Guiding Maryland's Forest
Community into the 21st Century

Maryland Forestry Task Force Final Report to The Honorable Parris N. Glendening, Governor
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OVERVIEW
On February 24, 1998 Governor Parris N. Glendening signed an Executive Order which created the Maryland Forestry Task Force. The Governor made clear his reasoning for creating the Task Force with a broad and challenging 2-year mission: Cognizant of the mission he imposed upon the Maryland Forestry Task Force and impressed with the work of the Task Force to date, Governor Glendening extended the life of the Maryland Forestry Task Force on October 20, 1999 until December 2000 (attached).

Maryland's forest community is facing serious challenges during the 21st Century, most notably increased sprawl development patterns attendant to an expanding population. It is imperative that Maryland conserve and manage its renewable forest resources for future generations. This will require bold and progressive action, not unlike the actions recommended by the Task Force with this Report.

In short, the Maryland Forestry Task Force has advanced many innovative policy actions which will require statutory and budgetary approval by the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly. The Task Force strongly encourages timely consideration of its recommendations by Maryland's policy makers....in areas where administrative action is required, DNR should take the lead. Especially noteworthy is the performance-driven and results-oriented nature of this Report, a "first" in the State of Maryland from the perspective of a Gubernatorial task force. In June 1997 Governor Glendening issued a directive to all Executive Branch agencies -- embodied in a document entitled, Managing for Results.. .a means of tracking achievements via quantifiable indices linked to specific goals and objectives. The Maryland Forestry Task Force strongly believes that its results-oriented strategies are consistent with the Governor's vision for Maryland's future and that its innovative policy proposals will advance the interests of Maryland's forest community into the 21st Century.


STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Forests are the solution...they keep our water clean, air pure, wildlife abundant and fiber needs satisfied.

Few challenges facing us in the 21st Century are greater in importance than sustaining Maryland's forest resources in view of an expanding population and changing land use patterns. Governor Parris N. Glendening is mindful of the problems associated with forest fragmentation and parcelization and has exerted strong leadership to conserve these renewable resources for future generations. Governor Glendening's vision for Maryland's forest legacy is consistent with his nationally acclaimed Smart Growth Initiative, and is clearly reflected in the Executive Order he signed on February 24, 1998 which created the Maryland Forestry Task Force.

Inspired by the Governor's call for action, the Maryland Forestry Task Force dedicated itself to defining excellence with the development of this Report. Notable is the fact that 40% of Maryland's 6.9 million acres are forested and that 90% of the forested lands is privately owned by approximately 130,000 landowners -- keys to ensuring the sustainabiliy of Maryland's forest resources into the 21st Century are the conservation of lands in private hands and ensuring the economic viability of the forest products industry which relies on these lands and landowners to provide employment and the multitude of fiber products needed by all. The recommendations presented within this Report -- predicated upon testimony received by numerous stakeholder groups and expert witnesses during the three years -- focus on two themes:

RECOMMENDATIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE RETENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF PRIVATELY-OWNED FOREST LANDS

RECOMMENDATIONS DESIGNED TO PROMOTE THE ECONOMIC VIABILITY OF MARYLAND'S FOREST PRODUCTS INDUSTRY

With respect to the first theme, the Report recommends that (1) Maryland's Forest Service, Forestry Boards and the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service be given the financial resources necessary to advise private forest landowners on ways to better manage their forest lands; (2) Maryland's principal land conservation programs be better coordinated to collectively conserve forested areas of the State; (3) an inventory data base of Maryland's forest resources be developed every 5 years; (4) tax incentives be provided to those private forest landowners willing to implement forest conservation management plans; and (5) Maryland's primary and secondary education curricula ensure a concerted focus on the values, benefits and management of forests to Maryland's environment and economy.

With respect to the second theme, the Report recommends that (1) State financial assistance be rendered in helping Maryland's forest products industry upgrade and modernize its manufacturing equipment in order to enhance operational efficiency and promote job retention/growth within Maryland's rural communities; (2) Maryland's Forest Products Utilization and Marketing Program -- a program designed to help market Maryland's forest products -- be created; and (3) a user guide be developed that facilitates an awareness of land use regulations which impact the management of privately-owned forest lands and the operations of Maryland's forest products industry.

In addition, the Task Force framed a set of recommendations designed to link the concept of urban forestry to Maryland's Smart Growth goals. Urban trees offer a wide range of benefits to citizens who live in more densely populated areas. In fact some believe that tree density may be a better indicator of the health and livability of our communities than population or dwelling units. The Task Force believes that trees are part of the very fabric of a community that attracts citizens to our urban areas. Gary Allen's Signature


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