New York has a long history of responding to challenges facing our important forest resources,starting with the Forest Preservation Act in 1885 and continuing through the 2009 revision of the State’s Open Space Conservation Plan. As we learn more about the impacts of global climate change, it is increasingly clear that healthy forests are essential to our future. Our challenge is to keep our forests healthy and vigorous in the face of climate change, exurban sprawl, pests and diseases and invasive species. By improving sustainable forest management we can keep New York’s forests as forests, working for our future.
We are committed to increasing the use of sustainable forestry practices in the state. The choices and decisions that landowners make about their forestland, and those made by foresters, timber harvesters, recreationists, and other users of forests all influence and change the resource. When managed sustainably, New York’s forests can meet the economic, social and recreation needs of the present and for future generations.
The trees that grace our yards, streets and parks are known as the urban forest and are the trees we are closest to on a daily basis. These trees provide all the same “ecosystem benefits” of traditional forests but they live and grow under much harsher conditions. Urban trees require careful selection and care but are an investment that will pay off for future generations socially and economically. New York is focused on increasing urban and community tree canopy.
Slowing the spread of the emerald ash borer is a key focus for New York. The emerald ash borer might wipe out all ash trees in the state. It was first identified in Cattaraugus County in 2009. With the movement of firewood and other wood materials, EAB could move from one end of the state to the other in one year, much sooner than if the insect traveled on its own during flight season. Forest owners and communities need time to plan how they will respond prior to and after EAB infestations.