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Harvard Forest Researchers Contribute to Recent EEA “Forest as Climate Solutions” Report

February 1, 2024
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Image shows a skidder pulling logs at Harvard Forest.

Last month, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs released its Report of the Climate-Forestry Committee: Recommendations for Climate Oriented Forest Management Guidelines. This Forests as Climate Solutions report was authored by a committee of 12 experts having widely varying opinions on management; Harvard Forest authors include Forest Research Director Jonathan Thompson and Harvard Forest associates David Foster (Director Emeritus), Meghan Graham MacLean, and Anthony D’Amato.

The report will inform the development of climate-oriented management guidelines for state forest land and help achieve goals of the 2050 Clean Energy and Climate Plan. Importantly, the report’s release marked the end of the Healy-Driscoll administration’s six-month timber harvesting moratorium imposed on state lands.

Some of the report’s recommendations include:

  • Encourage state agencies to provide more specific rationale for forest management projects, including carbon and climate implications; 
  • Reduce MassWildlife's habitat management goals for species dependent on young forests, shrublands, and grasslands to increase carbon storage and sequestration;
  • Enlarge state forest reserves
  • Increase permanent land conservation of unprotected forest lands; 
  • Apply updated Best Management Practices on actively managed forests;
  • Recognize the importance of natural disturbance (e.g., leaving dead trees on the ground for their biodiversity benefits);
  • Launch a publicly available dashboard in 2024 to monitor forest carbon metrics and trends, including where and how wood from Massachusetts forests is being used and the impact on carbon storage of use in long-lived wood products.
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