Forest Service Chief Talks About Meeting Challenges

USDA Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell, recently spoke at the Society of American Foresters annual meeting.  This is what he had to say about urban and community forests:

“With over 80 percent of Americans living in metropolitan areas, the Forest Service is expanding our work in places like New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.  America has 100 million acres of urban forests, and through our Urban and Community Forestry program, we are providing assistance to 8,550 communities, home to more than half of our entire population.  Our goal is a continuous network of healthy forested landscapes, from remote wilderness areas to shady urban neighborhoods, parks, and greenways.

One restoration partnership for urban areas is the Urban Waters Federal Partnership.  The White House officially launched the partnership last June in Baltimore. It includes 11 different federal agencies, and it is designed to restore the health of urban watersheds, most of them at least partly forested. Seven pilot sites have been selected, and the Forest Service is taking the lead on three of them—in Baltimore, where the headwaters of the Patapsco River and the Jones Falls are in rural landscapes to the north and west; in Denver, where we are working with Denver Water to restore forested landscapes damaged by the Hayman Fire in 2002; and in northwestern Indiana, part of the greater Chicago area, where we are working through Chicago Wilderness.”