Today is the International Day of the Forest, as declared in 2012 by the United Nations (UN). The purpose is to celebrate and raise awareness of all types of forests.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, this year’s theme is Forests and Energy, stating, “The Forest, it’s Nature’s Powerhouse.” That’s something the United States Forest Service (USFS) can get behind, as demonstrated by their three strategic goals:
1. Sustain our nation’s forests and grasslands
2. Deliver benefits to the public
3. Apply knowledge globally
Expanding on Strategic Goal #2 during March, the USFS is showcasing the opportunity to "Deliver Economic, Environmental and Social Benefits” through multiple-use land management policies.
On the USFS website, they write:
- Sustainable land management practices enable forests and grasslands to produce goods and services to meet public demands, and to contribute to community and national prosperity, health and quality of life.
- The national forests and grasslands are managed for timber, range, minerals, outdoor recreation opportunities, cultural and heritage resources, clean water and air, wildlife and fish, and a myriad of special uses such as communication and energy transmission.
- It is critical that we continue to meet population demands by maintaining, improving, and conserving our watersheds and the health of ecosystems we manage.
- The benefits derived from national forests and grasslands generate billions of dollars to the national economy, underpinning local economies in many rural areas and enhancing the quality of life in many communities.
The Prescott National Forest continually monitors the forest all year. Using methods such as prescribed fires and intentional thinning, they work hard to prevent and reduce wildfire risk. A coalition of local agencies are actively exploring opportunities for biofuel development, an effort that also may help maintain the watershed.
In the meantime, with temperatures hovering around 70º, it’s a perfect day for a hike in a nearby forest!
Photo by Katie Cornelius.