Updated: April 12, 2023

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Wooden Engine Parts?

You might not expect that wood and internal combustion engines would go together. But thanks to advances in wood fiber technology, the combination is underway, as Yamaha is replacing some of the plastic components of its personal watercraft engines with the lighter materials called cellulose nanofiber resin composite (CNF). CNF is made by kneading wood fibers into resins such as polypropylene. According to thedrive.com, CNF resin is “25 percent lighter than the current resins used in engine components and it's far more recyclable. Additionally, because it uses fewer plastics, CO2 emissions from the manufacturing of plastics are reduced. So CNF resin is more sustainable on both the front and back end of its manufacturing—it reduces emissions as its made and its recyclability means CNF parts can continue to replace plastics even after they've been used.”

The new parts are expected to be installed next year. Read more about this topic in this article.

New Tax Information for Forest Landowners

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The US Forest Service has released a new version of its long-running “Tax Tips for Forest Landowners” series. The publication is designed for the 2022 tax year and was current as of November 28, 2022.

A cooperative effort by experts from the USDA Forest Service, the University of Georgia, and the University of Florida, the guide provides important information related to tax liabilities and deductions related to owning forested property, especially for individuals who have had a timber sale during the tax year. There is also information for property owners who have suffered timber loss due to sudden and catastrophic events, such as tornadoes, floods, or ice storms.

Download your PDF copy of “Tax Tips for Forest Landowners: 2022 Tax Year” from this webpage.

Northern Long-Eared Bat Declared an Endangered Species

Northern Long-eared bat. Photo courtesy Maryland DNR
Northern long-eared bat.
Image courtesy Maryland DNR

In response to the devastating effect that white-nose syndrome is having on bat populations in the eastern United States, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has designated the Northern long-eared bat as an endangered species.

The bat is found in Maryland primarily in the far western counties. While it spends its winters roosting in caves or mines, it will spend summer months roosting in a variety of crevices, including hollow trees. Observers can find them in dense forest stands as they hunt for prey one or two hours after dusk and then again before sunrise.

The designation may have local impacts on timber harvesting in Maryland, as guidelines related to these activities are evolving. Learn more about bats in Maryland from our Woodland Wildlife Wednesday webinars from October, 2022 and June, 2021.

Birds Bounced Back in Severely Burned Appalachian Forest

In 2016, a series of wildfires swept through the southern Appalachians, burning over 140,000 acres. Researchers studied three areas in North Carolina’s Nantahala National Forest for the next five years to assess the fires’ impacts on bird populations.

Their study found that while 71% of trees died in the most severely-burned areas, resulting in a reduction in tree canopy of over 90%, shrub cover had increased 70% and birds flourished — not just in number but in diversity. Researchers found species such as the eastern towhee, indigo bunting, and chestnut-sided warbler—birds that prefer shrub cover—in these severely-burned patches. However, these species were not present in burned areas with lower tree mortality.

Read more about the study here.