Calendar

Apr
1
Sat
SFWS and ACES host BioBlitz at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center @ Kreher Preserve & Nature Center
Apr 1 @ 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

What is a BioBlitz? A BioBlitz is a hands-on, citizen science event to promote interest in local biodiversity. People will have the opportunity to work in the forest alongside scientists from Auburn University and the local area while discovering the diversity of insects, fish, fungi, plants, mammals, herpetofauna, birds, and bats.

Where? Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, 2222 N. College St. Auburn, Alabama.

When? This come-and-go event is open to the public from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 2017. Stay for a couple of hours or stay for the day. It is up to you.

Who can attend? Anyone who loves nature and learning about the natural world! All are invited to attend, including students, teachers, and families.

Does it cost anything to participate? The cost is $5 per person for all participants 10 years old and up. Each participant will get an Explorer’s Kit, which will include a notebook, pencil, and hand lens along with information about Alabama’s forest and wildlife. Registration is encouraged, but not required. Water, light snacks and bathroom facilities will be available on site.

I still have questions. Who can I contact? For more information, contact BioBlitz coordinator Becky Barlow, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Forestry Specialist. Phone: 334-844-1019 Email: rjb0003@aces.edu.

Apr
3
Mon
Master’s Defense: John Lancaster @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 3 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Forestry Master’s Defense: John Lancaster, Maj. Prof, Dr. Tom Gallagher

Title: Whole Tree Transportation System for Timber Processing Depots

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Monday, April 3, 2017

Time: 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Abstract:

The growing demand for alternative energy has led those interested in producing sustainable energy from renewable biomass such as timber to devise new concepts to satisfy those demands. The concept of timber processing depots, where whole stem trees will be delivered for future processing into wood products and high quality energy fuel, has led to the re-evaluation of current timber transportation methods and whether they can feasibly transport unprocessed trees in an efficient, legal, and safe manner. Modifications for standard double bunk log trailers were developed to accommodate tree length, unprocessed southern yellow pine. The first design was a swinging gate design, and the second was an extendable bolster design. These modification designs ensured that tree crowns were contained within the trailer to prevent contact with and damage to other vehicles while in transport. Consideration of criteria including modification weight, load force analysis, ease of attachment and detachment, and overall feasibility determined which of the two trailer modification designs was chosen for trial load testing. The selected design was fabricated and attached to a standard double bunk log trailer which was loaded to its maximum volume capacity with chip and saw size Pinus taeda. Axle weights were recorded three times for each load of timber: unprocessed, trimmed, and delimbed and processed to a merchantable top. Net load weights, axle weights, and anecdotal observations were used to determine the feasibility of transporting whole tree chip and saw sized loblolly pine to a timber processing depot on the modified trailer.

 

Apr
5
Wed
PhD Defense: Ying Lin @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 5 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am

Forestry PhD of Applied Economics Defense: Ying Lin, Maj. Prof, Daowei Zhang

Title: Essays on International Timber Products Trade

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Time: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Abstract:

During the last decade, the production and trade of timber products have gone through rapid change due to the implementation of several new policies and regulations. Specifically, one of the world’s largest exporters of coniferous logs, Russia, increased its restrictions on log exports to stimulate domestic lumber production since 2007. European Union (EU) has implemented the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan that is aimed at combating illegal logging and improving forest governance from both demand and supply sides. Understanding the effectiveness of these measures is critical for policy assessment and instructive for policy improvements.

In the first study, we use a Muth-type equilibrium displacement model to investigate the market and welfare impacts of a Russian log export tax, utilizing a vertical linkage between log and lumber markets and considering factor substitution. Our theoretical analysis indicates that the negative effects of log export tax on equilibrium price for log producers would be underestimated when input factors are gross substitutes. Empirical simulations show that the burden of Russian log export tax is shared almost equally between foreign log buyers and domestic log producers and that the tax induces an increase in domestic lumber production in Russia. The sum of the welfare gains for Russian lumber consumers and lumber producers and the export tax revenue exceeds the welfare losses experienced in the Russian logging sector.

In the second study, we use quarterly trade data to quantify the impacts of the demand side measure, the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), on import quantities by EU Member State and by product. Our results show that most north and central European countries significantly decreased their imports of tropical and temperate timber products. Furthermore, the United Kingdom and some southeast and south-central European countries significantly reduced their imports of tropical timber products but increased their imports of temperate plywood. However, significant increases in the imports of tropical logs have been observed in western and north-central European countries.

In the third study, we take Ghana as a study case to analyze the impact of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on exports to the EU and other importer countries separately. Our gravity model estimation results show that Ghana increased its exports of roundwood to both the EU and the other countries. Furthermore, its exports of sawnwood, plywood, and veneer sheets decreased significantly to the EU. However, there were no significant effects on Ghana’s exports of these processed timber products to the non-EU destinations.

