What is a Forest of Recognized Importance?

What is a Forest of Recognized Importance?

Forest of Recognized Importance are considered critically important because they contain a unique combination of values. These can be social, cultural, biodiversity and environmental values.

  • Social or cultural values are aspects of a forest that are critical to the surrounding community’s identity. They can range from significant historical features (such as sacred sites or burial grounds) to the forest’s role within the community—for example, whether local residents have traditionally depended on the forest for berries, firewood, or other products.
  • Biodiversity values are critical to preserving local flora and fauna. Such values could include rare ecosystems or habitats, or unusual communities of plant or animal species. Keep in mind that these ecosystems and species need not be on state or federal Threatened or Endangered Species lists—they may just be considered rare regionally or locally.
  • Environmental values can benefit the whole community. Some examples are forests whose presence helps protect local watersheds or prevent erosion in vulnerable areas.

When forestry professionals and other experts evaluate a forest as a potential Forest of Recognized Importance, they look at the entire landscape—not just a single stand of trees—and consider all of these values. Places that combine and contain these features are rare, so it’s especially important to protect them.

How do I know if I have a Forest of Recognized Importance? 

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