'Webinar' to address forest and wildlife impacts of gas drilling

With the unprecedented wave of deep-well, natural-gas drilling occurring across much of Pennsylvania, care must be taken to minimize impacts on wildlife and forests so critical to the state's economy and heritage, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

The Keystone State must proactively plan natural-gas development associated with the Marcellus shale in a way that minimizes negative effects to valuable resources, says Margaret Brittingham, professor of wildlife resources. She points out that gas development particularly threatens the large blocks of mostly uninterrupted forest covering the northcentral part of the state.

Brittingham will talk about the effects of natural-gas drilling on forest habitats during a free online seminar at 1 p.m. on March 18. Information about how to register for the one-hour "webinar" is available at http://naturalgas.extension.psu.edu/Events.htm.
 
Forests are vitally important, providing ecological services to all Pennsylvanians, Brittingham explains. "Forests produce oxygen, sequester carbon, protect watersheds and improve water quality and the climate," she says. "In addition, our forests have great economic value. Forest-related industries in the state contribute $17 billion to the state's economy and employ more than 90,000 people."
 
The webinar is part of a series of monthly online workshops addressing various issues related to Marcellus shale gas exploration and extraction. Previous webinars -- which covered topics such as water use and quality, gas leasing considerations for landowners and implications for local communities -- can be viewed at http://naturalgas.extension.psu.edu/webinars.htm
 
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Last Updated March 19, 2009