[12/21/18] Friday Forest Partnership

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California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and British Columbia Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson pledged this week to share information and work jointly to improve forest resilience and better understand how forests are responding to climatic changes.

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on Tuesday (121818) builds on initial steps taken by California and Washington during the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in September. With the addition of British Columbia, the stage is set for the three jurisdictions to collaborate on shared challenges including a changing climate, tree mortality, severe wildfire risk and drought.

 “The past two wildfire seasons in British Columbia have clearly demonstrated some of the challenges we’re facing with climate change,” said Canadian Minister Donaldson. “At the same time, I know other jurisdictions are facing similar problems and, now more than ever, there is a need to collaborate on solutions to our changing climate.”

 

As Pacific Coast forests face increased threats due to wildfires, drought, invasive pests and diseases, rural economies are among the first to feel the impacts. A key goal of the MOU is to explore ways to expand the market for forest products and promote investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration and enhance forest resilience.

 

The collaboration among Washington, California and British Columbia involves seven principles:

 

  1. Share and explore innovations in fuel management methods, including prescribed and managed fire, pre-fire management and post-fire restoration.

  2. Share and explore innovations in climate-informed reforestation.

  3. Share and explore approaches to evaluate and account for changes in forest carbon over time.

  4. Share and explore advances in forest-related science and data collection to better understand how forests are responding to changes in climatic conditions.

  5. Share and explore innovations in utilization of harvested wood products removed from the forest through timber management or fuels reduction activities.

  6. Share and explore incentive mechanisms to reduce conversion of forestland to non-forest uses and promote carbon-rich, climate resilient forests.

  7. Share and explore opportunities for investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration, enhance forest resilience, encourage multi-benefit forest uses, and support natural resource dependent communities.

 

The three jurisdictions plan to convene a joint summit within a year to develop implementation pathways for each area of the Memorandum of Understanding.