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Forest Matters
Stewardship News

Summer 2018

In This Issue

Our Partners 

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Welcome to the Summer 2018 edition of the
Forest Matters Stewardship News!

"Where's Mike?"
 
After more than 10 years of working for the Northeastern Area, mostly as the Area's Forest Stewardship Program Manager, I have accepted a new position with the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, DC, where I will serve as the Communications Specialist for Fire and Aviation Management.
 
It has been a privilege to work with so many landowners, foresters, and state administrators over the years providing the best talent, knowledge, and technical assistance available to sustain our private forest lands. Keep up the good work! 

Mike Huneke
Forest Stewardship Program Manager
Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

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Crossing Boundaries and Shared Stewardship: What Does This Mean for the East?

On August 16, 2018, the U.S. Forest Service announced a new strategy to manage catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics. A new report, Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based Investment Strategy, outlines Forest Service plans to work more closely with States to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments that will provide the highest returns.

As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue stated, "We commit to work more closely with the States to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level."

Interim Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen reinforced this message: "The challenges before us require a new approach. This year Congress has given us new opportunities to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with State leaders to identify land management priorities that include mitigating wildfire risks. We will use all the tools available to us to reduce hazardous fuels, including mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and unplanned fire in the right place at the right time."

The Forest Service will directly coordinate with States to prioritize where to invest in critical forest treatments to protect communities and create resilient forests. The 2018 Omnibus bill also expanded Forest Service authorities to do more work across boundaries: an expanded Good Neighbor Authority, new categorical exclusions for treatments, and 20-year stewardship contracting.

So what does this mean for the East, where 92% of the land is non-Federal, and catastrophic wildfire on national forest lands is not the primary focus, as it is in the West? Of the 20 States in the Northeast and Midwest, seven do not even have a national forest within their boundaries.

In addition to having some areas of moderate to high fire risk, the East grapples with major issues such as invasive species, drought, insect and disease epidemics, loss of forest land due to development, and sustaining and improving water quality. The challenges in the East are also compounded by the vastly increased number of private landowners, each of whom has unique perspectives and goals.

Shared stewardship in the East to mitigate these challenges as well as wildfire will be a cooperative effort among Federal, State, and private partners that is uniquely tailored for each State. In the Northeast and Midwest, we recently invited each State to meet and explore coordinated efforts to address these challenges.

We will prioritize stewardship decisions directly with States to jointly set priorities and co-manage risk across broad landscapes. State Forest Action Plans can guide the coordination of activities across jurisdictional boundaries. The Forest Service envisions stakeholders coming together across landscapes to co-manage risk, use all available tools to better target investments, and focus outcomes at the right scale. Field Representatives are working with State Foresters, Forest Supervisors, and Research to schedule meetings now.
Time Spent in the Woods as a Child Helps Shape Delaware Timber Buyer & Landowner

Glenn Rosenholm, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

It may come as no surprise to some readers that Douglas Simpson of Bridgeville, DE, said that his early childhood experiences of playing in the woods helped to shape his career and lifestyle.

Doug Simpson. (Courtesy photo by Laura Yowell, Delaware Forest Service)
Simpson, age 60, is a long-time timber buyer for Johnson Lumber in eastern Maryland. He is also a major forest landowner in neighboring Delaware.

He described his work routine at the lumber mill, including how he goes about buying timber.
Read Doug's story.





Landowner Spotlight
Brian Knox
Innovative Maryland Forester Uses Goats to Remove Invasive Plants   
 
Glenn Rosenholm, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry 
 
Maryland-based forester and consultant Brian Knox employs an innovative commercial technique to remove invasive plant vegetation: he uses goats.
 
In simple terms, he'll load his herd of goats onto a trailer and haul them out to a designated site. After setting up an electric fence around the area to be grazed, he'll turn them loose, and they'll do the rest.
 
It's not as easy as it sounds, though.
 
The Eco-Goats founder said the business venture started out as an accident. 
Read Brian's story
 
A young goat stands on the wheel cover of a trailer.
A little "kid" (juvenile goat) poses next to the Eco-Goats sign on Brian's trailer. (Courtesy photo by Brian Knox)
Want to read about other forest land conservation efforts?
Stewardship Across the Landscape 
Conserving the Current River
 
Rebecca Landewe, Current River Project Manager, The Nature Conservancy

July 2018

It's a cool, misty October morning when three generations of the Jackson family gather with about 20 other area landowners to hear how conservation can work for them on their land. The older generation brought the younger ones to learn because the 16-year-old grandson wants to work the family farm someday.

