Maryland’s State Assessment & Strategies

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Forest Action Plans Measure Conservation Needs and Results at State Level

The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) is proud to announce the launch of our new website, Forest Action Plans offer the best thinking and innovation of local experts to proactively fight threats to forests from wildfire, insects, disease, and encroaching development. Our thanks go to all that contributed content for the state pages as well as for the national and regional resources. See Maryland's Forest Action Plan...

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the 2008 Farm Bill, was enacted into law in June 2008 and provides new guidance on how the US Forest Service, State and Private Forestry program will identify and prioritize national, regional, and state forest management goals.

Each state was required to complete a State-wide Assessment and Strategy for Forest Resources. The Assessments provide an analysis of forest conditions and trends in the state and delineate priority rural and urban forest landscape areas. The Resource Strategies provide long-term plans for investing state, federal, and other resources to where it can most effectively stimulate or leverage desired action and engage multiple partners.

Maryland's Forest Resources Assessment and Strategy (SA&S) will be used by the DNR's Forest Service to target program delivery and develop competitive proposals for addressing priority landscape areas and issues.

On June 18th, 2010, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Forest Service submited a State Assessment and Strategies to the USDA Forest Service as required by the 2008 Farm Bill. The broad purpose was to identify, protect, and encourage management of working forests and special forested areas on private and public forestlands.

Forest assessments are not new. Early assessments helped establish the need for forest conservation in the mid-19th century. The periodic assessments focused on timber until the late 1960s when a shift began toward an ecosystems perspective and healthy forests as indicator and goal. Public participation has become an increasingly important driving force for establishing the values and goals at the state and local levels.

ForestsThe 2010 Maryland Forest Resources Assessment and Strategy builds on the 2006 Statewide Forest Resource Plan, the Forest Legacy Program Assessment of Need and the Strategic Forest Land Assessment done in the 1990’s.

The enormous changes in geospatial technologies allow the 2010 Maryland assessment and strategies to consider the relationships in forests over both space and time. In a rapidly urbanizing state like Maryland, that has about 39% of its land area in forest, looking at the relationships of land use and ecosystem dynamics is critical to effective forest planning. The key reason for stakeholder input is to recognize and measure public values. These values lead forest policy and management toward measureable goals and objectives.

The 2010 State Assessment and Strategies process is concerned with three important forest policy and management issues:

Conserve Working Forest Lands: conserving and managing working forest landscapes for multiple values and uses.

  • Identify and conserve high priority forest ecosystems & landscapes.
  • Actively and sustainably manage forests

Protect Forests From Harm: protect forests from threats, including catastrophic storms, flooding, insect or
              disease outbreak, & invasive species.

  • Restore fire-adapted lands and reduce risk of wildfire impacts.
  • Identify, manage, and reduce threats to forest and ecosystem health.

Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests: including air and water quality, soil conservation, biological
              diversity, carbon storage, and forest products, forestry-related jobs, production of renewable energy, & wildlife.

        Among the many Public Benefits from forests, the Assessment will look at how to:

  • Protect and enhance water quality and quantity.
  • Improve air quality and conserve energy.
  • Assist communities in planning for and reducing wildfire risks.
  • Maintain and enhance the economic benefits and values of trees & forests.
  • Protect, conserve, and enhance wildlife and fish habitat
  • Connect people to trees and forests, and engage them in environmental stewardship activities.
  • Manage and restore trees and forests to mitigate and adapt to global climate change
  • And many other values

Below is the final submitted edition of the Marylandís Statewide Assessment and Strategy. Contact with questons or comments.

Forests Stream The US Forest Service has provided grant funding for the development of these items:

Maryland’s Approach to SA&S

Literature Review


      Issue Categories Identified

  • Managing The Impacts Of Changes In Maryland’s Land Use And Forest Ownership
  • Enhancing Assistance To Maryland’s Private Forest Landowners
  • Maintaining Maryland’s Forest-based Economy
  • Minimizing The Threats Of Invasive Species, Pests And Pathogens To Maryland’s Forests
  • Enhancing Maryland’s Urban Forests
  • Conserving Maryland’s Biological Diversity
  • Manage Recreational Use Conflicts In Maryland’s Public Forests
  • Clean Air
  • Clean Water
  • Ecosystem Markets & Services/Climate Change
  • Wildfires
  • Administrative/Legal/Government

Stakeholder Outreach

  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of the Environment
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Planning
  • Maryland Environmental Services
  • University of Maryland
  • Maryland Environmental Trust
  • Maryland Association of Counties
  • Maryland Municipal League
  • Maryland Association of Forest Industries
  • Maryland Forests Association
  • Partnership for Sustainable Forestry
  • Maryland Assoc. of Forest Conservancy District Boards
  • MD/DE Society of American Foresters
  • Maryland State Fireman’s Association
  • Interstate Comm. on the Potomac River Basin
  • US Forest Service
  • US Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Natural Resource Conservation Service
    • State Technical Committee
      • Forestry Subcommittee
  • EPA – Chesapeake Bay Program
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Conservation Fund
  • Forest Resource Association
  • Non-Profit Land Conservation Organizations
  • Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
  • Consulting & Industrial Foresters
  • Forest landowners
  • Forest Product Operators
  • Tree Care Experts

Public Participation


  • Statewide Forest Resource Issues
    • Retention and Management of Private Forests
    • Retention and Management of Public Forests:
    • Economic Viability of Forestry Industry in Maryland:
    • Maintaining Forest Diversity in Maryland:
    • Value-Added Alternative Opportunities:
  • Within each issue area, the survey identified the top recommended actions. Survey participants were then asked to rank the importance of the recommendations based on the current economic, environmental, and political climate. Respondents were also given the opportunity to add additional recommendations.

