Healthy forests in America are critical to public health and well-being and are part of our national infrastructure just like roads and bridges. The forests and trees of Massachusetts collectively provide cascading benefits, including clean air and water, recreation, wildlife habitat, climate resiliency, and forest products. While many of these ecosystem services cannot be replaced, the economic benefits of our forests must also be considered as thousands of people are employed or engaged in activities to deliver these diverse services to the people of Massachusetts.
Forest Action Plans in every state and territory are guiding the work of forestry professionals and supporting the goals of family forest owners to manage and conserve forests with future generations in mind.
Our Forest Action Plan
The Forest Action Plan provides an analysis of forest conditions and trends in Massachusetts, identifies threats to forest land and resources, identifies priority areas where federally funded cooperative forestry program outreach and activity can be emphasized and coordinated, and outlines strategies to address the threats to forest resources and ensure healthy trees and forests into the future. The 2020 plan is a 10-year update to the “Assessment of the Forest Resources of Massachusetts” and “Forest Resource Strategies of Massachusetts” published in 2010.
The updated Forest Action Plan was submitted to the US Forest Service December 2020. We are waiting on final approval and acceptance. The draft submission can be found below.
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What's in the 2020 Plan?
The plan is comprised of six chapters. Chapters One and Two provide an assessment of trees and forests and associated ecosystem services. Chapter Three discusses the ability of forests to produce timber. Chapter Four examines the related socioeconomic benefits, while chapter Five discusses the legal and institutional framework pertinent to trees and forests. Chapter Six presents landscapes that are priorities for action in Massachusetts as well as priority areas that cross state boundaries. Additionally, the plan highlights successes since the last plan, as well as continued challenges for trees and forests. This plan is a tool to help guide the activities of all stakeholders with an interest related to trees and forests over the next 10 years.
Forest Action Plan Goals
The 2020 plan includes 10 overarching goals related to the forests and trees of Massachusetts, as well as assemblages of specific strategies that may be undertaken to work toward achieving those goals.
The 2020 Forest Action Plan goals for Massachusetts forests are:
- Goal 1: Increase resistance and resilience of trees and forests to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change
- Goal 2: Manage forest ecosystem health and biodiversity
- Goal 3: Support and enhance forest economy
- Goal 4: Maintain and increase urban tree canopy
- Goal 5: Enhance the connection between forests and people
- Goal 6: Increase land base of conserved forests (keep forests as forests)
- Goal 7: Advocate for a legal and institutional framework pertinent to the conservation and management of trees and forests
- Goal 8: Maintain and enhance soil, water, and air resources
- Goal 9: Support the role and use of prescribed fire in the landscape
- Goal 10: Cultivate and support partnerships with forestry and conservation Stakeholders