WHITE MOUNTAINS — The 2008 Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, prompted the development of Arizona’s Forest Action Plan requiring states, in order to qualify for federal funds, to complete a statewide assessment of forest resources and develop a statewide forest resource strategy. 

Currently, Arizona State Forestry receives federal dollars to protect communities from wildfire, assist private forest landowners, promote healthy forest practices and assist communities with their urban forests. 

State Forester Jeff Whitney appointed a task group with diverse representation to work with agency staff to develop the final Arizona Forest Resource Assessment and Arizona Forest Resource Strategy, completing both documents in June 2010.      

Recent direction from the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters requires that each state forestry agency review and report on highlights of the state plan implementation from the past five years, add a new National Priorities Section to the state plan, and plan for completion of a state plan update at least every 10 years. 

The plan review and update summarizes the implementation of Arizona’s Forest Action Plan since the plan development in 2010. It provides an overview of the implementation summarized by the three National Priorities, which is incorporated as an addendum to Arizona’s current Forest Action Plan, thus provides the required National Priorities Section.

To complete the required Forest Action Plan update, Arizona State Forestry will begin concentrated work with partner organizations and Arizona stakeholders in early 2016. The expectation is to develop and implement appropriate work processes and complete Arizona’s plan revision as required.

“The Forest Action Plan is part of our strategic push to work collaboratively among all stakeholders and across all landscapes, using the best science, to make meaningful progress towards resilient landscapes, fire adapted communities and safe and effective wildfire response,” Whitney said.

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