State Assessment of
Forest Resources & Response Strategy
In 2007, the USDA Forest Service assembled a State & Private Forestry (SP&F) Redesign Board to examine current trends affecting trees and forests and to define the most effective role that state governments could play in sustaining benefits from forests. This new approach is intended to shape and influence forest land use on a scale and in a way that optimizes public benefits from trees and forests for now and in the future.
Trees and forests, and the public benefits they provide, are being threatened at a scale and pace that exceeds the abilities of the current S&PF programs.
Urban sprawl, insects and disease, invasive species, and large-scale wildfires have resulted in damage and fragmentation of vast acreages of forest. The increasingly volatile and global nature of the forest products industry continues to put pressure on local, state and regional economies. Budgets are becoming increasingly tighter at both the state and national levels-forcing an examination of how forestry programs contribute to other national priorities.
In 2009-2010, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) conducted their Statewide Assessment of Forest Resources. This "Assessment Model" covered all forestland, regardless of ownership type, and was accomplished using geographic information system (GIS) analytic techniques. The Montana Statewide Assessment Working Group, a consortium of over 40 interested stakeholders, developed 11 separate sub-model layers based on the National Guidance objectives. Results of the analysis will direct the future deployment of the 2007 Farm Bill programs as they relate to planning, information and education, technical assistance or financial assistance activities and may be used to demonstrate the value of forests and forestry on the regional economy, environmental health, and quality of life. This analysis provides insight where future S&PF Programming may be most beneficial.
From the scoping process the Work Group identified five priority issues for the forests of Montana.
|Forest Biodiversity & Resilient Forests|
|Wildfire & Public Safety|
|Forest Products & Biomass Utilization|
|Sustainable Urban Forest Landscapes|
|Changing Forest Ownership Patterns|
|2010 Response Strategy||(pdf)|
The assessment model recommends where specific outreach may be directed and what types of program outcomes may be sought.
In February 2010, the Statewide Assessment Response Strategy planning effort began. The resulting collaborative "Resource Strategy" sets the implementation track for delivering the S&PF programs to critical landscapes identified in the model. The "Strategy" document identifies indicators for each "Focus Area," defines strategies, creates linkages between programs, and sets targets.