Building a better tomorrow for Connecticut’s forests today
Connecticut’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy (Forest Action Plan) is a guidance document for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Division of Forestry, and our forest conservation partners in academia, government, extension, and non-profits, as well as municipal and private landowners. The Action Plan is used to provide a baseline and identify key forest related issues and priorities in Connecticut. The identified issues include maintaining forest health and biodiversity, promoting public forest stewardship, protecting private forest stewardship, supporting a sustainable forest based economy, providing for forest based recreational opportunities, fostering public awareness and support of forests, the importance of forest research, and the role of urban forestry in Connecticut. A series of Forest Roundtables attended by 260 participants were held in 2009 and 2010 to provide public input for development of strategies to address these forest issues. Visions, principles, and action steps were created, with strong agreement among stakeholders, and will be utilized in determining Division of Forestry and conservation partner strategies.
Over 80% of Connecticut’s forestlands are owned by private individuals. Critical to supplying economic, ecological, and quality of life values, many of these privately owned forestlands are under development pressure. In a state where the cost of land ownership is high, incentives are needed to enhance sources of satisfaction derived by landowners; with the intent of ultimately retaining forestlands for both public and private benefits.
Maintaining forest ecosystem health and biodiversity in the face of fragmentation, parcelization, and urbanization fueled by real estate prices and inter-generational transfers is of great concern in Connecticut. The ability of Connecticut’s forests to provide wildlife habitat, clean water, clean air, and economically viable forest products is partially dependent on our ability to maintain sizeable tracts of unfragmented forests.
Connecticut’s forest health and its sustainable forest based economy are threatened from exotic and invasive species. Both the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian longhorned beetle have been found within 25 miles of Connecticut’s borders, prompting proactive monitoring and planning for potential infestations. Other invasive plant species in our forests are impacting regeneration of native species, and require measures to control.