December 14, 2009 – Endowment Elects Canadian Liaison to Three-Year Board Term
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) operating by conference call on December 10, 2009, unanimously voted to elect Stephane Rousseau to a three-year term to the Board of Directors.“While Mr. Rousseau has been named by Canadian Minister of International Trade Stockwell Day, as his government’s liaison to the Endowment, our Board has felt from the very start that the liaison position should be equal to other members of the Endowment governing body,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“Thus, we early on amended our bylaws to effect this change.”Rousseau, of privately-held Kruger Inc., succeeds John Weaver, former CEO of AbitibiBowater, as Canadian liaison and member of the Endowment’s Board.
December 11, 2009 – Endowment Supports Assessment of Large Forested Holdings
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced a $25,000 grant to the Open Space Institute, Inc. (OSI) in support of a project entitled, “Private Forest Landscape Planning.” “OSI’s effort is focused on working with landowners of large forestland holdings in the east to identify new markets and conservation funding to ensure continued active forest management of these important properties,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “Too, it fits well with work the Endowment is already doing as a charter supporter of the Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation and the emerging Working Forests Coalition -- both designed to support conservation of working forest landscapes across the nation.”Data to be generated via the OSI initiative is foundational to several important planning efforts. American Forest Management, one of the nation’s largest forestry consulting companies, is leading the outreach phase of the work for OSI. The project is expected to be completed in late 2010.
December 2, 2009 – Canada Names Liaison to Endowment Board
The Honorable Stockwell Day, Canada’s Minister of International Trade, has named Stephane Rousseau, of Montreal, Canada as liaison to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment).Mr. Rousseau is Senior Vice President, Continuous Improvement, Innovation and Business Development with privately held Kruger, Inc.“Having had John Weaver, former Chairman of AbitibiBowater, working with the Endowment for three years has proven the value and importance of having a Canadian representative engage with our work,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“We are confident that Mr. Rousseau will extend that tradition as he brings a stellar reputation and a wealth of knowledge to the role.”
The Softwood Lumber Agreement that serves as the Endowment’s foundation calls for a non-voting representative from Canada to serve as liaison.In 2007 the Endowment amended its bylaws to include the Canadian representative as a member of the Board.Mr. Rousseau will be recommended for election to the Board later in December.Rousseau joined Kruger – an international manufacturer of forest products, renewable energy, wines and spirits -- in 2002.Prior to joining Kruger, he spent nearly two decades with other forest products companies in Canada.He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemical engineering from Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and is a graduate of the Executive Management Program of Queen’s University. November 23, 2009 – Endowment Report on Community Resilience and Wealth Released
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced the release of Community Resilience and Wealth: The challenges and opportunities for rural communities in a rapidly changing world, a report developed by Shanna Ratner and Dr. Susanne Moser.
The Endowment-sponsored report is intended to better define resiliency in the community context and to aid understanding of how resiliency applies to communities. In addition to an extensive literature review, the report is the result of a series of interviews with a broad spectrum of community practitioners.
“This work sets the stage for thinking about resilience across an entire system from ecology to community and highlights important factors of resilience in communities that local leaders can put to use,” said Diane Snyder, the Endowment’s Vice-President Community Development. The report also includes an assessment of tools and practices currently being used to assess resiliency.
To view the full press release click here. November 13, 2009 -- Endowment to Host Dialogue with Conservation Thinkers
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is seeking to deepen engagement in its work with conservation professionals and interested parties.To further that end, the Endowment has scheduled two webinar sessions specifically for that purpose. The dialogue with a diverse set of conservation thinkers from across the nation is intended to bubble up ideas for a potential application to the 2010 round of NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service)-CIG (Conservation Innovation Grants) Grant Leveraging Category funding.