The Current River, in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks, is the crown jewel of spring-fed rivers in Missouri. Not only is it a draw to tourists for its crisp, glittering water, but many of the best populations of Ozark endemic species call this river, and the lands that drain into it, home. The Nature Conservancy (the Conservancy) is committed to supporting private land conservation in the Current River. Our program has three primary components -- encouraging better management through planning, outreach and education with private landowners, and permanent land protection with working forest conservation easements.

Scenic view of a forested landscape and river valley during sunrise.
The sun rises over the fog-filled Current River valley. (Courtesy photo ┬ęBill Duncan)

Stewardship News
Southern Beetle Invasion Headed Toward Southern N.E.

ecoRI News Staff
 
Reprinted with permission from ecoRI News 
 
Pitch pine forests are at greater risk of attack from the southern pine beetle than forests with a mix of tree species, according to recent research by Dartmouth College. The study shows that the composition of forests is more important than other factors when predicting where the destructive pest will strike next.
 
The research, published in Forest Ecology and Management, adds to understanding of the southern pine beetle and confirms previous research from the beetle's southern habitat on the importance of characteristics that increase forest susceptibility to the pest.
 
The research finding has important implications for forest managers who need to predict and prevent infestation by a pest that is already responsible for significant forest damage and that is continuing its climate-induced move northward, according to researchers.
 
  Closeup photo of a small blackish beetle.
 
 

 
Tiny southern pine beetles can accumulate by the thousands on a single tree and kill it in two weeks. (Matt Bertone/N.C. State University) 
 

Spotted Lanternfly Update
    
Karen Felton, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

The spotted lanternfly ( Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive planthopper that was discovered in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in September 2014. The spotted lanternfly is native to China, India, Japan, and Vietnam and was introduced into Korea, where it has become a major pest.
A bug crawls up the side of a tree. It has black spots on a pinkish back.
Adult spotted lanternfly. (Courtesy photo by Lawrence Barringer, PA Department of Agriculture, Bugwood.org)

Since 2014, it has spread to 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, which are now under a Pennsylvania quarantine. The quarantine restricts the movement of any material or object that can spread the spotted lanternfly. This includes wood materials and products, grapevines, nursery stock, and outdoor household articles, such as recreational vehicles, mowers, grills, and tiles, among others. Spotted lanternfly has recently been found in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Virginia. New Jersey just recently placed three counties under quarantine.
Lease on Life 
Landowners all over the state are dedicating their property to saving the cerulean warbler
 
Written by Anna Patrick
Photographed by Tessa Nickels
 
April 2018 
 
Reprinted with permission of Wonderful West Virginia Magazine
 
Long after John Hammer sold his family's land, Betsy and Collie Agle would find him hiking the property. Sometimes, they'd see him just sitting in the woods. In his final days, he'd follow U.S. Route 220 on foot until he made it to the place he still called home, even though he hadn't lived there in years.
Read the full cerulean warbler article.

A colorful blue and white bird perches on a small branch.
Cerulean warbler. (Photo by Tessa Nickels)
   




















Ticks, Mice, and Japanese Barberry

Thomas Worthley, University of Connecticut, with Dr. Jeffrey Ward and Dr. Scott Williams, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
 
There is no such thing as "tick season." Sure, there are times of year when ticks are more abundant than others, but more than once on a warm day during the dead of winter I have returned from field work with black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) on my clothing.

That said, spring and fall seem to be the seasons when most people have experiences with ticks. Any time the temperature and relative humidity are favorable, ticks will emerge from hiding in ground-level organic material, climb a suitable shrub-level branch, and wait patiently, "questing" for a warm-blooded animal (bird, rodent, or mammal) to move close enough to latch onto for a blood meal.


Four life stages of a black-legged tick are lined up on someone's finger.
Black-legged tick stages. (Courtesy photo by California Department of Public Health)

Jolliff of Ohio Receives 2017 Cooperative Forest Management Forester of the
Year Award
 
Cotton Randall, Ohio DNR Division of Forestry

John Jolliff received the Cooperative Forest Management Forester of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters Cooperative Forest Management Committee in Linthicum Heights, MD, in April 2018. The award is presented annually to a service forester from one of the 20 States served by the Northeastern Area for outstanding efforts in cooperative forestry.
 
John has been an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) service forester in eastern Ohio for 20 years. He works out of the ODNR Division of Forestry office at Mohican State Forest near Loudonville, OH. John covers an eight-county project area working with the EQIP program, working with certified Tree Farms, developing Stewardship plans for sustainable woodlands, supporting and promoting the Division's Call-Before-You-Cut program, and conducting educational events for landowners.
 
