Josh Birnbaum for NASF
Montana’s Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources covers all forestland, regardless of ownership type and was accomplished using geographic information system (GIS) analytic techniques. Results of the analysis will be used to direct the future deployment of the 2008 Farm Bill programs as they relate to planning, information and education, technical assistance or financial assistance, and may be used to demonstrate the value of forests and forestry to the regional economy, environmental health, and quality of life. This analysis provides insight where future USFS State & Private Forest (S&PF) programming may be most beneficial. Not only do the results of the analysis provide a new way to describe the region’s distinctiveness, they may be used to inform policy makers, stakeholders and concerned groups, as well as empower the region to communicate its unique attributes and better quantify its management challenges. Knowing where the forest resources and social values are, where they are most vulnerable, and where they are most valuable will be indispensable as the DNRC positions itself as the lead stakeholder of forestry issues in the region.
Reducing the rate of conversion of forested landscapes
Sustainable Urban Forest Landscapes: Montana’s urban landscapes vary greatly from vegetated islands in the open prairie to communities that have essentially grown out of the western forests, each with their own challenges in management, growth and sustainability. Monocultures of even aged trees, in their first rotation, are the norm, with native and exotic insects and pathogens whittling down the tree populations. Urban forest senescence is the largest challenge to sustainable urban landscapes as trees become decadent and begin failing. First generation forests tend to be fast-growing, early seral species with quick rotation and frequent challenges in urban environments. A sustainable urban forest landscape relies on support by the residents in a community through funding, planning, and active involvement.
Reducing threats to and restoring forest health and productivity
Forest Products & Biomass Utilization: In order to maintain strength and competitiveness in changing markets and practice sustainable forestry, Montana’s forest products sector must be adaptive and diversified. Maintaining mill capacity and infrastructure to utilize and process forest products is an essential component to managing forest lands in Montana. Montana mills began to diversify beyond sawlogs in 1950 and continue to manufacture value-added products including plywood, log homes, post and poles, engineered studs, and furniture as well as biomass residue-based products such as fiberboard, wood pellets, landscaping products, animal bedding and energy. This diversification of wood product manufacturing has historically allowed Montana mills to be more resilient in changing markets and continue to provide commodity wood products at local, state, regional and international levels.
Enhancing the suite of public benefits associated with trees and forests
Forest Biodiversity & Resilient Forests: Resiliency is the capacity of a forest ecosystem to absorb disturbance and to reorganize while undergoing change, retaining ecosystem functionality and structure. Forest biodiversity is the variety and abundance of life forms, processes, functions, and structures of plants, animals, and other living organisms in forested areas. We promote forest resiliency by sustaining forest ecosystem biodiversity at stand and landscape scales through planning, management and project monitoring.