n a new scientific report titled “Wildlands and Woodlands: A Vision for the Forests of Massachusetts,” David Foster, director of Harvard University’s Harvard Forest, is calling, along with his colleagues, for a bold new land protection effort to stave off accelerating forest fragmentation in Massachusetts. “The time has come to step up to the challenge of protecting the commonwealth’s forest infrastructure,” said Foster.
The scientists cite forest loss statistics, such as the fact that Massachusetts is losing open space to development at a rate of 40 acres each day, and call for:
Establishing 250,000 acres of large wildland reserves predominantly on existing public land, where nature is left to follow its own course without human intervention. This would encompass 50 percent of state-owned lands whereas state government is currently considering 10-20 percent.
Protecting 2.25 million acres (nearly half of the state) as well-managed woodlands to support sustainable timber harvesting, extensive wildlife habitat, and human recreation and enjoyment.
Forming woodland councils to provide a mechanism for focusing energy, funding, and public participation to achieve broad-scale land protection in a state where more than three-fourths of all forest is privately owned.