Keeping Michigan’s forests abundant, healthy and flourishing for generations is the goal of the new 10-year Forest Action Plan. It is now available in draft form online, with comments welcome.
The plan highlights critical needs and priorities for managing Michigan’s 19.3 million acres of public and private forest land, including:
- Controlling invasive plants and insects that could devastate certain types of trees.
- Ensuring that city landscapes have plenty of healthy trees.
- Promoting communication among the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and others including private landowners, conservancies, federal forests and interest groups.
- Considering the current and future effects of climate change on Michigan’s forests.
It was created with collaborative input from a wide range of interested parties including rural and urban nature advocacy groups, foresters in private practice, university researchers and representatives from the forest products industry.
“We’re looking at a plan that gets everybody on the same page regarding a wide range of priorities,” said Jeff Stampfly, acting chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, which produced the Forest Action Plan.
This comprehensive, coordinated plan helps prioritize and direct federal grant funds and state and other resources used to conserve, manage and enhance the benefits provided by Michigan’s extensive forests as well as addressing threats to them. Each state must submit a Forest Action Plan to the U.S. Forest Service every 10 years to be considered for federal funding. Michigan’s new plan is due by the end of December 2020.
Though the DNR’s Forest Action Plan likely will appeal most to those directly involved with forest management and planning, the department encourages anyone interested in the long-term health and sustainability of Michigan’s forests to review it.