Suit filed to halt GM tree planting

In May, USDA issued a permit for ArborGen to plant field tests of genetically modified Eucalyptus trees on 28 sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. The goal is to use the fast-growing trees for pulp and biomass. A coalition of environmental groups have filed suit to stop the planting, charging that USDA granted ArborGen the permit with minimal environmental review.

USGBC public comment period on forest certification benchmarks ends July 4

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released the 4th draft of their forest certification benchmarks open for public comment. Deadline for input is 5:00pm PST, July 4. If approved by USGBC, the Benchmark will be the collection of criteria against which forest certification systems will be evaluated to determine which are recognized in the LEED green building certification program.

Oregon dedicates first new forest in more than 60 years

Oregon's new Gilchrist State Forest was dedicated this week by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, marking what is considered a long-term investment that eventually will support government operations with timber sale money, provide wildlife habitat, make fire protection easier, assure public access and stave off checkerboard development.

USDA issues final rule for Conservation Stewardship Program; deadline extended

The USDA has released the final rule for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) that contains a number of new changes. The sign-up period for CSP has been extended to June 25, 2010.

New England conservation efforts fighting forest loss

A recent report from the Harvard Forest warns that all six New England states are experiencing a decline in forest cover. Forested areas have come under increasing pressure from a new wave of commercial development, industrial use and invasive species.

Agroforestry success in Missouri

The practice of combining farming and trees, known as agroforestry, has caught the attention of more farmers in recent years. And Missouri, with its ample forests and one of the country's premier agroforestry research centers, is leading the way into the woods.

U.S. farm and timber groups urge end to deforestation

A new study released by a coalition of farm and timber groups says stopping deforestation in Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere could increase revenue for U.S. farmers and the forestry industry by $190 billion to $270 billion between 2012 and 2030. The report, "Farms Here, Forests There," looked at what would happen if landowners in Brazil and other major areas of deforestation were given carbon offset payments to keep land in forest.

Forest Legality Alliance targets illegally harvested timber

The newly launched Forest Legality Alliance brings together conservation groups, government agencies, and corporations including Staples Inc. and several other wood and paper products retailers to reduce demand for illegally harvested forest products.

Oregon offers online statewide forest atlas

The Oregon Department of Forestry has developed an online Forest Atlas as a public education product of the Statewide Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy. Maps developed for the Oregon Forest Atlas 2010 use GIS data obtained from several sources, including the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Research Station, Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Forestry.