 

 

Apr
11
Tue
Doctoral Defense: Pratima Devkota @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 11 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am

Forestry Doctoral Defense: Pratima Devkota, Maj. Prof, Dr. Lori Eckhardt

Title:

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Monday, April 11, 2017

Time: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

 

 

Weaver Lecture Series Presents Dr. David Fowler @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 11 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is proud to present the 2017 Weaver Lecture Series. The second lecture of the two-part series to be offered this year, will be given by Professor David Fowler, Environmental  of the Natural Environment Research Council, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Professor Fowler’s talk, “Impacts of Human Activities on the Global Nitrogen Cycle Through the 21st Century,” will discuss the efficacy of the Earth’s ecosystems, atmosphere and oceans to globally cycle increased fixed nitrogen from human activity.

Professor Fowler trained in Environmental Physics at the University of Nottingham, obtaining a PhD in 1976 from research on the dry deposition of sulfur dioxide by micrometeorological methods. His research focuses on the surface – atmosphere exchange processes of trace gases and particulate matter and has been applied to ozone, acid deposition, the global biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen, emissions of greenhouse gases, atmospheric aerosols and effects of pollutants on vegetation.

Fowler’s work has been widely applied in the development of effects-based pollution control strategies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe. He was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of Nottingham in 1991, became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1999, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2002. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE or Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his research of atmospheric pollution.

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences’ Weaver Lecture Series was established in May of 1996 through an endowment provided by Earl H. and Sandra H. Weaver. The objective of the Weaver Lecture Series is to bring experts in various research areas relevant to forestry and wildlife sciences to the Auburn University campus to enhance the School’s academic programs through public lectures and interaction with faculty and students.

The lecture is open to the public and will be held Tuesday, April 11, at 3:30 p.m., in the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building, 1101 Conference Room. A reception for Dr. Fowler will be held prior to the lecture at 3:00 p.m.  For details about the Weaver Lecture Series and to review research abstracts, visit http://wp.auburn.edu/sfws/weaver/.

 

 

Apr
12
Wed
Doctoral Defense: Shree Dangal @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 12 @ 8:30 am – 9:30 am

Forestry Doctoral Defense: Shree Dangal, Maj. Prof, Dr. Hanqin Tian

Title: Interactive Effects of Climate Change and Grazing on Ecosystem Productivity and Greenhouse Gas Balance at Multiple Scales from Landscape to Global

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Monday, April 12, 2017

Time: 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Abstract:

At a global level, the results showed that livestock grazing and climate change reduced net primary productivity at the rate of 28.5 TgC/yr and 10 TgC/yr, respectively. Soil organic carbon, on the other hand, reduced at a rate of 242 TgC/yr in response to grazing and 42 TgC/yr in response to climate change.

The results also showed that methane (CH4) emission from the global ruminant livestock sector accounted for 47-54% of all non-CO2 GHG agricultural emissions. Likewise, nitrous oxide emission from the global grasslands increased significantly from 1.41 Tg N2O-N/yr in 1961 to 1.89 Tg N2O-N/yr in 2014. Managed pastures dominated N2O emission contributing to up to 68% of the total grassland emissions. Overall, the results of this study demonstrate that increasing livestock production and climate change have profound impacts on the environment and the climate system. In order to mitigate GHG emissions from the livestock sector, direct and indirect approaches that relies on animal (improving feed quality, feed additives, animal productivity) and land (grazing optimization, transition to extensive system) based mitigation approaches and policy (imposing tax on conventional ranching) efforts that promote sustainable intensification should be implemented.

Student Awards Celebration and Dinner @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 12 @ 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

The School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences will hold its annual Student Awards Celebration and Dinner on Wednesday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Building Conference Room (1101) located at 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn.

Apr
13
Thu
Master’s Defense: Rafael Affonso Santiago @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 13 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Forestry Master’s Defense: Rafael Affonso Santiago, Maj. Prof, Dr. Tom Gallagher

Title: Coppicing Evaluation in the Southeast of the U.S. to Determine Harvesting Methods for Bioenergy Production

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017

Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Abstract:

