FERS Ltd.

Cabinteely, Ireland

FERS Ltd.

Cabinteely, Ireland

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McCullagh A.,University College Dublin | Black K.,University College Dublin | Black K.,FERS Ltd | Nieuwenhuis M.,University College Dublin
European Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2017

Two models, Carbware (CW) and Growfor (GF), of different resolution and based on different frameworks were evaluated in relation to stand-level forecasts of volume and basal area using Ireland’s National Forest Inventory (NFI) data. CW is a distance-independent single-tree model that is based on diameter increment. GF is a stand-level dynamic empirical model that uses the von Bertalanffy–Richards growth equation in a state-space framework. NFI data were used as input to the models, and each model’s projections were compared to NFI data at the next measurement cycle. The NFI is a permanent sampling system with the objective to assess the composition and extent of the forest estate. A subset of the NFI was used in the study, single-species even-aged plots comprising Sitka spruce and lodgepole pine. The accuracy and performance of the CW and GF models were analysed using residual analysis and standard statistical techniques. Results show that both models require improvement, though the study has raised concerns regarding the suitability of the NFI data for this type of investigation. © 2017 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.marketwired.com

Although the U.S. Postal Service posted modest controllable income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2017 (January 1, 2017 - March 31, 2017) of $12 million, it fell well short of the $576 million that it had for the same quarter last year. This reduction was driven by the April 2016 expiration of the exigent surcharge, which would have generated approximately $500 million in additional revenue during the quarter had it remained in place, and to a lesser extent, a $69 million increase in controllable operating expenses. Operating revenue was $17.3 billion, a decrease of $474 million from the same period last year. Revenue from First-Class Mail and Marketing Mail decreased $606 million and $331 million respectively over the prior year quarter, due largely to the exigent surcharge expiration and lower volumes. These declines in operating revenue were somewhat offset by continued growth in the Shipping and Packages business, with a second quarter revenue increase of $486 million, or 11.5 percent, over the same period in the prior year. The net loss for the quarter declined to $562 million from a $2 billion net loss a year ago, as the Postal Service benefited from declines in operating expenses outside of management's control. Expenses for mandatory retiree benefit programs fell by a net $1.2 billion due to changes in funding requirements that took effect in 2017 according to law, while workers' compensation expenses fell by $1.1 billion due largely to fluctuations in interest rates. (See tables below for detailed financial results). Even with continued achievements in improving operational efficiency and revenue, the Postal Service cannot overcome systemic financial imbalances caused by legal and other constraints. Passage of legislation that would allow the Postal Service to operate within a more sustainable business model is urgently needed. In March, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee advanced H.R. 756, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2017 for consideration by the full House of Representatives. "America deserves a financially stable Postal Service that can continue to play a vital role in our economy and society. The path forward depends on continued innovation and aggressive management actions, the passage of H.R. 756 into law, combined with a favorable outcome of the PRC's 10-year pricing system review," said Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan. "With these actions, the Postal Service will have the financial stability to invest in our future and continue to be an engine of growth, to be a strong business partner, and to meet the expectations of the American public." The multi-year trends of declining volumes of letter mail and growth in packages continued this quarter. During the second quarter, letter mail volumes declined by approximately 1.4 billion pieces or approximately 3.8%, while package volumes grew by 137 million or approximately 11%. "We are addressing declines in letter mail volumes by aggressively managing our work hours and compensation expense, while balancing and fine-tuning the resources needed to accommodate growth in package volumes and to optimize customer service," said Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Joseph Corbett. "Despite inflationary pressures in the marketplace, the Postal Service's controllable operating expenses rose by less than 1% in the quarter." Meanwhile, in addition to seeking needed legislative and regulatory changes, the Postal Service continues to focus on improving efficiency and on innovation to meet the evolving needs of its customers and to grow its business. By bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, the Postal Service is creating innovative experiences for consumers and maintaining the relevancy of physical mail in today's highly digital environment. FY 2017 Second Quarter Revenue and Volume by Service Category Compared to Last Year The following presents revenue and volume by category for the three months ended March 31, 2017, and 2016: This news release references operating revenue before the temporary exigent surcharge, which is not calculated and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). The following table reconciles these non-GAAP operating revenue calculations with GAAP net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2017, and 2016: This news release references controllable income, which is not calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. Controllable income is a non-GAAP financial measure defined as net income (loss) adjusted for items outside of management's control. These adjustments include workers' compensation expenses caused by actuarial revaluation and discount rate changes, PSRHBF prefunding expenses and the amortization of PSRHBF, CSRS and FERS unfunded liabilities. The following table reconciles the Postal Service's GAAP net loss of $562 million for the quarter to controllable income and illustrates the income from ongoing business activities without the impact of non-controllable items for the three months ended March 31, 2017, and 2016: Complete financial results are available in the Form 10-Q, available at http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/financials/welcome.htm. Financial Briefing Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Joseph Corbett will host a telephone/Web conference call to discuss the financial results in more detail. The call will begin at 10:00 am ET on May 10, 2017 and is open to news media and all other interested parties. If you cannot join using the direct link above, please use the alternate logins below: Alternate URL: https://usps.webex.com Event Number: 991 463 781 The briefing will also be available on live audio webcast (listen only) at: http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/cfo/welcome.htm. