New Jersey’s forests and communities face threats of a changing climate, invasive species, overabundant deer, and intensified disturbances such as Hurricane Sandy. These challenges foreshadow the difficulties the 21st century is likely to bring to the rest of the Northeast.
That’s why in November 2013, the Forest Guild and a diverse group of state agencies, academia, non-profit organizations, and businesses came together to focus on forest management solutions by identifying the top threats to New Jersey’s forests and responses to those threats. The workshop resulted in a new report from the ForestGuild on restoration and resilience in New Jersey’s Forests.The workshop included sessions focused on solutions to climate-driven challenges in urban forests, the pinelands, and northern New Jersey. Participants emphasized education and outreach to both the general public and to elected officials. Consensus was also reached on outreach focusing on the high value of forests, the threat of invasives, and the detrimental impact of deer overpopulation on forests.
The Forest Guild report summarizes key themes on the past, present, and future of New Jersey’s forests. The forest landscape of today looks very different from that of a century ago. The changing climate is driving change at an unprecedented pace. Participants highlighted the need for New Jersey’s environmental community to work together toward a better future for New Jersey’s forests.
“I feel forestry is moving in a positive direction here in New Jersey and major changes are necessary and are slowly coming and that conference had a significant effect on these movements and changes,” reported one participant.
The Forest Guild and partners at New Jersey Audubon, Duke Farms, Rutgers University, New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife, and the New Jersey State Forestry Services will build on this report and workshop to identify sustainable solutions for New Jersey’s forests.