How did Keeping Maine’s Forests originate?
In 2008, Bruce Wiersma, former Dean of the School of Forestry at the University of Maine, was asked by Governor Baldacci to convene a study group to help understand what opportunities existed for broad-based consensus on the future of the Maine Woods. Over the course of 18 months and nearly two dozen expert presentations, that effort produced the report titled: Keeping Maines Forests_2009 – Wiersma
That report provided the inspiration for a larger group of forest interests, now called the Implementation Committee, to explore practical steps that could be taken collaboratively to secure the many services Maine people derive from the forests, such as jobs, recreation, water quality and wildlife habitat. The 56 – page KMF describes opportunities and hopes for the broadest possible collaboration.
What long-term results can be expected from KMF’s work?
Maine will gain long-term security and stability for its forest landowners, forest products industry workers, sportsmen and women, recreational users, tribal nations, local communities and wildlife resources. With greater stability, we can expect even greater private and public investments in the North Woods. Maine’s traditional working forests will continue to offer the economic, social, and environmental benefits that the people of Maine value. A closely related initiative produced in 2010 has focused on just the economic benefits of these new strategies and produced its findings in Keeping Maine’s Forest-Based Economy: A National Demonstration Project.
Why is this different?
Maine needs a fresh approach to fostering collaboration among landowners, environmental organizations, governments, and other interests. In recent years, communications across many sectors have been unproductive. Independently, most of these interests have come to believe that the best way forward should be through open dialogue and constructive engagement, especially around resources as central to our future as the North Woods. Keeping Maine’s Forests grew out of a shared belief that a process characterized by inclusion, equity, transparency, respect, creativity, and perseverance can overcome obstacles and open new opportunities. Keeping Maine’s Forests calls for federal and state agencies to work together and more closely with Maine people with a shared goal of maintaining Maine’s forests.