College Park, MD (October 21, 2008)- ACT joined with a coalition of 120 organizations to urge the Forest Service to expedite the launch of the new Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, authorized in Title VIII, Section 8002 of the recently passed Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. This new program will provide matching funds to help local government entities, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations to create new community forests.
It will also offer technical assistance to develop and implement management plans for each new community forest. The program is intended in part to address forest acquisition in the urban interface and other contexts in which the Forest Legacy Program is unable to provide assistance.
As timber companies have divested vast holdings in recent years, local communities have sought to assemble and manage forestlands for community benefit. These “community forests” will play an increasingly important role in protection of water quality, habitat, and other ecosystem services upon which life depends.
Letter to Forest Service Chief in Support of the Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program