In The News

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners

Tax Tips for Forest Landowners is now available for download from the USDA Forest Service website. The publication offers several insights and answers to frequently asked questions as landowners prepare their 2021 taxes.

The guide was created to explain tax rules that landowners often overlook. Four years after the 2017 tax overhaul, landowners and tax advisors are still confused about how to classify certain expenses, property taxes, and casualty losses. For example, if a landowner profits from a timber sale, that income can be reported as a capital gain rather than other income. This allows the proceeds to be taxed at zero to 15% as opposed to a rate of 10% to 37%. 

For many timber owners, the income qualifies as capital gains, but many owners are not aware of these provisions. Landowners might find deductions for hunting leases, reforestation practices, expenses associated with managing habitat, or even income from an eco-tourism business. Having access to this information should help landowners save tax dollars. 

The most important thing to note is that land should be managed like a business. Having a separate bank account, a forest management plan, and forest professionals to help manage your land can help create opportunities for tax savings.


RMEF Donates One Million Dollars

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) announced it has committed more than $1 million to landscape-scale efforts to help restore thousands of acres of public and private forestland, meadows, and other landscapes charred by recent wildfires.

RMEF will review proposals for projects focused on large-landscape restoration across public and private land. The 2022 funding will target 19 different projects across Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

“What we’re talking about here are treatments like seeding and shrub planting, invasive weed control, timber salvage, wildlife water development repair, and other forest restoration and habitat stewardship methods,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “The targeted areas are important for elk and other wildlife, especially critical big game winter range, corridors, movement pathways, and connectivity with nearby landscapes.”

RMEF dollars for the project are a combination of funding from its project advisory committees combined with significant contributions from RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment. Founded more than 37 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved nearly 8.4 million acres for elk and other wildlife.


Bark BeetleWarming Climate Drives Bark Beetle Activity

Bark beetles fulfill an important ecological role by killing old or sick trees and making room for young vigorous trees to grow. However, this dynamic has been disrupted in part by a warming climate, which has stressed trees and created an abundance of sick and dying trees on the landscape.

Forest Service scientists are co-authors on a study that found the 30% increase in ponderosa pine mortality during a drought was mostly caused by faster western pine beetle development.

Using this information, the research team was able to predict that each one-degree Celsius increase in temperature could be responsible for an almost 40% increase in the number of trees killed. This study highlights the need for future models to consider the influence of climate on tree stress and beetle populations.


Ranks of USFS Wildland Firefighters in California Drops 20%

Federal agencies that employ wildland firefighters have struggled to fill the ranks in the last few years, especially in 2020 and 2021 in California. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that after multiple years of 5,000 firefighters working for the U.S. Forest Service in California, the number dropped from 5,000 in 2019 to 3,956 in 2021, more than a 20 percent decline.

The five federal agencies that have significant wildland fire programs have a total of 15,000 positions related to fire. However, the number of vacancies has been growing due to difficulty in hiring, combined with experienced firefighters leaving the organization for better pay and working conditions.

Legislation pending before Congress—the Tim Hart Wildland Firefighter Classification and Pay Parity Act (H.R. 5631)—could make a difference. It would address many of the issues wildland firefighters and their partners face, including raising firefighter pay, creating a wildland firefighter job series, providing health care and mental health services to temporary and permanent wildland firefighters, housing stipends, and other improvements.

TimberWest November/December 2013
March/April 2022

ON THE COVER
Morning view from the Zender & McNielly landing.

Family Logging Tradition Continues in Whatcom County
Zender & McNielly Logging - The Zender name is well-established in the northwest corner of Washington State since 1890 when German immigrant Peter Zender homesteaded in the Bellingham area.

A Coming Revolution in The Forest Products Industry
Expect Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) to become a viable “go to” building material, even for “skyscraper” sized projects, in a relatively short time.

Red Tail Forestry Clears the Way
Overgrown brush and dense invasive trees crowded their woods, making once well-worn paths unwalkable, increasing the chance of forest fires, and cutting off younger generations from land their parents and grandparents grew up on.

Hometown Logger Rewarded for Innovative Management
When a roadless stand of timber must be harvested and transported across a fish bearing stream, one’s first thought might be to build a bridge. That was Tony Hauth’s first thought too, but the solution he came up with, earned him the title of 2021 Eastern Oregon Operator of the Year.

Firebreak Column
Watch Out! Here Comes the Money!

Face to Face at the Loggin’ Show
Family and friends kicked off the 84th Annual Oregon Logging Conference with great expectation following two years of in-person restrictions and mask mandates as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guest Column
Nick Smith weighs in: Russian Invasion Should Renew Effort to Increase Western Lumber Production.

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