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AFA gears up for 1989.

As the final decade of the 20th Century begins, the American Forestry Association has geared up its most aggressive conservation policy and action program since the early days of the conservation movement. "The major environmental challenges facing the world today have important forestry elements," says Richard Hollier, newly elected President of the Association. Forests will continue to provide essential products and services to an ever-growing population, but in addition, they are now being recognized as the vital balance-wheel helping to keep the world's environment functioning properly "

AFA's Board of Directors, noting the current attention to the global warming trend caused by the greenhouse effect, approved a new public-awareness campaign entitled "Global ReLeaf," to involve people in an intensive national effort to improve forests and help offset the warming trend. (See the November-December issue of AMERICAN FORESTS for details.)

The major goals of the Global ReLeaf campaign are two-fold: 1) to convince people why the world needs more-and healthier-forests in order to bring about both environmental stability and economic well-being; and 2) to show people how they-as individuals-can be constructively involved in that effort.

It is easy to see how a professional forester can spend virtually full time wOrking to create a healthier, more stable forest, and how a landowner can work to make a tree farm into a healthy, fast-growing forest. What is less apparent, however, is how the majority of Americans, who are neither tree farmers nor foresters, can become involved in the campaign.

The answer starts right at home. For a homeowner, planting trees may be more than a landscaping project. Properly located trees can produce shade that is not just comfortable, but significant in cutting the costs of operating the average house. Air-conditioning bills can be reduced by 10 to 50 percent in many locations.

But most people will find that their major opportunity to be helpful lies beyond the boundaries of their own property. Communities need good forestry programs if they are to support the trees along streets and in parks that are needed to cut the normal heat buildUPS associated with buildings and pavement. These trees may be the responsibility of the city government, but in most cities they will not receive the kind of care they need unless there is a citizen's organization actively looking after the city's forests and supporting the budgets and programs needed to assure their proper management. So people who want to work for a better community-and who love trees and forests-have a ready-made opportunity to be of service.

The opportunity doesn't stop there, however. Everyone, from professional forester to plain citizen, has the opportunity to join with others to press for improved national policies and programs. Joining the American Forestry AsSOciation, and supporting its national Policy actions, is an effective way to make an impact.

The Global ReLeaf campaign, though it is the newest and most visible of the Association's proposals for 1989, is not the only area of emphasis planned. Another major priority, as in previous years, will be the National Forest System and its management. AFA's National Forest Task Force, under the chairmanship of Bob Anderson of Montana, will be working to add a citizen's voice to the many issues that are certain to surround the National Forests in 1989. The legislative agenda is almost certain to include bills to change the management of Alaska's the Tongass National Forest. Congress could also see another wilderness bill or two, as well as major budget battles over the funding of forestry programs.

Outside the legislative arena, controversy over the management of the National Forests is certain to continue, with below-cost sales, protection of roadless areas, maintenance of large areas for biodiversity and protection of old-growth forests among the areas of disagreement. AFA will continue to press for broader public agreement on the purpose of the National Forests, using our idea for a new "Charter" as a way Of drawing public attention to the need for new agreement on why the nation holds these lands, and what we intend to do with them. We are committed to the idea that improved public agreement over the purposes of the National Forests is one of the best ways to lower the level of controversy, legal challenges, and even civil disobedience that mark too many National Forest actions today.

Urban Forestry also continues to be a high priority in 1989. This program will be affected by the Global ReLeaf campaign, which will encourage many new community reforestation projects. But AFA focuses on a far wider urban forestry agenda. We will establish a national information system, and begin to link regional centers together so that the many technologies involved in good urban design, forestry, and treecare programs can be more easily shared. We will continue to work with many cooperators to get cities to realize that urban trees cannot be managed successfully where they are only an afterthought; cities need to plan and manage growth and development so that a healthy, efficient urban forest can be part of high-quality communities of the future.

Our agenda for 1989 is broad and ambitious, but our objectives are fairly straight forward. We win promote policies, programs, and actions that increase the amount of forests in the world, or that improve the health, productivity, and environmental contributions of existing forests. We will do it by helping citizens, industries, and governments recognize the best and most important opportunities for improving forests, and providing the catalyst for action to capture those opportunities.

