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It is critical to ensure that Massachusetts’ forests are conserved and managed to optimize carbon sequestration and mitigate climate harms, as part of meeting the state’s aggressive climate goals. Forests as Climate Solutions will accelerate progress toward our land conservation goals of protecting 30 percent of the Commonwealth in 2030 and 40 percent in 2050, in service of achieving net-zero statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Forests as Climate Solutions will expand existing state programs, invest in forest conservation, enhance a network of forest reserves, and develop forest management guidelines based on the latest climate science. These guidelines will apply to state lands, and the Healey-Driscoll Administration will also provide incentives for private landowners to adopt them to maximize the climate benefits of their forests.
Public Input Session - Climate-Oriented Forest Management Guidelines
September 12, 2023, 6:00-8:30pm
The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs hosted a session to seek public input to inform the development of forest management guidelines based on the latest climate science.
Please click below to view all information and materials related to the session, including a recording.
To provide written comments, please submit your input using the following form. While submission of written comments related to this session by Friday, September 15 at 5pm will facilitate consideration, comments will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis thereafter.
Key Areas of Action and Engagement
Elements of the Initiative will include a stakeholder engagement process with opportunities for comment and discussion. As workplans are advanced, more information and the planned schedule, meetings, and related meeting content will be posted here regularly.
Development of Climate-Oriented Forest Management Guidelines
The Administration has convened a committee of scientific experts and will be engaging with stakeholders and the public to inform the development of climate-oriented management guidelines that increase carbon storage and resilience to climate change. This process will evaluate and build on the science-based practices currently in place. Upon completion, EEA will implement these guidelines by applying them to state forest management projects and incorporating them into incentives for private and municipal landowners.
Committee membership includes:
- Richard Birdsey, Senior Scientist, Woodwell Climate Research Center
- Paul Catanzaro*, State Extension Forester & Professor, UMass Amherst
- Tony D'Amato*, Professor, Forestry Program Director, Univ. of Vermont
- David Foster, Former Harvard Forest Director; Professor, Harvard University
- Ali Kosiba*, Extension Assistant Professor of Forestry, Univ. of Vermont
- Meghan MacLean, Lecturer of Quantitative Ecology, UMass Amherst
- Laura Marx, Climate Solutions Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
- William Moomaw, Professor Emeritus, International Environmental Policy, Fletcher School, Tufts University
- Todd Ontl, Climate Adaptation Specialist, U.S. Forest Service
- Christopher Riely*, Forester & Conservationist, Sweet Birch Consulting, LLC
- Jen Shakun*, Bioeconomy Initiative Director, New England Forestry Foundation
- Jonathan Thompson, Research Director & Senior Ecologist, Harvard University/Harvard Forest
* Licensed Forester
In addition to development of guidelines, there will also be a longer-term effort to update and expand the use of the latest scientific research to inform state lands management and make data about forests easily accessible and available to the public.
Provision of Landowner Incentives and Business Assistance
The Administration will create, in consultation with interested parties, new incentives for private and municipal woodland owners to center climate concerns, including optimizing resilience and carbon storage, when pursuing forest management objectives.
Forests as Climate Solutions will offer assistance, including funding, to help forestry businesses improve their technology and decarbonize business practices. The Administration will engage with representatives of forestry businesses to shape this effort.
The Initiative will include efforts to promote and incentivize the use of wood harvested from Massachusetts forests to sequester carbon in durable wood products that meet local needs.
Conservation of Forest Land and Expansion of Forest Reserves
To realize land conservation goals and reduce land conversion, the Administration will implement the Resilient Lands Initiative and make additional funding available for land conservation projects and for grants and technical assistance to enhance partners’ capacity to advance these goals. EEA will engage with interested parties and work with a coalition of land trust, municipal, and other conservation organizations to achieve these goals.
The Administration will convene a forest reserves group to establish new statewide goals for forest reserves based on potential to absorb carbon and support biodiversity, in alignment with the Resilient Lands Initiative and Clean Energy and Climate Plans. This group will include land trusts, environmental organizations, municipalities, and other stakeholders.