Sustainability

New 'Forests on the Edge' report details threats to private forests

A new USDA Forest Service report entitled "Private Forests, Public Benefits," shows that privately held forests in the U.S. are under substantial stress from development and fragmentation and that increased housing density in forests will exacerbate other threats to forests from wildfire, insects, pathogens and pollution.

First-of-its-kind map from NASA depicts global forest heights

Using NASA satellite data, scientists have produced a first-of-its kind map that details the height of the world's forests. Although there are other local- and regional-scale forest canopy maps, the new map is the first that spans the entire globe based on one uniform method.

WFLC releases 'Threats to Western Forests' report

The Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) recently released "Threats to Western Private Forests: A Framework for Conserving and Enhancing the Benefits from Private Working Forests in the Western U.S." The report offers recommendations focused on climate change, markets for forest products and ecosystem services, and improved social appreciation for forests and sustainable forest management. For more information, visit http://wflccenter.org/forestthreats.

FSC harmonizes regional forest standards

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has revised its Forest Management Standard for forest operations in the contiguous U.S. by integrating nine regional standards into a single, national standard. Regional variation is maintained in key areas of forest management and conservation where local conditions, including forest types and ecological processes, warrant different management techniques, according to the organization.

Diversifying a portfolio with timber

Some investment strategists call timber “a perfect investment” for someone with a time horizon of, say, 20 years or more. Over the last few years, exchange-traded funds have been introduced that provide easier access to the diversification benefits of timber.

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.