Forest Resource Planning

Many of the services the forest provides, such as wildlife habitat, air quality protection, water quality protection, and flood storage and protection, are not as easily seen, understood, or quantified as the economic and social benefits provided by forests. However, these “ecosystem services” are vitally important. Forest management and planning initiatives should strive to conserve native biological diversity and maintain ecological functions while providing economic benefits.

In 2016 Act 171 amended Vermont Planning Statutes to encourage and allow municipalities to address protection of forest blocks and habitat connectors, while also supporting the local forest products industry. After January 1, 2018, municipalities seeking to have their plans approved by their Regional Planning Commission must include additional information on the future land use map and language that identifies state, regional or locally significant forest blocks and habitat connectors. The plan may also include specific policies on how the community will take steps to reduce forest fragmentation, enhance forest health, and support essential ecological functions.

ACT 71 Implementation

The Agency of Natural Resources has prepared a document entitled PLANNING: A Key Step Towards Protecting Forest and Wildlife Resources – ACT 171 GUIDANCE to assist communities in forestland planning.

Resources

A full length (1 hr 30 min) training video is also available:

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