Concerned Ohioans are reporting their maples have stunted leaves or no leaves at all; particularly towards the top of the tree. Several issues can produce thinning maple canopies including poor site conditions, girdling roots, a vascular wilt disease, etc. However, it’s unlikely one of these issues has become so common or multiple issues have converged to produce a general widespread maple malaise throughout Ohio.
It’s more likely the common condition of thin maple canopies is a condition common to maples. Indeed, red (A. rubrum), silver (Acer saccharinum), and sugar maples (A. saccharum) in many regions of Ohio, as well as Indiana and Kentucky, have produced loads of winged seeds (samaras). The challenge is that the timing of the blooms and thus seed production varies widely between the three dominant maple species in Ohio with red maples usually the first to bloom and sugars the last.
By Brent Sohngen, Professor Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, The Ohio State University
In case you haven’t noticed, lumber prices have increased a lot over the last year. Based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Lumber Price Index, which you can find here, lumber prices have increased 180% since April 2020. This increase started last fall and has continued ever since. So, why have they risen, and how high will they go?
Let’s start with the first question, why have they risen? The economic explanation is relatively straightforward: Demand rose rapidly due to pandemic-related building, and supply is really inelastic, as we say in economics. Thus, while the demand for wood has increased dramatically, the supply of wood hasn’t been able to keep up. Let’s break this down.
Consider the demand side first. The construction sector, specifically building and remodeling houses, is one of the largest demanders of lumber in the US and around the world. New home starts and construction spending cratered at the beginning of the pandemic, but they rebounded pretty quickly. Remodeling in particular seems to have picked up a real head of steam.
While demand for new construction and remodeling is hot, it’s actually now at about the same level as before the pandemic. So something else must be going on. One of those something else’s is the price of steel, which has also increased dramatically in the US. Steel is a substitute for wood, especially in commercial construction, and rising steel prices have also driven up demand for lumber and other things that can be made out of wood or steel. Continue reading →
By Margaret Roach – Published by The New York Times sharing information from a colleague Marne Titchenell
The bad news? It doesn’t exist. But there are still plenty of things you can do to deter what some call ‘nuisance wildlife.’
By Margaret Roach
Think of her as a conflict-resolution specialist — except that at least one party in almost every dispute that Marne A. Titchenell of The Ohio State University negotiates is a four-legged, fur-bearing individual stubbornly disinclined to negotiate.
“In the past week alone,” said Ms. Titchenell, whose official title is wildlife program specialist, “I have answered skunk, groundhog, bat, vole, and mole questions. And, of course, ones about deer.”
Ms. Titchenell’s primary professional role is educating Ohioans about wildlife ecology, biology, and habitat management. When she lectures to gardeners, farmers, or the nursery industry, she asks for a show of hands (virtually these days) from the audience when she names challenges they have faced. Then she runs through photos of animals that in backyard or agricultural settings may be referred to as “nuisance wildlife.”
This program will focus on southeast Ohio – our most heavily forested portion of the state located in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains and part of the greater Appalachian Mountain Ecosystem. The workshop has two parts – the first will explore the role that our woodlands can have in enhancing our physical and mental health and the second will provide an introduction to the landscape ecology of southeast Ohio. We hope you can join us as we explore the ecological “zip codes” of southeast Ohio and how we all fit in.
Our October 9, A DAY in the WOODS program Mapping your woodland will once again be offered virtually via Zoom and YouTube videos. This program will focus on tools that you can use to locate boundaries and other land features, and to create digital maps from location data using free GPS (Global Positioning System) phone applications and online mapping tools.
Our September 11th, A DAY in the WOODS program Forest and wildlife history and future challenges will once again be offered via Zoom. This program will focus on the only constant in nature, change. Our wonderful lineup of panelists will discuss the history of Ohio’s forests and wildlife, as well as, some of the current and future challenges facing our woodlands and wildlife.
The climate is changing, and it is impacting forests in many ways. The magnitude of continued accelerated change requires adaptation strategies that aim to maintain healthy and productive forests. As forests are placed under additional stress it is also critical that we consider how wildlife may respond to a shifting climate and important forest habitats that they depend on. For birds, there is a natural ecological link to the importance of trees and forest structure and in many cases, birds are often used as indicators of forest conditions and management goals. Therefore, understanding how bird and tree species habitats may respond to ongoing climate change will be critical to meeting conservation and management goals.
Presenter: Steve Matthews, Associate Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources
Below are the videos and resources from all eight presentations from our May 8 Virtual DAY in the WOODS. Thanks to all of our partners and presenters for making this happen! The topics include Spring Migrating Birds, Health Benefits of Woodlands, Crop Tree Management, Evaluate your Road and Trails, Boundary Marking, Look for Spotted Lantern Fly, and Other Insects, Inventory Young Oaks, Scouting for Invasive Plants.