientific journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change on June 11, cites research that found “extending harvest cycles and reducing cutting on public lands had a larger effect than either afforestation or reforestation on increasing carbon stored in forests in the Northwest United States.”

Ongoing Work to Protect Bernheim Forest in Bullitt County

From the Kentucky Resources Council August 2019 newsletter

The defense of the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest continues in Bullitt County. KRC’s Environmental and Community Defense team is gearing up its legal defense of Bernheim-owned tracts that are under a double-threat of taking by LG&E and of a future by-pass corridor. It is working alongside additional counsel to protect one of our state’s ecologically diverse  conservation corridors. The proposed pipeline threatens conservation efforts at Bernheim, and is the first known effort of a Kentucky electric utility to interfere with a conservation easement in order to locate an intrastate pipeline, and proposes to run gas service through the easement and across a number of private properties and waterways in order to serve populations other than those across whose property it will impact.

January 2020 Update – KRC continues its representation of the Isaac Bernheim Foundation in opposing the effort of Louisville Gas and Electric Company to condemn an easement across two properties acquired by Bernheim for a conservation corridor.  KRC has filed and briefed a motion to dismiss the condemnation petition for failure to have named and negotiated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which owns an interest in the properties conferring on it the right to allow or refuse to allow such easements.

For more information about how this matter has unfolded…

Bernheim Under Threat Roadshow

Representatives from Bernheim will travel Bullitt County and the surrounding area to provide direct education on their current threat. Bernheim’s road show  and schedule is planned for several months.

Contact the Corps of Engineers and Fish & Wildlife

KRC is working hard to represent Bernheim in this ongoing issue, and your voice can make a difference, too. If you’re interested in getting involved, please consider contacting the Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service using the information below. As LG&E seeks approval for a pipeline corridor that its own consultant recommended avoiding, now is the time to demand that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consider not merely the water crossings and wetland loss, but also the impacts on terrestrial rare and endangered species and public and private lands, and that the Corps demand an individual 404 permit application and a complete terrestrial and aquatic biological assessment along the chosen route, as well as full consideration of alternatives.

Contact

Louisville District of the Corps of Engineers
Louisville District Regulatory Division Office, South Branch
502-315-6675

Kentucky Field Station of the US Fish and Wildlife Service Office
502-695-0468 | kentuckyes@fws.org

KWOA to provide input for and get advice from new UK forestry course

Human Dimension of Forestry and Natural Resources is a new forestry course in the University of Kentucky curriculum for forestry major seniors.

Billy Thomas, UK Extension instructor for the course, says he and co-instructor Laura Lhotka have changed their approach to the class  to provide a service component, expose the students to real world forestry and natural resource issues with strong human elements, and also make them aware of ongoing projects in Kentucky. In addition, they believe the exercise of working with different partners will be extremely beneficial to their future careers and help them develop into more well-rounded professionals.

In preparation students, divided into four separate groups, conducted preliminary research on their group’s Project Paper to “identify the problems/challenges” faced by an assigned real partner representative for whom that group works. KWOA is one of the organizations participating in a student group project. Students were tasked with assisting KWOA in promoting sustainable forest management in Kentucky and growing its membership.


Students used the TELE approach (Tools for Engaging Landowners Effectively) Engagement Guide prepared by the Sustaining Family Forests Initiative* that aims to gain and disseminate comprehensive knowledge about family forest owners.

Read more….

* The Sustaining Family Forests Initiative is a collaboration between the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Nonprofit Strategies.

The student team – Jacob Murray, Sarah Hays, Steven Bloom and Calvin Hornung -submitted their project at the end of the 2019 fall semester. It focused on obtaining new KWOA members and increasing funding. it also identified two audience segments that KWOA leadership has often wanted to target:  elderly landowners and their younger family members.

See more on the student recommendations in their full report and slide show.

Mapping microbial symbioses in forests

Data collected from over 1 million forest plots reveals patterns of where plant roots form symbiotic relationships with fungi and bacteria.

 

In and around the tangled roots of the forest floor, fungi and bacteria grow with trees, exchanging nutrients for carbon in a vast, global marketplace. A new effort to map the most abundant of these symbiotic relationships – involving more than 1.1 million forest sites and 28,000 tree species – has revealed factors that determine where different types of symbionts will flourish.

The work could help scientists understand how symbiotic partnerships structure the world’s forests and how they could be affected by a warming climate.

Stanford University researchers worked alongside a team of over 200 scientists to generate these maps, published May 15 in Nature.

The group used their map to predict how symbioses might change by 2070 if carbon emissions continue unabated. This scenario resulted in a 10 percent reduction in the biomass of tree species that associate with a type of fungi found primarily in cooler regions.

The data behind this map represents real trees from more than 70 countries and collaboration between hundreds of researchers who speak different languages, study different ecosystems and confront different challenges.

“There are more than 1.1 million forest plots in the dataset and every one of those was measured by a person on the ground. In many cases, as part of these measurements, they essentially gave the tree a hug,” said Brian Steidinger, a Stanford University researcher. “So much effort – hikes, sweat, ticks, long days – is in that map.”

Encouraging results in invasive species managment approaches

Removal of invasive shrubs has exceeded expectations for regeneration of native plants according to recent Penn State University research. Native shrubs that are mixed with invasive shrubs can recolonize on their own when invasives are removed. Read more…

Where eradication of invasive plants is not feasible, reducing their density and abundance to a level which allows native species to thrive through an integrated pest management approach is a viable alternative. Read more…

Stop deforestation and restore forests to solve biodiversity and climate change crises

Andrew Deutz from The Nature Conservancy regarding the new United Nations report on biodiversity:

One of the cheapest, most readily available and cost-effective things that we can do to both solve the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis is, first, stop deforestation and, second, restore forests and then, third, change our agricultural practices to increase soil carbon and soil health.

Source: What Can Be Done To Prevent Mass Extinctions

May 12, 2019 on NPR Weekend Edition Sunday