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Author Topic: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?  (Read 9621 times)

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Offline caveman

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What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« on: March 28, 2011, 10:29:19 PM »
I have begun training an FFA forestry team that will compete in the national FFA forestry contest next October.  One of the areas that they will have to be knowledge of, and be able to discuss intelligently, is forest issues.  In Florida, we deal a lot with invasive plants and animals, wild fire, urban encroachment/fragmentation, smoke dispersion on prescribed fire  and others.  If those of you from around the country would fill me in on issues you face, I would really appreciate your help.
 Caveman
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Offline woodtroll

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 10:54:37 PM »
They are all good subjects.
Along with most of them, we are concerned with epidemic insect problems.
The problems arising from this.
Heavy fuel loading.
Loss timber base.
Loss of age classes.

Offline John Mc

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 11:11:05 AM »
A big issue around here (Vermont, and probably a lot a areas in the Northeast) is fragmentation and parcelization. All of the blocks are getting split up into smaller and smaller pieces. This tends to make any kind of timber harvest uneconomical, not to mention breaking up wildlife habitat.

We also have serious concerns about invasive species. The bugs are getting all the attention, but invasive plants are a serious threat as well. Unfortunately, it's still legal for nurseries to sell some types of known invasive plants here in Vermont. So we're battling to clean it up on one hand, and introducing new seed sources on the other.

John Mc
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Ron Scott

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Offline WDH

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 09:58:32 PM »
Stumpage prices are very low compared to historical prices, making the economics of establishing a commercial forest much less attractive.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Magicman

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 03:11:56 PM »
So many (mine included) family farms that once were open pastures and row crops are now planted in trees.  At what point does the supply outpace the demand and adversely affect timber prices?

Which is kinda what WDH just said.   :-\
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Offline caveman

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 08:19:31 PM »
Those are good points about stumpage prices and low demand due to former crop land planted in trees.  I had assumed the opposite has happened elsewhere as it has in central Florida.  When I was a kid, the major crop in my area was citrus.  Polk County was known as the citrus capitol of the world.  On the land where many of those former groves were there are now 4-6 houses per acre.  Caveman
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Offline John Mc

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 08:28:15 AM »
So many (mine included) family farms that once were open pastures and row crops are now planted in trees.  At what point does the supply outpace the demand and adversely affect timber prices?

Interesting point. Are any of these farmland conversions old enough that they are actually supplying trees at this point?

Poor stumpage prices is a big factor in our area as well. I've heard a few stories from foresters and loggers about retirees who have been doing "all the right things" in their woodlots for many years, thinking they were building a financial cushion for emergencies. When they saw their 401-Ks and other savings wiped out by the financial melt down a few years ago, they called in their forester. The forester took a look and checked mill prices and had to get back to them with some bad news. by the time they paid him, the logger and the trucker, they would not get enough from the sale to cover their costs, let alone come out ahead. So their "backup retirement plan" was wiped out as well.

One of the bigger issues in the forest really didn't happen in the forest: the huge melt-down in housing and construction has decimated demand for many products. The glut of foreclosed houses on the market isn't helping with demand either...

John Mc
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Gary_C

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 09:12:41 AM »
One of the bigger issues in the forest really didn't happen in the forest: the huge melt-down in housing and construction has decimated demand for many products. The glut of foreclosed houses on the market isn't helping with demand either...

So there's another threat to forestry. It's the financial markets. Normally in a housing market downturn there is an upturn in the remodeling work as people stay in their houses and remodel for needs. But in these times even financing for the remodeling work has dried up. Interest rates may be at historic lows, but availability of loans is at an all time low with declining home values and bank regulators holding a tight rein on the banks. And credit card lending is all but dried up with the demise of those home equity loans.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline WDH

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 10:21:17 AM »
Yes, currently, the biggest issues in Forestry are not ecological or biological, they are financial.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline John Mc

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2011, 11:49:52 AM »
Good point, Gary C. It's hard to get a home equity loan for remodeling when you have no equity anymore...
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline sjfarkas

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 10:25:30 PM »
Here in CA a big concern is the Forest Service not selling much.  The mills need a steady supply and the forest are only letting go 5-10% of what the forests grow.  This is going to make it pretty tough for the mills to have the supply needed.  We have a mill scheduled to reopen very soon and everyone is worried they'll only last another year or two before they have to shut down due to a lack of supply.  private lands can't supply the total need here in my area for very long.
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Offline woodtroll

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 11:10:57 PM »
Why are they limiting cutting?
Prices to low?
To many regulations: roadless areas, protected sites, nest sites, protected animal sites, cultural sites...
The list could go on.
What is their allowable cut?
Do they not hire timber people any more?

Cutting is going on in the Black Hills NF.



Offline PAFaller

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2011, 05:42:59 PM »
Another topic that is related in a round about way is a pending logger shortage. Some areas see it more than others, but even here in the quality hardwood region it is starting to become an issue. Its not new news that demand is low across the board for wood products, and many operators have retired and/or just left the profession. Mechanization will make up for some of the loss, but the cost of start-up is nearly impossible. Add to that the cost of insurances, compensation, etc its no surprise fewer people are looking to the woods as a steady line of work. At 28 years old I am one of if not the youngest guy around here that took the plunge to buy a skidder and go to work, but working alone I am certainly not keeping any big mill or paper company in wood. At some point demand will rebound, but mills are worried they may not have to workforce in the woods to meet it.
It ain't easy...