"Rather than approach the CIG program wishing to implement a specific project at the field level in one of the listed areas of National Concern, we believe our core competence is found in developing a thematic approach that tests a single idea or technology in differing geographies.Thus, more rapidly proving the technology and vetting its use in a range of circumstances," says Endowment President Carlton Owen.For instance, the Endowment's 2009 CIG grant seeks to link up-stream water producers (e.g. forest landowners) with downstream water users/consumers ultimately by monetizing the water component of ecosystem services of forests in perhaps three different watersheds.
In the spirit of CIG, the Endowment hopes to generate ideas for conservation approaches and new technologies that will provide measurable results on-the-ground to advance forest sustainability and address the needs of rural forest-reliant communities.The Endowment invites anyone with interest to join one of two scheduled webinars:Monday, November 30th, 2009 at 3:00 pm ESTand again Wednesday, December 9th at 1:00 pm EST.Those interested in participating should contact Michelle Christensen, email@example.com, for more information.
To read the full news story click here. November 12, 2009 -- Endowment Elects New Chairman
The Board of Directors of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) has elected Mack Hogans of Seattle, Washington, as its Chairman for a two-year term effective immediately. Mr. Hogans assumed his new role at the conclusion of the Endowment's annual meeting held November 3-4, 2009 in Portland, Oregon.
Hogans, originally from Alabama, heads Mack Hogans Consulting. He opened his practice in the Pacific Northwest after a successful 25-year career with Weyerhaeuser Company where he rose to the level of Senior Vice President. His first duty in his new Endowment role was to provide a token of appreciation to outgoing Chairman Dick Molpus, who served in the capacity for three years. Mr. Hogans presented Mr. Moplus with a beautiful turned wood bowl with inlaid turquoise crafted by nationally-recognized artisan Brian Sykes of North Carolina. In accepting the gift, Mr. Molpus said, "I leave this role very satisfied with our progress and filled with pride."
Mil Duncan of New Hampshire and Duane McDougall of Oregon were re-elected to roles as Vice Chairman and Treasurer, respectively. Mr. McDougall was also elected to a three-year term of Board service as were David Thorud of Washington along with Chuck Leavell and John Weaver of Georgia. Mr. Molpus was elected to a special one-year term as Past Chairman.
October 14, 2009 - Northern Forest Center Releases Payments for Forest Carbon 2009 Report
The Northern Forest Center, intermediary organization in the Northern Forest Investment Zone partnership, recently released a Payments for Forest Carbon 2009 report. The report examines opportunities and challenges small forest owners face in engaging in carbon sequestration projects. It covers the current state of market-based approaches for payments for forest carbon and profiles the most prominent aggregators and sub-aggregators currently working with forest landowners to develop and sell forest carbon credits. According to Northern Forest Center Program Director Joe Short, "We hope this information will be a valuable resource to small forest owners in our region and nationally."
Click here to view thefull report. Other primary partners include Coastal Enterprises Inc. and the Manomet Center for Conservation Science. This report is a direct result of work performed under the Ecosystem Services Program of the Northern Forest Investment Zone. The Northern Forest Investment Zone is one of three zones identified nationally by the Endowment's Forest Investment Zone Initiative as learning laboratories in the promotion of sustainable forestry at a regional scale. October 9, 2009 -- "Best-in-Class"Studies Show Woody Biomass as Affordable, Dependable
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced completion of 45 "best-in-class" case studies of community-scale wood-to-energy systems selected from projects across Canada, Europe and the U.S.
While wood-to-energy systems have been around for decades, speculation that their popularity will fade as oil prices drop, appear to be fading," said Endowment President Carlton Owen.As evidence he pointed to the fact that in the face of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, oil prices have hovered around $70 per barrel -- a very high historic level.
The Biomass Energy Resources Center (BERC) of Vermont, among the world's leaders in information about wood-to-energy use, led development of the case studies.The works not only illustrate the development and experiences of biomass facilities in many different applications, they also provide evidence that local biomass feedstocks are "technically and financially viable fuel source," according to the findings.
