Mass Audubon Supports New Forests as Climate Solutions Initiative
June 07, 2023
On Wednesday morning, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced "Forests as Climate Solutions," an initiative to slow forest loss and drive Massachusetts towards conserving 40% of natural land by 2050. This program will expand a network of forest reserves on public and private lands and enhance incentives for private landowners to practice climate-smart forestry. The Healey-Driscoll Administration shows real vision with this initiative by recognizing the key linkage between climate change and the loss of biodiversity.
“We applaud Governor Healey, Chief Hoffer, and Secretary Tepper for creating the Forests as Climate Solutions initiative,” said Mass Audubon President David O’Neill. “This science-based forest conservation plan values adaptation and biodiversity and dovetails with Mass Audubon’s ongoing work to ensure our forests capture and store more carbon, protect wildlife, and support local economies.”
Mass Audubon’s 2017 Losing Ground analysis of land development in Massachusetts showed that the Commonwealth was losing 13.5 acres of natural and working lands to development every day—just over half the size of the Boston Public Garden. With 432 native plant and animal species at risk of extinction in Massachusetts, the damage of forest loss to biodiversity can’t be overstated. Our upcoming report, Gaining Carbon, shows that solar energy developments now play a growing role in forest losses. If Massachusetts is to reverse this trend and conserve 40% of our natural lands by 2050, it must commit to an ambitious land protection policy agenda. Forests as Climate Solutions is an essential step in that direction.
“The Healey administration’s commitment to the protection and management of forests acknowledges the power of nature in the fight against climate change,” O’Neill expanded. “Alongside our partners, Mass Audubon will continue to advocate for the resources needed to deliver on the promise reflected in this visionary plan. And our forest scientists will supply expertise, data, and research to support the state’s commitment to greater transparency and accountability for the public on the outcomes of forest management. Preserving the natural and working lands we already have is simplest step we can take to fight the climate crisis.”
About Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at massaudubon.org.