In response to the USDA Forest Service’s Notice of Intent to Amend Land Management Plans released today, American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley released the following statement:

The Biden-Harris administration continues to deliver as champions of America’s forests, helping to conserve and steward the nation’s old growth forests and the vast amounts of carbon they store. For too long, irreplaceable old growth forests have lacked a consistent and adaptable policy to support their conservation and management, but today’s announcement by the USDA Forest Service offers a needed new course.

As recent catastrophic wildfires have grown in severity, duration and range, accompanied by other climate threats like pests, invasive species and diseases, the persistence of old growth forest health is being challenged like never before. The geographically informed and nimble approach posed by the Forest Service provides forest managers with a diverse suite of tools to safeguard and monitor old growth conditions and complements the agency’s 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, as well as President Biden’s Executive Order on Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies

The Notice of Intent to Amend Land Management Plans marks an important first step to engage the public in developing this framework, and, alongside scientifically tailored forest restoration actions, can serve as a cornerstone of thoughtful climate-smart management approaches for the National Forest System. Additionally, these amendments wisely incorporate management flexibility to facilitate the agency’s adaptive decisionmaking to better respond to diverse on-the-ground conditions in times of catastrophic wildfire or other risks.

Through these balanced climate-smart forestry efforts from the Biden-Harris administration, combined with the historic REPLANT Act made law through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, America’s forests are entering a new era where forest health is prioritized and better adapted to climate threats. American Forests looks forward to working with the Forest Service, state and tribal governments and other partners to ensure this series of amendments is implemented thoughtfully and effectively.