Project sponsors included forest industry and resource agencies -- American Forest and Paper Association; Forest Products Association of Canada, as well as the respective federal natural resources agencies, (USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Canada).The larger project will include a review of the state-of-the-science of wood-to-energy conversion and a North America-wide database of woody biomass users at the community- and industrial scales.
Click here to view the full press release. September 22, 2009-- Montana Project Seeks to Supply Energy, Strengthen Industry and Forests
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced a grant to Montana Community Development Corporation (MCDC). The grant is in support of an exciting proposal to link energy producers, forest products manufacturers, and public and private forest landowners to advance the cause of domestically-produced renewable energy while strengthening the competitive capability of one of the nation's traditional rural-based industries and enhancing forest health.
"We at the Endowment find the MCDC/NorthWestern approach right in line with the work we've been doing to identify ways to promote the multiple benefits of woody biomass as a renewable energy source with potential to enhance the health and retention of working forests. At the same time it provides new markets for low value wood, offers the potential for new family-supporting jobs and under girds traditional wood products producers," said Endowment President and CEO Carlton Owen. The Endowment's $50,000 grant to MCDC recognizes the relevance and importance this project holds for forests, wood products manufacturing and domestically-produced energy across the nation. Owen continued, "the forward thinking collaborative approach to addressing problems in broad-based partnerships is just the type of thing that the Endowment believes holds great promise for a new era of quality green jobs in America."
Click here to view the full press release.
August 31, 2009 -- Endowment and Partners Announce Plan for Conservation Easement Database
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment), with generous support of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, today announced a collaborative initiative to create the first national database of conservation easement information. When completed, the National Conservation Easement Database (NCED) will for the first time show a comprehensive picture of the estimated 40 million acres of privately owned conservation easement lands across America. This overview will allow better strategic planning for conservation and development.
“Nearly a decade into the technology-driven 21st century there remains no single source of information on private lands that have been voluntarily protected for future generations of Americans,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “We’ve been working with a range of cooperators in resource agencies and the conservation community to determine what is needed and how to fill the void.” The Endowment’s Board approved a $1,000,000 investment to create NCED. The system will balance public interests with private needs and concerns such as confidentiality and rights of private owners. Click here to view the full press release. August 13, 2009 -- RFP Opens for Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today issued a Request for Pre-proposals (RFP) in its joint-venture with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant Program (CIG). “While our CIG initiative can’t actually begin until after October 1, we have a strong desire to begin the creative planning process with potential partners,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.Under the “Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative” the Endowment will match $2 million in CIG funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis over the next 1-3 years to test the potential to link upstream water producers (forest landowners) with downstream water consumers.“In short, we are seeking to monetize water as an ecosystem service of well-managed forests while at the same time strengthening the connection between consumers and one of their most basic of needs – clean water,” said Owen.The RFP along with an on-going updated set of clarifying questions and answers is available at www.usendowment.org/pendingrfps.html. The RFP opens immediately and closes on September 18, 2009. August 13, 2009 -- Endowment Solicits Input for Potential Future Partnerships
It is never too early to begin thinking ahead!In keeping with that concept, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today posted a Blog soliciting input for a potential second joint-venture with the Natural Resources Conservation Service under its Conservation Innovation Grants Program (CIG).“We don’t know if the 2010 CIG will contain a category that relates to the Endowment’s priorities or even if it does, that we will seek to apply,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.In developing its successful application for the 2009 CIG program the Endowment reached out for priority concepts and ideas to help “find a winner” of real importance to the nation’s forests and rural communities.“We think we did that with our ‘Healthy Watersheds through Healthy Forests Initiative,’” said Owen. Anyone with thoughts about topics or needs that fit the CIG criteria are being asked to submit those ideas via the Endowment’s Blog or by sending an email directly to the Endowment.To learn more about this way to help influence the Endowment’s programmatic direction and investment view the Endowment's blog.
