Have you conducted a timber harvest on your land? Was the experience what you expected? Were you satisfied with the results? Or if you are considering a harvest, what questions and concerns do you have?
KWOA/KWOF is starting a series of articles on the topic of timber harvests. The series will include articles, publications and resources on contracts, harvesting, best management practices, landowner relationships with and responsibilities of consulting foresters, logging inspections and reports, remediation for and correction of BMP violations.
To begin the series we are providing a list of articles that have been published in the University of Kentucky Forestry Extension’s Kentucky Woodlands Magazine. The articles are listed chronologically beginning with the magazine’s first issue in 2006. To read the full articles go to: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/KYWoodlandsmagazine/about.php.
We would also like to hear from woodland owners about their experiences, questions and lessons learned. Please submit comments, questions and/or articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kentucky’s Consulting Foresters
November 2006 1.2
Christopher J. Will
Kentucky Master Loggers and WoodlandOwners
April 2007 2.1
Forestry Water Quality Plans
April 2008 3.1
Amanda Abnee Gumbert Selective Harvesting Part One
Sustainable Management of High-grading?
August 2008 3.2
Selective Harvesting Part Two
Elements of a Selective Harvest
December 2008 3.3
Managing and Preventing Woodland Degradation
December 2009 4.3
Timber Measurements, Products, Harvesting, and Sales
April 2010 5.1
Tracking the Establishment of Invasive Exotic Species in a Timber Harvest
August 2011 6.2
Kevin Devine, Jeff Stringer, Songlin Fei, Chris Barton Woodland Roads
December 20102 7.2
Selecting a Logger
April 2013 8.1
Logging and Woodland Owners
How to Protect Yourself from Bad Actors
August 2013 8.2
Jeff Stringer and Mark Schuster
It’s Your Woods
(So Know Your Ags and Ugs)
December 2013 8.3
Hardwood Timber Products and Tree Value
Winter 2014 9.2
Kentucky’s Woodland Owners and Logging Best Management Practices
Summer/Fall 2015 10.1
Protecting Woodlands from Timber Theft and Trespass
Spring 2016 10.2
Jeff Stringer, Chad Niman, Billy Thomas
Changes to Kentucky’s Forestry Best Management Practices
Thanks to the following educators for participation in the field day and information for this article:
Eric Baker, Estill Co Extension Agriculture/Natural Resource Agent
Jason Powell, KDF
Sam Miller, NRCS
Merle Hacker, KDF&W
Portia Brown, KWOA
Henry Duncan and Clarissa Rentz, KWOA – photos
Woodlands owners experienced an exceptional on-site tour of a top-rated tree farm on October 5. Jack Stickney, 2016 Kentucky Tree Farmer of the Year, and his wife Teresa own 100 acres of woodlands in Estill County. During the field day agency professionals assisted the Stickney’s demonstrations, covering topics that included timber stand improvement (TSI) practices, technical and financial assistance programs, advanced agricultural practices, shitake mushroom production and wildlife habitat management.
Located in the eastern knobs and eastern coalfield region of Kentucky, Estill County transitions the bluegrass to the mountains. The county is covered by 116,480 acres of woodland which is an important part of the local economy. Approximately 75 percent of Estill County is forest, of which around 4,500 acres lie within the Daniel Boone National Forest.
Estill County has beautiful natural resources and we were so pleased to have 101 people come enjoy the field day and help showcase the Stickney family’s exceptional stewardship efforts on their farm and woodlands. Eric Baker, Estill Coounty Agriculture/ Natural Resource Extension Agent
The Stickneys got a forest stewardship plan from KDF in 1987, the same year they purchased the land. In accordance with the plan they have implemented timber stand improvement (TSI) on all their woodlands. Sam Miller, NRCS Technical and Financial Assistance Program, has worked with the Stickneys over the last 20 years to provide financial assistance through various programs (WHIP, FIP – now EQIP, and CRP). They broke the TSI practice down into segments of 8 to 10 acres to be tackled at a time. For this practice KDF helped by marking the trees.
Marking trees – KDF uses a blue dot to identify trees to be killed using hack and squirt or cut stump herbicide treatment. An “X” is used to mark desirable species, such as red and white oak, hickory and poplar that could benefit from simply cutting to encourage healthy re-sprout; no herbicide would be used on these stumps.
