Pan confirms new threshold for climate change mitigation

 

To curb the rate of climate change and maintain ecosystem services, surface air temperature must remain below 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a recently published paper led by Shufen (Susan) Pan, an assistant professor in Auburn University’s International Center for Climate and Global Change Research and School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Along with colleagues from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the AU team (Susan Pan, Hanqin Tian, Shree Dangal, Jia Yang, Bo Tao, Chaoqun Lu, Wei Ren, etc) found that global Net Primary Productivity, which measures the ability of terrestrial systems to satisfy human demand for food, fiber, wood, and bio-fuels, would level off and begin to decline at any increase above 1.5 degrees. This is a significant finding that supports the Copenhagen Accord and has the possibility to inform global policy on climate adaptation in the future.

Previously, world experts agreed in 2009 on a goal to reduce emissions enough to keep surface air temperature changes under 2 degrees C, a benchmark supported by G-8 leaders. However, the Copenhagen Accord, which called for the US and 185 other nations to commit to various mitigation and adaptation strategies, suggested for the first time that this 2-degree goal would not be sufficient. When the Copenhagen Accord was accepted, it included provision for a review in 2015 of the need to potentially aim for this 1.5 degrees C threshold.

The paper is available online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112810.

Original Oaks Descendants to be Planted in Samford Park

 

Auburn University has announced Phase II of the plan to renovate Samford Park, which calls for 30 live oak trees, grown from acorns taken from the iconic Auburn Oaks 12 years ago and now 15 feet tall, to be planted along a new brick walkway that will connect Samford Hall to Toomer’s Corner.

 

The oaks were collected by School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences students under the director of professor Scott Enebak, as part of the Auburn Oaks seedling project that established a scholarship fund for students in the school.

 

“In 2002 we collected acorns for our seedlings program, and the first fifty were planted to start this orchard, with the idea that if anything happened to the trees, there would be progeny to replace them,” Enebak said. “Obviously we had no idea there would be a need so soon.”

 

A total of 42 of the Oaks descendants are thriving in in Auburn forest property. They have been fertilized, pruned, and otherwise stewarded for eventual transplantation, thanks to Enebak’s foresight.

 

According to Dan King, assistant vice president for Facilities Management in this week’s release, this plan was selected to honor the tradition of the original oaks while improving aesthetics and the pedestrian experience.

 

Two large live oaks will be installed on the corner in 2015, and the Auburn Oaks descendants will be transplanted in 2016.

To read the official release from Auburn University, click here.

 

 

Archmiller wins Best Poster Award

 

Forestry graduate student Althea Archmiller won the Best Poster Award for Division 8 (Forest Environment) at the 24th World Congress of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations. Her poster was titled “Temporal and spatial variability of soil  carbon flux in longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States,” and was selected for quality of research design, presentation of data, organization and neatness of the poster.

 

 

Forestry and Wildlife professors awarded grant to study wild pigs

 

Faculty members Stephen Ditchkoff, Mark Smith, Todd Steury, Robert Gitzen, Graeme Lockaby, and Edward Loewenstein in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences received a $861,833 grant from the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR-WFF) to study to the impacts and control of wild pigs in Alabama.

 

Wild pig population have spread dramatically across the state in the past 20 years and now cause well over $50 million per year in damage to Alabama agriculture as well as untold millions in damage to natural ecosystems and native wildlife.  This 5-year study will occur at the ADCNR’s Lowndes County Wildlife Management Area just west of Montgomery where researcher will use GPS transmitter collars to monitor the movements, habitat use, and survival of wild pigs on the area.

 

In conjunction with data on wild pigs, researchers will also examine their impacts on water quality, regeneration of hardwood trees, and other wildlife such as squirrels before and after wild pigs are systematically removed from an 8,000 acre portion of the management area.   The project builds upon previous research to further develop and refine best management practices (BMPs) for controlling wild pig populations.

