Sunday, December 7, 2014

Experts fear for long-term health of U.S. forests

By Wilson Ring

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The age of forest landowners across the country is increasing while the size of the parcels they own is shrinking — and that has state, federal and private experts fearing for the long-term health of millions of acres of American woodlands.

The concerns of forestry professionals are more subtle than the typical worries over large-scale development: As the parcels of land get smaller, the people who own them might not have the same commitment to the forests as the previous landowners.

Click here to read more >>>

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Spotted Lanternfly - A New Insect Pest Detected in Pennsylvania

The spotted lanternfly is native to China, India, Japan, and Vietnam and has been detected for the first time in the United States in northeastern Berks County, Pennsylvania

This approximately one inch long insect with piercing-sucking mouthparts has the potential to impact the green industry, grape growers, tree fruit growers, and the forest- and wood-products industries in Pennsylvania as well as the United States.

A quarantine is currently in place around District Township and Pike Township in Berks County.  The quarantine may be expanded to new areas as further detections of the Spotted Lanternfly are detected and confirmed.

       Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture >>>

       Penn State Extension >>>

       Additional Berks County townships, communities quarantined because of Spotted Lanternfly

Monday, November 3, 2014

Thousand Cankers Disease Detected in Lancaster County Trees; Agriculture Department Enacts Additional Quarantine

Harrisburg – Following the detection of Thousand Cankers Disease in Lancaster County, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture today enacted a quarantine, effective immediately, restricting the movement of wood and wood products.

Lancaster joins Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, which were quarantined in August 2014, and Bucks County, which was quarantined in 2011. The quarantine restricts the movement of all walnut material and hardwood firewood from the six Pennsylvania counties and other states known to have the disease.

Click here to read more >>>

Thursday, October 30, 2014

PA SIC Hosts Timber Harvesting Tour for PA County Conservation District Staff

On October 30th the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee (SIC) hosted a timber harvesting field tour for County Conservation District personnel as part of their annual DEP chapter 102/105 training.

The group toured a timber operation in Julian, PA that is being carried out by Metzler Forest Products out of Reedsville, PA. Nate Byler and Jared Ernico with Metzler Forest Products also helped guide the tour and discussed the reasoning behind particular aspects of the site and equipment use.

The group consisted of nearly 40 County Conservation District staff members from all across Pennsylvania. A number of the participants had never stepped foot on an active logging operation before. While others in the group had some experience with timber harvesting, they still asked many questions. The tour discussed key aspects of maintaining personal safety on logging sites, timber management, harvesting equipment systems, forest products, best management practices, and site planning and layout.

Sarah Hall-Bagdonas, Forest Specialist with the Wayne County Conservation District, also shared some of her experiences working with chapter 102/105 regulations on timber harvest operations in her region, and discussed some practical things she learned over the two years since starting her position.

Staff from DEP and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Association also provided input during the tour.

The program was a success, and the positive feedback from the group seemed to indicate that everyone who participated was able to take something away from the tour.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bobwhite Quail Close to Extinction in Pa. and NJ

By Edward Colimore | The Philadelphia Inquirer

Bill Haines Jr. used to see wild quail on his family's farm all the time when he was growing up. He heard their distinctive "bobwhite" calls and thought nothing of it.

Fifty years ago, the small chicken-like bird thrived across parts of the state. Coveys of them were common. Hunters flushed them out by the scores while walking through brushy fields.

Now, their singing has all but stopped. The number of wild bobwhite quail has fallen off so precipitously that — except for small pockets — they're close to extinction in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and barely holding on in Delaware, wildlife ecologists say.

Click here to read more >>>

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

FRA and ALC Join in "Logging Careers" Promotion

Washington, DC – The American Loggers Council (ALC) and the Forest Resources Association (FRA) are working together on a project to help men and women considering a career in logging to understand what logging work is like and to link them with the connections they need to find employment.
A four-color brochure, Is Working As A Logger For You?, describes basic qualifications for logging employment, characterizes several logging configurations, and presents statements from employers about what to expect from employment in logging. It also provides a link to a page on ALC’s web site,, which provides state association contacts who can connect motivated individuals to employers and training opportunities.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let’s Strengthen The Safety Culture

By Chris Dixon - Timber Harvesting & Wood Fiber Operations

Over the years I have worked with many professionals in different industries, including residential and heavy construction, oilfield, trucking, mining, rigging, maritime, logging, mill operations and heavy equipment. I have learned one very valuable lesson: as a business owner, co-worker, or employee, it is your responsibility to live and breathe safety at work, home and elsewhere. happen every day. These events, almost all of which can be prevented, occur because we as humans are “foulable.” We are not perfect and we don’t always think about safety before we act. We can all do more, especially in our daily operating arenas. It is time to strengthen the Safety Culture.

