There are 3.2 million acres of privately owned forest land in Massachusetts and 285,000 acres of State Forests and Parks. Municipal watershed lands cover 245,000 acres and there are 351 municipalities with associated urban trees and forests. The Massachusetts Forest Action Plan describes and quantifies the remarkable set of functions, benefits, and values that emanate from our forests. It also discusses a daunting array of drivers, issues, and threats that influence their size, continuity, character, and condition. The seven sustainability criteria of the Montreal Process were the framework for the plan; they highlight the diverse, complex, and inter-connected nature of forests and people in Massachusetts.
The Forest Products Marketing and Utilization Program assists landowners, foresters, timber harvesters, sawmills and business entrepreneurs in the promotion and expansion of the forest products industry in Massachusetts and the Northeast. Our assistance ranges from evaluating and developing business opportunities to general technical assistance in all phases of wood product use and manufacturing. MA needs to work on a policy which creates incentives for attracting and maintaining Forest Products manufacturing business to utilize our low-grade forest resources in-state.
Massachusetts has experienced one of the highest rates of urban development with a 5% growth in urbanized land between 1990 and 2000, most of which occurred in open forested land. In spite of this growth, Massachusetts remains the eighth most forested state with approximately 62% of its land area considered to be forested. This combination of population density, urbanization, and forest cover suggests that the pressure between urban vegetation and people in the state is particularly intense. Massachusetts urban areas have an estimated 86.8 million trees forming an average urban tree cover of 25.3% with an estimated total value of $55 billion. It is the third most densely populated and urbanized state in the nation, which makes the management of its forest resources, particularly community forest resources, vital to the quality of life of the states’ residents.
The Forest Health Program’s mission is to monitor, assess and report on woodland and urban forest health conditions within the Commonwealth's forests. When warranted and appropriate, the DCR will institute proper control measures to protect the forest resources and respond to tree related natural disasters. Among the priorities in this area are programs focused on the Asian longhorned beetle, the hemlock wooly adelgid, and other tree pests.