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm. A complete list of the holiday shipping deadlines can be found at usps.com/holidaynews. For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf. Follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/usps), Instagram (instagram.com/uspostalservice), Pinterest (pinterest.com/uspsstamps), LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/usps), subscribe to our channel on YouTube (youtube.com/usps), like us on Facebook (facebook.com/usps) and view our Postal Posts blog (uspsblog.com). For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honors Jennifer Trowbridge as a 2017-2018 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized with this prestigious distinction for leadership in entrepreneurship. NAPW is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting more than 850,000 members, a thriving eChapter and over 200 operating Local Chapters. “I’m pleased to welcome Jennifer into this exceptional group of professional women,” said NAPW President Star Jones. “Her knowledge and experience in her industry are valuable assets to her company and community.” Self-motivated and results driven to succeed, Jennifer Trowbridge is a seasoned professional who has constantly set her goals to keep pace with her highest aspirations for personal excellence. Throughout her career, she has exhibited exemplary teamwork, expertise, integrity and dedication. For more than 15 years, Ms. Trowbridge has been helping individuals realize their retirement goals as a Federal Benefits Consultant/Financial Consultant at Retire Safe Florida. Licensed in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia, she offers clients her expertise in retirement planning and insurance services. “I got started in this industry because of a belief that everyone should understand their finances and the benefits they have, and a strong desire to help them achieve that understanding,” said Ms. Trowbridge. “I help Federal employees learn about their benefit options, including FERS, CSRS, FEGLI and TSP, before and after retirement.” To ensure all potential clients understand the Federal benefits they are entitled to, Ms. Trowbridge first completes a Federal Benefit Analysis. “I then go through it step-by-step with them so that they understand the details of each benefit they have,” she said. “My career is rewarding in that I help people everyday move toward the amazing and relaxing retirement they deserve,” adds Ms. Trowbridge, who is also passionate about volunteering her time and works with missions and her own church to help those in need in this country and around the world. Awards and Accomplishments: Life and Annuities, Financial Planning Certificate, Kaplan University; 2015 Top Producer Roster Financial; Allianz Platinum Club Producer 2008-2015; Allianz Outstanding Customer Service 2011 About NAPW NAPW’s mission is to provide an exclusive, highly advanced networking forum to successful women executives, professionals and entrepreneurs where they can aspire, connect and achieve. Through innovative resources, tools and benefits, professional women interact, exchange ideas, advance their knowledge and empower each other.


Groen T.A.,University of Twente | Verkerk P.J.,European forest Institute | Bottcher H.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis | Grassi G.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra | And 9 more authors.
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2013

Under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change all Parties have to report on carbon emissions and removals from the forestry sector. Each Party can use its own approach and country specific data for this. Independently, large-scale models exist (e.g. EFISCEN and G4M as used in this study) that assess emissions and removals from this sector by applying a unified approach to each country, still often based on country specific data.Differences exist between the national reported values and the calculations from the large scale models. This study compares these models with national reporting efforts for 24. EU countries for the period 2000-2008, and identifies the most likely causes for differences. There are no directly identifiable single input parameters that could be targeted to fully close the gap between country and model estimates. We found that the method applied by the country (i.e. stock-difference or gain-loss) contributes significantly to differences for EFISCEN and was the best explaining variable for G4M, although for the latter it was not significant. Other variables (biomass expansion factors, harvest volumes and the way harvest losses are treated) were not found to provide a conclusive explanation for the differences between the model estimations and the country submissions in an over-all analysis. However, at the level of individual countries several different causes for differences were identified. This suggests that to really close the gap between country submissions and large scale models, close collaboration between modellers and country experts is needed, calling for openness and willingness to share relevant data and to compare GHG inventories with independent estimates. This would enable to improve the confidence both in historical GHG inventories and in the models which are needed to project the future forest sink for several policy issues. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Donlan J.,University of Limerick | Black K.,FERS Ltd | Hendrick E.,Kildare Street | O'Driscoll E.,Drima Marketing | Byrne K.A.,University of Limerick
Carbon Management | Year: 2013

