Potential New Forest Rule Could Promote Biodiversity, Safeguard Water, Tackle Climate Crisis

DENVER – The Biden Administration’s intention to write new forest management regulations could protect biodiversity, safeguard clean water, mitigate wildfire, and help tackle the climate crisis. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks comment from stakeholders and the public about how the National Forest System can best be managed to create forests that are resilient in a changing climate, continue to provide resources, and maintain the ability to adapt in the coming decades. 

“Older forests need better management if we expect them to persist into the future. They store carbon, are sources of clean water, and essential refuges for fish and wildlife; but we are losing them to the effects of climate change,” said David Dreher, senior policy manager for public lands at the National Wildlife Federation. “And it’s not only older forests—today’s announcement could go a long way toward improving conditions for mature and younger forests as well. We look forward to working with the Biden Administration, impacted communities, and stakeholders to find durable solutions to forest management challenges.”  

“The Montana Wildlife Federation applauds the Biden Administration for signaling that it will update forest management policies to be more ecologically and economically sustainable” said Alec Underwood, Senior Policy and Development Director at the Montana Wildlife Federation. “Our forests are critical for providing important wildlife habitat, ensuring clean air and water, furnishing outdoor recreation opportunities, generating wood products and timber-related jobs, and absorbing and storing carbon to fight climate impacts. All of this is threatened if we don’t change the way we manage them.”

“Protecting and restoring old trees and forests is an obvious natural climate solution,” said Dave Werntz, science and conservation director at Conservation Northwest. “Along with immense biodiversity value, mature and old-growth forests are carbon-packing champions and most resilient against fire, drought, and other climate-charged disturbances. Our region leads the way in protecting old-growth while managing fire-prone forests, forging collaborative solutions with state agencies, Tribes and industry partners, and providing a compelling model for a national conservation policy.”

“Oregon depends on salmon and steelhead for sustenance, to fuel our economy, and for recreation. The life cycle of our salmon and steelhead starts and ends in our forests so it’s imperative for their survival that the U.S. Forest Service modernizes its land management regulations to focus on resiliency,” said Norm Ritchie, board member for the Association of Northwest Steelheaders. “We look forward to a collaborative process with the Biden Administration as it develops a climate-smart and ecologically-appropriate approach to restoring our forests.”



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