Western Issues

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) set into motion a landmark endeavor that tasked states and Pacific Islands to craft assessments of the forests within their boundaries and develop strategies to address identified threats and opportunities.

The resulting Statewide Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies, or Forest Action Plans, were approved by the USDA Forest Service, on behalf of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in June 2010. 

Each Forest Action Plan is grounded in three national themes: Conserve, Protect and Enhance. 

An analysis of the Forest Action Plans for the western states and U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands illustrated that, as diverse as the West is, there are shared issues across forest types and ownerships, including:  

  • Forest health and invasive species
  • Wildland fire and the wildland-urban interface
  • Sustainable communities and economies
  • Climate change, carbon sequestration, and biomass energy
  • Water quality and quantity

Successfully addressing these priority issues forms the foundation of strategic activities to be undertaken by members of the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition in coming years.