Pin E Award

Celebrating Thought Leadership at Trees & Utilities Conference

Nov. 3, 2022
Learn how industry experts detailed opportunities to improve biodiversity, environmental sustainability and habitat management at the 2022 Trees & Utilities Conference.

The Trees & Utilities Conference is structured to help utility vegetation managers and associated urban forestry professionals learn about the latest utility arboriculture research, environmental concerns and best management practices for the land they manage. Nearly 900 industry professionals attended this year’s conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to take advantage of professional development opportunities, network with industry leaders, and celebrate the latest advancements in forestry and vegetation management.

This year, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, carbon emissions and planning for the future were recurring topics of discussion — and Corteva Agriscience was often at the forefront of those conversations. The following highlights from this year’s event detail the prominent role Corteva and the organization’s vegetation management specialists played in helping industry professionals recognize the full potential of their respective programs:

The Impact of Herbicide Applications on Carbon Emissions

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, burning a single gallon of gas produces 19.6 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) and burning a gallon of diesel fuel produces 22.38 pounds of CO2. As many vegetation managers rely on fuel-demanding mechanical equipment to manage problematic vegetation in and around utility sites, Brandon Dunlap, Vegetation Management Specialist with Corteva Agriscience, and Steve Hilbert, Technical Services Manager with Asplundh Tree Expert, LLC, detailed the adverse effects of carbon emissions to conference attendees.

The presentation shared findings from extensive environmental studies associated with the State Game Lands 33 (SGL 33) research project, which has assessed the ecological impact of various vegetation management strategies throughout utility rights-of-way (ROW) since 1953. Using results from SGL 33 research, the presentation encouraged industry practitioners to consider the benefits of using selective herbicide applications as part of an Integrated Vegetation Management approach, which include:

·        Reduced carbon emissions caused by mechanized mowing

·         Enhanced environmental stewardship and sustainability

·         Reduced maintenance costs and economic impact

Supporting ESG Reporting Through Biodiversity Management 

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting provides an invaluable opportunity for utility companies to share their values, ethics and actions with other industry entities and key stakeholders. As many scientists believe biodiversity loss will be one of the greatest risks to people and the planet over the next decade, large land-use footprints and a reliance on natural resources may make energy companies particularly vulnerable. That’s why Travis Rogers, Market Development Specialist with Corteva Agriscience, and Dan Salas, Senior Ecologist and Senior Principal with Stantec, led a presentation that detailed the opportunity utility vegetation managers have to enhance biodiversity through effective ROW management.   

Insights shared throughout the presentation indicated best practices for supporting ESG through the development of biodiverse wildlife habitat. While losing biodiversity can impede tree suppression; increase pest, disease and wildfire risks; limit site accessibility; and negatively impact endangered species populations, Rogers and Salas detailed how Integrated Vegetation Management strategies can yield the following biodiversity benefits:

·        Improved health of compatible vegetation and sustainable tree suppression

·         Fewer pest and disease risks

·         Enhanced site accessibility and wildfire mitigation

·         Prevention or recovery of future endangered species listings

·         Reduced concerns from customers and public entities

Long-term environmental research studies, such as SGL 33, have demonstrated how Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) strategies can help increase biodiversity and create healthy ecosystems throughout utility ROW corridors. In addition to sharing results from this extensive research, the presentation detailed strategies, solutions and resources that help vegetation management programs align with monitoring reporting requirements of the Monarch Conservation Agreement with Assurances and ESG indices of their preference.

Enhancing Utility Arboriculture and Right-of-Way Management

For the second time in three years, Corteva Agriscience was honored by the Utility Arborist Association (UAA) as a recipient of the Partners in Excellence (PinE) Award. The PinE Award is given annually to members, sponsors and volunteers who go above and beyond in their commitment to the UAA and its mission to enhance utility arboriculture and ROW management. 

Corteva last received the PinE Award in 2020 after announcing the goal to enhance biodiversity on nearly 25 million acres of global grazing lands and natural ecosystems by 2030. This year, the award celebrates the organization’s work to enhance industrywide education regarding best management practices for utility-managed lands. This work included producing and co-presenting the 2022 ROW Sustainability Summit with the UAA, FirstEnergy Corp., Pennsylvania State University, Rights-of-Way as Habitat Working Group and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Supported by informative presentations, expert panel sessions and a multistop tour of the State Game Lands 33 research site, the summit equipped industry leaders with the knowledge needed to improve biodiversity and grid reliability for generations to come.

Corteva also provides a variety of educational resources to help industry practitioners understand the economic and environmental impact of their vegetation management practices. In addition to the ongoing support of local vegetation management specialists and a recent release of a Utility Vegetation Management e-book, the organization also shares industry trends, environmental research findings and utility vegetation management success stories through, and

These platforms are updated throughout the year and will continue to serve as valuable resources for utility companies and their vegetation management partners until the industry reconvenes at the 2023 Trees & Utilities Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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