How Can We Ensure Our Forests For The Future?
is a constant in the forest of Maine. Today, the people of Maine face a
new challenge; how can we ensure the Maine forest will continue to
provide a source of renewable resources, habitat for a wide range of
species, recreational opportunities, clean air and clean water, income
for some and spiritual solace for others?
The answer comes from a combination of different approaches to land management, including programs designed to conserve the working forest and protect forest habitat on private lands.
Assistance Programs Under the American Tree Farm program more than 1,800 forest owners actively manage one third of the Maine forest (7.6 million acres) for timber, wildlife and recreation.
The Maine Forest Service Forest
Stewardship Program guides forest management for 3,000 landowners in the
Licensed and certified
professionals also have roles to play. More than 250 licensed
professional foresters work with landowners to protect ecological and
economic land values by writing forest stewardship plans, laying out
woods roads and hiking trails, enhancing wildlife habitat, evaluating
and selling timber, overseeing logging operations, and guiding
landowners through federal, state, and local laws.
do the heavy lifting. They construct forest roads, harvest trees, and
transport wood to sawmills. Over 4,000 people, most of them loggers, are
active Certified Logging Professionals, indicating that they completed
training in sustainable forestry practices, logging safety, first aid,
and environmental regulations.
Conserving Working Forests and Protecting Special Forests
Properly managed working forests provide wood, environmental benefits, recreational benefits, and wildlife habitat. They can be home to rare plants and animals, offer spectacular views, or provide unique recreational opportunities. Land trusts, conservation organizations, and the Land for Maine’s Future Program seek to protect forest and agricultural lands from development.
Land trusts promote and help landowners through the legalities of voluntary land conservation. Under a conservation easement held in trust by a non-profit land trust, private landowners maintain ownership of their land while agreeing to restrict future development.
The Nature Conservancy, the
Forest Society of Maine, Maine Audubon Society, and other conservation
organizations are not conventional land trusts, but also acquire
conservation easements to protect forests from development. As of 2002
land trusts and conservation organizations own 251,000 acres of forest
outright and protect over 1,125,000 acres by purchase or easement.
The Maine Forest Service and the United States Forest Service also conduct forest inventories to provide information used to guide land use decisions. Data collected includes information on tree species, size and health, tree growth and mortality rates, and timber harvesting rates.
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