Agenda set for Private Forest Landowners Conference

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The tours and presentations have been finalized for Penn State's first statewide Private Forest Landowners Conference, and the program promises to be unparalleled for providing forest stewardship information to Pennsylvania citizens.

To be held May 10 and 11 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, the event will be hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Center for Private Forests. Focusing on the future of Penn's Woods, the day-and-a-half conference will reach out to owners of all sizes of woodlands, from backyard woodlot owners to those who view their woodlands as business ventures.

"This is an unprecedented opportunity for Pennsylvania's woodland owners to participate in an entertaining and enlightening conference on forest land use, conservation and best-management practices for woodlots of all sizes," said James Finley, Ibberson Professor of Forest Resources and director of the Center for Private Forests. "The event offers nationally recognized experts on virtually all matters of concern to woodlot owners.

"With an expected 1,000 participants, nearly 100 seminars, field trips, exhibitions and interaction with fellow landowners, this event will offer all you need to undertake the best practices and enhancement of the myriad values you hold for your property."

The conference will feature five optional field tours (cost is $15 per tour) on Friday morning before the conference officially kicks off at 1 p.m. May 10:

-- "Wind Energy and Implications for Private Forest Landowners," to be led by Michael Barton, a consulting forester. The tour will visit a wind turbine farm, and participants can learn about wind energy and potential impacts on the forest, and about the important considerations for private forest landowners from leasing to forest management.

-- "Vernal Pools: Special Management Considerations," to be led by Clayton Lutz, a wildlife biologist with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This tour will cover basic ecology, hydrologic regimens and varying characteristics of vernal pools; basic ecology (breeding movements and habits) of vernal pool-breeding amphibians and reptiles; the value of vernal pools for other game and nongame wildlife; and best-management practices for conserving and protecting vernal pools and their obligate wildlife users.

-- "The Nature Conservancy: Brush Mountain Field Tour -- Restoration of Forest Lands: Including Use of Prescribed Fire," to be led by Michael Eckley, a forester with The Nature Conservancy. This tour of a severely degraded property, purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 2008 to conserve the southern-terminus of the Brush Mountain range, will cover the organization's efforts to rehabilitate and enhance the tract for people, wildlife and biodiversity.

The tour will focus on evaluating specific management units receiving a sequence of silvicultural treatments to achieve landowner objectives. Key forest condition attributes will be discussed, encompassing forest composition, structure and regeneration. Forest management activities will include the use of prescribed fire, scarification, herbicide applications, precommercial felling, deer fencing, public hunting, and tree and shrub plantings.

-- "Management and Control of Non-Native Invasive Plant Species," to be led by Art Gover, Penn State research associate who is an expert on controlling invasive species. Art and Canoe Creek State Park Manager Andy St. John will highlight practices used at the park to control and manage invasive plant species found in riparian buffers. New plantings helping to control reed Canary Grass and other invasives and the effort to use fungal parasites to control tree of heaven will be highlighted.

This tour also will include special practices utilized in early succession habitats while controlling invasive and interfering plants. Pesticide credits are available upon request. Special golden-winged warbler habitat development and funding opportunities will be discussed.

-- "Forest Management Practices on Private Forest Land," will be led by Chris Jones, a forester with the state Bureau of Forestry. The many forest-management practices the bureau employs will be shown and explained so that private forest landowners also can use them on their lands to meet their objectives. Practices such as shelterwood harvests, controlling interfering plants and deer management will be observed and discussed.

The conference will offer 99 concurrent sessions with presentations in the following tracks: forest finance, forest legacy, forest history, backyard woods, woods wildlife, forest health, tending and management, wood products, making your woods accessible, forests and water, forest recreation, aesthetics and biodiversity, and forest policy and advocacy.

A list of scheduled presentations is available on the conference website.

The conference fee of $75 includes two breaks with refreshments on Friday, two breaks and lunch on Saturday, a Saturday morning general session with Curt Meine, senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation and Leopold biographer, and access to information and resources from respected presenters from across the region.

Optional events (at additional cost) include the Friday morning field tours and a Friday evening keynote banquet that will feature an address by Doug Tallamy, professor and chair of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware and author of "Bringing Nature Home."

Conference exhibitors include educational, resource and service providers with tools and information to help participants undertake sound practices on their woodlands.

"If you are a woodlot owner in Pennsylvania and are concerned about the future of your investment and the future of Penn's Woods, you should plant to attend," advised Finley.

For more information or to register, visit the website or call 800-235-9473.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 08, 2013