During the week of February 28, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will host a public conversation “Conversion of Working Forestlands to other uses” on its DNR Forum.
The forum is an opportunity for you, the public, to bring new information or ideas to our attention—and a way for us to engage citizens from across Washington on an important issue that affects them, the state lands that we manage, as well as other DNR activities.
In order to help guide a thoughtful and focused discussion, DNR will publish a series of conversation starters each day that will hopefully generate ideas about the various issues and points of view around the conversion of forests to other uses such as, home sites or other development.
Responses to the conversation starters in the forum or other observations will each be limited to 2,000 characters, or around 400 words – feel free to add hyperlinks into your posts if appropriate with the subject matter. (We use bit.ly to create short links to more detailed information.)
Keep in mind, your responses will not immediately post to the DNR Forum. DNR will be moderating the responses for topic relevancy and inappropriate remarks (foul language or personal attacks on other contributors).
Visit our background information page before the Forum opens on Monday.
The schedule of conversation starters is below:
Monday - Loss of forests
Currently there are more than 12 million acres of state and private working forests in Washington State. However, since the mid 1980s, roughly 17 percent of non-federal forests in Washington have been converted to other uses, such as home sites and other types of development. How have you and your community been affected by the loss of forests? How would additional losses affect it? In a narrow or broad sense, what jobs or industries are supported by forestry in your community? (From 2007 Future of Washington Forests)
Tuesday - What to do about the loss of forests
If current trends continue, more than one third of the non-federal forests that support timber and other forest related jobs in Washington State will be converted to development or other uses by the 2030s. What market mechanisms or opportunities could help prevent the loss of more of these working forests?
Wednesday - Economic value of nature
Do the things that forests provide to us, such as drinking water, food, wildlife, climate regulation, flood protection, recreation, and aesthetics, have an actual economic value to you and your community? If so, how and where should that value be recognized when decisions are made about land use that would affect forestland?
Thursday - Climate change and carbon storage
Because forests can ‘sequester’ or absorb and store large amounts of carbon, does the broader community have an interest in the loss of carbon storage and absorption capacity when forestland is converted into home sites or other types of development—and the carbon storage is permanently lost? How would that lost capacity be best offset and how should it be paid for?
Friday - DNR’s role
What do you see as the state Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) role in protecting working forests across Washington State?