Association News

New Tools Available to Tackle Swiss Needle Cast Epidemic
Forestry researchers at Oregon State University have developed a computerized risk analysis system to help predict the vulnerability of specific sites to Swiss Needle Cast, a serious problem in Coast Range forests. The system should be fully available to landowners by early next year.                       

“This new risk-rating model should be a reliable predictive tool so that landowners can make more informed decisions on what tree species to plant,” said David Shaw, an assistant professor in the Department of Forest Science at OSU and director of the cooperative. “Some of our c

o-op members are pretty excited about its potential to help address this problem.”                        Swiss Needle Cast, a fungal disease that afflicts Douglas fir native to the Pacific Northwest, is mostly a problem in areas within 20 miles of the ocean, where warm, wet conditions favor its growth. It’s a cyclical problem that is made more severe by warmer winters, wetter springs, and extended drizzle.                       

The Swiss Needle Cast Cooperative is providing funding for the new model, which is being developed at OSU by Jeff Stone, an associate professor of botany and plant pathology, and Len Coop of the Integrated Plant Protection Center. The model can tell landowners whether a very specific plot of land will be at low, moderate, or high risk of developing significant Swiss Needle Cast infection. This can help guide decisions about what to plant for future tree rotations. The model incorporates a diverse range of data about topography, climate, local weather patterns, historic disease problems, and other relevant issues.                       

A series of workshops will be conducted next year to help private and industrial landowners learn more about the new risk-rating model and other steps to address this problem, Shaw said.

SFI Names Abusow
SFI named Kathy Abusow as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. For the past 15 years, Abusow has operated Abusow International Ltd., a successful forest certification and market acceptance consulting firm. She is highly respected internationally as a technical expert on certification standards and related marketplace issues such as procurement policy design, and green building rating tools acceptance of wood and certified products.                       

“I am committed to growing SFI’s recognition and importance among conservation groups, buyers, forest managers, industry, and policy makers,” said Abusow. “Forest certification is a signifi- cant tool in the marketplace and among policy setters, so it is essential to keep certification programs relevant and in tune with changing landscapes, as well as market expectations. I look forward to working with the staff to build upon SFI’s reputation in a responsive, rigorous, and innovative manner.”

AF&PA Commends Action Against Illegal Logging
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) commends Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) for his leadership in ending illegal logging worldwide by supporting the “Combat Illegal Logging Act of 2007.” The bill is a critical step in halting the damaging effects of illegal logging on international trade and the environment.                       

The practice of illegal logging costs developing countries billions of dollars in lost revenue, while increasing costs for legitimate, legal producers of timber and timber products. Additionally, unregulated logging ignores environmental constraints and can damage protected habitats.                       

In March 2005, AF&PA joined Conservation International to create the Alliance to Combat Illegal Logging. AF&PA was also a strong supporter of the Memorandum of Understanding signed, in November, by the U.S. and Indonesia that commits both countries to combating illegal logging. More recently, AF&PA joined the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international leader in the fight against illegal logging, to seek a workable legislative approach to this problem.                       

AF&PA president & CEO Donna Harman said, “We appreciate the efforts and leadership of Senator Wyden, who has taken steps to shed light on this growing problem. We are also grateful for the efforts of Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has been a leader on this important issue in the House of Representatives.

Western Lumber Output Down 12.9%
According to the Western Wood Products Association, lumber production in the West totaled 9.696 billion board feet through July. That’s down 12.9 percent from January-July 2006. Production in the Coastal region was off 12.4 percent, while Inland production was down 14.3 percent compared to the same period last year. July production in the West totaled 1.310 billion feet, which is down 12.0 percent to the July 2006 production total.

Residual Wood Conference

Driven primarily by rising energy prices and concerns about climate change and greenhouse gases, the residual wood generated by forest industry operations is steadily on its way to becoming a more valuable resource. In the near future, sawmills and forest products operations will no doubt see their residual wood being viewed as a valuable product versus waste.                       

Or they might opt to set up their own power generating facilities. Energy operations, like this, could help even out the roller coaster ride the industry experiences, profit-wise, with the swings in lumber prices.                       

Those are some of the scenarios that will be outlined at the Seventh Biennial Residual Wood Conference, being held October 24 to 26 at the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel, in Richmond, BC. For more information about the conference, call 604-541-7562 or visit www.forestnet. com/rwc

ATFS Recognizes Family Forest Stewardship Plans
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) announced that ATFS certification universally recognizes DNR-approved multi-resource Forest Stewardship Plans as meeting management planning requirements for family forest landowners.                       

“ATFS recognition of the Forest Stewardship Plans will expedite the process for landowners interested in applying for certification. This should strengthen the public’s confidence that wood from Washington’s family forests is grown and harvested in an environmentally responsible way,” said Doug Sutherland, Commissioner of Public Lands.                       

Bob Simpson, senior vice president of the American Forest Foundation (the Tree Farm program’s parent organization) echoed these sentiments. “This recognition will open the door for thousands of Washington’s family forest owners seeking affordable certification of their forest management, allowing them to stay competitive in today’s shrinking global economy,” said Simpson.  

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