Green Ribbon Task Force
I was honored to serve on the Governor's Green Ribbon Task Force on Forest Products, Conservation and Jobs from January - October 2016. I represented private forestland owners and the PA Forestry Association. While we had a mixed group made up of industry, education, nonprofits, community development, federal and state government, the conversations were always cordial. We all developed an understanding of the different entities that could make Penn's Woods sustainable for employment, recreation, commerce, and wildlife.
I'd like to highlight some areas of interest for me, as private woodland owner. There is a recommendation to increase funding to combat invasive species in our state. This is especially needed because of unconventional gas development that is booming in our state. Many heavy equipment pieces are being moved from property to property without first being cleaned of wayward seeds, eggs, spores, and other vectors that spread an unwanted plant or animal to a new property.
Another area of interest that would help forestland owners pay to keep and manage their properties is to develop a carbon credit market. Let's make Penn's Woods a leader in developing a carbon market in the eastern hardwoods. The Nature Conservancy has a few projects that the state could use as models to develop what is needed to form this market. An added bonus for forestland is that to participate in a carbon market landowners would have to have a forest management plan. This would engage the millions of acres that are not being managed and help Penn's Woods meet the goal of having sustainable forests.
A link to the final report can be found here: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/councils/Greenribbontaskforce/index.htm