Massachusetts is one of the most densely populated states, yet more than 60 percent of the state is covered by forests. These forests — recovering from past deforestation — are vital in storing carbon to fight climate change, provide critical habitats, preserve historic and sacred sites, offer public recreation, and benefit local economies. Yet, almost all of our forests are open to resource extraction and industrial development, which are undermining these values. We need to take action now to protect our forests, before it is too late.
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Massachusetts Forests: A 21st Century Vision Sep. 27-Nov. 1
“Call of the Forest,” September 27, 2018
Massachusetts Forests for Climate, Nature, and People, October 18, 2018
“Forest Treasures of Massachusetts,” November 1, 2018
Stand4Forests Week of Events, Sep. 22-30
Logging of State and Municipal Lands
Massachusetts is fortunate to have 650,000 acres of state public lands, stretching from the Atlantic Coast to Mount Greylock. However, none of these lands are permanently protected from logging and other industrial exploitation. Most of the state's 300,000 acres of county and municipal forests are not protected from these uses. Industrial forest interests claim that logging is good for forest health, wildlife, climate, and the economy. In fact, logging harms all of them. Here is a shocking overview of how our state lands are being damaged by logging. Now, citizens are fighting back against planned logging projects and are calling for permanent protection of Massachusetts forests. A major focus of resistance is the plan to log Wendell State Forest.
Woody Biomass Subsidies
Industrial forestry and biomass energy interests are pushing expanded programs to cut down forests and burn them for heat and electricity. They ignore the fact that this promotes deforestation, releases twice as much carbon as burning coal, and spews toxic pollution that harms public health. Despite the many reasons to oppose wood energy, Massachusetts state agencies have approved regulations that offer public subsidies and incentives to promote the logging and burning of forests for heat. Many nonprofit groups and concerned citizens are opposing this irresponsible policy. A proposal to pass legislation to ban all state incentives for biomass energy is gaining momentum.
Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership
The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) is an expensive, publicly funded project that fails to deliver on its glowing promises. It claims to promote “sustainable” forestry, forest conservation, and local economic development, but in fact it would primarily promote increased logging, expansion of wood pellet heat in schools and homes, and construction of a wood pellet factory. It claims to be a grassroots-based project, but in fact it was developed in 2011 by bureaucrats in the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). It claims to have broad public support, but most people have never even heard of the MTWP. RESTORE and other organizations have fought against this boondoggle and will continue to oppose it wherever possible.
Private Forest Land Protection
The vast majority of Massachusetts forest lands are in private ownership. Forestry interests are trying to persuade more landowners to log their lands. Most landowners prefer to keep their forests standing and there is a state program to provide tax incentives for this. However, this program provides more support for logged forests and this is only temporary. RESTORE is working with other organizations to promote change in state programs that help private landowners to keep their forests standing and to ensure that this protection is permanent.