State foresters praise President Trump’s executive order in support of forest health

The National Association of State Foresters applauds President Trump’s executive order encouraging more active and collaborative forest management nationwide.

WASHINGTON – In an executive order supported by the nation’s 59 state foresters, President Donald Trump has directed the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture Departments to coordinate wildfire mitigation and forest restoration efforts in close partnership with states.

“The order clearly articulates that going forward, the federal government’s primary goal in managing federal forestlands will be to meet the stewardship priorities it shares with the states and other critical, on-the-ground partners,” said Lisa Allen, National Association of State Foresters president and Missouri state forester. “State foresters welcome President Trump’s move to greatly expand cross-boundary forest management, and we stand ready to share in the decision-making and priority-setting we know is needed to improve the health, productivity, and resiliency of America’s forests.”

The order specifically directs the secretaries of the USDA and DOI to collaborate with state governments to reduce hazardous fuel loads, restore watersheds, and improve forest conditions on federal lands utilizing the best available expertise and the most efficient modes of resource deployment.

These directives must be met, at least in part the order says, through the departments’:

  • Support for road activities needed to maintain forest health on federal lands;
  • Existing and new Good Neighbor Authority agreements; and
  • Pursuit of long-term stewardship contracts, including 20-year contracts, with states, tribes, non-profit organizations, communities, and the private sector.

The order also requires the departments to develop a strategy in collaboration with states to support and inform local wildfire management on federal lands by December 31, 2020, and to maximize the appropriate use of unmanned aerial systems to support wildfire prevention and suppression on federal lands.

“We agree with the president: action must be taken to better protect Americans and our forests,” said Jay Farrell, NASF executive director. “More cross-boundary mitigation work is exactly the kind of action we need, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this administration’s work to make it happen. The nation’s forests and the millions of Americans that depend on them will be better off for it.”

Media Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook at wforman-cook@stateforesters.org or 202-624-5417