Featured Professional: John A. Erixson, Spotted Knapweed

Northwest Management, Inc.

Spotted Knapweed

Spotted Knapweed was introduced from Europe and is widely dispersed in the western United States. Each plant produces up to 25,000 seeds that are dispersed by wind, animals, and people. Seeds can remain viable for up to 8 years.

Spotted knapweed generally is a short-lived perennial, reproducing solely by seeds. The seeds may germinate from spring through early fall. Seedlings emerging in the fall often over-winter as a rosette of leaves, resuming growth again in the spring. The plant grows 2 to 4 feet tall and bears alternate, pale green leaves. The upper leaves are linear in shape. Stems are erect and rough, with slender branches. Numerous flowers are produced from early July through August. Flowers are pink to light purple.

Several biological control agents are available including root boring beetles and moths, seed head gall flies, and seed head weevils. The success to these control agents area generally good; however, re-application is often recommended due to the viability of the seeds remaining in the soil.
The best spotted knapweed control is prevention. The plant generally is easy to control with herbicides but an area must be monitored for several years and retreated.
Picloram (Tordon) at 0.25 to 0.5 pounds (1 to 2 pints) per acre will control spotted knapweed plants and seedlings for two to three years. The residual control period may be shorter on gravelly soils, in wet areas, and where soil organic matter is high. The optimum application time is during the rosette growth stage in the fall or in the bud to bloom stage in the spring. Picloram should not be used near water or where a sandy porous surface and substrata overlie ground water 10 feet or less below the surface.
Clopyralid + 2,4-D (Curtail) will provide good control of spotted knapweed with less soil residual than picloram or dicamba. Control is greatest when fall. A follow-up treatment the following year may be necessary to control seedlings.
For more information contact your County Weed Control Agent or Chemical Company.

Healthy Forest Restoration Act HFRA

The Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) often called the Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI) when it was being developed, has now been signed by the President and is in the works for 2004. The HFRA is considered the biggest change in the management of our nation’s forests in 100 years. The HFRA makes it possible to conduct forest management activities that are needed to protect communities and our nation’s national forests from over crowding and heavy fuel loads that contribute to the intense fires that have occurred in the last decade.

The most prominent piece of the HFRA is that the counties will now have the authority to identify the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) often called the “Woo-EE”. The WUI is the area surrounding a community, structures, water sources or infra-structure that could be significantly damaged by wildfire. The counties will determine how large the WUI should be and its location in the county. Many counties have Fire Mitigation Plans or Community Based Fire Plans that identify the treatment areas within the WUI. Funding for these plans have come from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Department of Lands (IDL). Counties with Plans will have an opportunity to receive funding for fuel treatment projects throughout the WUI. The HFRA provides the authority, funding and a mechanism for the counties to implement fuel treatment projects to help protect and mitigate the effects of wildfire in their communities.

In addition to the HFRA act, the National Fire Plan (NFP) has been supporting communities and counties for the past three years. Also Forest Stewardship Contracting allows for the trade of goods for services and would involve 7 to 10 year contracts to implement treatments on federal lands. Forest Stewardship contracting supports communities by allowing for local involvement, a longer time frame and an opportunity to implement the needed treatment adjacent to the communities. There are many acronyms and many different opportunities for counties and communities to look at. The US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the State of Idaho will be coming out with more information. If you have questions, give us a call at (208) 883-4488.

Featured Professional: Stefany Bales, Intermountain Forest Association, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

There has been considerable debate recently over what the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA), currently pending in the U.S. Senate, is and whether it will be helpful in reducing the impact of wildfire in our national forests.

One local group has demonstrated that they will apparently say anything to demonize the HFRA and to convince people that thinning forests is a bad idea.

Using the Momma Cascade timber sale and the Myrtle Creek fire, the Spokane-based Lands Council stooped to an all-time low in a desperate attempt to mischaracterize the issue.

The Lands Council claims that the Momma Cascade timber sale on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests is an example of a fuel reduction/thinning project as envisioned in the HFRA. It also contends that because the Myrtle Creek Fire burned in part of the sale that the project actually caused more problems than it solved. Its conclusion is fuel reduction sales don’t work, so we shouldn’t support the HFRA. Good logic if it were true.

IPNF Supervisor Ranotta McNair has said in no uncertain terms that the Momma Cascade sale was not a fuel reduction sale. The purpose of that sale was to remove some of the firs in the stand and replace them with white pine and larch. The average diameter of trees cut was 11 inches — not exactly huge. The project was about leaving the best trees behind. It was well analyzed and is consistent with the IPNF’s plans to restore some of North Idaho’s forests to what they once were.

