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Task Force Offers ‘No Net Loss’ Strategy for Maryland Forests
Modifying Forest Conservation Act Included in Plan
Annapolis MD (February 17, 2009) – In its final report issued this week, Maryland’s No Net Loss of Forest Task Force offered a comprehensive strategy to achieve and maintain no net loss of forests in Maryland. Comprised of foresters, conservationists, landowners, local political leaders and planners, business owners, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff and scientists, the task force was established by DNR Secretary John Griffin in August 2008, under the direction of Governor Martin O’Malley.
“We are grateful to the task force members for their dedication and commitment and for supplying us with a solid strategy to achieve our goal of no net loss of forests in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “I look forward to working with the legislature and our stakeholders to see these recommendations translated into actions that will protect Maryland Forests.”
The Task Force’s final recommendations include:
- Improving the tracking and definitions for forest cover and urban tree canopy.
- Supporting a statewide Sustainable Forestry Act designed to support the use of forests in a way that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity and vitality.
- Modifying the Forest Conservation Act to close loopholes, expand eligible projects, and improve effectiveness of mitigation, including expanding those areas eligible for permanent protection.
- Modifying the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Law to require some amount of mitigation on nonagricultural sites that are currently not forested.
- Improving support and guidance for local governments to protect forests and expanding local initiatives to support tree planting, urban tree canopy and other programs to encourage foresting.
- Supporting new tree planting programs such as Marylanders Grow Trees and landowner assistance for tree planting.
- Improving landowner incentives for retaining forests through cost-share, easement programs, tax incentives, improved forest product markets, technical assistance, and development of new ecosystem markets.
Senator Paul Pinsky of Prince George’s County was one of the sponsors of SB 431 in the 2008 session of the Maryland General Assembly, which requested that Governor O’Malley establish the Task Force.
"Effectively protecting our trees and forests -- and adopting the recommendations of the task force -- will help reduce degradation of the Chesapeake Bay and carbon dioxide emissions,” said Senator Pinsky. “I'm hopeful the task force's efforts will move us down the path of achieving a true 'no net lost of trees' policy."
The full No Net Loss of Forest Task Force report is available here.
Under the Governor’s Smart, Green & Growing Initiative, the State has set a goal of planting one million new trees in Maryland by 2011, and has set up a new program, Marylanders Plant Trees, to encourage citizens and businesses to plant 50,000 trees by 2010.
February 17, 2009
Contact: Ray Weaver
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspire action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The Initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.