Voluntary Water Quality Regulation Of Private Forests Threatened By Lower Court Ruling Headed To Supreme Court

ALBANY, GA., October 2011 — A 35-year-old system of voluntary regulation of water run-off from roads on private woodlands could be replaced by EPA permit requirements under a federal court ruling now headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marshall Thomas, president of F&W Forestry Services, Inc., based in Albany, Ga., said a Court of Appeals ruling in Oregon could have a far-reaching impact on the management of privately-owned forest land throughout the United States.

The Oregon decision overturned a long-standing system of erosion and water control on private forest lands through state-developed and enforced Best Management Practices (BMPs) that treat forest roads as “non-point” sources of pollution—a position embraced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for more than three decades.

“The ruling is unfortunate in many ways,” Thomas writes in the fall edition of his firm’s publication, The F&W Forestry Report.  “Perhaps of most concern is the fact that the forestry community has done an outstanding job of self-regulating water quality practices, working on a voluntary basis with state and federal agencies and environmental groups.”

If the Oregon decision is upheld by the Supreme Court and is not undone through legislation by Congress, the voluntary BMP requirements on building or maintaining forest roads will be replaced by costly and time-consuming permit requirements on landowners and loggers under the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA-supervised state agencies.

“These voluntary efforts have been extremely effective,” Thomas writes.  “According to EPA’s own data, forest operations account for only three percent of the total sediment contribution to streams and ranks 11th among all contributing sources. To put the forestry contribution in perspective, natural sources alone contribute about 11 percent of stream sediment loads—and there is no credit given to forestry for the sediment it removes from other land uses.

“Adherence to BMPs is a part of the ethical code of the forestry community—we helped set the standards and we know they are effective in protecting water quality,” he said. “In addition, there are laws in place that are enforced to punish the few bad actors.”

“Forestry, by definition, is an isolated activity that is best self-regulated,” Thomas wrote. “Right now, adherence to BMPs is a matter of pride and responsibility— regulating the same thing through a federal permitting process will only drive costs up and reduce the ‘pride’ component.  It is unlikely there will be a corresponding increase in water quality.”

About F&W:

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., of Albany, Ga., is one of the nation’s oldest and largest forest consulting and management firms.  Established in 1962, F&W operates 19 offices in 12 states comprising the Southern pine belt, the Central and Appalachia region, Upstate New York, and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. It also manages private forestlands in South America with offices in Uruguay and Brazil.

Remsoft Simplifies the Model Analysis and Decision-Making Process

September 2011Remsoft Simplifies the Model Analysis and Decision-Making Process 

FREDERICTON, New Brunswick – September 14, 2011 – Remsoft, the leading provider of asset lifecycle optimization solutions for land-based and infrastructure assets, today announced new applications that empower organizations to improve the speed and accuracy of their  decisions. With the release of Remsoft Analyst for Excel and Remsoft Explorer, analysts and xecutives can use familiar and intuitive formats to review and work with optimization models, data and a full range of scenarios.

By putting the right information in the right hands, the right people can work with an optimized model, focus on analysis and decision-making—and produce real, actionable results without learning a new technology. With more employees across the organization having the ability to use the models and scenarios, collaboration is greatly improved, as is overall understanding of the organization’s mission and goals. The end result can be significant cost savings and improved operations.

“Remsoft has been a trusted partner for several years. Remsoft Analyst for Excel gives us the power to put our models and scenarios directly in the hands of our clients, who can then concentrate on analyzing the results and ensuring the right decisions are being made,” said Jeff Jordan, Technology Group Manager at F&W Forestry Services, Inc. “These new features will help us both simplify and speed the overall analysis process while increasing the value added to our clients.”

Remsoft Analyst for Excel connects published models to Microsoft Excel, enabling the common

spreadsheet interface to be used to access models, analyze information, run reports and quickly drill into and query model data in order to gain a better insight into and understanding of the scenario results. Remsoft Explorer is a graphically rich and interactive tool that allows users to easily and quickly manipulate and summarize model data, increasing understanding of the model and the predictive view of their organization.

To view the entire news release, go to www.Remsoft.com

About F&W:

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., of Albany, Ga., is one of the nation’s oldest and largest forest consulting and management firms.  Established in 1962, F&W operates 19 offices in 12 states comprising the Southern pine belt, the Central and Appalachia region, Upstate New York, and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. It also manages private forestlands in South America with offices in Uruguay and Brazil.

U.S. Timber Markets Remain Distressed By Housing Slump;
Far East Exports Surge May Provide Some Relief

April 2011 — Exports of paper, pulp, and lumber to the Far East may help relieve depressed markets for U.S. timber growers resulting from the three-year housing slump.

Marshall Thomas, president of F&W Forestry Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest forestry management firms, said generally dry weather contributed to weak markets in a large segment of the country’s commercial forests this past winter.  Dry weather usually results in an unrestricted supply of trees for mills.

But the housing slump is the real culprit behind depressed timber markets, Thomas writes in his company’s newsletter, The F&W Forestry Report.

“So far in 2011, there has been little change in the major housing indicators from 2010,” he writes.  “Housing starts remain flat, although some prognosticators are predicting some growth this year but probably not enough to put upward pressure on (timber) stumpage prices.”

The other major large-scale domestic market for trees—the pulp and paper industry—“seems steady,” Thomas said. But overseas “variables,” specifically in the Far East, “could have a positive impact on (U.S.) timber prices, both in the short and long term.”

“There could be an increase in demand from Japan for wood products—both for reconstruction from the terrible damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami and, in the near term, to replace lost paper production at the significant number of pulp and paper mills in the impact zone.” Thomas said.

Thomas said the monumental task of rebuilding Japan from the catastrophic disaster will require lumber and plywood that “almost certainly would come from the West Coast of North America.”

Even before the Japanese disaster, Thomas said lumber and wood exports to China from the U.S. and Canada were growing rapidly.

“Any surge in U.S. and Canadian lumber exports, even on the West Coast, could have a positive impact on timber prices in the East and Southeast,” he said.

About F&W:

F&W Forestry Services, Inc., of Albany, Ga., is one of the nation’s oldest and largest forest consulting and management firms.  Established in 1962, F&W operates 19 offices in 12 states comprising the Southern pine belt, the Central and Appalachia region, Upstate New York, and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest. It also manages private forestlands in South America with offices in Uruguay and Brazil.