This publication offers an overview of the northeastern forests and some of the major challenges and opportunities for sustaining them, as identified by the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and the Northeastern Area Association of State Foresters. Our goal is to raise awareness of the condition of the forests as a starting point for landowner discussions and management actions aimed at ensuring a strong future.
The management philosophy advocated by many public agencies today has become known as "ecosystem management." Under this philosophy, maintenance of ecosystem structure and functions becomes the primary goal, while production of commodities and services is viewed as a useful byproduct. However, any effort to assure sustainability and health of American forests can be expected to succeed only if private ownerships, which comprise the majority of forest land, are included.
Wetlands are complex and fascinating ecosystems that perform a variety of functions of vital importance to the environment and to the society whose very existence depends on the quality of the environment. Wetlands regulate water flow by detaining storm flows for short periods thus reducing flood peaks. Wetlands protect lake shore and coastal areas by buffering the erosive action of waves and other storm effects. Wetlands improve water quality by retaining or transforming excess nutrients and by trapping sediment and heavy metals.