Offline jim king

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2011, 11:07:06 PM »
I agree it is the money, that is probably not the line you wanted to talk about but it certainly is the problem of the day.

Quote
Yes, currently, the biggest issues in Forestry are not ecological or biological, they are financial.

Second most dangerous is the ecology industry has to much money and will do everything possible to stop forestry confusing it with deforestation.  But that being said the subdivisions and roads will continue to pick away at the forests and the blame will go on the industry as blaming developers is not as easy to sell.

If you read Spanish I can send you what the ecos are pushing here and with US Govt financial  support and it is coming your way..

Here is a wild story that was just published obviously from an idiot that has never been to Peru but was fed this line by the eco nuts.

http://truthout.org/peru%E2%80%99s-less-benign-environmental-policy/1302246000#comment-436

Offline caveman

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2011, 09:45:03 PM »
Thanks, Jim.  I do not read Spanish well but I have some kids who can interpret.  I did read some of the propaganda the idiot you mentioned wrote of.  There are folks with radical views who make trouble for those using sound practices in many industries.  Caveman
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Offline timerover51

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 04:30:17 AM »
I would echo Jim's comments regarding the perception that harvesting timber means permanent deforestation.  Having had two children go through the current US educational system, and then doing some teaching in special programs, the impression given to most grade school, junior high, and high school students, along with all too many college students is that logging is WRONG and must be stopped completely. When I tell people, students and teachers, that there is as much forested land now in North American as there was when Colombus arrived, I am viewed as borderline insane.  When I tell them that much of New England was cleared of timber, and now has regrown, I am pretty much disbelieved.

When I ask how would houses be built if there were no timber harvested, it is like that is a totally new idea, that houses have to be built of something and do not magically appear, or without a timber harvest, you would have no paper to use or feed into your computer print. and no pencils to write with on the paper.  If I show them pictures of clear cut areas being replanted with seedlings, it is a complete shock to them, as they believe that once an area is clear cut, it is doomed to be forever cleared.  What needs to be done is get through to the public that forestry is a good thing to do, and can be done in a highly responsible manner.  Until that is done, the regulations and negative propoganda is simply going to get worse.

Offline CT Trapper

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2011, 10:24:35 PM »
Here in CA a big concern is the Forest Service not selling much.  The mills need a steady supply and the forest are only letting go 5-10% of what the forests grow.  This is going to make it pretty tough for the mills to have the supply needed.  We have a mill scheduled to reopen very soon and everyone is worried they'll only last another year or two before they have to shut down due to a lack of supply.  private lands can't supply the total need here in my area for very long.


I am not a logger but believe the biggest threat, is the same other industry and business are, and will be facing, regulations.

Offline jpsheb

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 09:54:40 PM »
So many (mine included) family farms that once were open pastures and row crops are now planted in trees.  At what point does the supply outpace the demand and adversely affect timber prices?

Interesting point. Are any of these farmland conversions old enough that they are actually supplying trees at this point?

Poor stumpage prices is a big factor in our area as well. I've heard a few stories from foresters and loggers about retirees who have been doing "all the right things" in their woodlots for many years, thinking they were building a financial cushion for emergencies. When they saw their 401-Ks and other savings wiped out by the financial melt down a few years ago, they called in their forester. The forester took a look and checked mill prices and had to get back to them with some bad news. by the time they paid him, the logger and the trucker, they would not get enough from the sale to cover their costs, let alone come out ahead. So their "backup retirement plan" was wiped out as well.

One of the bigger issues in the forest really didn't happen in the forest: the huge melt-down in housing and construction has decimated demand for many products. The glut of foreclosed houses on the market isn't helping with demand either...

John Mc


Caveman, 

How did the workshop last October go?

Regarding John's post above, My land in SW Tennessee (Henderson area) like this.  It was farmland roughly 40-50 years ago and is now in a position to yield trees of varying qualities ranging from chip & saw pines and tie/pulp grade bottom land hardwoods up to 30" pines & stave-grade oaks. 

In fact, I have a cousin who helicopter crop dusts tree-farms all over the place and has mentioned to me that because of the depressed timber prices and elevated corn prices, the land in some areas he goes, like Iowa, is worth several times more as corn field than as forest.  Corn & cotton are the biggest crops around my area in SW Tennessee. 

As for long-term forestry issues, if what my cousin tells me, you may see some folks cutting their timber, even at the currently low prices, simply to convert the land for growing corn. 

Offline WDH

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Re: What are major issues facing forestry in U.S.?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2012, 07:39:34 AM »
Conversion of timberland to cropland will happen.  It is part of the cycle.  In my lifetime, there was one property next to mine that was in pine timber from the Soil Bank Program when I was young, cleared into cropland and I grew up and was farmed, and then planted to pine under the CRP Program where it is now.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5-111, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com


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