In January, the Joint Forestry Team (JFT) held its 2018 in-person meeting in Nashville, Tenn., as part of NACD’s 72nd Annual Meeting.
The JFT consists of the U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and NACD. Its mission is to make recommendations that result in coordinated interagency delivery of forestry and conservation assistance for working forests, farms and ranches. Team participants seek to improve the sustainability of the nation’s forests in order to provide optimum levels of public benefits and ecosystem services.
In Nashville, the JFT reviewed its current five-year work plan and selected three priorities for 2018:
Transition management tools – The JFT will develop a welcome packet to distribute to new forest supervisors, state foresters, state conservationists and conservation district state executives. The packet will make new personnel aware of their state’s forestry memorandum of understanding and the roles of each agency, introduce the JFT and its mission, and help raise awareness of state forest action plans.
State Forest Action Plan resources – Too many conservation districts are unfamiliar with their state forest action plan or unassociated with the process to shape those plans. This task aims to bring more awareness to conservation districts through website materials, webinars and shared communication efforts, as well as promote the need for conservation district inclusion to the state forestry agencies guiding the process.
Reach underserved forest landowners – There is a common goal among the forestry community to better serve minority, female, intergenerational and tribal forest landowners, among others. The underserved communities need resources to make decisions, which will allow them to better manage their woodlands. This task will help identify existing resources and explore new opportunities.
Subcommittees consisting of four members, one from each organization, will work on these tasks throughout 2018.
Leaders from each of the four organizations addressed the group, offering ideas for how the JFT can provide solutions to meet the needs of America’s forestlands. During lunch, Jeremy Peichel of the U.S. Forest Service presented data on CAP-106 and Forest Stewardship Plan overlap.
“It was a productive meeting,” Colorado State Conservationist and 2018 JFT Chair Clint Evans said. “It helped to re-energize members and provide focus for the coming year. I think everyone left Nashville ready to get to work on this year’s priorities.”
The Joint Forestry Team plans to sign a new memorandum of understanding later this year.