Background: The Kyoto Protocol allows carbon in forests to contribute to emission-reduction targets. This has been extended to include carbon in harvested wood products (HWP). A projected baseline approach is proposed to identify business as usual and incentivize activities that reduce emissions or increase removals relative to reference level. In this article, we describe methods to calculate the projected reference level. Results: Wood product categories were derived using a top-down approach based on timber harvest data and sawmill statistics. The average of the overall projected forest management reference level for 2013-2020 was -206.81 Gg CO2-e including HWP and -72.72 Gg CO2-e excluding carbon stock change in HWP. Conclusion: These results highlight the potential of HWP to contribute to GHG mitigation strategies. © 2013 Future Science Ltd.


Black K.,FERS Ltd. | Black K.,University of Ulster | Creamer R.E.,Teagasc | Xenakis G.,University of Edinburgh | Cook S.,University of Ulster
Geoderma | Year: 2014

Forest soils store large amounts of carbon (C), and stock changes in this C pool may significantly increase the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. However, estimation of soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks and stock changes following land use transition to forestry is subject to large uncertainty. Many currently used geochemical modelling approaches, such as YASSO, are used to estimate regional changes in forest SOC stocks, but these are difficult to calibrate to reflect regional conditions because of limited availability of sufficient SOC data. In addition, most model frameworks give little consideration regarding the appropriate use of geospatial climatic and topographical data, as dependent variables in the model. As a result, many regional models may exhibit spatial autocorrelation (SAC) of residuals, which contributes to overall model error. In this paper, we develop a method for assessing SOC stock changes in Irish forests by compiling a spatial SOC database and using these data to calibrate and improve on an existing YASSO model. Careful consideration was given to the use of available climatic and digital elevation GIS data in YASSO with the aim of reducing SAC of model residuals and to more precisely predict soil- and site-specific variations in SOC stock changes following transition to forestry.Analysis of the complied national SOC database shows that stock changes in afforested mineral soils may increase or decrease depending on previous land use and soil type. During refinement of the YASSO model, conventional statistical approaches confirmed that model performance can be improved by using climatic GIS data at the appropriate scale (resolution), together with additional use of novel topographical spatial data. The current YASSO model does not use these topographical factors as dependent variables, nor is there any consideration given to the spatial or temporal resolution of GIS datasets used. Use of GIS geo-statistical approaches to determine if SAC was reduced, as the YASSO model accuracy was improved on, produced conflicting results. We suggest that the use of Anselin Local Moran's I outlier analysis may not be suitable for this purpose because it may falsely detect spatial outliers due to the presence of neighbouring points with very high or low residual values. In contrast, semi-variogram analysis appeared to be the most useful geo-statistical measure of the spatial dependency, distribution and scale at which residual SAC occurs. Use of fine resolution (50. m) slope and topographical position index (TPI) raster datasets to predict forest SOC stocks significantly improved the final YASSO model accuracy and precision. In addition, semi-variogram analysis confirmed that the final YASSO model residuals exhibited no spatial dependency and residual error was uniformly distributed over the entire sample area, from which the SOC database was derived. However, the final YASSO model we describe requires considerable refinement using more intensive sampling studies and independent validation before it can be applied at a national level. In the future, particular emphasis should be directed to sampling forest brown earth soils, which are suggested to result in a net emission of C following transition from grassland to forest land. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Saunders M.,University College Dublin | Tobin B.,University College Dublin | Black K.,University College Dublin | Black K.,FERS Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology | Year: 2012

