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Arizona Forward Promotes Healthy Forests

Map credit: Arizona Forward

Source: Arizona Forward

Arizona Forward released its newest primer – Threats to Forest Health Put Arizona at Risk. It urges statewide attention for treatment and restoration to prevent the devastating fires that have scarred our state’s landscape, tarnished watersheds, depressed the economy and threatened the quality of life for residents throughout the Grand Canyon State.

The nearly 30-page document is written in layman’s terms and includes actions needed now to mitigate the impact of wildfires and threats to water quality. It encourages all Arizonans to engage in this critical issue, with a section dedicated to how everyone can be part of the solution.

The primer is being released at SRP’s “Healthy Forest, Vibrant Economy” forum, which is expected to draw upwards of 300 community leaders to the Doubletree Resort in Scottsdale for a two-day conference on how to accelerate forest restoration in Arizona.

Arizona Forward developed the primer, its fourth publication on key sustainability issues facing the state, to provide unbiased facts, background information and viable options to consider as Arizona undertakes efforts to restore and maintain healthy forests.

The primer notes that healthy forests are critical to maintaining a robust economy. “In addition to serving as places of beauty that attract tourism, forests are also custodians of the air and water Arizonans need to survive,” the document states.

Fire is a natural process, but Arizona’s forest are not in a natural state. Years of fire suppression and drought have ushered in the era of the megafire, as the Southwest experienced with the Wallow and Rodeo-Chediski fires.

Among actions outlined in the primer to address forest health are:

  • Forest thinning and prescribed burning
  • Re-establishing a forest products industry
  • Preparing more land for treatment by accelerating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process
  • Support adaptive management of treated forested lands
  • Sediment and soil erosion management
  • Habitat improvement and re-vegetation projects
  • Eliminating “fire borrowing” so that these projects can be fully funded

Arizona Forward was founded in 1969 as Valley Forward Association and expanded its mission statewide in 2013, bringing business and civic leaders together to convene thoughtful public dialogue on regional issues and to improve the environmental quality and economic vitality of Arizona cities and towns.

For a copy of the primer or additional information about Arizona Forward, visit arizonaforward.org.

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