Renewable fuels are being tested as an alternative for fossil fuels. For the Southeast of the U.S., the use of woody biomass has been proven to be an excellent source of renewable energy in terms of cost-benefit and availability. Short rotation woody crops (SRWC) are timber plantations with exclusive characteristics that greatly meet intensive wood demand due their fast growth and ability to coppice. Coppice allows trees to regenerate multiple stems from the stump after the original tree is harvested. There are still uncertainties related to the potential complications caused by the agglomeration of stems on mechanized harvesting. In this study we investigate the physical attributes of two SRWC species, two years after harvest. A logistic regression was fit in an attempt to predict the probability of a stump to regenerate more or less stems based on the damage caused on the stump during harvest and stump diameter. Additionally, we examined the effects on stem crowding and final yield caused by season of harvest. The species used on this experiment were Eucalypt (Eucalyptus urograndis) (Florida) and Cottonwood (Populus deltoides) (Arkansas). In both locations, the seedling trees were harvested in different seasons (summer and winter) in order to stablish the seasonal plots. Data collection took place six months, and two years after harvest to investigate biomass gain, stem crowding, and clump dimension of the coppiced trees. Results from both species showed that stump diameter is positively related with stem crowding. The eucalyptus trees showed that stem crowding was negatively affected by stump damage. Seasonality of harvesting did not affect stem crowding in both species. The shape and dispersion of the regenerated stems did not present significant evidence that would affect harvest operations with current technology. In all cases, approximately 1% of the trees exceeded the threshold that represents unfeasibility of harvesting. Higher yields of dry biomass were found in the winter plots of both species. At age two, the dominant stems were not yet strong enough to suppress the neighboring stems, therefore, the volume found per stump increased nearly linearly with the number of stems growing from it.

Committee:

Thomas V. Gallagher, Chair, Professor, Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Mathew Smidt, Professor, Forestry and Wildlife Sciences

Dana Mitchell, Project Leader, United States Forest Service

 

Apr
14
Fri
Master’s Defense: John Draper @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 14 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Wildlife Sciences Master’s Defense: John Draper, Maj. Prof, Dr. Todd Steury

Title: Genetic Diversity and Connectivity of Black Bears (Ursus americanus) in Alabama.

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Monday, April 14, 2017

Time: 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

 

 

Apr
21
Fri
Doctoral Defense: Jagdish Poudel @ School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences
Apr 21 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am

Forestry Economics Doctoral Defense: Jagdish Poudel, Maj. Prof, Dr. Daowei Zhang

Title: Economic analysis of habitat conservation banking in the United States

Location: 3315 Dixon Executive Conference Room

Date: Friday, April 21, 2017

Time: 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Abstract:

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is probably the most powerful environmental law ever enacted in the United States and is often portrayed as one of the most extreme forms of government intervention. Private landowners often avoid management activities that can potentially attract endangered species into their land and probably take actions to eliminate endangered species habitats. Several landowner incentive programs have been implemented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to encourage landowner to manage their land in ways that provide ecosystem services to promote the recovery of listed species.

Conservation banking offers financial incentives to landowners in exchange for managing land in a way that provides habitat for endangered species. This feature of the market-based approach is generating specific price signals for entrepreneurs to get involved in solving environmental issues. The United States pioneered conservation banking program and is recognized as a leader in implementing biodiversity offsets as a means to conserve endangered species. Few studies have evaluated the performance of conservation banking market. However, most of those studies were conducted a decade ago.

In the first chapter, we fill the gap by quantifying the number of total banks, conservation credit inventory, sales, and analyze the trends and the characteristics of conservation banks. As of December 2015, we find 137 conservation banks conserving some 153,000 acres of land. This number has increased to 180,298 acres recently. Nearly, 519,540 conservation credits were generated from 137 banks and some 71,365 credits were sold in last 21 years. About 66% of conservation credits were sold by private companies and credit price ranges between $1,500 and $198,560 per credits. This chapter concludes that conservation banking has become a business-based habitat planning system and that large urban areas tend to have the highest demand for conservation credits and are willing to pay the highest prices per credit.

The second chapter presents an econometric analysis of factors influencing demand and supply of the conservation credit market. The results reveal that demand and supply are inelastic to price, suggesting that conservation credit price changes are not likely to result in significant changes in the demand for credits. Inverse price and quantity relation shows the actual distribution of price in the market. Furthermore, the results suggest that the marginal production of conservation credit is likely to increase over time with more land area allocated for conservation bank and likely to decrease with increased in land value.

The third chapter uses hedonics to explores the relationship between credit prices and the characteristics of credits. This approach allows an implicit price to be estimated for each covariate. Private bank ownership, species types, the number of listed endangered species, and time factors were significant predictors of credit price. These results should be useful for landowners, bankers, and investors interested in enhancing the marketability of their land and understanding the effect of management actions.

Chapter four assesses the conservation banking project investment by examining the costs structure, revenue, and profitability of several conservation banks. We calculated the net present value of selected numbers of conservation bank located in California at the discount rates of 5.57%. Results show that the all eight selected conservation banks’ NPV appears to be positive. Our findings suggest that the investment in conservation banking is not only profitable but also yield high returns. Those landowners who may have discouraged because of lack of knowledge and data and from the fear that presence of endangered species habitat in their land would result in a regulatory compliance can be reassured from our finding that conservation banking can be perspective market for financial incentives.

Finally, we conclude that conservation banking market is dynamic and imperfect and an econometric model that incorporates either the dynamic or oligopolistic aspects of the conservation banking market, or both, seems to be a more promising prospect for future research.

 

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