The Stickneys have planted a variety of tree species. They began by planting northern hardy pecans 25 years ago but have not had significant nut production. The trees still help preserve water quality. In 2003, under the Conservation Reserve Program they planted more pecans and walnuts in a 2.2-acre tract of bottomlands along the Red River. This area has flooding so their practices help water quality. They also planted a few cypress trees. The first planting was 800 trees 15 years ago. Early plantings did not fare so well due to weeds and deer and beaver predation. KDF helped with the next planting – in rows 12 feet apart with seedlings at 8 foot centers – and using herbicides to control weeds.
For decades, Estill County first thought of woodland as a logging opportunity. Too often, the woods were high graded and left without any consideration for the future. This is not a sustainable practice. It is far better to harvest in a calculated way, doing selective harvesting with management post-harvest for desirable species to come back. Managing woodlands is investing in the future.
The Stickney’s first non-timber forest product venture was growing shitake mushrooms from logs. The first ten years was for personal use. After a TSI practice opened a 67 acre area, they began growing mushrooms on 500 logs. They transitioned to a commercial operation adding oyster mushrooms to the shiitake farming. Their
land is at the edge of the outer Bluegrass and the Knobs limestone creek bottoms are excellent for soaking logs.
Eighty percent of the nutrients in mushrooms comes from the mycelium. The stem of a shiitake has a lot of medicinal value. Teresa dries the stems and grinds them into a powder that she uses to add flavor to recipes for gravy and Alfredo sauce. Jack says “Eastern Kentucky should be the mushroom capital of the world.” He thinks there is a valuable future market for mushrooms as a medicinal product, especially in cancer treatment.
In 2003, the Stickneys planted native warm season grasses to provide rotational grazing for their grass fed beef production and to provide grazing throughout the summer. They have a 30 to 50% improvement over continuous grazing by using rotation. They fenced cattle out of the streams and woodlands and instead water them using gravity-fed waterlines from a spring on the property to four strategically placed tanks. In addition to rotational grazing, the native warm season grasses provide good mixes for pollinators and value for ground nesting species, rabbits, turkeys and quail. Undergrowth in woodland habitats is fabulous for wildlife such as rough grouse and other birds. They like the scattered light as opposed to the closed canopy. Mid story removal also promotes filtered sunlight.
The next stage for the Stickney’s woodlands will be to ramp up invasive species management. They are fighting bush honeysuckle and multiflora rose. Having a plant identification guide can help identify invasives. Many factors, such as ice storms, disease and insects open up the forest and introduce opportunities for invasives.
Managing woods for a diversity of species helps brace against diseases that can take out one species.
Life isn’t all crop production at the tree farm. The Stickneys have hosted many educational field days over the years including Scouts, MACED, Shitake Mountain Mushroom Foundation Festival and environmental practices. They have a teepee for the Scouts to use and an elevated viewing station in the woods. They have excellent wildlife and allow deer and turkey hunting.
Jerry and Portia Brown have been awarded the central regional and the state Division of Forestry awards as the 2017 Outstanding Forest Stewards. The award will be presented to them at the awards luncheon October 20 during the 41st annual Kentucky Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment in Lexington. The conference’s two days of discussion and debate will examine the top issues involving Kentucky’s energy future and its environment.
“Over the years we have learned so much, met many wonderful people who share our interest in sustaining the natural resources that bless us all, and tried to share our time, talents and resources to conserve these invaluable resources and promote sustainable practices.”
The selection committee chose the Browns for having “… left a beneficial, everlasting mark on the natural resources of our great Commonwealth.” The award reflects work done at both farms. Grayson Woods, the Grayson County Tree Farm that Portia’s mother started a little before 1950 to curb severely eroded land reflects successful and natural transition from a pine plantations to native hardwood. The last pines were harvested in 2014 with the help of ACA consultant, Chris Will. Jerry & Chris laid out road access to the site prior to opening the bidding process. This served a dual purpose:
> preparing the site with respect to BMP practices for logging
> allowing bidders to better see what trees were to be harvested and any areas of concern relating to the actual harvest process.
