Forestry

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A logger in Bradford is being ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for repeated violations of the state’s forestry laws.

The so-called enhanced penalty is the first of its kind in New Hampshire.

Under a bill passed in 2011, the Forest Protection Bureau and Attorney General can seek additional financial penalties against individuals with multiple forestry-related convictions during a seven-year period of time.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

For the past few decades, New Hampshire's logging industry has been selling its wood scraps to be burned for energy. But now, after two years of failed subsidies, the state’s small biomass power plants are shutting down

It's left the forest products sector with few in-state markets for a lot of low-grade timber -- even as innovative new uses for that wood take root elsewhere in the region.

Karla Cinquanta

Jane Difley, the first female president of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, is retiring on October 1, 2019, after 22 years. As a licensed forester, she has seen forest management evolve since she was a Forest Society intern in the 1970s. Her conservation leadership of the state's scenic landscapes includes establishing and getting dedicated funding for L-CHIP, as well as playing a role in the protection of the Connecticut Lakes Headwaters, the Balsams, and Mount Major. The Forest Society was also a leader in the fight against the Northern Pass transmission pipeline.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

State senators heard three hours of testimony Tuesday from dozens in the New Hampshire forest products industry who support a plan to resurrect biomass energy subsidies.

The plan, proposed in an amendment on an unrelated bill, is a version of a law passed last year that's since stalled in a legal challenge before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Jerry and Marcy Monkman / Trust For Public Lands

Researchers want to draw attention to what they say is a surprising number of town-owned forests in New Hampshire. 

They've completed a first-ever inventory of those spaces, and found towns own nearly 4 percent of all the state's forests.  

UNH Extension Forester Karen Bennett says it might not seem like much - especially since about three-quarters of forest in the state is privately owned. 

woodfin / Flickr CC

New research suggests New Hampshire forests could help store more climate-warming carbon dioxide while growing higher-value trees.

The study, from Clark University and the Nature Conservancy, says better land management – especially reforestation – could store up to a fifth of America’s climate-warming carbon emissions. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Hundreds of people from the timber and renewable energy industries crowded the New Hampshire State House lawn Thursday, rallying for legislators to overturn two vetoes they say could put them out of business.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A group of New Hampshire timber land owners and renewable energy advocates are rallying for an override of two controversial vetoes by Governor Chris Sununu.

Something Wild: A Timber Harvest

Aug 3, 2018
Anderson/SPNHF

We don't often think of trees when we speak of "harvest." Corn is harvested; apples, tomatoes, squash are the fruits of the annual autumnal rite which is the province of our farmers. Maybe it's because those plants are harvested at the end of their lifespan that we don't lament the moment they are cut down. We're much more precious with our trees.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire’s timber sector is rallying around a plan to sustain the biomass industry that Governor Chris Sununu vetoed last month.

They filled a warehouse in Bristol Thursday night for a strategy session with legislators on overturning that veto and passing the bill – which would require utilities to buy more woodchip-fired biomass energy.

In rejecting the bill, Sununu argued it would cost ratepayers too much. But loggers, landowners and suppliers say the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association

Governor Chris Sununu is standing by his veto of a bill to boost the biomass industry – even as more of the wood-burning plants say they may shut down as a result.

A wood buyer for Bridgewater Biomass confirmed Tuesday that the plant took the veto as a signal about the industry's future, and stopped buying new wood in late June.

The Pinetree Power plants in Tamworth and Bethlehem did the same, according to spokeswoman Carol Churchill of their parent company, ENGIE North America.

U.S. Forest Service

The last prescribed burns of the year are set for this week in the White Mountain National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service has been setting fires since April all across the forest area in New Hampshire and Maine.

The controlled burns are a way of restoring habitat and reducing the risk of wildfires.

Weather permitting, North Country residents might see smoke or roads closed in parts of the forest on Wednesday and Thursday.

Burn season must end after May 31, when nesting season for the protected northern long-eared bat begins.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Maine Sen. Susan Collins have introduced a bill that would help timber markets in New England.

The bill would reauthorize the Community Wood Energy program, which expires at the end of this year. It encourages the use of biomass-fueled energy for heating and power.

Shaheen, a Democrat, said the bill would help jumpstart markets for low-value wood, invest in rural energy needs and create in jobs in the state's forest-dependent communities.

EPA Twitter

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will treat wood fuels from managed forests as carbon-neutral. It could give New Hampshire's timber industry some long-term certainty.

Charlie Niebling has worked around the Granite State's forest products industry for decades. He says scientists have never agreed on if biomass fuels, like wood chips, offset more carbon than they produce. 

 

Niebling thinks biomass can have a net carbon benefit if it's harvested from a well-managed forest and burned efficiently. 

 

Ken Lund; Flickr

The long-standing current use program gives favorable tax treatment to landowners who preserve open space, typically farmland or forest. But current use has always had detractors, who say it sets up an unfair tax system, and reduces revenue available to towns. 