Transferring the Forest to the Next Generation

    

 When planning for the transfer of the family forest to the next generation estate taxes used to be the primary consideration. Now that the applicable exclusion amount has been increased to $5,000,000 indexed for inflation ($5,340,000 for 2014) it does not have an impact on most landowners.

The current problem is keeping the property together as a working forest. If parents leave the land to their children in equal shares they have created an undivided ownership in the entire property without appointing a manager. If the children cannot agree on a management strategy one of the children may sue for partition. If they physically divide the property the shares become smaller to the point of being uneconomical to manage. A solution is to leave the property in a business entity or trust.

Dr. Robert Tufts, an attorney and Associate Professor in the School is presenting workshops on using business entities and trusts to hold land. He compares the type of business entities and trusts available and the benefits and disadvantages of each to help participants chose the best entity for their situation. His next workshop is in Florence on October 20th and Moulton on October 21st. If you are interested in having a workshop in your area contact Dr. Tufts or your local extension agent to organize a meeting. Dr. Tufts contact information is phone (334) 844-1011 or e-mail at tuftsra@auburn.edu.

Samuelson Awarded Grant for Longleaf Pine Carbon Sequestration Research

 

 

Lisa Samuelson, Dwain G. Luce and Alumni Professor and Director of the Center for Longleaf Pine Ecosystems, was awarded $206,000 from the Department of Defense’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) to add additional longleaf pine carbon sequestration work at Eglin Air Force Base to an existing grant. This brings the funding amount for the 5 year project to a total of $1.9 million. The new funds will be used to collect additional data at Eglin Air Force base in Florida to validate the models.

 

The project is collecting extensive field data to develop ecological forestry and carbon management models for longleaf pine ecosystems. Carbon management models are being built on longleaf pine forests studied at Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Polk in Louisiana and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

 

For more information on the project or the Center for Longleaf Pine Ecosystems, visit their website: http://clpe.auburn.edu/

Dan Moultrie Fund for Excellence Created in SFWS

On Saturday, September 27, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources presented a check for $50,000 to fund the Dan Moultrie Fund for Excellence in the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. The funds to support this new endowment were raised from the proceeds generated by the 2014 Alabama Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt.   Presenting the check on behalf of the ADCNR and ACNR Foundation was Commissioner Gunter Guy, who was joined at the ceremony by special guests ADCNR Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Chuck Sykes, radio personality Bill “Bubba” Bussey, and Joseph Dobbs, all representing the ACNR Foundation.   Dan Moultrie, a 1979 graduate of Auburn University, serves as the Chairman of the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Advisory Board. He was presented a resolution establishing this endowment at the ceremony while his family and friends looked on.   Dan was selected by the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation for the honor due to his contributions to conservation and wildlife as well as his support and love for Auburn University, said Heather Crozier, Director of Development for the School. “We are excited about this partnership and look forward to working with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in the future.  The scholarships provided by this endowment will make a profound impact on many future students who seek an education in the natural resources field,” Crozier said.   The Dan Moultrie Fund for Excellence will support undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

Deer research featured on al.com

Deer research in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences was recently featured in an article on al.com. Get the full story at the link below.

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Hunters in several areas across Alabama may encounter deer with collars around their necks.

What they decide to do as a result could provide important answers to questions about deer survivability, movement and future management strategies, said Dr. Steve Ditchkoff, William R. and Fay Ireland Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management at Auburn University.

Working with Alabama’s conservation department, Auburn graduate students Todd Jacobson and Kevyn Wiskirchen last fall began outfitting 60 deer with brown VHF collars and another 30 with orange GPS collars on Barbour Wildlife Management Area in Barbour and Bullock counties and Oakmulgee WMA in Hale, Bibb, Perry and Tuscaloosa counties as well as on two conglomerates of private lands in Pickens and Marengo counties, Ditchkoff said.

Read the full story.

 

Forestry Field Days Improve Land Management

 

 

AUBURN, Ala, September 26, 2014 – The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Alabama Natural Resources Council (ANRC), Alabama State Tree Farm Committee, and other conservation partners are sponsoring three regional field days to promote forest stewardship.

