I grew up in Massachusetts during a time when many small farms were going out of business, and it was generally understood that a neglected field would soon become a forest. I also lived in New England long enough to see a reverse trend — development consuming the region’s forests.
A new report from Harvard Forest–a research site of Harvard University–quantifies the region’s change in forest cover while launching an effort to conserve seventy percent of New England as forestland over the next 50 years.
The report–“Wildlands and Woodlands:A Vision for the New England Landscape”–has been given its own website, from which you can download the document itself and track all matters related to it. The report includes information on historical trends, funding, policy, partnerships, climate issues, landscape-level conservation,and proposals for action.
Today’s landscape again presents us with great challenge and opportunity. The Wildlands and Woodlands vision seeks to meet this challenge by crafting a regional future notable for its sustainable balance of thriving forests, farms, and human communities. In an era of uncertainty, when changes in the environment, economy, and energy pose great threats to society and nature, the six New England states—Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine—should take a bold, yet prudent and economically conservative step to protect their woodlands, farmlands, waters, coastlines, and wetlands.
This meaty, yet attractive and accessible, report runs 36 pages and is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of the New England landscape.