Fundamental Forests

Fundamental Forests

Forests are fundamental to life, they provide water and air quality mitigation, recreational opportunities, employment, tourism, saleable products and much more. In the U.S. forests represent a part of our national identity and preserving them as a legacy for future generations is a responsibility that we should not take lightly; “conservation is not a luxury, it is a necessity”, per Tom Vilsack, the USDA secretary in a speech in Seattle, WA , August 2009. USDA Forest Service, in cooperation with state forestry agencies, provide critical services in protecting and restoring America’s natural resources, including forests as well as throughout the complex rural to urban land gradient. The collaboration between federal and state agencies lays the groundwork for other private and public landowners and stakeholders, whose participation is vital to continuing forest stewardship at the landscape scale.

The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan: a landscape scale conservation initiative in Pima, AZ, started to try and preserve unique desert ecosystems.

The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan: a landscape scale conservation initiative in Pima, AZ, started to try to preserve unique desert ecosystems.

Landscape scale conservation requires consistent participation from informed stakeholders all of whom understand how their particular role and responsibilities are crucial to achieving conservation goals. The USDA Forest Service partnered with the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) has classified action plans for state and private forestry entities to employ under 3 strategic themes: 1) Conserve Working Forest Landscapes, 2) Protect Forests from Harm and 3) Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests. The broad strategic action plans consist of landscape level conservation goals which can be tailored to specific regions’ and states’ needs, but general goals included in each theme are described below.

The Conservation Alliance has helped fund the Downeast Lake's Land Trust's West Grand Lake Community Forest Campaign, which will protect 21,700 acres as a community forest.

The Conservation Alliance has helped fund the Downeast Lake’s Land Trust’s West Grand Lake Community Forest Campaign, which will protect 21,700 acres as a community forest.

Conserve Working Forest Landscapes

Actions classified in this category include:

  • Reducing the rate of conversion of forest landscapes to non-forest landscape uses
  • Developing informed decisions regarding which landscapes should be protected as working forests from which current and future generations can derive benefits

Strategies implicit to this theme include:

  • Developing marketing approaches for forest products, woody biomass and environmental services
  • Augmenting planning tools for tax policies and conservation easements
  • Facilitating incentives for social and economic retention of important natural resources

Protect Forests from Harm

Actions classified in this category are aimed at reducing threats to forest health and restoration of healthy productivity, such as:

  • Eliminating, containing or controlling uncharacteristic wildlife, insects and disease and invasive species

Strategies implicit to this theme include:

  • Restoration of fire adapted forests
  • Evaluation, monitoring and treatment of forest pests and diseases
  • Prevention, early detection and rapid response to invasive species infestation

Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests

Actions classified in this category aim to:

  • Enhance the benefits that the public derives from trees and forests, such as; air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, renewable forest products, open space, carbon dioxide sink, recreation activities, economic benefits and climate buffering
  • Reducing risks to communities from unsuppressed and uncontrolled wildfire

Strategies implicit to this theme include:

  • Decisive use of trees and forests in urban environments
  • Watershed planning
  • Increasing fire protection capabilities at the community level
  • Exposing the link between community well-being and environmental health

 

 

(The Foundations of Collaboration for the USDA Forest Service and the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters “Landscape Scale Conservation in the Northeast and Midwest”, 8 July 2014)