Click here to read more >>> 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pa. Dept. of Agriculture Urges Public to Help Keep Foreign Beetle from Entering State

Agriculture Secretary George Greig is encouraging Pennsylvanians to protect the commonwealth tree population by spotting, collecting and submitting suspected Asian longhorned beetles to experts.

“Many Pennsylvanians are aware of the threat that invasive species pose to our state’s timber, maple syrup and tourism industries, but awareness isn’t enough,” said Greig. “Since Asian longhorned beetles are similar in appearance to more common beetles, we need citizens to capture samples and submit them to experts for identification.”

Click here to read more >>>

Friday, August 15, 2014

Congratulations to Terry Schwartz

Ashley Hall-Bagdonas presents Schwartz with his first place trophy
Terry Schwartz of Pleasant Mount, PA won first place in the Professional category of the Skilled Tree Felling event at the 31st Wayne County Woodsmen's Competition. The annual event was held on August 2nd at the Waye County Fairgrounds and is sponsored by the Wayne County Conservation District and the Wayne County Fair. The Skilled Tree Felling Event was one of 12 events held as part of the competition.

Contestants were required to fell a pole at a target using techniques and knowledge of tree felling. They were scored on accuracy, cutting technique, and distance from their target. Contestants competing in the event were required to have completed Game of Logging training.

Schwartz beat out 4 competitors.
He felled his pole directly onto his target, a gallon jug which he exploded, and everyone was excited - except for Terry Schwartz, because that was just what he planned to do the whole time! Others competing in the event were Jason Schroeder, Ian Ernst, Kyle Reining, and Jim Watson Jr.

Schwartz works for Timber Wolf Logging and is also a participant in the Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program. Since 1997 he has completed more then 90 hours of training aimed at improving safety, professionalism, and environmental stewardship. The Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee donated the trophies for the event.

Congratulations Terry.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pennsylvania SIC Summer 2014 Newsletter
Now Available Online:
  • Pennsylvania Loggers Recognized
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period on Proposed Listing of Northern Long-eared Bat
  • PA SFI Updates & Reminders
  • Central Mountain Students Participate in Logger Training
  • PA Walnut Quarantine Expanded
  • Pennsylvania SIC Support
  • PA Forest Products Association Executive Development Workshop and Annual Meeting

  • 2014 Fall Training Schedule 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Black Walnut Wood Quarantine Expanded in SE Pennsylvania

Four additional Pennsylvania counties are quarantined effective immediately because of the detection of Thousand Cankers Disease found in trees in Chester County.

This restricts the movement of wood and wood products from Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and other states known to have the disease. This is the second detection of Thousand Cankers Disease in the state. Bucks County was quarantined in 2011.

Read more:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pennsylvania Team Competes in National 4-H Forestry Invitational

By Dave Jackson

Pennsylvania was one of 12 state teams that competed in the 35th annual National 4-H Forestry Invitational from Sunday, July 27, through Thursday, July 31.  Teams from Alabama, New York, and Georgia placed first, second, and third respectively.  Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia were also represented at this year’s Invitational.

The invitational was held at West Virginia University Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp and Conference Center near Weston, West Virginia.  The event was sponsored by Farm Credit System, Plum Creek, The Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., The Society of American Foresters, West Virginia University Extension Service, The American Forest Foundation, and the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.  In Pennsylvania, the 4-H Forestry Program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative Implementation Committee.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

2014 SFI Inc. Progress Report
SFI stands at the intersection of sustainable forests and sustainable communities. You are part of the SFI community, whether you are adding value through managing forestlands, elevating the impact of conservation research, working with youth or learning from elders, broadening market leadership through responsible purchasing, or even if you're simply a consumer trying to make the right choices.

