Tag Archives: US Forest Service

AOL: BLM Ordered to Increase Timber Sale

Fire case tossed, Judge slams BLM, more…

by Rex Storm, Forest Policy Manager
Associated Oregon Loggers

BLM Ordered to Increase Timber Sale: On June 26, the DC federal district court ordered the BLM to sell the volume amount specified in its 1995 forest plans, and stop using a flawed computer model to predict exaggerated owl use in its forests. Although the ruling orders the BLM Medford and Roseburg Districts to increase annual timber sale by 54 million bdft, another 2011 case before the same judge was filed by the forest industry, and AFRC (AOL is a Member), which seeks to require the BLM to sell more timber in compliance with the O&C Act on all western Oregon districts.

Judge Tosses Fire Case: In July, a Plumas County Judge dismissed the state of California’s lawsuit seeking $8 million in state firefighting damages from timber sale purchaser Sierra Pacific Industries, sought for the 2007 Moonlight Fire. Cal. Dept. of Forestry failed to prove that SPI caused the fire. This ruling contrasted with an earlier case brought by the US Forest Service against SPI for the same fire, where a federal judge ordered SPI in 2012 to pay the government an outlandish $150 million (approx.) for resource damages and firefighting—about 40 times the damaged land appraised value.

Fire Salvage Plans Begin: With thousands of acres of private, BLM and national forest land burned in this summer’s wildfires across southwest and eastern Oregon, landowners have begun plans for salvage logging and reforestation to restore the damaged landscapes. Of note, in SW Oregon there is over 80,000 acres of burned forests in the Roseburg and Medford BLM districts, Umpqua Nat. Forest, industrial forests, and small private woodlands. Small BLM salvage sales of downed fire line timber could be offered this fall. The most immediate logging will begin on private forestlands.

Congress Advances Federal Forest Bill: The US House Resources Committee on July 31st approved HR. 1526, Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. The bill would make needed reforms for the US Forest Service harvesting half its annual timber growth. Additional provisions divide 2.5 million acres of Western Oregon BLM forestland in into two parcels: half managed under a timber yield trust authority; and half allocated to the Forest Service for habitat. The bill is slated for a House vote in September, prior to an uncertain fate in the Democrat-majority US Senate.

Congress Hearing on Wildfires & Forests: Amid an active fire season across the West, the House Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands in July held a hearing focusing on the need for increased federal forest management to address forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. All witnesses agreed that more harvesting and restoration is needed on federal forests to reduce fires. Remedies were discussed that would treat more acres to prevent increased future catastrophic wildfires that destroy millions of acres, take more lives, and destroy communities.

State Funds Eastside Forestry: A first-in-the-nation effort, the Oregon Legislature and Governor passed a bill (SB. 5521) to help fund US Forest Service timber sale planning. As part of its 2013-15 biennial budget, industry supported the Legislature-approved $2.885 million in lottery-funded bonds to help national forest timber sale planning and collaboration in eastern Oregon. Funds will be administered by OR Dept. of Forestry and OR Watershed Enhancement Board, to help fund increased scale & pace of forest health harvests and streamlined new business models.

Land Board Considers State Forest Sale: Forced by a lawsuit and court injunction to harvest less than 15 million bdft/year, the Oregon Land Board may instead sell 2,714 acres in the Elliott State Forest to raise money for the Common School Fund. The lawsuit, filed by environmental groups who claim logging harms the marbled murrelet sea bird, has blocked the current forest plan that directs 40 million bdft/yr timber sale from the Elliott, located east of Reedsport. With future timber revenue in doubt, the Board is considering selling three isolated parcels to generate school funds.

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Timber tweak cures baseball bat breaks

Timber tweak cures baseball bat breaks


August 8, 2013

Rate of shattered baseball bats 50 percent less, thanks to Major League Baseball, Forest Service

 By USDA Forest Service

As the 2013 Major League Baseball (MLB) season slides into the All-Star break, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the results of innovative research by the U.S. Forest Service, and funded by MLB, that will result in significantly fewer shattered baseball bats.

baseball bats. courtesy of TECO

Photo courtesy of TECO.

“This innovative research by the U.S. Forest Service will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation,” said Secretary Vilsack. “The U.S. Forest Products Laboratory has once again demonstrated that we can improve uses for wood products across our nation in practical ways – making advancements that can improve quality of life and grow our economy.”

Testing and analyzing thousands of shattered Major League bats, U.S. Forest Service researchers at theForest Products Laboratory (FPL) developed changes in manufacturing that decreased the rate of shattered maple bats by more than 50 percent since 2008. While the popularity of maple bats is greater today than ever before, the number of shattered bats continues to decline.

“Since 2008, the U.S. Forest Service has worked with Major League Baseball to help make America’s pastime safer,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “I’m proud that our collective ‘wood grain trust’ has made recommendations resulting in a significant drop in shattered bats, making the game safer for players as well as for fans.”

Outfielder Kensuke Tanaka’s bat cracks on impact with the ball during a San Francisco Giants game. The U.S. Forest Service has worked with Major League Baseball on bat design that greatly reduces the number of bats broken during a season. (Photo @2013 S.F. Giants)

Outfielder Kensuke Tanaka’s bat cracks on impact with the ball
during a San Francisco Giants game. The U.S. Forest Service has
worked with Major League Baseball on bat design that greatly
reduces the number of bats broken during a season.
@2013 S.F. Giants

“These results would not have been possible without the outstanding work of the Forest Products Laboratory and the tireless efforts of its project coordinator, David Kretschmann,” says Daniel Halem, MLB’s Senior Vice President of Labor Relations. “Major League Baseball greatly appreciates the invaluable contributions of the Forest Products Laboratory and Mr. Kretschmann on this important issue.”

The joint Safety and Health Advisory Committee of Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association began working to address the frequency of bats breaking into multiple pieces five years ago. FPL wood experts looked at every broken Major League bat from July to September during the 2008 MLB season.

The research team found that inconsistency of wood quality, primarily the manufacturing detail “slope of grain,” for all species of wood used in Major League bat manufacture was the main cause of broken bats. Also, low-density maple bats were found to not only crack but shatter into multiple pieces more often than ash bats or higher-density maple bats. Called multiple-piece failure, shattered bats can pose a danger on the field and in the stands.

Courtesy Major League Baseball

Photo courtesy Major League Baseball.

Slope of grain refers to the straightness of the wood grain along the length of a bat. Straighter grain lengthwise means less likelihood for breakage.

With the help of TECO, a third-party wood inspection service, the FPL team established manufacturing changes that have proven remarkably successful over time. Limits to bat geometry dimensions, wood density restrictions, and wood drying recommendations have all contributed to the dramatic decrease in multiple-piece failures, even as maple’s popularity is on the upswing.

The Forest Service research team has been watching video and recording details of every bat breakage since 2009. The team will continue monitoring daily video and studying broken bats collected during two two-week periods of the 2013 season, working to further reduce the use of low-density maple bats and the overall number of multiple-piece failures.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.


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