Forest Integrity & Forest Stewardship
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.
Link to ANR guidance document Planning: A Key Step Towards Protecting Forest and Wildlife Resources https://anr.vermont.gov/sites/anr/files/co/planning/documents/guidance/Act171Guidance.pdf
Link to training webinar Implementing Act 171: Land Use Planning To Address Forest Fragmentation https://vcgi.vermont.gov/events/archive#webinar
Link to interactive data and research about recent trends in the decrease of large acreage forest blocks in the state VT Parcelization Website https://vtforesttrends.vnrc.org/
Link to the ANR’s database and mapping tool for identifying Vermont’s lands and waters that support important ecosystems, natural communities, habitats, and species, BioFinder website https://anr.vermont.gov/maps/biofinder
Planning for the “use” of forested land by most municipalities is done parcel by parcel. The objective of the statewide Forestry Stewardship Project, funded by the USDA and directed by the VT Division of Forests, is to address forest planning from an integrated approach looking at the BIG picture to keep forests intact. The goal is to maintain habitat connectivity, forest health and productivity, and ecosystem quality, and to foster strong forest products and value –added wood products industries to further economic prosperity.
To support this planning approach, CVRPC has collaborated to produce a Regional Report on strategies for municipalities, landowners, and other organizations to keep forests intact. Under the guidance of a regional Steering Committee, CVRPC used geographic information system (GIS) technology and a stakeholder engagement process to –
- Inventory and assess forest resources,
- Identify specific forest landscape types, and
- Produce strategies for each landscape type that will assist regions, municipalities,and forest landowners in the objective of keeping forests as forests.
With detailed information on land use and economic trends and the composition of central Vermont’s forests, the report is able to identify various values of the forest and the potential threats to them. The report then outlines top strategies the region can pursue to protect those values. The report, and maps used to develop it, are included in links below.
CVRPC is now working with individual municipalities to develop forest stewardship goals specific to their communities, and identify and implement actions that protect the value of unfragmented forest.
Invasive Species Report: This report gives an overview of the local, regional and state-wide agencies that work to eradicate or prevent the spread of invasive species in Washington County and the species that are of the highest concern in our Region.
Forest Stewardship: Regional Report
Forest Stewardship Resources
- Municipal Energy Planning
- Regional Energy Planning
- Community and Economic Development
- Regional Planning
- Municipal Planning
- GIS Mapping
- Emergency Management
- Local Food Systems
- Forest Integrity & Forest Stewardship