Click here to learn more about how SFI is working today for our Future Forests.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Younger Generations Not Interested in Timber

By Rachel MinskePress-Gazette Media

(Photo: Wm.Glasheen/Post-Crescent Media )
Scott Sawle was raised in the sawmill business.

He remembers working on his family's mill in southwestern Wisconsin when he was 10. That was in 1958, when child labor laws were more lax than they are today.

Now 66, Sawle is a second-generation sawmill owner, and he is convinced his Richland Center mill won't support a third.

Click here to read more >>>

Thursday, June 19, 2014

High School Students Participate in Professional Logger Training Program

Back row, left to right: Chuck Coup (PA SFI Program Manager), Ethan Shawley, Bryce Bason, Russ Mazzotta, John May (Natural Resources Management Program Instructor).
Front Row, left to right: Dustin Windle, Curtis Hess, Dameon Ilgen, Ethan Wheeler, Logan Firestone.

A new partnership between the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative (PA SFI) and Central Mountain High School in Mill Hall, PA allows students enrolled in the school’s Natural Resources Management Program to participate in the state’s premier logger training program at no cost to the students or the school. This spring marked the first class to complete the core requirements for the PA Professional Timber Harvester Training Program, administered by the PA SFI. This is the same training that many professional loggers are required to complete, including those that cut commercial timber sales on state forestlands. The training program emphasizes safety, environmental conservation, and professionalism.

“Pennsylvania’s Forest Products industry is recognizing that finding and attracting new employees with the basic skills and work ethics necessary to carry out logging operations is becoming both an immediate and long term problem,” said Chuck Coup, Program Manager for Pennsylvania SFI. “We hope that building partnerships like this will help encourage students at the high school level to consider a future career in the forest products industry.”

A report from a November 2013 Forum conducted by Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Hardwoods Development Council identifies lack of qualified skilled loggers as one of the top threats to the future of the state’s forest products industry.

Central Mountain High School instructor John May agrees that the partnership between the PA SFI and the Natural Resources Management Program at Central Mountain High School is a great addition and provides several positive outcomes and opportunities. “It provides students with industry recognized training that will aid them in finding employment after graduation, and provides the industry with young people that have a sincere interest and proper training,” May said. “It has also helped the students to develop a better sense of pride and appreciation for their education because they are able to see directly how it will benefit them in the future.”

The Natural Resource Management Program at Central Mountain High School dates back to 1985 when it was simply known as the Forestry Program. Since that time students have been learning how to manage forest resources and safely operate chainsaws and portable sawmills in a hands-on setting.

The Pennsylvania SFI program has been operating the statewide Professional Timber Harvester Training program since 1995. More than 7,000 individuals have participated in the training aimed at reducing logging accidents, increasing the productivity and professionalism of Pennsylvania’s loggers, and improving the sustainability of timber harvesting practices in the state. The PA SFI program office is located in Bellefonte, PA.

Delivery of the PA SFI logger training to the school was supported in part by funding from the Keystone Wood Products Association, which strives to enhance the lumber and wood products manufacturers of Central Pennsylvania through promotion of career opportunities in the industry and other initiatives.

Pennsylvania Logger Wins National Game of Logging Competition

Ron L. Andrus of Galeton, PA won the National Game of Logging Championship and Soren Eriksson Cup at the 2014 Game of Logging National Competition in Essex Junction, Vermont on Saturday, May 10th.

The event was held in conjunction with the Northeast Forest Products Equipment Expo. Seven professional competitors from Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont participated in the National Championship after winning their state regional event.

The professional loggers competed in 7 events; speed cut, bore cut, precision stump, big stump, aiming, spring pole, and tree felling. Each event challenged the competitors’ skills in cutting and chainsaw handling; testing their speed, accuracy, and precision. The seven events were scored by Game of Logging instructors with an overall total of 644 points. Competitors were subject to point deductions for violating any one of 12 safety rules during the competition.

When the sawdust had settled, Pennsylvania’s logger, R.L. Andrus had come out on top. With a combined score of 475 points and no safety violations, Andrus had won (or tied for the lead) 3 of the events and beat out the next highest score by 25 points.

