your resource for land conservation education and reference February 2012 Newsletter [ Archive ]



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                                        Conservation Resources at Your Fingertips<br />
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                                        <b>February 2012 Newsletter</b></td>
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                                            Here&rsquo;s a sneak preview of the issues I&rsquo;ll be discussing at a <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/71653b3faf">Society of American Foresters</a> (SAF) meeting Feb. 16. My overall theme will be that it is working forests, not wilderness areas and parks, which are the prospective foundations of our prosperity in the 21st century. Professional foresters are well aware of this point. The challenge is convincing urban America and policymakers of the urgent need to reverse an overburden of regulation and wilderness designations that has turned once glorious forests into tinder kegs of off-limits timber.</p>
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                                            Forestry pioneer Gifford Pinchot (who founded the SAF in 1900) explained a century ago that &ldquo;conservation is the application of common sense to common problems for the common good.&rdquo; Common-sense action is needed now because in the next decade we are going to witness the largest transfer of land and wealth in United States history. Nobody is paying any attention to this dramatic, landscape-changing demographic. The risk is that more and more aging landowners will sell their land for development &ndash; all because as a society we&rsquo;ve failed to provide sufficient ways for landowning families to maintain working forests, farms and ranches as productive enterprises.</p>
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                                            Fortunately, there are solid examples from Maine and Mississippi to California of conservation easements which are successfully &ldquo;keeping working land working&rdquo; &ndash; providing jobs, paying taxes, and generating a host of &ldquo;ecosystem services&rdquo; including all four types: provisioning services (food, timber, water and fuels), regulating services (water purification and carbon sequestration), supporting services (climate regulation), and cultural services (aesthetic values and sense of place).</p>
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                                            Take the case of <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/0629915585">Roseberg Forest Products</a> which has finalized a 8,230 acre conservation easement on the slopes of Mt. Shasta in California&rsquo;s Sierra foothills. Roseburg President Allyn Ford explains this multiple victory: &ldquo;We believe the future of our company and our industry is in managing our forests for all the public benefits they provide, including sustainable wood supplies, renewable energy, and clean drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife and increased carbon storage. Conservation easements provide us with compensation for this stewardship, making our business more robust.&rdquo;</p>
                                        <p>
                                            In the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/8011d2c82a/id=11857">GreenTrees</a>, a privately managed forest restoration and carbon sequestration program, has planted more than four million trees and has over<a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/4fcfc83164/id=73"> two million tons of carbon offsets under contract</a> for Duke Energy, Norfolk Southern and others.</p>
                                        <p>
                                            Spreading the word about forestry success stories is essential to offset development pressures by showing how working lands support land management, manufacturing, fuel alternatives and carbon sequestration while safeguarding clean water for metropolitan America, critical wildlife habitats, outdoor recreation and urban shade. It&rsquo;s also essential that Congress act fast to extend the <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/ad6feada38">conservation easement tax breaks</a> which expired Dec. 31, 2011. </p>
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                <a href="http://www.privatelandownernetwork.org/pdfs/AlleghenyForestersSpeech.pdf">
                        <img style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; HEIGHT: 15px; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none" alt="pdf" src="../images/acroiconsmall.jpg" /> Read the full speech here (450 KB PDF)</a>
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                                            Now consider the news items below. A new U.S. forest map is an important step toward making it possible to pay landowners for the ecosystem services they provide. The &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Great Outdoors&rdquo; (AGO) initiative should help build urban support for conservation. As federal spending is cut, Roseberg, GreenTrees, POET, Resources First Foundation, and other private-sector entities are stepping forward.</span></p>
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                            &nbsp;</p>
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                                            <font face="georgia, serif" size="3"><b>Counting Trees - and Carbon Storage</b></font></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Research scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have created a detailed U.S. forest map and inventory by combining space-based radar and optical sensors, computer modeling, and a massive amount of ground-based data. The unique mapping project not only provides measurements of about five million trees but calculates the amount of organic carbon stored in the trunks, limbs, and leaves of trees.</span></span></p>
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                                            That information is needed, the report notes, because &ldquo;Trees cool and moisten our air and fill it with oxygen. They calm the winds and shade the land from sunlight. They shelter countless species, anchor the soil, and slow the movement of water. They provide food, fuel, medicines, and building materials for human activity. They also help balance Earth&rsquo;s carbon budget.&rdquo;</span></p>
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                                            Woods Hole researcher Josef Kellndorfer reports that &ldquo;Forests are a key element for human activity. So we have to know how much we have, and where, in order to conduct sound management and harvesting. . . Resource managers need to see forests down to the disturbance resolution &ndash; the&nbsp; scale at which parking lots or developments or farms are carved out by deforestation.&rdquo;</span></p>
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                                            For more about the massive forest mapping project&rsquo;s achievements and goals, go to <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/10e0fc0afc">Mapping the World&rsquo;s Forests in Three Dimensions</a>.</span></p>
