Under Construction

Beginning October 23, 2014 we are converting to a different theme (blog layout). Same website address, same blog posts and pages. Just a theme we’re less happy to use. We so did not want to make this change, but two important technical matters made it our unhappy duty to make the move. If you see anything odd, just ignore it for now. We should have it all settled within a few days, and we’ll pretty it up the best we can.

Thank you for visiting Sylvabiota. Please come again. Or post a comment and we’ll come see you!

And please leave a forest better than you found it.

Don’t move firewood: reasons, responsibilities and regulations


A long time ago I brought a giant bag of firewood cut on my property to a picnic 99 miles away.  Today, that would be in violation of environmental regulations (in most states).  First, my wood was not certified kiln dried (heat treated), so I was not allowed to transport it more than 50 miles.  Second, if it had been within 50 miles, for my home-cut wood I would need a Self-Issued Certificate of Source (PDF) (in NY).  Store-bought untreated wood must be labelled or have other proof of its source within 50 miles, such as a purchase receipt, invoice or bill of lading.  Similar regulations apply in other states.

It’s serious business.  For example: in New York, state environmental police set up road checkpoints to look for people transporting wood more than 50 miles without a certificate or proof of source.  A press release gave an example of this enforcement practice:

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Handy bags help you leave the forest better than you found it

Given the Sylvabiota mission and motto, “Leaving forests better than we found them,” the message in these pictures is obvious, but we have a few comments to warm up its reception.

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Free Online Environmental Education Courses at University of Wisconsin in 2015

Tree-MOOC-postBeginning in 2015, the University of Wisconsin will offer six free, non-credit Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on “a shared theme of sustainability and the environment,” says a UW-Madison News article, adding to more than forty existing online courses in the school’s Continuing Studies program, some offering professional certifications or CEUs (Continuing Education Units).

Detailed descriptions seem to be not available yet, but the article lists the new courses as (ones of special interest to Sylvabiota highlighted in green):

  • Understanding Aldo Leopold’s Legacy, taught by Timothy Van Deelen, associate professor in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, Janet Silbernagel, professional programs director and professor of landscape architecture and environmental studies, and Paul Robbins, professor and director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.
  • Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region, taught by Steven Ackerman, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, and Margaret Mooney, senior outreach specialist for the Space Science and Engineering Center.
  • Energy and the Earth, taught by Alan Carroll, professor of geoscience.
  • Forests and Humans, taught by Tom Gower, professor, Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.
  • Virtual Shakespeare, taught by Jesse Stommel, assistant professor, Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts, Sarah Marty, faculty associate, Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts, and R L Widmann, associate professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.
  • Climate Change and Public Health, taught by Jonathan Patz, professor and director of the Global Health Institute.

For more information about Aldo Leopold, one of Sylvabiota’s heroes, the Aldo Leopold page at is a good place to start.

Copyright © 2014 Sylvabiota™

The Wilderness Act is 50 years old and getting stronger all the time!

In our comprehensive celebration of the Wilderness Act 50th Anniversary, we must begin with this stunning video from the National Park Service, America’s Wilderness.  It uses astounding video of our U.S. wilderness area, natural sounds, and beautiful music to present the definition of wilderness established in the National Wilderness Preservation System Act of 1964 (PDF).

16 U.S. C. 1131-1136 Section 2(c) DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS.  A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value. – Wilderness Act, Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136). September 3, 1964

Listen to a recording ( of President Lyndon Johnson’s speech given upon his signing the Act into law.  It’s not just political.  It’s instructive about historic conservation movements all around the country since Teddy Roosevelt.

We have a profound fundamental need for areas of wilderness… within which we stand without our mechanisms that make us immediate masters over our environment. – Howard Zahniser, activist and principal author of the Wilderness Act

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Forest Immersion for Human Health

You come out of the woods better than you went in.  That’s a good reason to leave forests better than you found them.  The science is clear:

Being in the forest is good for your health.

“Spending time in forests makes us healthier,” says the article, Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC).

The article includes a huge list of scientific study and research documents on the topic of human health benefits from forest and other outdoor activities.

From the article:


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Rare type of New England cinquefoil wildflower rescued from brink of extinction

In their blog, Conserving the Nature of the Northeast, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Northeast) announced “the first plant recovered under the Endangered Species Act.”

Article excerpt, link, photos and more …

cinquefoil-robbins-USFWS picture

Robbins Cinquefoil (Potentilla robbinsiana). Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service (public domain)

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