By Manomet President John Hagan
As human populations increase, we’ll rely on forests more than ever. Forests filter our air and water; support biodiversity; and provide wood products that we rely on daily—from toothbrushes to medicine that treats Parkinson’s disease.
Science is telling us that we must take action to sustain our world. In the forest system, Manomet is working to help improve the management of working forests—because foresters’ challenges are our challenges.
To prepare foresters and their companies for the impacts of climate change, Manomet created the Climate Smart Land Network (CSLN). The Network provides forest managers and landowners management practices rooted in accessible, understandable, and actionable climate change science.
In a recent article, the Society for American Foresters identified CSLN as the only climate change resource available to foresters that helps to facilitate networking among landowners, which is helping to identify regional trends and mitigation solutions. At the CSLN’s inception three years ago, we were busy reaching out to potential members, but now companies and organizations are calling us, having learned about CSLN through word of mouth or at presentations.
Early last November in downtown Boston, Eric Walberg, Senior Climate Services Program Leader, presented with me on our forestry work. In the audience was David Rosen, President of LandVest.
David saw Manomet’s CSLN as the solution to a new problem. The leading North American sustainability certification program, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, now requires timberland owners to be up on climate science because climate change is a real risk to forests in the 21st century. However, the subject is complex and time consuming for his staff. Very efficiently, Manomet’s CSLN positions and prepares companies to answer such questions as: “How are you accounting for climate change in your planning and day-to-day management?”
Following the presentation, David recommended that Eric discuss the CSLN with Rich Carbonetti, head of LandVest’s forestry staff. Within a few weeks, the 1.5 million-plus acres of timberland that LandVest manages joined the Network. This brings the CSLN total acres to over 15 million—bringing us more than halfway to our goal of 30 million acres.
We would not have been able to achieve this momentum without the support of foundations and our donors. This fall, we will deepen the strength of the Network by hosting a conference of all of our members.
Jennifer Hushaw, Applied Forest Scientist, explained that this first-ever conference, “will be a real exciting get together. There’s a lot of creative thinking and a lot of differences in the impacts people are seeing and how they are responding region to region. So there’s a really good opportunity to learn from each other.”
By engaging land managers and applying the latest climate science, we are helping to sustain our world’s forests and all the benefits they provide for years to come.