Two men pose for a picture during an award ceremony.
Maryland State Forester Don Van Hassent (left) presents the Forester of the Year award to John Jolliff. (Courtesy photo by Cotton Randall, ODNR Division of Forestry)
He has established himself as the "go to" person for woodland management on private lands. In 2017, John wrote 37 management plans, which was the most of any Ohio service forester. He also assisted 14 landowners with timber stand improvement and tree planting activities, and reached aro und 1,000 people through educational programs. He has contributed to countless other activities through daily interactions with landowners and partners that aren't captured in monthly reporting, and functions as an experienced leader who shares his knowledge and expertise with other Division of Forestry staff.
 
Congratulations, John, on this outstanding achievement!
Developing Seed Zones for the Eastern U.S.

Carolyn Pike, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

Nurseries and seed dealers procure thousands of pounds of seeds every year to meet the demands for restoration projects to protect riparian areas and watersheds, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and promote regeneration after logging and other forest management.

Seeds are all around us, but if you look more carefully, you'll notice that there are subtle differences. Variations in plant size, shape, time of leaf out, and senescence within a species can be high, and at times the differences among plants of the same species can be striking. Choosing the species to plant is important, but choosing a seed source (the area where seed is collected) may be just as important to avoid planting seeds that are not suitable to a planting site.

Seed companies and nurseries share a common goal of selling a high-quality product, whether bulk seeds or seedlings. One component of quality assurance is ensuring that the seed source is "matched" to the location of the planting site.

A woman stands in front of two maps on poster boards.
Carolyn (Carrie) Pike, Seed Zone Summit lead, stands in front of two maps that may be used as layers to create a seed zone map. (Courtesy photo by Walter (Clay) Coleman)

Competitive Grant Success Stories
Engaging Students in Forestry Education and Land Management

Karen Harrison, School Forest Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources


The Minnesota School Forest Program works to engage teachers and students in outdoor learning throughout the school year. The program, housed in the Division of Forestry at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), encourages students to become engaged, educated citizens through hands-on, nature-based activities that meet State standards. Currently, 135 schools across the State have a School Forest.

School Forests are Diverse
School Forests range in size, style, and how they're used. The smallest, Marlene Myers School Forest in Northeast Minneapolis, is just 0.275 acres. It caters to preschool students who learn about trees, watch for wildlife, and get their hands dirty while gardening. The Clearbrook-Gonvic School Forest, on the other hand, encompasses 330 acres and has a very special feature: a calcareous fen. High school students use the forest to gain forestry skills, use GPS technology, and learn about natural resources careers.

Four diverse students stand next to a bird house they installed in the forest.
Students created and installed wildlife habitat in the Mankato East School Forest, a 4-acre urban site.

Forest Land Conservation Spotlight
Continued Success in the Northeastern Area Community Forest Program
 
Neal Bungard, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry

In 2015, I wrote about the Community Forest Program (CFP) in the Summer Edition of the Forest Matters Newsletter. In a continuing effort to share the stories of successful CFP efforts across the Northeast and Midwest, it seemed appropriate to give an update of all the fantastic projects that have occurred in the 3 short years since then.

As of the summer of 2015, six projects had used CFP funds to acquire a total of 2,429 acres of new or expanded community forest land. More detailed stories about some of those first six projects have been published in past issues of Forest Matters, including the Lincoln Community Forest in Wisconsin, Barre Town Forest in Vermont, Cooley-Jericho Community Forest in New Hampshire, and the Rensselaer Plateau Community Forest in New York. As of the summer of 2018, CFP accomplishments in the 20 States served by the Northeastern Area now total 21 projects and 7,095 acres of new or expanded community forest in seven States.

With these 15 additional projects now completed in the Northeast and Midwest, there is an even greater variety of purposes, uses, and stories to share about these successful efforts.
Read the full Community Forest Program successes article.

Scenic view of forested valleys from a rock outcrop.
Stone bench on the Owls Head Town Forest in Vermont. (Courtesy photo by Town of Dorset, Vermont)

Naturalist's Corner
The Plight of the Bumble Bee
 
Karen Sykes, U.S. Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry 

Did you know that without the assistance of pollinators, many plants cannot produce fruits and vegetables or reproduce? Did you know that more than 90 percent of the flowering plants and 75 percent of the crops that feed humankind rely on pollinators? Did you know some pollinators have been declining since the 1990s and one, a bumble bee, became the first of its kind to be put on the endangered species list?

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation sponsored a bumble bee webinar earlier this year that brought attention to the plight of the bumble bee (Bombus spp.). 
Read the full bumble bee story.

A bumble bee sips nectar from a flower.
The rusty-patched bumble bee is now on the endangered species list. (Courtesy photo by Johanna James Heinz)