 

“This is an excellent opportunity for landowners to learn how to manage their land resources in a sustainable way,” said NRCS Acting State Conservationist Ben Malone. “Landowners will have the opportunity to visit one-on-one with local staff and network with other landowners.”

 

Forest lands cover more than 210 million acres in the southeastern United States, and there are 21 million acres of forest in Alabama alone. Over 95 percent of Alabama’s forest lands are privately owned.

 

Landowners need quality land and wildlife resource training opportunities so they can manage their properties effectively. Dr. Gary Lemme, Alabama Extension Director and Chair of the ANRC, says Alabama landowners can learn about a variety of management techniques by attending a Regional Forestry Field Day.

 

“Participants will learn how to manage Alabama’s forests for a variety of uses,” said Lemme. “These events will feature experts in forest and wildlife management resources as well as a tour of a certified TREASURE Forest or Tree Farm.”

 

The three regional Forestry Field Days will be held in October. Registration for these free events begins at

8 a.m. and lunch will be served. Call the appropriate regional field day contact to confirm your spot and to obtain directions.

 

North Alabama – Oct. 2 – Burgess Farm in Colbert County

 

Agenda:

  • Predator Solutions; Trapping
  • Mulching Timber & Creating Wildlife Openings
  • Thinning, Prescribed Burning & Timber Markets
  • Pine Plantation Establishment & Invasive Species Control

Contact: Johnnie Everitt – (256) 383-4376

  

Central Alabama – Oct. 9 – Charles Holmes Property in Perry County

 

Agenda:

  • Agri-Tourism
  • Wild Pig Management
  • Longleaf vs Loblolly Pine Management
  • Stream Crossing

Contact: John Ollison – (334) 683-6888

 

South Alabama – Oct. 16 – Newman Property in Coffee County

 

Agenda:

  • Dove Field Management
  • Hardwood Management
  • Mid Rotation Release
  • Wetland Management

Contact: Mary McLean – (334) 894-5596

 

The Alabama Natural Resources Council’s primary mission is to promote the stewardship of Alabama’s forest resources. These regional forestry field days are just one of the Council’s outreach efforts. For more information, visit the ANRC’s website at:  http://www.aces.edu/forestry/anrc.

 

 

­Contact: Julie Yates, 334-887-4581 julie.yates@al.usda.gov

Buckelew Receives Annual Alabama Chapter SWCS Scholarship

By Fay Garner, Soil and Water Conservation Society

Auburn, Ala., September 5, 2014 –Brandon Buckelew, an incoming freshman at Auburn University (AU), received a $2,000 scholarship from the Alabama Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (AL SWCS). A check was presented to him by Perry Oakes, Chair of the Education Committee. Also on hand from the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences was the Interim Dean Dr. Graeme Lockaby and the Director of Student Services Dr. Jodie Kenney.

 

Majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management, Brandon worked in his family’s tree farm business and was taught from an early age to manage land and resources. Pursuing a major in this field at Auburn was a natural fit for him. After graduation he indicated he would like to gain experience by working in national or state parks. His ultimate goal is to work in a career that promotes wildlife and land management.

 

Brandon is the first high school student to apply for the AL-SWCS scholarship. He graduated this spring from Opp High School and was involved in many church and community activities. During high school he worked with Opp’s Fleeta School as a tutor, recreation assistant, and other duties and also with the Opp Recreation Department.

 

Perry Oakes said, “I am pleased with the quality of the scholarship application submitted by Brandon. He pushed himself for high grades in his high school curriculum and was held in high regard by his teachers due to his hard work, dedication, and his quality of character. I wish him all the best in his educational endeavors.”

 

Dr. Kenney said, “Brandon is a premier freshman in the school. We have high expectations for him.”

 

“I plan to remain dedicated, stay focused, and work hard to reach my goals,” said Brandon.  “Receiving this scholarship will help me achieve that.”

 

For more information about the annual scholarship and application process, please visit the website of the  Alabama Chapter of SWCS at http://www.alchapterswcs.aces.edu/scholarship.php

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