July 16, 2009 – Endowment wins $2 Million USDA Grant; To Host Webinar to Explore Initiative
슌୩>Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on July 13th announced $18.4 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to fund 55 projects to develop and refine cutting-edge technologies and approaches to help farmers and ranchers conserve and sustain natural resources. The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment) received the largest single grant in the slate and the first-ever grant in the new “leverage” category. Vilsack made the announcement in a speech at the Soil and Water Conservation Society annual meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. "New technology can play an important role in addressing environmental problems, and the Obama Administration is committed to developing innovative solutions to natural resource management and conservation issues facing farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said.
The Endowment’s initiative will involve an additional $2 million Endowment investment – to be further matched on the ground for a total impact greater than $6 million – for the purpose of advancing watershed health through healthy forests. “We will link urban water consumers with rural forestland owners to better establish the tie between upstream ecological services and downstream users,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “This project comes at a crucial time, when urban and rural communities, municipalities and utilities must work together to meet growing water needs during extended periods of drought likely to be exacerbated by climate change,” Owen continued.
The Endowment will host a Webinar on August 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm EDST to provide an overview of the planned program and to answer questions that potential partners might have about the initiative. Discussions will include details on criteria that the Endowment will consider in selecting candidate watersheds and partners as well as project timelines and proposal submission dates. In preparation for that event, interested parties may wish to view the Endowment’s submission to USDA. Parties interested in participating in the Webinar should contact Michelle@usendowment.org for details. The CIG program is designed to speed the transfer and enhance use of technologies and methods that show promise in solving the nation's top natural resource problems by targeting innovative, on-the-ground conservation. Approved projects address issues such as water quantity and quality, grazing lands, soil and forest health, and air quality. "The Conservation Innovation Grant program enables USDA to review, field test, and demonstrate practices and ideas that have yet to be successfully mainstreamed into our portfolio of practice options," said Dave White, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which administers the program and provides technical oversight for each project.
July 14, 2009 – Board Approves IRS Form 990
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve IRS Form 990 required of not-for-profits. “The IRS made wholesale changes in the Form 990 making the 2008 version the most complex and detailed statement to date. It covers not just the finances of the Endowment but also its governance and operations policies,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. Since the Endowment’s inception it has been the organization’s practice to go beyond the letter of the law and to have the full Board review and approve the 990 as well as to make it immediately available to the public upon adoption. June 25, 2009 -- Federal Court Rules on Challenge Against U.S. Government
On June 23, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones issued a ruling for the defense in a long-running challenge by the Washington Forest Law Center (WFLC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) against the U.S. Government. Judge Jones ruled that WFLC/FSC had no legal standing nor credible claims that they had suffered injury in the U.S. Trade Representative/Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) decision to grant funds to the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) and American Forest Foundation for delivery of "meritorious initiatives" under the SLA. The Court's clear and unequivocal ruling appears to lay to rest this unfortunate diversion from the important work that the Endowment and its peer seek to advance. To read the full text of the Court's ruling click here: "U.S. Court Rules on Case."
June 3, 2009 -- Endowment Board Approves Clean Audit for 2008
At its most recent meeting of the Board of Directors held in New Orleans May 19-20, 2009, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) heard a report from its Audit Committee as well as its independent auditor, Dixon Hughes PLLC. “On behalf of the Audit Committee, I’m pleased to present to the Board for its consideration one of the cleanest audits I’ve ever had the privilege of reviewing” said Peggy Clark, Chair of the Audit Committee.The audit for fiscal/calendar Year 2008 is the third independent audit of the Endowment’s finances since its inception in late 2006. June 1, 2009 – Christensen joins Endowment as 2009 Intern
Michelle Christensen, a May 2009 graduate of Portland State University, joined the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities’ team as the 2009 Intern. With a degree in Geography and a minor in Sustainable Community Development, Christensen has a strong interest in natural resource and conservation issues. After two years as a Wildland Firefighter for the USDA Forest Service, she is looking forward to learning more about private- and community-based forestry. A Pacific Northwest native, she plans to return home to Washington State, after her time with the Endowment and obtaining a graduate degree in Environmental and Resource Policy.
