Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Groundbreaking Research Presented At DCNR Bureau Of Forestry Annual Conference

Black Cherry and adapting to change highlighted DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry’s annual Winter Management Conference held last month in State College. Attendees were treated to a wide range of presenters that covered many current and key issues in forest management.
Dr. Susan Stout, Robert Long, and Dr. Scott Stoleson of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station gave a fascinating presentation on why Black Cherry—which has been a prized wood in the state’s northern tier—is failing to regrow new stands.
This critical research showed that one of the probable causes could be cleaner air and less nitrogen deposition. The nitrogen loads prior to the federal Clean Air Act quite possibly gave Black Cherry a competitive advantage, but they are looking at many other hypotheses as well.
The research on this is still being developed.  
Black Cherry is an extremely important species in Penn’s Woods. Many game birds, songbirds, and mammals, including black bear, eat the fruits and seeds. Additionally, the hard reddish-brown wood is highly prized for quality furniture and interior trim.
The importance of Black Cherry to Pennsylvania’s forests is reflected in the “Woods That Work” effort, which includes the Green Ribbon Task Force—a DCNR-led initiative that is looking at ways to conserve and better manage working forestland; support and expand good jobs in the forest products industry; promote Pa.-manufactured wood products as environmentally responsible; and promote and expand good jobs in forest-related areas.
Other featured presentations included the current trends in the timber market, forest management practices that benefit birds, and research on the history of wildland fires in Pennsylvania.
The yearly conference is designed to increase professional capacity and institutional understanding on important issues, as well as foster communications and networking opportunities among staff.
Each year a timely theme is chosen to provide a framework for the meeting. The 2016 theme was “Adapting to an Ever-Changing Landscape,” and it focused on not just the natural landscape, but also the professional one.
Along these lines, the presenters included Dr. Bruce Stein, who is the Senior Director for Climate Adaptation and Resilience with the National Wildlife Federation.
On the professional development side, Tom Davidson—who is himself a forester as well as a leadership expert—gave a presentation on adapting to work-related change during the course of a career.
He also gave a very engaging presentation on workplace professionalism that resonated well with the staff and resulted in a data set that shows what they consider professionalism in the workplace to be.
About half of the staff presented posters during a session that showcased some of their work in the last year. The poster session is a great way for staff to learn about work that is occurring across the entire bureau including other state forests and the bureau’s central office. It is a valued opportunity for staff to commingle and discuss success stories as well as lessons learned in their day-to-day work.
Rounding out the conference was keynote speaker Chuck Fergus. Chuck is an award winning author and naturalist and Pennsylvania native who now resides in Vermont and his address was entitled “Learning a New Land.”
This conference highlight provided more insight into how to adapt and view change. In closing, State forester Dan Devlin had this advice for the participants “As daunting as change can be, I encourage you to embrace it and to find the opportunity in it. Look for innovative ways to manage and care for a landscape that is truly ever-changing.”
(Written By: Jeff Woleslage, Communications Section Chief, DCNR Bureau of Forestry and reprinted from the February 3 Resource newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy (bottom of the page).)

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