Forest Planning For The Future
What does it truly mean to save the trees? Countless global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity have zeroed-in on reforestation and protection of existing forestlands – particularly for our ever-dwindling old-growth forests. For a behemoth of a challenge like this, large-scale tree planting programs can be attractive and reassuring, but make no mistake: local efforts are still necessary. As daunting as it may be, it is important to remember that even issues of a global scale may rely on a granular approach.
Forestlands provide an array of benefits, from hosting entire ecosystems to sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Both public and private owners of forestlands play a crucial role in supporting new and existing forests to ensure their health and productivity.
In collaboration with a licensed forester, landowners can develop a Forest Stewardship Plan (FSP) that would identify the unique values of a stand of trees and outline practices for realizing its potential. Management strategies can vary, ranging from selectively timbering mature trees for the growth of more beneficial species, to clearing unproductive areas for emergent grasslands or the creation of wetlands.
Holistic forest stewardship is rooted in the understanding that a forest is far greater than the sum of its parts, and that any given tree comprises only a small portion of this diverse ecosystem. An FSP is required for many of the forested properties that are protected by a conservation easement with ESLC, but we highly recommend that any landowner with a forest – or planting a new one – reach out to a local forester to develop a plan.
Maryland residents can find the Forest Service office local to their county using this page from the Maryland Department of Nature Resources.