April 22, 2009 – Earth Day 39 at the U.S. Endowment
For nearly 40 years, April 22nd has been celebrated as “Earth Day” in the United States. At the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) every day is Earth Day as the staff and Board go about the mission of promoting sustainable forestry – forestry that achieves the triple objective of meeting economic needs in an environmentally sound and socially acceptable way. “Earth Day is core to who we are and what we are about,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. “This year we wanted to do something symbolic and yet tangible in our home town in the spirit of the day.” The Endowment provided funding to the Greenville Tree Foundation in Greenville, South Carolina, to plant two trees in parks and public open spaces – one in honor of the Endowment’s Board of Directors; the other to thank the scores of citizens who volunteer their time in land trusts and other efforts to make the area a better place for future generations.
April 17, 2009 – Endowment Releases Report on Business Clustering
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced the release of a report and series of documents on the status of and opportunities for business clustering within the forest products sector in the U.S. (view publications). The research was led by the Forest and Wildlife Research Center of Mississippi State University, the Franklin Furniture Institute of Mississippi State University, Dovetail Partners, and the Department of Forestry of the University of Missouri. The project identified business cluster models adopted in the forest sector, explored partnerships among cluster entities, and examined policies, strategies and support mechanisms that could facilitate successful business.Information collected during the summer and fall of 2008 was also used to develop a template for a national registry of forest business clusters. The project constituted a comprehensive research effort comprised of the following components:a literature review, a nation-wide online survey, geospatial and econometric analyses, phone interviews with stakeholders knowledgeable of forest business clusters in the public and private sectors, and a website featuring a registry of forest business clusters in the U.S. (www.fwrc.msstate.edu/cluster/cluster_search.asp)
April 16, 2009 -- Endowment Releases Latest “Plain Language Stewardship Statement"
The Endowment today posted what it terms its “plain language stewardship statement” for the first quarter of 2009(view statement). “We’ve developed these one-page summaries of financial status and programmatic investments in non-accounting language as part of our commitment to openness and transparency in all that we do,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. The Endowment’s Board of Directors has adopted Stewardship Principles and Values documents that serve to guide all of the organization’s affairs. These pledges are founded on accessibility to all who are interested. In a related happening, the Endowment also posted its latest Blog – this one entitled, "Thoughts on Overhead Costs versus Programmatic Investment."
March 6, 2009 – Endowment Releases Report on Community-Based Forestry The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced the release of a report and series of documents on the status of community-based forestry and community-owned forests across the U.S. (view publications). Community-based forestry (CBF) is focused on the management of forested landscapes for community and societal benefit and is carried out in diverse ways. Yet, the study found that CBF finds a unifying theme in core principles: integrating equity, sustainable forest management, and community development. “We are fortunate to have benefited from a partnership with the Community Forest Consortium who brought incredible experience and energy to this project,” said Endowment Vice-President of Community Development Diane Snyder. The Endowment believes that this information will provide solid benchmarks that will undergird work recently launched through the Forest Investment Zone Initiative and expects that the results will also benefit others in the field of study and practice. March 6, 2009 – Endowment Announces Formation of Commission on Check-off
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced the formation of a 21-member Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) that will develop the first-ever “commodity check-off program” for North American forest products. “As a not-for-profit we are well aware that we cannot achieve our mission of healthy working forests and vibrant forest-reliant rural communities without a healthy and vibrant forest products industry,” said Endowment President & CEO Carlton Owen. “For more than a year we’ve studied the potential and assessed the willingness of the forest industry in the U.S. and Canada to work together to grow markets for sustainably produced and environmentally-preferable wood products,” he said.
The BRC provides for production-based geographical balance with 14 U.S. and 7 Canadian members – roughly equivalent to the historic sourcing of wood for the U.S. market. Jack Jordan, Executive Vice President of Jordan Lumber & Supply Company of Mount Gilead, North Carolina will serve as BRC Chairman. Duncan Davies, Chairman, President and CEO of Canada-based Interfor of Vancouver, will be Vice Chairman.