Secondly, the Myrtle Creek Fire was an unfortunate result of carelessness in very dry conditions that resulted in serious threat to Bonners Ferry and its water supply. Evidence has shown that that fire behaved very differently in the areas that had been logged vs. the way it burned in the unmanaged areas. The fire climbed up into the crowns of the trees much more readily in areas that had not been managed.

Given the facts as they are, it appears that the Lands Council purposely tried to mislead people into believing the circumstances were different, which is unforgivable, especially when so much was at risk.

Unfortunately, the tactics the Lands Council uses are not unique. A similar-minded group of would-be forest saviors recently created a deceitful bit of street theater by dragging around a slice of a giant tree its claims was harvested from a thinning project. Didn’t take much to uncover that the group had actually stolen the slice from a Bureau of Land Management timber sale, which had been completed long before the HFRA was written.

One-hundred-ninety million acres of federal forest and rangeland are at high risk to catastrophic wildfire. Across the West is a sea of unbroken forest with trees growing so closely together that birds can’t fly between them. In some cases, 3,000 trees grow on a single acre where historically only 30 to 70 trees grew.

In 2002 Colorado’s Hayman Fire dumped mud and soot into Denver’s largest drinking water supply, torched thousands of acres of old-growth ponderosa pine and created the worst air conditions in Denver’s history. Oregon’s Biscuit Fire destroyed 80,000 acres of old growth habitat for the endangered northern spotted owl. Arizona’s Rodeo-Chediski Fire ravaged over 100,000 acres of habitat, including 20 sensitive nesting sights for the endangered Mexican Spotted Owl. These impacts are unacceptable, and avoidable.

The science is in regarding how best to reduce the impacts of wildfire on forests, wildlife, air and water quality, and communities. The HFRA does not give industry license to carve down big, old trees. It does not throw open the gates to log roadless areas. It does not shut people out of the public participation process. Anyone suggesting that is does either has not read the bill or is trying to mislead people. The HRFA does provide flexibility to forest managers and prioritizes science-based, site-specific management to ensure that our forests can survive the next fire that passes.

It’s time the charade stopped. These challenges are tough enough all by themselves without the bad feelings dishonesty causes.

*Stefany B. Bales is vice president of communications for the Intermountain Forest Association in Coeur d’Alene.

What is New in Cost Share?

The FLEP program has been funded in Washington and should be funded shortly in the other States. FLEP, an acronym for the Forest Land Enhancement Program, is a federally funded program that was established by the 2002 Farm Bill. The FLEP program is nationally coordinated by the USDA Forest Service to provide landowner education, on-site assistance and cost share assistance to develop Forest Stewardship Plans and implement a variety of forest stewardship practices. The cost share part of the plan replaces the former SIP (Stewardship Incentive Program) and FIP (Forest Incentive Program). Both of which have been eliminated by congress.

To qualify for FLEP you must be a non-industrial private forest landowner with less than 5,000 acres. This includes families, tribes, organizations, non-profits and similar organization not in the business of wood processing. If you own less than 20 acres you may qualify for FLEP cost share depending on your State’s specifications.

In order to participate in FLEP, the first step is to contact your State Forester or one of our staff and we will help you through the process. If you have a Stewardship Plan, you can apply for approved activities that include site preparation and planting, forest improvements (non-commercial thinning, prescribed burning, brush treatments), and fish and wildlife enhancement projects (rocks, weirs, plantings, and spring developments).

If you do not already have an approved Stewardship Plan this is the first activity that you do under FLEP. A professional forester will prepare a Stewardship Plan that is specific for your property and based on your goals and objectives. This plan provides the outline of the activities that you wish to implement on your property over the next 10 years. Each State has different guidelines and the information that must be incorporated into your plan will vary from State to State. In most States the cost of the
plan is usually cost shared and this cost is not applied toward the yearly cap for cost share dollars.

Once you apply for cost share dollars your application goes through a review process. This process can take several months. In Washington the applications are reviewed quarterly It is very important that you do not start the projects prior to receiving written approval. If you start your project prior to receiving the approval you will not receive any cost share on the project.

Activities are cost shared at different rates in each State depending on the priority of the activity. Generally, cost share amounts range from 50% to 75%. This can result in you receiving a payment for approved activities up to $5,000.00.

If you need help with applying for cost share activities or have question concerning which activities are funded this year, contact us or your State Forester.

