Report: A New England four-fifths covered with forests, farms and aquatic ecosystems is attainable vision

May 25th, 2010 | By | Category: Land, Water Conservation

The distribution of land protected from development in New England (both shades of green) bears testament to a lengthy history of conservation and the need for a new effort to conserve broad areas of continuous forest. Labeled areas in dark green are discussed in the text.

CT Environmental Headlines believes the subtitle should read: “A BOLD vision for the New England Landscape.” But an excellent one nonetheless.

Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the New England Landscape, calls for conserving 70 percent of the New England landscape in forests (30 million acres). (The report is co-authored by Lloyd Irland of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. See link below for a complete list of authors.)

“Wildlands and Woodlands” refers to both the vision and the growing network of groups and individuals seeking to achieve it.

“All six New England states are expected to experience dramatic rates of forest loss over the next 20 years,” according to the report. “The areas of most intense future development overlap with those that underwent the greatest increase in population in recent years. These include the suburbanizing region that stretches north of Boston to southern Maine and the area adjacent to Burlington, Vermont.”

“A New England that remains four-fifths covered with forests, farms and embedded aquatic ecosystems is an attainable vision that resonates with the region’s history of bold conservation thinking. Protecting our natural infrastructure is also consistent with an emerging regional, national, and global focus on renewable energy, clean air and water, and on the creative slowing of climate change. Declaring that such a future is desirable and taking deliberate steps to attain it will make New England a national leader in conservation.”

New England has, for nearly four centuries, been a leader in public, private and non-profit conservation innovation, the Wildlands and Woodlands website. With the groundswell of regional interest in Wildlands and Woodlands specifically, and in landscape-scale conservation more generally, New Englanders are again well-positioned to provide leadership in the practice of innovative conservation, this time in the twenty-first century.

The report makes many bold statements and calls for a re-greening of New England. It is the hope of the authors of the report “that citizens, non-profit organizations and government agencies across the region will band together to initiate a multi-decade effort to triple the amount of conserved land in New England, and to achieve the Wildlands and Woodlands vision.”

Although hundreds, if not thousands, of people across the region are helping to realize the vision, there are particular people and organizations leading W&W activities. Each activity, whether it be land protection, an author lecture, or a Woodland Council collaboration, is intended to help us realize a doubling in the pace of forest conservation in New England by 2060.

W&W Authors
W&W Partner List
W&W Working Groups
W&W Partnership Steering Committee members
Harvard Forest
convenes the W&W Authors

via Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the New England Landscape.

See related story “New England Forests Big But In Danger.”

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