Posts tagged ‘forest’

MN Women’s Woodland Network

By Angela Gupta, University of Minnesota Extension, Rochester

There’s been some exciting activity around engaging female forest landowners in Minnesota. For years there’s been anecdotal information about the lack of women participants in forestry learning. Indeed far more men than women attend Woodland Advisor classes. Why? There are more women in the United States. Research tells us women live longer. During the Intergenerational Land Transfer class we learn about how important it is to get the whole family involved in forest management and ownership to ensure the desired long-term outcomes. So where are the ladies? Why aren’t they attending classes? Are they participating in forest management decisions?

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Photo by Julie Miedtke

The University of Minnesota Extension provided seed money to create a steering committee to address this issue. As a result of 15 engaged women learning about female forest landowner education programs in Maine and Oregon, studying what little research is available on forest landowners and gender, and reviewing the literature on how men and women learn different the Minnesota Women’s Woodland Network was born. As I type work is being done to get an informational brochure together, work on the Network’s new website, and plan eight kitchen-table-gatherings across the state to try and engage these elusive ladies. The mission of this network is sustaining privately owned woodlands through education.

So how, you ask, is the MN Women’s Woodland Network different from the Woodland Advisor program- the Extension program that teaches forest landowners about forest management? Excellent question. Network organizers plan to nurture this network of active forest landowners through women friendly, low-key, learning activities that increase their comfort level enough to join the traditional Woodland Advisor classes and participate completely. This Network will not parallel Woodland Advisor classes, but rather help feed ladies into those classes and help get a more equal gender representation (and equal lines for the bathrooms). Also, hopefully this network will form into active groups of women that regularly meet and discuss forestry topics together; the more synergy a group can form the more sustainable and active they’re likely to be.

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Photo by Julie Miedtke

Now you’re wondering: How can the University of Minnesota, an equal opportunity employer and provider, offer classes only for women? Another great question. First, anyone can attend these gatherings but they will be very women friendly. Organizers plan to create a safe environment for women to ask questions, explore topics they’ve never thought about before, and stretch their wings by flying through their forests.

Are you getting excited about this Network? Do you know of women who might be interested in joining? I hope so! Extension has provided funds to start the ball rolling. We plan to offer gatherings and get folks energized in three to four regions across the state in the next few months. The Network will be involved in the Minnesota Forestry Association’s annual meeting January 8th and 9th in Cloquet. We will be advertising these meetings but if you would like to get involved or know someone we should contact directly, please get a hold of either me: Angela Gupta, 507-280-2869, agupta@umn.edu or Julie Miedtke, 218-327-7365, miedt001@umn.edu.  We’d love to hear from you!

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August 28, 2009 at 10:23 am 1 comment

Updated content on Minnesota Land Economics

[I thought this message might be of interest to some of our readers:]

Dear Colleague:

Three new things at Minnesota Land Economics:

1. 2009 assessor estimates of land values. Please be careful. From the site:
“In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature created several new classifications for agricultural and timber land in the state. On Minnesota Land Economics, the reclassifications are handled by treating post-2008 land valuation data in a separate section. If you select “2009 and onward” on the attributes page, you will be presented with the new valuation classifications. These changes resulted in valuation data that is not directly comparable for that reported in previous years. In some counties, the currently reported numbers aren’t even close to the previous year. Many of the inconsistencies are expected to be resolved by the time the final 2009 Mini Abstract is posted here in December. In the meantime, please be careful with the 2009 numbers!”

2. Forest Productivity Index (FPI) now available for twenty counties. Details by clicking “Read more” on the Soils Data section.

3. Graphs! On most data report pages, you’ll see a “chart-it” or “plot-it” link. Histograms, scatter plots. On the fly!

As always, please let me know if you experience any problems with Minnesota Land Economics–and thanks for your continued kind words about the service we provide.


Steven J. Taff, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

Check out the updated content at Minnesota Land Economics now.

August 17, 2009 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

MyMinnesotaWoods is on Facebook

Last week we created a new MyMinnesotaWoods Facebook page.  If you’re on Facebook, and if you like what we do, visit the page and become a fan.

Why Facebook?  One of our primary goals is to reach and engage new people interested in the care and management of Minnesota woodlands.

In Minnesota and nationally, the woodland owner population is aging.  A new, younger generation will soon assume control of much of the woodlands on which rural wood products industry depends. When new landowners go looking for information, we want them to find reliable, accurate information through MyMinnesotaWoods.umn.edu.

So check us out on Facebook! New MyMinnesotaWoods Facebook page.

August 5, 2009 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

Carbon trading and forests: Background and overview

By John DuPlissis, University of Wisconsin Extension

Recently you may have heard people talking about “carbon credits,” “carbon trading,” “carbon sequestration,” and possibly even the “Kyoto Protocols.” These phrases and other similar terms have become increasingly part of our language as energy companies, paper mills, factories, and other industrial manufacturers are looking for opportunities to offset their greenhouse gas emissions through a market-based mechanism that would pay woodland owners to grow trees.

