Is this the future?

In every industry these days, an emphasis must be placed on sustainable and environmentally conscious practices. Considering that the world’s population just topped 7 billion (and shows no signs of slowing), we should all do our part in protecting the planet’s resources, but one project I recently read about left me scratching my head. A team of scientists are developing methods to cultivate meat artificially in a laboratory, a process they believe could be the solution to alleviating world hunger and saving the environment. Dr. Mark Post, a vascular biologist working on the project, has estimated that if he succeeds, his first burger would cost around $345,000 to produce. However, he believes that when the process is perfected and scaled to industrial levels, the lab-grown beef could be cheaper than the real thing. While the reality of man-made meat still seems far off, there are many environmental initiatives hitting closer to home. The ongoing ethanol saga has certainly created some stress among power equipment users. Between raising the limit of ethanol in gas from 10 to 15 percent and weak labeling, the EPA has been causing headaches for users of the estimated 400 million engine products used in the U.S. every day. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and other groups have filed a legal challenge to the misfueling rule, expressing concerns about damage to older engines. In a recent press release, OPEI announced the results of side-by-side testing of ethanol and isobutanol fuel blends on Briggs & Stratton small engines. The results showed that the isobutanol fuel blends did not cause any irregular or unstable engine or performance issues, suggesting that isobutanol could be the solution to meeting the renewable fuel mandate without damaging existing equipment.

In this issue

It’s that time of year again, our annual All-Industry Directory. In this special section (starting on page 21), you’ll find listings and contact information for companies serving the tree care industry – from chain saw manufacturers, to insurance companies, to clothing retailers. You can also research companies by product category. Looking for a new chipper? Simply flip to the product section for a listing of companies that have what you need. Keep this issue all year for easy access to the information you need when you’re shopping for new gear.

So long, 2011!

This issue closes out 2011 – our seventh year of publishing Tree Services. Looking ahead, we’ve got some great things planned for 2012, kicking off with a special state of the industry report in our January issue. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Katie Meyers