Allegheny County Private Forest Owner Recognized With PA Tree Farm Of Year Award

The PA Tree Farm Program Committee of the PA Forestry Association announced Monday the recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year:  Beckets Run Woodlands, a 110-acre family owned Stewardship Forest 20 miles south of downtown Pittsburgh in Forward Township, Allegheny County.

In making the announcement, the committee cited Beckets Run Woodlands' unique approach to forest conservation "They are creating a model for improving severely disrupted forest areas, restoring and protecting the forest ecosystem so that it can again provide the services and products that are so basic to our lives."

Forests provide services and products essential to our lives, from pure air and water to healthy trees and wildlife. Development, industrial pollution and poor resource management has lead to fragmentation, parcelization and severe disturbance of forest ecosystems, especially in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The conventional approach to forest improvement focuses on areas with established timber production capacity, implementing practices to enhance timber quality and quantity, which are financed through timber commercialization, an approach that derives value from sustainable timber production.

Beckets Run Woodlands' approach focuses instead on severely damaged forest areas that are more abundant and have no immediate timber production potential, implementing practices to restore the ecosystem and protect biodiversity so the forest can eventually again sustain timber production, support wildlife and provide other products and services.

Using multiple technical and financial resources available to Pennsylvania landowners, including government and university sponsored programs and the commercialization of recreational hunting and mineral development, forming partnerships with neighbor landowners and establishing a formal commitment to standards of conservation, Beckets Run Woodlands is creating a model that derives value not just from timber production potential, but also from forest conservation itself.

Beckets Run Woodlands is managed and owned by Raul Chiesa and Janet Sredy in co-ownership with Janet's brother Mark and his wife Patty.

The PA Tree Farm Program is part of the American Tree Farm System, a nationwide program based on four pillars of forest management: wood, water, wildlife and recreation. For over 60 years the familiar green and white Tree Farm sign has been displayed on lands that meet the program's high standards.

The PA Forestry Association was founded in 1886 and represents landowners, industry and the public interested in the long-term health and sustainable management of all forestlands within the Commonwealth.

For more information, visit the PA Forestry Association website.


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