We will reach out to the American public with an active information and education program, and seek to build awareness of and involvement by more Americans in conservation action of all types. We are painfully aware that carrying out this agenda cannot be done by AFA's staff and Board of Directors working alone. We need, and seek, the contributions of all our members, of businesses and industries, and cooperating organizations and agencies. The national conservation agenda is a very broad one; AFA concentrates on only one small slice. But even that agenda will take all the energy and enthusiasm we can jointly muster.

Urban Forestry Program Improvements. The Bush Administration will be encouraged to add $10 million to the Urban Forestry program in the Forest Service so that technical-assistance grants to states and localities can be increased. In addition, Congress will be urged to create a new program of incentive grants in the National Energy Policy Act to provide matching money for new community forestry and energy conservation efforts.

Private Forest Programs. Each state that does not already have one should enact a program that assures adequate provisions for reforestation of any land where timber harvests are conducted, unless land-use changes are involved.

AFA will work to assure that federal tax law continues to provide reforestation tax incentives. We will also work with others to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from restricting the ability of forest owners to deduct management expenses in the year that they are incurred.

We will work, with members of Congress to develop new provisions in the 1990 Farm Bill that provide incentives for reforesting an additional 20 million acres of marginal crop and pasture lands. 7hat bill should also contain special incentives for establishing windbreaks, shelterbelts, and stream-corridor forests. Some of these incentives can be established by the Department Of Agriculture under the existing law and AFA will urge the Department to take advantage of these opportunities.

USDA programs that provide education, technical and financial assistance to non-industrial private forest owners should be expanded, with a target of doubling their total effort by 1990. This is a challenge for USDA policymakers as well as Congress, as there are opportunities to change priorities and improve interagency cooperation as will as to alter budgets.

Public Forest Management. AFA will continue to work for National Forest System budgets that allow balanced management and investment for all resource areas. We will continue to support and participate in efforts that bring states, private organizations, businesses, and private citizens into constructive partnerships with the Forest Service that result in more investment in the National Forest System and better stewardship of its lands and resources.

AFA will promote a fire-management policy in Park and Wilderness areas that builds on the current natural fire policy but encourages a more active fuels-management program and better interagency coordination in severe fire conditions. The goal would be to encourage the use of fire as a part of natural ecosystem management without risking the high damage to surrounding lands, economies, and visitor facilities that was experienced in the 1988 Yellowstone fires.

We will work with the Forest Service to help devise programs that will eliminate the reforestation backlog on the National Forest System by 1995.

We will work with other organizations and the Congress to seek a compromise on the Tongass National Forest that places management decisions more squarely on the basis of a well-recieved forest-management plan and eliminates management by legislation " wherever possible.

Tropical Forests. The United States must halt all funding support of projects that result in tropical deforestation. Considerable gains on this problem have been made in recent years, at the encouragement of the conservation community but even more effort is needed. The next step is to develop more effective programs of assistance to tropical countries, aimed at stopping the net loss of tropical forestlands by the turn of the Century

Changing Environments. AFA will work to greatly strengthen the Forest Service research programs studying the impacts of environmental change on forests. With the potential for increased warming and decreased precipitation as part of the global warming phenomenon, it is imperative that forest owners and managers know what problems they face, and what options are available.

Air Pollution. AFA will call for passage of Clean Air Act Amendments that call for a 10-million-ton-per-year reduction in SO2 emissions and significant reductions in NOx and other pollutants, with appropriate phase-in and cost-sharing arrangements, in the 101st Congress.

Water Quantity and Quality. Each state needs to develop a program for implementing Best Management Practices on all forest and farm lands. AFA members and cooperating organizations will be encouraged to work at the state level to assure that these programs operate effectively in terms of both water quality protection and the continuation of productive forest t management.
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Title Annotation:includes related article; American Forestry Association
Author:Sampson, Neil
Publication:American Forests
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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