Overgrown forests due to decades of fire suppression, insect infestation, a changing climate, prolonged drought, and the sprawl of home construction into wildland areas, have all contributed to what is now a full-blown wildfire and forest health crisis.
The National Forest Foundation (NFF), a congressionally chartered nonprofit tasked with bringing people together to restore and enhance national forests, has entered a twenty-year Master Stewardship Agreement with the USDA Forest Service. The goal is to expand work that increases forest health and forest resiliency against wildfire to wildlands across the country. Under the Agreement, the NFF and USFS will work side by side to identify, plan, and implement forest resiliency work in priority landscapes that are at risk of severe wildfire. An emphasis will be placed on restoration in areas critical to protecting underserved communities.
The agreement supports the implementation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy which combines scientific research and forest planning to address the need for strategic large-scale forest health treatments over the next decade. The agreement is based on an all-lands approach, supporting conservation efforts on public, private, and tribal lands to promote holistic community safety and forest resilience.
“This agreement couldn’t come at a more crucial time. Congress and the Forest Service have identified wildfires as an extreme risk to the health and safety of both our National Forests and our communities, and this agreement reinforces the need for more funding and resources to combat these risks. Together the NFF and Forest Service are well equipped to generate solutions to these ongoing risks and execute the work needed to protect and preserve these areas.” — Mary Mitsos, President & CEO of the National Forest Foundation.
The NFF will directly implement an expansion of forest health enhancement projects across the country, including vegetation thinning to reduce hazardous material and restoration work to safeguard watershed health, biodiversity, boost community engagement, and protect the natural climate solution benefits that forests naturally perform.
Helping speed up the progression of local and regional restoration projects and community engagement are mutually beneficial to the NFF and the Forest Service and are top priorities as the twenty-year agreement kicks off.
Learn more about the NFF’s work at nationalforests.org.