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Joint meeting focused on healthy forests and forest products industries.

The FPS Midwest Section, Upper Mississippi Valley Section, and the National Association of Professional Forestry Schools and Colleges (NAPFSC) held a joint meeting on September 14-15, 2004, at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin.

Following a welcome by FPL Director Chris Risbrudt and National Planning Committee (NPC) University Co-Chair Doug Stokke, moderator Howard Rosen of the USDA Forest Service Research Headquarters in Washington, D.C., opened the fall research conference. Our first speaker, Donald DeHayes of the University of Vermont, currently serves as President of the NAPFSC. He addressed the topic "Future Challenges for Science and Forest Management: An Academic Perspective" by outlining contemporary challenges in natural resource management and some of the initiatives undertaken by NAPFSC in response to these challenges. Next, Ann Bartuska, Deputy Chief for Research and Development of the USDA Forest Service, discussed "Details and Implications of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act" (HFRA). The HFRA contains six titles that outline federal directives for fuel reduction, research to improve biomass use, training, rural revitalization, and biomass utilization commercialization grants. Significant implications of this legislation will be healthier forests, reduction in forest fires, economic improvement, particularly in rural communities, and improved energy and economic security. Wisconsin's State Forester, Paul DeLong, then outlined healthy forest initiatives by State Forestry organizations. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has responded to the Governor's call to improve the competitive position of the State's forest industry by obtaining third-party certification of State forests as sustainably managed.

Glenn Carpenter, Manager of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Biomass Energy Research Program described past and currently funded projects in this $25 million per year program, which is jointly managed with the U.S. Department of Energy. The USDA will be the lead organization for the fiscal year 2005 solicitation. Fred Deneke and Steve Yaddof of the USDA Forest Service State and Private Forestry organization followed with a discussion of the Forest Service's Economic Action Plan (EAP) funding and programs

Chavonda Jacobs-Young, National Program Leader for the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) National Research Initiative (NRI) Competitive Grant Program, explained recent funding in the Improved Utilization of Wood and Wood Fiber (73.0) and BioBased Products and BioEnergy (71.2) program areas. The NRI program overall is undergoing changes, including larger awards in fiscal year 2004. For the recently released FY 2005 solicitation, program areas 73.0 and 71.2 have been combined. Although the budget is not yet known, it is anticipated that there will be more than $5 million available. Next, Thomas Klindt, Associate Dean of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, provided an overview of the Sungrant Initiative, which is a research, education, and extension program based in land-grant universities and designed to further knowledge and implementation of biomass utilization. The program is authorized by Congress for up to $75 million per year, but thus far, appropriations have been limited to planning grants at the five regional centers over the past 3 years. Steven McCabe, Program Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems, provided an overview of programs at NSF that could be of interest to the wood engineering community. McCabe indicated that wood engineering proposals to NSF are few, but in his view, should fare well if the science is sound. His colleague, Perumalsamy ("Bala") Balaguru, runs a $5 million program (Infrastructure Materials and Structural Mechanics) within the Civil and Mechanical Systems Directorate that is one appropriate home for wood engineering proposals.

Mark Knaebe of the FPL Technology and Marketing Unit outlined efforts regarding small-diameter timber utilization in relation to forest management. Improved forest health and sustainability are dependent upon our ability to develop markets for small-diameter materials. Margaret Bau, Cooperative Development Specialist, USDA Rural Development Program, followed Knaebe's presentation by explaining the essentials of landowner cooperatives. Mark Rickenbach, Assistant Professor and Extension Forester, University of Wisconsin, built upon Ms. Bau's presentation with specific examples of forest cooperatives in Wisconsin that have learned from earlier failed attempts.

Paul Pingrey, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, discussed Wisconsin's efforts in third-party certification of state-owned and county-owned forestlands, which were certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council early in 2004. Jim Rod, Wood Procurement Manager, Domtar Industries, spoke of Domtar's commitment to sustainable forestry. Rod explained the importance of the state-owned and county-owned forestland certification in meeting customer demands for certified paper. Certified forest products are facing little demand from the end consumer; however, industrial consumers such as Time Warner are placing a high priority on certified paper products. Don Peterson, Wisconsin Master Logger Certification Program, explained that even if a woodlot is not certified, logs and pulpwood harvested by a Wisconsin Master Logger are recognized as another source of certified wood.
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Title Annotation:BULLETIN BOARD
Author:Stokke, Doug; Bowe, Scott
Publication:Forest Products Journal
Date:May 1, 2005
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