Featured Professional: Steven Daley-Laursen, Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho

Dean, College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho

Last week, I returned from a visit with college donors in southern Idaho and to my surprise found that three beautiful, large trees standing just outside my office window had been felled and hauled away. This morning, I arrived at my office to find that Gault Hall Dormitory, also just outside my window, had been razed. My view of the world had changed; well, in my view, it had been changed for me.

It turns out those three beautiful old trees that were so much a part of our lives and landscape, and that dormitory that had housed so many years of colorful student history, had all come down to make way for a new living-learning dormitory complex and new lines of young spindle trees along the walkway. These events were examples of how the old is constantly giving way to the new – not so subtle reminders that the only constant in life is change itself.

As forest landowners, forest managers in industries and agencies, and general users of the forest resource, you are all aware of the changes going on around you. You do your best to anticipate shifts and adapt your management and decision making to meet the realities of the day. The best we can do in our evolving world is try to stay abreast of our dynamic work environments and make deliberate changes to keep up, stay healthy and stay ahead.

Here at the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources, we’re doing our best to adapt, adjust and even stay ahead of changes that affect us and our stakeholders. Beginning in January, we embarked on a redesign process for the college. This effort involves each and every faculty and staff member and many of our graduate and undergraduate students. The goal is to fully understand the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders and then redesign certain aspects of the college to meet those needs. We are determined to find ways to build on our past successes so that our future degrees, research and outreach may be enhanced. We are deeply committed to our land grant service ethic and will continue to improve natural resource management, public policy and the common good through our science. There is no better college for natural resources research and education than UI CNR, and through our redesign process, we intend to keep it that way.

One of the key elements of our CNR Academic Redesign process is our invitation of “outside voices”. We have asked leaders from various natural resource careers and college stakeholders from all walks to give us their input on how to prepare students for the future, on the type of research needed to address complex natural resource issues and on the format of outreach needed to marry our research with management on the ground. This has been extremely helpful to our faculty and administrators. In the end, it will be just the right mix of external and internal perspectives that will affect the changes we make to stay relevant and vibrant as the natural resource college of choice.

As our incoming students arrive in the Fall semester and discover new scenery on campus, new living facilities, recreation opportunities, and university leadership, we will be implementing elements of our new college design. The goal will be to offer our students an education that prepares them to be productive citizen professionals in the world outside our walls. With your help and support, we’ll be able to nurture and guide them as they put down roots in our college.

Please stay in touch. We rely on our web of relationships among our faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and working partners. We are privileged to have a firm foundation of special friends and constituents like you. Together, you represent the best results of our past efforts and the best ideas for our future efforts. We appreciate the input you’ve given us to date and hope you’ll keep on giving it as we complete the redesign process.

You can reach me at . Have a great summer!

Log Market? What Happened and Where Is It Going?

The log market prices for the first two quarters of 2003 reflect the softest market conditions in the past five years.

The lumber market for the first two quarters of 2003 has been the lowest we have seen in the past 8 to 10 years. The lumber market and lumber futures are what drives the log market price. The log market does not respond dollar for dollar matching the lumber price, but it does move in response to the increase or decrease in lumber prices.

Log prices are also affected by supply. The region has less sawmills than five years ago and more log sellers. Crown Pacific, once a log user, was recently purchased by a Timber Investment Management Organization and are now log sellers. Many logs are now swapped, traded, and spun off to manufacturers that utilize the particular species or product in a more efficient process. Soft lumber prices and an adequate supply of logs will soften log prices.

Total overall wood use has increased, housing starts are not bad, interest rates are good, so why is the lumber price so low? One reason is that there is a surplus of lumber on the market. Much of this lumber is shipped into the U.S. from Canada. Also, our mills are more efficient, thereby producing much more lumber than ever before from each and every log. A once thriving and profitable export market that purchased the larger high quality logs is at the lowest level it has been in years and many of these once exported logs are now sawn into lumber and are part of the U.S. lumber inventory. In some areas, the State and Federal forests are logging timber that has been damaged by insects and fire. In the recent past these logs were not available on the market.

All these factors, with a soft lumber market, will hold down log prices in the near future.

Where Will the Market Go?

Landowners should monitor the market and look for price increases in specific species and grades. The next few years will require sellers to look into niche markets. Niche markets are times when the mills are looking for a particular species, product, or size class of log. Consider spreading out harvest entries, play the markets to maintain the highest net stumpage over a time period such as 5 to 10 years.

The log market fluctuates. It is down now but it will come up. When it will rise is difficult to predict, but little to no change is expected for the third quarter 2003. Some improvements can be expected first and second quarter of next year, but the increases are expected to be small until the region’s sawmill production increases or the log supply decreases which is not expected in the near future.

