A Look at U.S. Legal Protections for Forest Trees

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Conservation | Posted on 02-09-2014

Forests in our world and in the United States are important. They are responsible for providing homes and jobs to people, absorbing and storing carbon, providing wood for furniture or firewood, serving as habitat to mammals, birds, and insects, preventing flooding, regulating regional climates, conserving soil and water, and for providing a refuge for tourism, recreation, and educational activities. Because forests are responsible for so many things, it’s no wonder that state and federal governments work hard to protect them. The National Forest Management Act of 1976 sets in place some standards for forests in the United States. Here’s a rundown on what laws exist to help protect forest trees:

Reforestation

Sec. 4 section 3 of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, stated that the federal government is responsible for the reforestation of already existing forests. This means forests shall be “maintained in appropriate forest cover with species of trees, degree of stocking rate, the of growth, and conditions of stand designed to secure the maximum benefits of multiple use…” The act also stipulates that Congress must allocate $200,000,000 annually for the purpose of reforesting and treating lands.

Renewable Resource Program

The 1976 act also established laws that provide an opportunity for forest and rangeland owners to participate in educational programs. The point of these programs is to improve and enhance the condition of the land and to disseminate knowledge about the renewable resources the land possesses. The education provided also seeks to impress upon landowners the need to improve air, water, and soil quality within forests.

Harvesting and Roads

If trees are harvested from a forest, there is a subsection of the 1976 act that requires that the land be re-forested within five years after the harvest. It is also a requirement stated within the same provision that clear-cutting must occur in the most effective method and that “cut blocks, patches, or strips are and blended to the extent practical with the natural terrain.” These cuts must also be consistent with the protection of other wildlife, fish, soil, and water.

Any road construction that occurs on forestland must also be consistent with this law. If any roads are constructed on national forest land, they must be designed to accommodate standards that are appropriate for the intended uses and impacts on land and its resources.

Limitations on Timber Removal

The law explicitly states that the Secretary of Agriculture cannot set forth a timber sale limit that exceeds the sustainability-yield ratio of a particular forest region. In other words, if reforestation cannot occur quickly enough in a forest where lumber is being taken for sale, then the Secretary of Agriculture must put a hold on that area until the forest can be replenished. However, if forests are damaged by fire, disease, wind throw, or other natural catastrophes, this subsection does not apply.

Controlling Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch elm disease endangers many forest trees. As a result, the Forestry Act allocates money for the study of Dutch elm disease, researching possibilities to control it and providing a plan of action to spread knowledge about its effects.

In addition to these laws set forth, many states also have their own laws regarding forest trees, such as the age and type that can legally be cut. If you’re wondering what you can and cannot do in a forest, look up your state’s Department of Agriculture or Forestry for more information.

Byline

Though Peter Smallwood has a serious concern for wildlife preservation, he also understands that quality lumber is needed to create so many necessities of modern society; for info on treated pilings for your home visit an established outfit in the industry.

A Closer Examination of the Sinking of the Titanic

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in History | Posted on 01-09-2014

The RMS Titanic steamed from England towards New York City in April of 1912 with much fanfare. The popular notion was that the ship was an unsinkable marvel, featuring the latest cutting edge technology. In retrospect “unsinkable” was more a public relations proclamation, as the world learned a few days later that no ship is immune to accidents, bad luck, or human error.

Titanic was constructed with a cellular double bottom design that featured sixteen watertight compartments as well as fifteen transverse watertight bulkheads. This design made it durable and safe under normal conditions and Titanic was expected to give its owners many years of profitable service. The consensus among experts is that a chain of human errors, not design flaws, ultimately led to the ship’s destruction and the deaths of more than 1,500 people.

Iceberg Right Ahead!

After Titanic left England and headed into the icy North Atlantic, operators received a series of radio messages regarding icebergs and pack ice from ships crossing the Atlantic. The crew did not completely disregard the information as lookouts were told to “keep a sharp lookout for ice, particularly small ice and growlers.” Weather conditions that evening made a collision more likely, as a temperature inversion created abnormal refraction that distorted objects. Witnesses also grossly overestimated the size of the icebergs, leading the lookouts to misidentify distant pack ice as haze, fatefully delaying the crew’s reaction. There was not much room for error, as the Titanic was traveling at 22.5 knots, only .5 knots below her top speed. The force of the impact while traveling at that speed “…would have been equal to a momentum of 52, 310 tons displacement.”