Andrus is the 24th National Game of Logging Champion. He received a $1,000 prize and will have his name engraved on the base of the Soren Eriksson Cup – the competition’s traveling trophy.

Andrus began working full time in the logging industry at the age of 18. Most of his 24 years in Pennsylvania’s forests have been spent working with his father, Ron E. Andrus. For the last year he has been working for Appalachian Woodlands Consulting Inc., out of Wellsboro, PA. Andrus also participates in the Pennsylvania SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program, the state’s premier logger training program. Since 1998, Andrus has received 72 hours of training aimed at improving safety, professionalism, and environmental conservation in logging.

The Game of Logging National Competitions have been going on for 24 years in various regions of the United States. However, this will likely be the last time the national event is held. Pennsylvania won the very first National Competition back in 1991, and now it appears that the event’s history will end with a Pennsylvania winner as well.

A sincere congratulations go out to Ron Andrus on behalf of the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee.

Photo: Ron L. Andrus (right) accepts National Game of Logging Championship Prize and Soren Eriksson Cup from Game of Logging Instructor John Adler (left) at the 2014 Game of Logging National Competition in Essex Junction, Vermont on Saturday, May 10th.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Future Logging Careers Act Introduced in U.S. House

In early May Congressman Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced H.R. 4590, the Future Logging Careers Act. The bill would legally allow sons and daughters of family-owned timber harvesting businesses to work in those businesses by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act. It would only apply to 16-17 year olds who work under the supervision of their parents or by another designated person in an entity owned or operated by such parent or person. The bill would prohibit such youth from operating chain saws and cable skidders.

The 16-17 year old children of farmers and ranchers currently are allowed to work on farms and ranches, learning to operate heavy equipment, also an essential skill in timber harvesting operations. The American Loggers Council supports the bill as a means to ensure the long-term health of the logging industry.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

4-H Members Explore Forests and Wildlife Habitats at Field Day

The 2014 4-H Wildlife and Forestry Educational Field Day, held at Rock Springs, PA on April 26, 2014, was a wild success! The Field Day is a state level experience allowing 4-H youth to explore the wildlife and forestry sciences. Nearly 100 youth and adults from across Pennsylvania participated in this year’s event!

The event featured an Exploratory Tract for our younger 4-H youth and a Science and Knowledge Tract for teens.  The event also included a competitive knowledge and skills session for teen 4-H members wishing to participate in national judging events in both wildlife and forestry. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Revisions Made to PA SFI Timber Harvester Training Program Policy Pennsylvania SFI Timber Harvester Training Program Policy is administered by the Training Committee, a subcommittee of the Pennsylvania SFI Implementation Committee (SIC). The Training Committee is responsible for oversight and review of course development, training program policy, and training program direction.

In order to maintain program integrity and to ensure that policy expectations are clearly defined and administered fairly for participants it is often necessary to make revisions to the training program policy from time to time. The current program policy was adopted at the beginning of 2012. Since that time, training participants and others have raised a number of questions and issues that were not clearly addressed by the current policy.

After reviewing and discussing these issues the Training Committee recently approved some revisions that should help better define training requirements for those who participate in the program. It should be noted that none of these revisions change the basic requirements of the PA SFI Training Program, rather they simply provide additional clarification of requirement expectations. The revisions were approved and incorporated into the current policy on 03/13/14. If you participate in the PA SFI Professional Timber Harvester Training Program I would encourage you to take a few minutes to review and familiarize yourself with the Training Program Policy. It can be accessed through the "Training Requirements" menu item under the LOGGERS heading on the PA SFI website:

Monday, February 17, 2014

Make Plans for PFPA Legislative Event

The annual PFPA Legislative Event will take place the evening of Tuesday, April 1 at the Harrisburg Hilton. This event gives PFPA members a chance to directly engage to discuss PFPA’s legislative and regulatory agenda with state legislators and agency officials and educate urban and suburban legislators about forestry and the forest products industry.

Registration materials for the event are available to PFPA members by contacting the PFPA office (contact information below). Cost is $65.

One of the priority issues that PFPA is working on this spring is enactment of a sales tax exclusion for logging equipment. Logging operators are encouraged to attend the PFPA Legislative Event so they can share with legislators the importance of this issue.

