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December 2012

Fall Fire Season Extended

Officials at the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) announced an extension of Fall Fire Season to December 10. Since more than 95 percent of wildfires that occur in Virginia are the result of human activity, citizens are reminded to be cautious with outdoor fire. Following proper safety practices when disposing of hot ashes or burning debris will significantly reduce the occurrence of wildfires and the threat to you and your neighbors.

In November, the agency responded to 73 fires which burned 1,133 acres. Firefighting personnel reported concerns related to fire supression, mop-up after fire containment, and the consumption of larger fuels.

“Looking ahead into December, we don’t see a significant break in the overall rainfall pattern and are, therefore, planning for continued fire activity,” said John Miller, director of resource protection at VDOF. “Extending our readiness level beyond fire season helps ensure our personnel availability for emergency fire response heading into early December.”

Weekly evaluations of conditions will determine if additional extensions are needed. VDOF personnel availability and response remain a high-priority during this time.

Fall Fire Season occurs October 15 to November 30 each year. Low relative humidity, high winds and outdoor activities involving fire increase the risk of wildfires at this time of year.

Belfort Furniture Donates 33,000 Trees to Virginia

Dulles-based Belfort Furniture has purchased 33,000 tree seedlings that will be donated for planting projects around the Commonwealth of Virginia in spring 2013. Since partnering with the VDOF in 2007, Belfort has donated 200,000 trees that help clean the air, protect our waterways and enhance the quality of life across the state.

VDOF Senior Area Forester Terry Lasher said, “Belfort cares deeply about the community and has a tremendous track record in this regard. The company donates one tree seedling for every piece of furniture it delivers annually. The Virginia Department of Forestry gets the donated seedlings into the hands of schools and other groups so that they can be planted each spring. The trees absorb carbon dioxide; prevent pollutants from fouling our waterways; provide shade in the summer; are esthetically pleasing year ‘round, and provide more than 5,000 forest products we use every day. It’s a terrific partnership!”

Belfort President and CEO Mike Huber said, "Belfort Furniture is proud to be able to plant a tree for every delivery we make, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry. It's a wonderful opportunity for us to give back to our community and our environment. It's part of our belief that together, we can support healthy forests, healthy communities and responsible industry.”

If your school or organization is interested in receiving at least 500 of these tree seedlings for planting, please contact your local Virginia Department of Forestry Office (http://www.dof.virginia.gov/info/my-county.htm).

2012 Bioenergy State Fact Sheets Now Available!

Did you know that Louisiana ranked sixth in the nation for biomass electricity generation in 2010? Or, that Missouri consumed 5.5 million barrels of ethanol? Where does Virginia measure up? Learn bioenergy facts about Virginia from the 2012 Bioenergy State Fact Sheets, recently released by the Southeast Agriculture & Forestry Energy Resources Alliance (SAFER). In addition to facts on biomass resources, land uses, energy expenditures and electricity prices, the fact sheets also include a map highlighting the location and type of biomass facilities in each state.

Find them online at http://saferalliance1.wordpress.com/publications/state-fact-sheets/

Don’t Move Firewood

Trees are being destroyed through the transportation of invasive insects and diseases in firewood. Once transported into new areas, these insects and diseases can become established and kill local trees. You can help stop the spread: Use firewood from local sources only. DO NOT transport firewood across state lines or into campgrounds or parks. If you have moved firewood, burn all of it before leaving your campsite.

Even if an area is not under quarantine, it is a good general practice to not move firewood long distances. The quarantine regulations for an area usually lag well behind the arrival of a new invasive species.

For more information, visit the VDOF website and select “Forest Health.”

Virginia Loves Trees Specialty License Plate

Virginia offers more than 200 unique license plates for its citizens. These plates represent colleges and universities, branches of the military, localities and special interest organizations. Trees Virginia is at work to add another plate for interested drivers.

The Virginia Loves Trees specialty license plate is a new way to raise awareness of landscape trees and urban forests among Virginia’s citizens. The first step in adopting a new plate design is achieving a pre-sale quota (450 plates) set by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To date, only 75 applications have been received.

Once the quota is met, General Assembly sponsor Del. Joe Johnson (D) – 4th District will submit a Bill to the General Assembly to authorize adoption of the license plate by the DMV. Revenue generated by sales of the specialty plates will support Trees Virginia activities, such as workshops, grants, scholarships and outreach projects around the state.

You can see the new plate at the Virginia Loves Trees website, www.valovestrees.org.

About Agroforestry

Adapted from material by John Munsell, Virginia Tech

Like a candy that combines two individual treats into one, agroforestry combines two economic powerhouses into what could be a sweet opportunity.

Agroforestry? It’s the deliberate combination and intensive management of trees, crops and livestock. Agroforestry is critical to advance local food, fiber and energy systems and spur economic opportunities.

For example, modifying an existing stand or planting and tending trees in a pasture can result in “silvopastures,” the integration and management of grazing and forest environments. Forest farmers use agricultural and forestry practices to grow and harvest non-timber forest products. At the same time, “alley cropping” is designed to grow produce between rows of trees.

The purposeful management of cattle, crops and trees on one plot of land has the potential to build sustainable and highly productive land management systems. The result is product diversity that also provides wildlife habitat, protects water resources, improves air quality, sequesters carbon and ensures recreational and cultural opportunities.

For more details on each practice, please visit the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agroforestry Center website at http://www.unl.edu/nac/index.htm.