In recent years, unreliable snow cover and wild temperature swings have caused headaches for our winter recreation industry, and all those who love to ski, ice-fish, or snowmobile.  But the impacts go beyond disappointment: there are animal and forest health affects as well, including the beloved Sugar maple. 

EPA on Twitter

During his New Hampshire visit Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt signaled plans for new federal energy policies that could bolster a struggling regional industry – biomass.

In a letter to Gov. Chris Sununu, Pruitt suggests the agency plans to add biomass, including wood and other plant-based fuels, to its “‘all of the above’ energy portfolio.” (Read the full letter below.)

Could It Happen Here? Fighting Forest Fires in N.H.

Oct 25, 2017
KEN WATSON / KENWATSON.NET

While Western blazes are common, wildfires in California this year have been especially devastating.  Meanwhile, New Hampshire has been battling a persistent forest fire this fall, on the Dilly Cliffs near the Lost River Gorge area of Woodstock. We examine how often we see forest fires in New Hampshire, and the effects of drought and future climate change. We also discuss how  local, state and federal agencies approach fire-fighting and forest ecosystems. 

Jimmy Baikovicius via flickr Creative Commons

Today’s topic is perfect for the fall season: cleaning up the leaves. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and if you hate raking as much as we do we’ve got some good news for you. It really doesn’t have to be so…well…impulsive.

Midge Eliassen

How do you determine the age of a tree?  Just count the rings, of course!  One ring equals one year of growth.  If you’ve ever stumbled upon a tree stump you may have even done it yourself.  But if you’re counting rings on a stump, the life of that tree is over.  So how do you count those rings while the tree is alive?  Experts use a special tool called an “increment borer”.

  

PSNH

Members of the timber industry were in the state capitol today, arguing for the passage of a bill that would support the state’s struggling biomass industry.

Protecting N.H.'s Forests and Trees

Aug 30, 2016
Richard Brunner

New Hampshire’s landscape is full of beautiful sights, sounds and smells - and with very few exceptions, trees. While trees fill our state and have stood tall for decades, they also encounter invasive insects and extreme weather that threaten their health. From backyards to secluded state parks, trees are the background for much that happens in the Granite State. We look at the different ways that trees are protected and maintained throughout the state. 

This show was originally broadcast on 7/25/2016.

Midge Eliassen

How do you determine the age of a tree?  Just count the rings, of course!  One ring equals one year of growth.  If you’ve ever stumbled upon a tree stump you may have even done it yourself.  But if you’re counting rings on a stump, the life of that tree is over.  So how do you count those rings while the tree is alive?  Experts use a special tool called an “increment borer”.

Jimmy Baikovicius via flickr Creative Commons

Today’s topic is perfect for the fall season: cleaning up the leaves. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and if you hate raking as much as we do we’ve got some good news for you. It really doesn’t have to be so…well…impulsive.

Midge Eliassen

How do you determine the age of a tree?  Just count the rings, of course!  One ring equals one year of growth.  If you’ve ever stumbled upon a tree stump you may have even done it yourself.  But if you’re counting rings on a stump, the life of that tree is over.  So how do you count those rings while the tree is alive?  Experts use a special tool called an “increment borer”.

Brenda Charpentier

It's the most unusually-shaped trees in the forest that fire the human imagination. After all, the misshapen, warped, multi-trunked, split and hollowed trees have long been favored as homes by woodland cartoon figments: elves, dwarfs and ogres - not to mention Pooh bears, Piglets and wise old owls.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

When you’re a transmission arborist, you spend a lot of time in a helicopter, cruising over power-lines.

“So here’s an example of non-compliant vegetation,” says Kurt Nelson who does this job for Eversource. He indicates some young pines growing underneath the tall transmission towers. They aren’t high enough to endanger the lines… yet.

“That’ll be a target for us,” says Nelson.

Via the US Forest Service

A study says that a mutated fungus is infecting white pine forests in parts of New Hampshire.

White pine blister rust comes from a combination of white pines and flowering plants — called ribes — like gooseberries and currants. When infected ribes lose their leaves in the fall, spores of the fungus invade white pines and eventually kill the tree.

A U.S. Forest Service study says the fungus is infecting trees in Epsom and Concord, and possibly elsewhere in the Northeast.

Kyle Harms, Louisianna State University

"Forest succession" is a pattern of plant regeneration that begins when a plot of land is left to its own devices. The first phase of this succession is bare soil or an abandoned field. And nature, over the span of decades, converts the area through several stages to mature forest – if left undisturbed.

Jimmy Baikovicius via flickr Creative Commons

Today’s topic is perfect for the fall season: cleaning up the leaves. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and if you hate raking as much as we do we’ve got some good news for you. It really doesn’t have to be so…well…impulsive.

Pages