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Regional Forest Conservation Initiative Takes Litchfield Greenprint Beyond Connecticut

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Housatonic Valley Association's Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative is playing a leadership role in the Taconics Priority Landscape, recognized by the New England Governors’ Regional Conference as one of just a handful of such places across the Northeast within its “Keep Forests as Forests” initiative. 

A 2010 report by the New England Governors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation prioritized the so-called “Berkshire Taconic Landscape”, running from the northwest corner of Connecticut up the spine of western New England and Eastern New York into Vermont, as an initial pilot project area for landscape-scale forest conservation in the region. 

The US Forest Service and New England Foresters Association subsequently launched a regional pilot project in what is now called the Taconics Landscape, with HVA's Greenprint Program leading the effort in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts, northwest Connecticut and adjacent communities in eastern New York.

The Greenprint will be coordinating with State foresters in CT, MA and NY as part of the NY-NE Family Forest Owner Outreach effort, with support from the US Forest Service. In the next two years under this initiative, the Greenprint will collaborate with its member organizations and other conservation groups in neighboring communities across the Tri-State region centered on the Taconic Plateau, a 36,000-acre landscape of forested uplands that straddles state, county and municipal boundaries. The area is highlighted in the Nature Conservancy's recent analysis of terrestrial resiliance to climate change.  It also includes an active forest legacy proposal involving nearly 900 acres and three participating landowners on the south slopes of the Plateau in CT – The Thorpe Mountain project – that is sponsored and supported by the Greenprint. 

Planned activities under this regional pilot project during the next two years include estate planning workshops for forest landowners and their legal and financial advisors and subsidies for an initial legal consultation for those interested in making conservation part of the legacy they leave to their heirs. There will also be a woods forum on forest management practices in each state with technical assistance for participating landowners to meet with consulting foresters.

For more information about this exciting initiative and the training opportunities that will be offered in this area, contact Tim Abbott.

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