New jobs and healthier forests: 2012 Report Provides Good News from U.S. Forest Service
Third Year of Program Reveals Gifts for People, Water, and Wildlife
ALBUQUERQUE, NM | December 19, 2012
A national report released today highlights 2012 results from the Southwest Jemez and Zuni Mountain forest restoration projects in New Mexico. They are part of a larger national program, called Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR), which works to restore forests for people, water, and wildlife.
The Southwest Jemez and Zuni Mountain projects are two of 23 national projects that split $40 million in 2012. All told New Mexico received $792,000 dollars to manage the projects to create healthier forests.
Among the accomplishments in 2012 were:
- 4,368 acres of hazardous fuels removed, reducing mega fire risk
- 3,666 acres wildlife habitat improved
- 74 jobs created or maintained
“We are proud of these collaborative projects,” says the Conservancy’s New Mexico state director, Terry Sullivan. “They are rare win-win-win efforts, with a broad coalition of partners pulled together to accomplish real benefits for people, forests, water, and wildlife. We’re looking forward to getting even more done in the coming years.”
“Mt. Taylor Manufacturing is extremely excited and pleased with the opportunities the CFLR presents for both our company and our forests,” says Matthew Allen, whose company is involved in harvesting and wood processing for the Zuni Mountain project. “We are actively performing selective harvesting of over-grown pine trees, leaving our forests well positioned to survive forest fires without devastation as would otherwise occur. At the same time, we have grown our sawmill and pellet plant operations resulting in employment for 35 people.”
Project activities include thinning, controlled burns, and other restoration work to help return the forests to their historically healthy condition. Selected projects will look to receive funding until 2019, provided funding is included in the President’s Budget and appropriated in Congress each year.
“Due to a century of fire suppression, the resultant fuel buildup have put our forests at risk, and a warming drying climate only provides more opportunities for the destructive megafires, which have taken a heavy toll on the water, wildlife, and recreation benefits these forests provide us,” adds Anne Bradley, Forest Conservation Program Director for The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico. “We need to improve the health of our forests, and these projects are part of the cure for us.”
“To improve the health of our forests, we need stable and sustainable local harvesting, transportation, and manufacturing businesses to perform the restoration work, and add value to the wood that is generated,” says Eytan Krasilovsky, Community Forestry Coordinator of the Forest Guild. “Without these strategic partnerships the projects would fail and our forests would suffer.”
The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program was created by Congress in 2009 to foster collaborative, science-based restoration in National Forests around the country.
As identified in the 2012 report, the 23 CFLR sites across the country cumulatively:
- Produced 107 million board feet of timber;
- Generated nearly $59 million of labor income;
- Removed fuel for destructive mega-fires on 90,000 acres near communities;
- Reduced mega-fire on an additional 64,000 acres;
- Improved 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat;
- Created and maintained 1,550 jobs
- Restored 28 miles of fish habitat;
- Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 163 miles of eroding roads.
The annual report was produced by the CFLR Coalition, which is comprised of 145 member organizations that includes private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations, and non-governmental organizations.
Copies of the 2012 CFLR Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLR Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on CFLR can be found at the U.S. Forest Service’s website: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/CFLR/
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.