July 9, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

Report Takes Pulse of State’s Forest

Alabama’s forest underwent its first-ever full “physical” and the results are in. Overall, the state’s forest resources are in good shape. However, on the horizon are several threats that, left unattended, jeopardize the quality of the state’s forest. 

This is according to the Alabama Forestry Commission and its summer release of the Forests at the Crossroads: Alabama’s Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy document.

“This report gives a very clear yet sober look at where our forest resources stand today,” said Alabama State Forester, Linda Casey. “While we should be proud of our forest and its legacy, we really stand at a crossroads. It’s very important that we understand the challenges facing our forest and do what needs to be done to maintain its value and function for all citizens.”

Alabama’s Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy was the result of an 18-month mutual effort that contains input from 33 organizations, survey with 865 respondents, and 37 subject matter experts. In addition, eight federal and state natural resource plans were studied with relevant information and strategies incorporated into the document. The purpose of the study was to provide a focus to help coordinate federal, state, and local efforts toward conserving and increasing Alabama’s forest resources.

 The first part of the document was developed in collaboration with landowners and other private and public partners who identified nine concerns that threaten Alabama’s forest future. These include urban growth and development, forest fragmentation, invasive species, changing markets, insects and diseases, wildfire, catastrophic storms, air quality, and climate change.

Of the nine threats, urban growth and development was considered the most serious, because of its impact on forest acreage lost. Between 2000 and 2008, Alabama’s forest decreased approximately 225,000 acres. Most of this loss is attributed to urban land use change, and future urban growth is expected to put even more pressure on forest acreage.

The second part of the document lists strategies to address each threat along with resources needed. Because many of the assessed threats crossed jurisdictional lines, sections of the document look at multi-state and regional opportunities. Casey remarked that her vision is that the report will serve as a common strategic plan by all involved in the development of the assessment and response plan, and be used by all of the AFC’s partners to develop joint strategies and actions that will result in successfully addressing the identified threats.

“No longer can we take our forest resources for granted,” Casey stated further. “They are vital to our quality of life and affect everyone. That’s why this plan is so important. It not only helps us better understand our forest and its contributions, but also provides a road map to stewardship that can sustain this vital resource.”

The complete Alabama’s Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy report is located on the Alabama Forestry Commission website at www.forestry.alabama.gov/AlabamaForestActionPlan.aspx 

 

For more information, contact:

Neil Letson, Assistant Division Director

Alabama Forestry Commission

334.240.9331

Neil.Letson@forestry.alabama.gov


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