Sounds simple and the idea is certainly very interesting to many woodland owners who are looking for opportunities to generate income from their lands. But what are the opportunities and how can you get involved? I hope to cover the issue, the opportunities and the commonly asked questions that many people have as a series of articles here. I thought that I would start with the Kyoto protocols and the basis for “trading” carbon credits.

So where did this start? The United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, commonly known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 was where it all started. Article 2 of the convention directly addressed the need to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions “at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human caused) interference with the climate system.”

One of the main greenhouse gases of concern is carbon dioxide. The burning of fossil fuels for energy, heating, and transportation has led to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Through the process of photosynthesis trees remove and use carbon dioxide to create roots, branches, trunks and leaves. Therefore, trees and other green plants are seen as a potential solution to help slow down global climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing (sequestering) it as part of the permanent structure of the tree.

Photo: Flickr/mhaithaca

Photo: Flickr/mhaithaca

As a part of United National Framework Convention on Climate Change the “Kyoto Protocol” was established to create policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol requires industrialized nations (the United States has not ratified these protocols and is not bound by them) to reduce their greenhouse gas emission to approximately 95 percent of their 1990 levels by 2008-2012. Countries that are unable to achieve this goal through direct reduction of emissions are allowed to “compensate” by buying credits from countries that have under used their emission allowance, by investing in “cleaner” energy technology abroad or by putting money into forestry or soil conservation.

Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol provides an option to account for increases in carbon storage through forest management. Essentially, under these rules, companies can offset the amount of carbon dioxide they release into the air through industrial processes by purchasing credits from individuals or organizations who can show they are decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide through forest management or soil conservation activities. This is often referred to as Carbon Trading.

This article is reprinted with permission from Woodland Leaders News, published by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. This is the first in a series. John’s future posts will address how carbon credits are traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange.  For more on this issue, check our carbon credits page and John’s April 2009 post called Carbon Credits and Managed Family Forests: How it works.

May 8, 2009 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

DNR Releases 2008 Minnesota’s Forest Resources Report

From Minnesota DNR U&M staff

This report is compiled annually by the Minnesota DNR – Forestry Division Utilization & Marketing staff. Special thanks to Mohammed Iddrisu, who did a fine job as lead author for the 2008 report. He will continue authorship in the future.

The report is intended to answer frequently asked questions about Minnesota’s forest resources and forest industry. Hard copies will be available upon request to Mohammed Iddrisu after they’re printed in late April.

Many thanks to those who cooperated in providing information and helpful input for this report, including many of Minnesota’s wood product companies, and the U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) unit.

Highlights of the 2008 report:

  • Ainsworth’s Grand Rapids Oriented Strand Board (OSB) mill has announced a permanent closure in September of 2008. The mill has not been in operation since September 2006. The Cook and Bemidji mills have been shutdown permanently as well, announced in early January 2009. Weyerhaeuser’s Trust Joist mill in Deerwood has been in what has been termed an indefinite shutdown since September 2007. These and other slowdowns and curtailments continue to have a large impact on timber markets in Minnesota. Harvest levels of 2006 are down by over 500,000 cords from 2005 harvest levels. It is likely that a downward trend has continued through 2007 and 2008, resulting in opportunities and need for additional utilization and management of Minnesota’s forest resources.
  • Timber imports of pulpwood into the state as well exports out of the state saw declines in 2006, and it is likely that this continued into 2007 and 2008. The change has been due to several factors, most notably reduced demand from mill closures and slowdowns. It is likely that Minnesota is still a net importer of raw wood as of December 2008, but by a greatly reduced margin.
  • Overall net growth for all species continued to outpace harvest levels. According to 2007 FIA figures, annual net growth of growing stock on timberland was approximately 5.8 million cords and net mortality of approximately 3.10 million cords. According to mill and fuelwood survey data, the volume of wood harvested & utilized by industry and fuelwood users was approximately 3.2 million cords.
  • Woody biomass use for energy markets and forest carbon credits are significant emerging issues that will have an impact on forest management in the future. An update pertaining to woody biomass use for energy and carbon credits are included in this report.

If you have questions about Minnesota’s forest resources or this publication, you can direct them to the DNR Forest Products Utilization & Marketing staff listed below.

Lead author: Mohammed Iddrisu, RC&D Forestry Coordinator, Mora
Keith Jacobson, Program Supervisor, St. Paul
Rick Dahlman, St. Paul
Mimi Barzen, Northern MN U&M Staff, Grand Rapids
Lance Sorensen, Southern/Central Region U&M Staff, Rochester

Download the full report here (PDF, 1MB) or visit the DNR Utilization & Marketing site for past reports and related information.

April 10, 2009 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

Carbon credits and managed family forests: How it works

By John DuPlissis, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

As markets for Carbon Credits have emerged most of the focus for woodland owners has been on afforestation projects, the conversion of unforested or degraded lands to forests by planting trees.  I have discussed this type of project in past articles and by now I am sure that many of you are familiar with the process to enroll plantations under this option and the potential financial returns from these types of projects.