The Shelby Property contributes an educational center and reflects post-harvest regeneration. The Browns purchased this land in 1996. The majority of the land was clear cut around 1975 for transition to grazing / silage crops. An area of roughly 35 acres, that the Browns like to call “The Back Forty”, appears to have been high-graded about 75 years ago.Their first project was re-aligning access roads to prevent erosion and improve the quality of access. They used a number of techniques for crop tree release and invasive species control in order to nurture the regeneration of native hardwood species. They also use several techniques to provide wildlife habitat, including:
the establishment of over 30 acres in local ecotype native grasslands with over 50 wildflower species (such as milkweed for pollinators)
a variety of wetland and woodland habitats.
Portia observes that over the years the Kentucky Division of Forestry in Grayson County has provided outstanding service to their family by guiding them through stewardship options, educating them on the implications of different practices, and connecting them with various programs to help implement their plan. Federal programs including CRP & EQIP, administered through NRCS, have provided financial aid that made it feasible to implement many of the practices. State assistance has also come through KY Fish & Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy.
The Salt River Watershed Watch project plants trees, shrubs and grasses in riparian areas to improve water quality. The project is designed to raise awareness of the importance of the riparian zone, and the important part it plays in water quality. Last fall SRWW volunteers planted 1500 trees and hundreds of grasses and forbes along streams in Jefferson, Meade and Nelson counties.
The project focuses on Breckinridge, Bullitt, Jefferson, Oldham and Shelby Counties but will work anywhere in the basin. It is looking for landowners to provide property for plantings.
Identify riparian planting sites. If you own land along a creek you may nominate it. We will secure agreements with the landowners to allow us to come onto the property and they need to be willing to provide maintenance of trees/shrub seedlings for at least the first two years. If you know of a site with habitat that would be classified as “marginal” or “poor” please email Stephen Perry, Riparian Corridor Enhancement Project Manager at at email@example.com.
The project is supported by the Virginia Environmental Endowment, Kentucky Woodland Owners Association, UK Extension Service and Jefferson County Extension Office. The Salt River project is a pilot that hopes to be the lead on a statewide project.
Interest and demand for white oak timber supply is extremely high which has raised some concerns about the long-term sustainability of this invaluable resource. To address this concern, the Sustainability of White Oak Timber Conference was held at the Kentucky Forest Industries Annual Meeting on April 4, 2017. This conference was hosted by UK Forestry Extension—this is the second white oak meeting they have organized to address white oak supply in the last few years. Approximately 100 people attended the one day Sustainability of White Oak Timber Conference which provided information to industries dependent upon white oak and organizations/agencies associated with these industries. State and national experts provided updates on oak stand development, current forest inventory and monitoring, the issues affecting future white oak supply, and the need to establish a White Oak Partnership. There was overwhelming support amongst those in attendance to create a White Oak Partnership to address the following:
Proper monitoring of white oak growth and drain
Resources focused on addressing white oak threats
Economic modelling associated with determining white oak availability
Elected officials and governmental organizations understand the importance of this resource
Development of a National White Oak Initiative to help protect and improve white oak sustainability
If you would like to learn more about the White Oak Partnership please visit www.ukforestry.org or call Dr. Jeff Stringer at 859.257.5994.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” is the ultimate conversation stopper, says Steve Isaacs, UK extension coordinator for farm management, in the complex and often unpleasant and unproductive dialogue between family generations regarding what will happen to the family farm.
Family farm succession is about more than legal and tax implications according to Dr. Isaacs who is also director for the UK Tax Education Program. It is about the transfer of assets, management, leadership and, yes, debt in a cyclical process.
Isaacs stressed that the first priority in this cycle is assuring an adequate retirement income for the parents. The estate tax is a paper tiger for most people; “death taxes don’t destroy family farms… families do.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are only two categories of workers that are older than farmers – school crossing guards and Walmart greeters.
Isaacs recommended engaging a transition team familiar with farmland issues that could include an attorney, accountant, financial planner, lender, extension educator and/or business consultant. This team’s function is to identify and generate ideas, technical information, evaluation and suggestions.
Isaacs recommended conducting the transition discussion at a neutral location, not at the family kitchen table. He advised treating siblings fairly, not necessarily equally and include spouses in the discussion.
A facilitator and recorder will summarize and document the items on which the family has agreed.
With some guidance and a transition plan, Isaacs says the conversation by the entire family can become “Here’s how we’re going to take care of things.”
Steve will be conducting a full day session on this subject in the near future. Check our events page for that announcement.
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.’”
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.
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.