Pennsylvania Forest Products Association
301 Chestnut Street, Suite 102
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Phone: 717-901-0420
Toll free: 800-232-4562
Fax: 717-901-0360

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pennsylvania SIC Winter 2014 Newsletter Available Online:

  • Program Update
  • The New PA SIC Website Has Everything You Need
  • New Transportation Law Helps Forest Product Haulers
  • SFI Inc. Seeks Comments on Draft 2015-2019 Standard
  • 2013 PA SIC In Review

  • 2014 Spring Training Schedule 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Farm Bill Passed

On February 4, the U.S. Senate passed the five-year Farm Bill by a 68-32 vote and sent it to the President for signature, following last week’s passage in the House. Thanks to the many FRA members who made contacts with key Senators this past week, to emphasize the importance of the Farm Bill’s pro-forestry provisions!

In terms of forestry, the Farm Bill:
  • Limits EPA’s regulatory reach and “citizen suits” over forest road stormwater run-off—adopting the most important terms of the Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act;
  • Includes forest products within the labeling and procurement preferences of the USDA “bio-based” program, with an inclusive definition of the program’s “innovative product” stipulation;
  • Improves access for family forest landowners to conservation programs, such as the Conservation Stewardship Program;
  • Permanently authorizes the Stewardship Contracting Program, which enables entrepreneurship opportunities for logging contractors and others in forest health and other improvement projects on federal land;
  • Reforms the USDA Forest Inventory & Analysis program to make its data more useful for practical supply projections.

Upholding states’ authority to regulate stormwater runoff through Best Management Practices programs, in the face of litigation in the Ninth Circuit, brought national, regional, and state forestry organizations together for a multi-year campaign.

From FRA Issue Update 02/04/2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pa. Game Commission Names Executive Director

From January 22, 2014 DCNR Resource Newsletter

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has approved the appointment of a new executive director.
R. Matthew Hough, who is the agency’s deputy executive director, was approved by a unanimous vote of the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners. Hough’s appointment became official upon Executive Director Carl G. Roe’s retirement.

Hough has 33 years of service with the Game Commission. He entered the Ross Leffler School of Conservation in June 1981 and was part of the school’s 18th graduating class. He served as a wildlife conservation officer, first in Westmoreland County, then in Washington County. And in 1992, he began working out of the Game Commission’s Southwest Region office. There, he served through the years in several positions including federal aid supervisor, information and education supervisor, law-enforcement supervisor and, ultimately, regional director.

Hough was named the Game Commission’s deputy executive director in 2010. As deputy executive director, he is responsible for the day-to-day operational supervision of the agency’s six regions.

Hough plans to retire in the not-too-distant future. The Board of Game Commissioners will continue its search for a candidate to serve in the post beyond Hough’s term.

Hough says he will strive to maintain stability within the agency. Among the tasks he plans to take up initially is conducting a full review of the agency’s finances to make sure the Game Commission will continue to prosper going forward.

It is essential that the agency’s workforce remain at full complement and all of the many programs to benefit wildlife stay on track and continue to achieve results, he said.

“I am very pleased the Board of Commissioners has shown its confidence in me by unanimously approving my appointment, and I will work tirelessly to continue the many successes the Game Commission has achieved over the years,” Hough said.

Hough grew up in Washington County, where he graduated from Trinity High School in 1975. He earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from West Virginia University in 1980.

Hough and his wife Jodi now reside in the Orrtanna area in Adams County. They have four children: Nathan, Mackenzie, Whitney and Tanner.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) Reaches Out to Thousands to Improve Forestry Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. and OTTAWA, ON - In one of the most expansive and inclusive processes to seek input from a resource sector, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) has invited nearly 10,000 stakeholders to submit comments on the draft SFI 2015-2019 Standard in its second 60-day public comment period. This open and public comment period runs from January 6 - March 6, 2014 and provides a transparent opportunity for anybody interested in the future of our forests to provide comment. The draft SFI 2015-2019 Standard includes new performance measures to conserve biodiversity in fiber sourcing; limit conversion of one forest type to another; and expand the definition of "controversial sources," which are not allowed in SFI-labeled products.