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May 20, 2010 | last updated December 1, 2011 6:26 am

Study: NE needs to boost forest conservation

A study from Harvard University is recommending New England ramp up its conservation efforts to combat increasing losses in forest cover.

The "Wildlands and Woodlands" report -- released by Harvard's forestry and ecology research center and authored by 20 academics, including two University of Maine faculty members -- found that the acreage of forest cover in New England has begun to drop for the first time since the 1850s, most recently in Maine and Vermont, according to the Bangor Daily News. Maine lost approximately 96,000 acres of timberland between the late 1990s and 2006, with 41,000 acres parceled for development. The study calls for a public-private collaboration to permanently conserve 70% of the region's forestland, or about 30 million acres, over the next 50 years. Ninety percent of that 30 million would be maintained as privately owned, working forestland, while the remaining 10% would be reserved for wildlife. Currently, about 20% of New England is conserved.

The authors of the report lauded Maine for its land conservation efforts, which have protected nearly 1 million acres, mostly through conservation easements that allow timber management.

Go to the article from the Bangor Daily News >>

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