The BRC will work with forest products producers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the next 18-24 months to craft the details of a program that, if adopted by the vote of potentially-affected industrial producers, would institute an assessment on covered forest products to support a broad-based research and promotion program designed to grow markets for wood products. Check-off programs, used by agricultural commodity producers for decades, are perhaps best known by the highly successful, “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner,” and “Got Milk?,” public promotions. March 2, 2009 – Blog Provides More Insight into Forest Health Initiative U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) President Carlton Owen used the organization’s most recent Blog posting – Seeking 21st Century Solutions to America’s Forest Health Crisis -- to provide greater insight and background into thinking behind the decision to invest in scientific tools for the forest health tool box. The Blog makes several key points, perhaps most importantly, that “science without consideration of social and regulatory issues is unacceptable.” For more visit http://usendowmentblog.blogspot.com February 27, 2009 – Endowment Releases 2008 Annual Report
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today released its 2nd annual report.“We are pleased to be able to share with all interested parties the results of the Endowment’s second year in operation,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“While the 2007 report primarily addressed structural issues and strategic directions, the 2008 version provides a holistic look at the Endowment’s programmatic engagement.”Published copies of the report are being shared with every member of Congress and electronic copies (both in full color and black & white) are available for immediate download (Color PDF / Black & White PDF).“The Endowment’s Board of Directors has established a high standard for openness and transparency in all that we do,” said Owen.“This report, not only provides a full accounting of programmatic investments but it does so in a very timely way.”The document is being released fully six weeks earlier than the 2007 version. February 10, 2009 – Endowment Names Governance and Nominating Committee
U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) Chairman Dick Molpus today named a three-person Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board.The Committee will be chaired by David Thorud with David Dodson and Jim Rinehart serving as members.The Endowment Board of Directors authorized creation of the committee during a regularly scheduled call in late January.The Committee's primary purposes will be to “determine the slate of director nominees for election to the Endowment’s Board of Directors, identify and recommend candidates to fill vacancies occurring between annual meetings,and review, evaluate and recommend changes to the Endowment’s bylaws and other policies and programs as they relate to matters of governance.” February 4, 2009 –Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation Announced
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced its involvement in a new collaborative effort to protect as many as 20,000,000 acres of working forestlands across the southern U.S. by 2020.“The Partnership for Southern Forestland Conservation” (Partnership) emerged from concerns about not only continued losses of working forests but also the fragmentation of remaining parcels.“Complex issues such as conservation of working landscapes at a scale that will ensure ecological and economic integrity of systems are a growing challenge across the nation,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“We are pleased to be a part of this dynamic collaborative that brings landowners, conservation organizations and natural resources agencies together in new ways and with mutually beneficial goals and objectives.”Core participants of the rapidly growing initiative include the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Group of State Foresters, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Defense.Read more… February 3, 2009 – Endowment Board Member Recognized for Lifetime of Achievement
U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) Board Member, Bruce Miles, has been inducted into the Texas Forestry Museum’s Hall of Fame 2008.Mr. Miles holds a Bachelor of Forestry Degree from Louisiana State University (LSU) via a cooperative scholarship program between LSU and Texas A&M University.After a short stint in the Pacific Northwest, Miles joined the Texas Forest Service in 1959.He achieved the rank of State Forester in 1981 -- a position he held until his retirement in 1996.Upon his retirement, Mr. Miles was granted the title, Director Emeritus by the Texas A&M System.Among a long list of honors, Mr. Miles was given the Gifford Pinchot Medal in 1997 by the Society of American Foresters.“We feel especially fortunate to have Bruce sharing his lifetime of experience and expertise with us,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen. January 30, 2009 – Exciting Initiative to Advance Forest Health Announced
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced its participation in a bold new initiative, “Advancing Forest Health through Biotechnology.”Designed to seek new tools to deal with rapidly increasing impacts to forests from exotic pests and diseases as well as native pests that are exploding in the face of changing climactic conditions, Endowment President Carlton Owen said, “We have come to the point where we simply don’t have the luxury of time that affords using only 20th Century tools to deal with 21st Century challenges.”The initiative, envisioned as a three-year, perhaps $10-million program, will assess the potential for biotechnology to offer a safe and socially-acceptable option for addressing forest health challenges.
