NASF Forest Markets, Management Committees ‘gang up for efficiency’ at Flagstaff meeting

A Ponderosa pine timber sale/treatment area conducted in partnership with The Nature Conservancy on the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, AZ.

Ganging up for efficiency, the NASF Forest Resource Management (FRM) Committee, the Forest Markets Committee, and the Modernizing the Forest Stewardship Program Working Group all met in Flagstaff, Arizona, June 4-6.

The morning of Day 1, the FRM Committee, chaired by Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox and staffed by Marvin Brown, sorted through several NASF position statements due for review in 2020. The committee’s members also heard a legislative update from Robyn Whitney, NASF’s policy director, and a partner update from Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Forester Eunice Padley.

That afternoon, they were joined by the Markets Committee, chaired by North Carolina State Forester Scott Bissette and staffed by Rick Cantrell, and heard reports from Joel Swanton with Forest2Markets on the changing market for forest product residuals and Brian Brashaw from the USFS Forest Products Lab on emerging uses for wood. Paul Delong with the American Forest Foundation covered revisions to the Tree Farm Program and results from a national survey looking into cooperative activities between State Conservationists and State Foresters. Then, as a lead-in to the next day, Henry Provencio with USFS gave an overview of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative collaborative effort being carried out on national forests in northern Arizona.

USDA Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy discuss the harvest/treatment plan for a Ponderosa pine timber sale on the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, AZ.

On Day 2, the Stewardship Working Group met to continue their work while members of the Markets and FRM Committees went to the woods. Hosted by the City of Flagstaff, Northern Arizona University, and the Coconino National Forest, the committees toured the Greater Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project and other examples of cooperative forest management among USFS and local partners.

During the November 2012 elections, residents of Flagstaff overwhelmingly approved a $10-million bond to support forest restoration work within key watersheds included within the Coconino National Forest, state land, and city boundaries. Identified on the ballot as the “Forest Health and Water Supply Protection Project,” this initiative has now become known as the “Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project.” This is one of only a handful of examples in the country where forest restoration work on national forests is being funded by a municipality, and the only known instance where such an effort is funded from municipal bonds. The goal of FWPP is to help reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire and post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds.

State foresters, USDA Forest Service personnel, and others discuss timber harvest/treatment operations on steep slopes in Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, AZ.

The final day of the meeting, FRM members met with the Stewardship Working Group and discussed potential funding allocations for the Forest Stewardship Program, while the Markets Committee met and reviewed their 2019 work plan and began developing their 2020 work plan.

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