Forestry Summit

  • Listening Sessions
    • June 8, 2009 – Harford Community College, Bel Air, MD
    • June 10, 2009 – The Ramada Inn and Conference Center, Salisbury, MD
    • June 15, 2009 – The College Of Southern Maryland, La Plata, MD
    • June 16, 2009 – The Urbana Library, Urbana, MD
    • June 17, 2009 – Frostburg University, Frostburg, MD
  • Approximately 45 – 55 people attended each session. The goal of the listening sessions was to more fully identify the problems that currently threaten Maryland forests and the kinds of technical support, educational opportunities, and cost share programs needed to help landowners manage their forest land and market forest products.
  • On October 5, 2009, a state-wide Forestry Summit was held in Linthicum, Maryland, with approximately 100 participants.
  • Over the course of the day, summit attendees:
    • Reviewed the findings from the listening sessions,
    • Considered the additional input from the issue experts,
    • Discussed the issues in small group roundtable sessions, and
    • Prioritized for their small group the list of actions that they felt would adequately address the identified forestry issues facing Maryland.

Assessment – Geospatial Information Analysis

Strategies – Priority Issue Identification

National Theme: Conserve Working Forest Landscapes

  • Maryland Priority Issue I. Restore and Sustain Forest Landscapes
    • Goal I.A. Keep Forests as Forests
    • Goal I.B. Manage for Resilient Forests
    • Goal I.C. Support Traditional and Emerging Markets
    • Goal I.D. Demonstrate Sustainable Forest Management on Public Lands

National Theme: Protect Forests from Harm

  • Maryland Priority Issue II. Ensure Healthy and Resilient Forests
    • Goal II.A. Provide Emergency Response to natural resource threats
    • Goal II.B. Develop approaches to reduce threats from long-term stressors to forests
    • Goal II.C. Develop approaches to improve health and survival of urban forests

National Theme: Enhance Public Benefits from Trees and Forests

  • Maryland Priority Issue III. Ensure Clean and Abundant Water
    • Goal III.A. Revitalize the Chesapeake Bay and other priority waters
    • Goal III.B. From Forest to Faucet
    • Goal III.C. Avoid water quality impacts from needed forest management activities
  • Maryland Priority Issue IV. Create Jobs and Sustainable Communities
    • Goal IV.A. Use forests to support a robust and growing rural economy
    • Goal IV.B. Support Livable Green Communities
  • Maryland Priority Issue V. Make Landscapes More Resilient to Climate Change
    • Goal V.A. Engage in Leadership for Climate Change
    • Goal V.B. Promote Sustainable Forest Management and Operations in Response to Climate Change

Related Links


PGSF - Big Oaks Questions and Answers:

What information will be included in SA&S?

Maryland's SA&S includes the following two primary components and associated subcomponents:

The “Assessment” will provide a comprehensive assessment of:

  1. Conditions and Trends of Maryland’s forest resources.
  2. A vision for Desired Future Conditions for Maryland’s forests and the services they provide.
  3. Threats and Opportunities which need to be considered and addressed in order to meet our Desired Future Conditions.
  4. Priority Forest Landscapes and Areas which provide the greatest opportunity for achieving our Desired Future Conditions with the limited resources (time and money) we have available.

The “Strategy” will build upon the Assessment to determine:

  1. A Long Term Strategy (~5 year) for addressing priority threats and opportunities, especially in priority forest landscapes and areas.
  2. A description of Available Resources and Maryland Forest Stakeholders willing to help establish and implement strategies.
  3. An Annual Action Plan.
  4. An Annual Report of Accomplishments
  5. A process for Monitoring Success, and revising the Strategy accordingly.

Why did we undertake SA&S?

Three good reasons for undertaking SA&S include:

  1. The 2008 Farm Bill requires states to prepare a Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy in order to continue to receive federal Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act funds. Each year, Maryland receives about $1.3 million (about 10-13% of our annual budget) of these funds to help promote healthy trees and forests in Maryland, and the benefits they provide. We can’t afford to lose this!

  2. SA&S makes good business sense. SA&S will allow us to take a big picture view of our forests and pressing issues, and determine the best use of our limited resources in order to best achieve our desired future conditions.

  3. SA&S provides a terrific means for collaboration with partners and stakeholders interested in the future of Maryland’s trees and forests. By collaborating and coordinating our collective efforts, we will all be able to increase our accomplishments and effectiveness.

What is the scope of SA&S?

SA&S addresses all public and private ownerships within Maryland, spans the urban to rural continuum, and is guided be the following Seven Criterion of Forest Sustainability established through the Montreal Process:

Criterion 1: Conservation of biological diversity
Criterion 2: Maintenance of productive capacity of forest ecosystems
Criterion 3: Maintenance of forest ecosystem health and vitality
Criterion 4: Conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources
Criterion 5: Maintenance of forest contribution to global carbon cycles
Criterion 6: Maintenance and enhancement of long-term multiple socioeconomic benefits to meet the needs of societies
Criterion 7: Legal, institutional, and economic framework for forest conservation and sustainable management

Peehley up to the sky

Who was involved in establishing and implementing SA&S?

Although the Maryland DNR Forest Service was officially responsible for developing SA&S, the success of this effort was highly dependent upon the participation and collaboration of a wide variety of partner agencies, organizations and individuals who care about the future sustainability of Maryland’s trees and forests.

Who do I contact for more information?

If you have any questions about Maryland's SA&S, please contact:

Steven W. Koehn
Director / State Forester
Maryland DNR Forest Service
Tawes State Office Building, E-1
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Work:(410) 260-8501
Mobile:(410) 370-0427
Fax:(410) 260-8595