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                                            <font face="georgia, serif" size="3"><b>Building Respect for Public &amp; Private Outdoors</b></font></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Along with mapping forests and adding up their carbon sequestration potential, there&rsquo;s a major effort under way to connect urban America with the nation&rsquo;s forests and other public and private lands. The goal is to get Americans outdoors as part of the Obama administration&rsquo;s &ldquo;America&rsquo;s Great Outdoors&rdquo; (AGO) initiative, to build public support for improving the nation&rsquo;s landscape and &ldquo;to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda&rdquo; based on the premise that &ldquo;lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people &ndash; that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans.&rdquo;</span></span></p>
                                        <p>
                                            Getting Americans to appreciate and support the great outdoors is a joint effort of the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Ocean Service. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar promises that &ldquo;boosting tourism, outdoor recreation, and visitation to America&#39;s icons can help power new jobs and economic activity in communities across the country.&rdquo; Pointing to private sector benefits, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack adds that &ldquo;The outdoor industry contributes an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy.&rdquo;</span></p>
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                                            Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley says the goal of the effort is &ldquo;to open up access to recreation resources, leverage partnerships with the private sector, and realize the President&#39;s vision of healthy outdoors spaces all Americans can enjoy.&rdquo;</span></p>
                                        <p>
                                            For more information, visit <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/cb68ec8f28">www.americasgreatoutdoors.gov</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/26b8e73ed0">www.Recreation.gov</a>.</span></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:12pt;"><font class="Apple-style-span"><strong>USDA &lsquo;Streamlining Operations &amp; Cutting Costs&rsquo;&nbsp; </strong></font></span></span></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Promising &ldquo;a stronger, more effective USDA in 2012 and beyond,&rdquo; Agriculture Sec. Vilsack said that as part of overall federal budget cuts, USDA will close 259 offices and research labs across the country to save about $150 million a year. The plan is to:</span></span></p>
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                                                    <span style="font-size:10pt;">close 24 Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soil survey offices in 21 states, keeping 2,800 NRCS offices open;</span></span></p>
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                                                    <span style="font-size:10pt;">consolidate 131 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices in 32 states, keeping 2,100 FSA offices open;</span></span></p>
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                                                    <span style="font-size:10pt;">close 12 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) programs at 10 locations while continuing 240 programs.</span></span></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Congress is already hearing complaints about the proposed closings &ndash; closings which promise to increase demand for RFF&rsquo;s comprehensive <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/ee73742b8c">conservation resources database</a>. USDA&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/4d7a4bd707/contentidonly=true&amp;contentid=blueprint_for_stronger_service.html">Blueprint for Stronger Service</a> lists the offices being closed and other details.</span></span></p>
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                                            <font face="georgia, serif" size="3"><b>POET to the Rescue</b></font></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Even while cutting back elsewhere, USDA is making new commitments to support renewable energy &ndash; such as an extra $25 million this year to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. As well, USDA is providing a $25 million loan guarantee for a cellulosic ethanol plant planned for Blairstown, Iowa.</span></span></p>
                                        <p>
                                            Enter <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/0973e82920">POET</a>, the South Dakota based ethanol producer which operates 27 ethanol plants across the Midwest. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded POET a $105 million loan guarantee to help POET build a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. In a sign that cellulosic ethanol is a commercial reality, POET no longer needs that $105 million. Instead POET has announced a joint venture with <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/3df4a55e3e">Royal DSM</a>, a Netherlands-based Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, to develop and license cellulosic ethanol production technology.</span></p>
                                        <p>
                                            The POET/DSM partnership not only frees up $105 million in federal loan guarantee money but moves the U.S. a giant step closer to turning America&rsquo;s estimated 1.3 billion tons of biomass &ldquo;waste&rdquo; into a valuable source of renewable energy.</span></p>
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                                            <font face="georgia, serif" size="3"><b>RFF&#39;s New County-Level Listings</b></font></p>
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                                            <span style="font-size:10pt;">Thanks to Forest Service funding, Resources First Foundation is adding a new layer to its national database. Each service provider listing now will show the geographical extent of each provider&rsquo;s coverage. If you&rsquo;re looking for a land trust, estate planner, wildlife biologist, seed supplier or other service, visit our <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/a89144f498">Conservation Yellow Pages</a> to find the services you need. You&rsquo;ll find the service area near the bottom of each listing. If you&rsquo;re a service provider, check your own listing and click the &ldquo;email the Administrator&rdquo; link at the bottom of the page to update your listing.</span></span><br />
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                                                <b style="font-family: georgia, serif; font-size: medium; ">Send Us Your Comments</b></p>
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                                                <span style="font-size:10pt;">To contribute items for our national conservation database or offer your comments, please email: <a href="mailto:jharsch@resourcesfirstfoundation.org?subject=PLN%20Newsletter%20Message">jharsch@resourcesfirstfoundation.org</a>. We welcome your insights and we&#39;re especially seeking:</span></span></p>
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                                    <span style="font-size:10pt;">Success stories about farmers, ranchers and forest owners who are actively engaged in &ldquo;keeping working lands working.&rdquo;</span></span></p>
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                                <p>
                                    <span style="font-size:10pt;">Success stories such as David Bamberger&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ResourcesFirstFounda/ed58a45f65/a0e111d450/1ee6991ddc/id=113">Texas Ranch that Brought Water from Stone</a>.</span></span><br />
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