A Matter of Time

A debate about the exact nature of the sinking and destruction of Titanic has continued up to the present day. Everyone agrees that the ship suffered catastrophic damage due to its collision with a large iceberg at a high rate of speed, and nobody doubts that collision caused a ninety-meter tear along her starboard side, or that there was anything that could have been done to prevent the ship from sinking once water began to cascade over the bulkheads from one compartment to the next.

However, numerous maritime experts, survivors, and investigators have provided a wide range of accounts regarding the events surrounding Titanic’s catastrophic sinking. Different details, narratives, and conclusions have been floating around since the United States Senate held hearings four days after the tragedy. The British government held an inquiry of its own that also collected conflicting information. According to “The Sinking of the Titanic” some of the testimony given at the inquiry “… perpetuated the myth that the Titanic collided with an iceberg towering some 55 to 60 feet above the water.”

Enduring Myths and Advancing Knowledge

One of the most enduring controversies about how the ship sank is the argument about the angle of the stern as the ship plunged beneath the waves. James Cameron’s 1997 film showed the stern rising completely out of the water at about a 45 degree angle before sheering off from the rest of the ship and plunging into the sea with a tremendous splash. A 1998 stress analysis concluded that the angle of the stern as it rose out of the water was much less dramatic, at probably only ten to fifteen degrees. Even though experts continue to add to our understanding of the disaster, a century later, it remains an intriguing story with many unresolved mysteries.

Byline

Derek Potter has a lifelong fascination with boating, naval history, sea navigation and marine biology. Those who’d like additional information on boating technology to supplement this sketch of the Titanic should check out Stewart Technology.

The Perpetual Lure of the Flagstone Patio

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Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Other - Home & Garden | Posted on 01-09-2014

Many homeowners opt for flagstone to adorn their outdoor patio flooring. This choice in private residential settings is a go-to style for many homeowners because of flagstone’s natural durability, aesthetic appearance, varied colors and shades, and affordability. When considering flagstone against other types of patio flooring, you’ll find that this option gives you plenty of flexibility and is easy to maintain. Below, we explore all of the reasons behind flagstone’s perpetual allure.

Aesthetics

Flagstone is a natural stone mined from quarries, featuring a unique earthy and distinguished look. Flagstone is heavy and irregularly shaped, so make sure you’re up for the do-it-yourself project beforehand, gathering proper tools and materials. Creating a flagstone walkway provides a timeless addition to your landscape, adds Better Homes and Gardens, because it comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. When built into a winding path, you can lead guests to a remote hideaway for a secluded backyard setting. Flagstone’s irregular shape gives you the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind pathways that give your patio a quirky, undefined, charming quality that straight brickwork can’t offer.

Durability

Flagstone — an overhead term for any sedimentary rock that can be cut or split into layers — has a variable amount of sandstone, silica and other materials present within it. Flagstone can include anything from sandstone to limestone to bluestone, and not all flagstones are created equal. Keep a close eye on the quality of the stone when buying flagstone, specifically inspecting for any rocks that may be porous or flaky. If water gets into the little pores and cracks in the stone, this could be disastrous for your walkway. Armed with the knowledge of what to look for, you can easily spot the best type of flagstone for your particular home improvement project. Home & Garden television recommends looking for uniformity across the top, with no pockmarks and even heights. This will give your flagstone, allowing it last for years. Also, the thicker the flagstone the better, so forgo the half-inch thickness and go with a stone that measures at least an inch and a half thick for best results. This also ensures that if you drop something on it, it won’t crack easily.

Convenience

The popularity of flagstone never seems to waver. Homeowners repeatedly choose it for its timeless beauty and rustic feel. It’s also suited to wet weather, as it’s hard to slip on due to the stone’s variations in texture. Plus, you can easily mow around it with your weed whacker.

You can make the pathway as long or as wide as you want, and there’s virtually no maintenance involved other than occasional weed pulling. However, Better Homes and Gardens says one thing that gives flagstone its natural timeless beauty is that flowers and greenery can grow through the cracks, giving it a centuries-old look. So it’s up to you whether you want to keep it trimmed and well manicured or unfettered with a perpetual allure that transcends the ages.

Byline

Xavier Collins loves blogging and writing about home improvement and remodeling; he particularly enjoys focusing on such topics as outdoor patios, flagstone patios, indoor hot tubs and other neat ideas. Those contemplating a renovation project in Texas may want to consider flagstone in Houston.