The other option available to woodland owners to participate in the Carbon Credits market is the Managed Forest Projects option.  The Managed Forest option recognizes that woodland owners engaged in sustainable forest management are increasing the amount of carbon sequestered through active forest management practices including silvicultural treatments, thinning, and harvesting.  However, there has been a great deal of debate over these types of projects and the rules governing how this option would be implemented were not clear.  As aggregators have looked at how to measure, monitor, and verify the carbon sequestered by Managed Forest projects there were always more questions than answers.  However, over the past year the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has developed new rules and guidelines that have established a process for enrollment and verification of Managed Forest Projects.

How can you participate?

The process to enroll lands under the managed forest option isn’t really all that different from the afforestation option.  CCX requires that all Managed Forest projects show a net gain in sequestered carbon over the contract period.  Which means that the total amount of CO2 (timber) removed during a harvest cannot exceed what you have sequestered over the contract period.  Also, you must provide evidence that your woodland is sustainably managed.

CCX requires that land enrolled in the Managed Forest option also be enrolled in a forest certification scheme.  Woodland owners enrolled in Wisconsin’s Managed Forest Law Program or the American Tree Farm System meet this requirement.  Depending on which aggregator you choose to work with, you are going to need to file the appropriate paperwork, provide proof of ownership, sign a letter of intent to maintain forest carbon stocks beyond 2010, and identify if your management plan requires you to perform a harvest during the contract period.

However, this is where the similarities end.  Afforestation projects use carbon accumulation tables or direct measurement process to estimate annual carbon sequestration per acre.  Determining the amount of carbon sequestered under the Managed Forest option is more complex.

Just how complex is it?

Eli Sagor photo

To enroll lands under the Managed Forest Project option you will need to contract with a consulting forester to perform a baseline inventory of your woodlands.  This inventory is different from the reconnaissance that is performed as part of the process of writing a management plan for your property.  That inventory is designed to identify and describe all of the resources on your property.  The baseline inventory completed as a part of the enrollment process for a Managed Forest Project is designed to quantify the carbon stocks on your land in sufficient depth and detail to allow for statistically accurate modeling of current stocks and future growth.

How are your credits determined?

The Managed Forest Project option calculates carbon credits based on net average annual carbon sequestered.  As the term net implies, you are given credit for carbon sequestered but must subtract any removals due to management activities (thinning or harvest).  The first step in the process is to estimate the amount of carbon that will be sequestered during the contract period.  A computer simulation, using the information gathered in your baseline inventory, estimates the amount of carbon sequestered during the contract period.

Depending on whether you will have a harvest during the contract period a computer simulation will also be run to determine the amount of carbon removed from your woods.  If you do have a harvest then you may be eligible to receive a long-lived wood products credit.  This credit acknowledges that “wood products have appreciable carbon mitigation benefits by displacing fossil-fuel intensive construction materials and that durable wood products, such as houses and furniture, have the potential to retain carbon for centuries.”  Once this total is estimated for your woodlands it is divided by the number of years in your contract and your annual payment is based on the net average annual carbon sequestered.

A word about the long-lived wood products credit…

The CCX protocols for long-lived wood products require that you show that you have retained the rights to claim this credit as part of the timber sale contract.  You will also want to make sure that the aggregator you are working with has the necessary reporting and monitoring process in place so you can take advantage of this credit.

It is important to understand that, although your contract and initial payments are based on the estimated net annual average carbon sequestered, you will be required to have an inventory completed after any harvest and again at the end of the contract period to determine the actual volume of carbon sequestered during the contract period.  Your final payment will be adjusted to reflect any over or under-payment made due to the difference between the actual carbon sequestered and the original estimate of carbon sequestered during the contract period.

How are your annual payments determined?

Your annual payments are based on the net average annual carbon sequestered by the annual average price for a metric ton of carbon for that year.  You do not lock into a price based on what carbon was trading for on the day you signed your contract.  Daily price quotes in 2008 ranged from $1.20 to $7.40 for a metric ton of sequestered CO2 from a forestry offset project.  However, the average price for a forest offset contract in 2008 was $4.26.

What is your potential income?

The potential income from enrolling your woodlands in Managed Forest option is reduced by the cost of the inventories you will be required to perform during the life of the contract.  The cost of the baseline, post-harvest, and end of contract inventory are the responsibility of the landowner.  As you think about whether or not to enroll your lands you will need to consider the cost of these inventories against the income you will receive when evaluating if this is right for you.

The next article in this series will provide a breakdown of the costs to enroll in the Managed Forest Project option and the income that you can expect to receive over the life of your contract.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Spring 2009 issue of Woodland Leaders News, published by the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.  We will also reprint the next article in the series,  on costs and expected financial returns based on analysis of two Wisconsin properties. Readers of this article may also be interested in this field tour summary: Silviculture and Carbon in the Cloquet Woods.

April 7, 2009 at 11:06 am Leave a comment

How Much Does it Cost to Water This Tree?

Water is a biological necessity for all trees, whether in a landscape or woodland setting and must be available over an entire growing season (June through October). Healthy trees are the result of efficient watering; not supplying so much that the roots die from lack of oxygen or too little makes all the difference.

Continue Reading April 4, 2009 at 6:06 am 1 comment

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