Magazine article American Forests

Achieving a New Level of Impact

Magazine article American Forests

Achieving a New Level of Impact

Article excerpt

This summer, our board of directors approved a new strategic plan for American Forests. While I realize that most strategic plans are hardly earth shattering stuff, this one is different. Our new plan continues to sharpen our focus in some very exciting ways.

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The new plan establishes American Forests even more firmly as a conservation organization focused on forests as vital ecosystems that provide important benefits for the health of the planet and its inhabitants, While we will continue the critical work of planting millions of trees each year, our activities will also expand to more fully encompass issues like water (more that half of our drinking water comes from forests), wildlife habit, the effects of invasive plants and insects, managing the impacts of climate change, and caring for the urban forest ecosystems where most of us live.

We plan to increase our focus on environmental science and forest ecotogy. This underscores the importance of grounding our work in sound science, as well as supporting, advocating for, and spotlighting important research that helps all of us better understand the many roles forests play in the health of our planet.

One new section of the plan addresses our goals. The goals described in these five statements will, in effect, become a guide for all our work, ensuring that our efforts are always focused on what we believe are the most important outcomes and that our donors' money is spent in ways that achieve the maximum impact.

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GOAL 1: Threatened forests restored to health.

Today, many forests are in danger Major threats include climate change, invasive plant species, insects, disease, significant increases in wildfire, and conversion of forested land to non-forest uses. While we will be addressing these threats generally, we will also focus on specific ecosystems that are profoundly threatened right now. For example, in 2012, we will launch a major campaign to address the devastation in the forests of the Western Mountains, a result of the mountain pine beetle and a disease called blister rust. Our work will include restoring damaged areas, as well as working with partners to bring attention to the issue and to support research to strengthen keystone species like white bark pine.

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GOAL 2: Healthy and expanding forest cover in both urban and rural areas. …

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