Commercial forest plantations need to be actively managed, through tree removal, in order to improve wood quality, maintain productivity and provide an economic return, although this could compromise an important role for forests in carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation. The impact of forest thinning on net primary productivity (NPP) and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) was assessed using a combination of biometric and eddy covariance (EC) techniques. Two thinning operations were performed in close succession, which reduced the basal area of the stand by 17% and 11% and removed a timber volume of 48m 3ha -1 and 50m 3ha -1, respectively. Annual rates of NPP ranged from 13.24 (±3.96) to 18.94 (±4.88)tCha -1 and 13.22 (±3.72) to 17.77 (±5.30)tCha -1 for the pre- and post-thinning periods, respectively. Estimates of NEE varied between 8.44 (±1.34) to 8.87 (±1.48)tCha -1 and 6.75 (±1.19) to 10.33 (±1.41)tCha -1 in the pre- and post-thinning periods. Forest thinning did not have a significant impact on carbon stocks or fluxes when pre-thinning (2002-2006) and post-thinning (2007-2009) estimates of NPP and NEE were compared, however the range of inter-annual variability in NEE increased after thinning. The partitioning of annual NEE carbon budgets into gross primary productivity (GPP) and ecosystem respiration (R eco) together with an analysis of key physiological parameters suggested that the impacts of forest thinning are largely dependent on temperature. An expected decrease in GPP after the initial thinning in 2007 was not observed due, in part, to the higher mean annual air temperatures and incident photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) and a compensatory increase in photosynthesis by the remaining trees. A continual decline in R eco, was observed in the years subsequent to the first thinning and was attributed to both biomass removal and climatic factors.Inter-annual variations in climate had a significant impact on NEE, GPP and R eco. Annual mean air temperature, total precipitation and total incident PAR were all shown to influence the processes driving CO 2 exchange. Overall, these results suggest that the impacts of the thinning practices, as implemented in this study, are dependent on climate and under similar conditions are unlikely, in the short-term, to compromise a role for forest ecosystems in carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation. © 2012 Elsevier B.V..


Tene A.,University College Dublin | Tene A.,Japan Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute | Tobin B.,University College Dublin | Dyckmans J.,University of Gottingen | And 4 more authors.
Tree Physiology | Year: 2011

A thinning experiment stand at Avoca, Ballinvalley, on the east coast of the Republic of Ireland was used to test a developed methodology aimed at monitoring drought stress, based on the analysis of growth rings obtained by coring. The stand incorporated six plots representing three thinning regimes (light, moderate and heavy) and was planted in the spring of 1943 on a brown earth soil. Radial growth (early- and latewood) was measured for the purpose of this study. A multidisciplinary approach was used to assess historic tree response to climate: specifically, the application of statistical tools such as principal component and canonical correlation analysis to dendrochronology, stable isotopes, ring density proxy, blue reflectance and forest biometrics. Results showed that radial growth was a good proxy for monitoring changes to moisture deficit, while maximum density and blue reflectance were appropriate for assessing changes in accumulated temperature for the growing season. Rainfall also influenced radial growth changes but not significantly, and was a major factor in stable carbon and oxygen discrimination, mostly in the latewood formation phase. Stable oxygen isotope analysis was more accurate than radial growth analysis in drought detection, as it helped detect drought signals in both early- and latewood while radial growth analysis only detected the drought signal in earlywood. Many studies have shown that tree rings provide vital information for marking past climatic events. This work provides a methodology to better identify and understand how commonly measured tree proxies relate to environmental parameters, and can best be used to characterize and pinpoint drought events (variously described using parameters such as like moisture deficit, accumulated temperature, rainfall and potential evaporation). © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Black K.,FERS Ltd | Black K.,University College Dublin
Forestry | Year: 2016

There is an increasing resource assessment and management requirement for single-tree-based stand models due to a shift towards mixed-species and 'back to nature' forestry. This paper describes the validation and calibration of the CARBWARE stand simulator, a distance-independent single-tree growth modelling framework specifically modified to include spatially explicit climatic and soil factors. Tree growth functional analysis suggests that stand competition factors contribute to most (21-33 per cent) of the observed variation in diameter increment, followed by tree size factors (17-20 per cent). Edaphic and other site factors, particularly soil nutrition and moisture status, explained 4-11 per cent of the observed site-to-site variation. The developed empirical relationships may provide a deterministic framework for improving developed ecological site classification systems. Independent validation showed that the CARBWARE simulator provides a robust and un-bias estimate of single-tree and stand-based variables for both pure and intimate mixed stands. However, refinements to the simulator are still required, particularly improvement to climatic and genetic response factors, mortality functions for mixed-species stands and inclusion of regeneration/recruitment models. © 2015 Institute of Chartered Foresters, 2015. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

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