While the Initiative will involved literally dozens of partners from social, regulatory and scientific institutions, it will be overseen by a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Duke Energy and the Endowment – all initiative sponsors – as well as Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and a forest health scientist.Work to test scientific, social/environmental and regulatory/policy questions about biotechnology will focus on a test organism, the American chestnut, once considered the “King of Trees” in eastern forests but since lost to an exotic fungus.
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities announced that it has partnered withThe Conservation Fund to launch an online marketplace to benefit working forests and rural communities. The marketplace will link individual donors and groups of donors with small-scale entrepreneurs whose enterprises help retain working forests across the country.The project will launch in the late spring with a pilot program aimed at the Mid-Atlantic region and will eventually be nationwide.
Donors will be able to “shop” online at the marketplace for enterprises they wish to support.Their tax-deductible contributions will be distributed as low-interest loans to entrepreneurs; the repaid loan will be recycled to be lent again to the entrepreneur(s) of the donor’s choosing.The enterprises featured on the website will be “vetted” by a network of land trusts, forestry schools, government agencies and community-based organizations with an interest in forestland retention and rural economic development.
The Endowment is providing $1 million in initial funding for the effort.Endowment President Carlton Owen said, “To address growing challenges facing the nation’s working forests and rural communities, we must identify new means to engage more citizens in local sustainable development activities.We believe that the marketplace concept offers great potential to leverage a modest investment to stimulate and support America’s entrepreneurial spirit resulting in enhanced forest health and sound rural economic development in an on-going manner.”
Larry Selzer, president and CEO of The Conservation Fund, applauded the Endowment’s vision. “This project will employ 21st century information technology to get working capital to enterprises that will keep forests healthy and productive for present and future generations. The marketplace will be a direct and simple way to link people who care about forests with forest-friendly entrepreneurs who need fresh working capital.”
Businesses supported through the marketplace may include eco-tourism enterprises, native plant nurseries, sustainable forestry management and value-added wood crafts, among other specialties. January 16, 2009 – Endowment Secures Funding to Support Final Phase of Check-off Work
The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) today announced it has garnered external funding to support the third and final phase of work leading to the development of a softwood lumber products check-off. Check-off programs have been used for more than fifty years by U.S. agricultural commodity producers to generate funds to educate consumers and promote domestic and foreign market demand.In early 2008 the Endowment undertook a study to determine the potential for check-offs to grow markets for sustainably produced wood products.That work resulted in the report, “Commodity Check-offs:The Potential for North American Softwood Lumber.”(view report)Phase II of the work included sharing results with the broader forest products industry and determining interest in creating a check-off program.(See related Blog -- http://usendowmentblog.blogspot.com/2008/08/work-of-foundations-doing-what-others.html )
The external grant will fully-fund what the Endowment terms Phase III of the project -- a 21-member Blue Ribbon Commission (the BRC) comprised of forest industry leaders from across Canada and the U.S.Over the next two years the BRC will develop the program that, if adopted by the industry, will establish the first multi-national check-off to grow markets for forest products.“We are especially pleased that we can continue this important work to create a new vehicle to grow markets for environmentally-preferable wood products,” said Endowment President Carlton Owen.“Without a strong forest products industry it will be impossible for the Endowment to meet its vision of ‘forests that are sustainably managed ….while ensuring healthy and vibrant forest-reliant communities.”The BRC is slated to be named in coming weeks.Staff support to the BRC will be provided by Phoenix Strategic Solutions, the team that lead the check-off research for the Endowment.