Featured Professional: Vaiden E. Bloch, Purchasing Seedlings

Northwest Management, Inc.—Reforestation Specialist

Purchasing Seedlings: Minimizing Costs While Maximizing Long-Term Viability

It is that time of year again when forest landowners begin thinking about spring tree planting on their property. This is a good thing if the desire is to decorate the yard or build a windbreak. If, however, the desire is to plant several thousand trees for reforestation, the prudent landowner should have begun planning for the event 18-24 months ago in order to get the most out of their seedling dollar.

The cost for seedlings varies based on the species, size, quantity purchased, nursery, shipping etc. Pre planning can minimize some of these costs and will provide some insurance for long-term forest production. The uninformed landowner looking to purchase seedlings today for planting in the spring is most likely going to buy trees that were grown on speculation. These seedlings are usually good in quality, but generally cost 20-30% more, and may be from a seed source less than adequate for the site being planted.

Foresters in the Northwest have gained an appreciation for seed source after studying plantations created from the large forest fires that occurred in the early 1900s. Seed source was often ignored in the 1900s due to a lack of information on the subject and availability of local seed. The results that are appearing decades after the seedlings were planted are trees with serious growth and survival problems. To be specific, the seed came from trees not genetically adapted to exist in the environment in which they were planted, and now those trees have serious growth and health problems.

The following advice will save you money and help insure long-term forest viability.

If time allows for pre-planning on a reforestation project, the forest landowner can save a considerable amount of money by having the seedlings grown under contract with a seedling nursery. Most seedling nurseries have access to seed that will be compatible with the area you wish to reforest. By giving the nursery manager an accurate location and elevation of the planting site, it is often possible to find seed for your project. As a general rule, when placing a contract to grow order for spring planting, the nursery needs to have your order by Thanksgiving for trees to be planted in the spring one year hence. For example, the trees I currently have being grown under contract for this spring (2003), I ordered around Thanksgiving 2001.

If a local seed source is not available, the landowner should consider collecting seed from his/her own property. (Collecting seed is quite detailed and would need to be covered in an additional article). No matter what you do to obtain seedlings for your reforestation project, become knowledgeable of seedling selection. Ask your local private or State foresters about the proper seedlings to grow in a particular area, and ask your seedling supplier about seed source and grow contracts. This will insure that you have long-term success while minimizing the cost of your reforestation investment.

SFI Program Sustainable Forestry Initiative

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program was adopted by the American Forest & Paper Association (AF & PA) and its members to promote sustainable forestry on all forest lands. The program was initiated in 1994 and since the program’s inception, seventeen companies have been expelled from AF & PA for failure to comply.

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Program is a comprehensive system of principles, objectives, and performance measures that integrate the perpetually growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil, and water quality. Simply stated, the program participants of the SFI standards are basing their forest management on responsible environmental practices. These practices, blended together with sound business practices, can be integrated to benefit landowners, shareholders, customers, and the needs of the biological communities.

The SFI standard was first developed by professional foresters, conservationists, scientists, landowners, and other stakeholders. These men and women were inspired by the concept of sustainability that evolved from the 1987 report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, and was adopted by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The SFI Standard has a set of objectives, performance measures, and core indicators that guide the management on program participant’s lands. The SFI Standard Objectives take the SFI Principles into action and promote the practice of sustainable forestry, protection of water quality, enhancement of wildlife habitat, minimization of visual impacts, protection of special sites, and commitment to continual improvement in sustainable forestry practices.

The SFI Program is monitored and managed by the Sustainable Forestry Board (SFB), which reviews and makes changes to the SFI verification procedures and the SFI Program compliance. The SFB is made up of outside stakeholders and represents a diverse interest group, including environmental conservation groups, public officials (state and federal), professional/academic groups, logging professionals, and industry and non-industry landowners.

Participating members that choose to be Third Party Certified have an external audit of their operations and are required to meet its performance measures and 119 core indicators that must be met to be certified. The auditors evaluate the company’s compliance with the SFI standard. Companies successfully completing a Third Party Audit have made a clear commitment to sustainable practices that promote and protect the environment. SFI auditors must be trained and accredited through American National Standards Institute/Registrars Accreditation Board (ANSI/RAB) or comparable national or international accreditation.

SFI is a forest certification that requires quantitative and qualitative analysis to meet the objectives of the standard. When a Company commits to the SFI Standard, it is making a commitment to a higher level of management that protects the resources. To learn more about SFI, check their webpage at www.aboutSFI.org or contact Northwest Management, Inc.