October 26, 2020

CSF Joins Sign-On Letter Opposing “Pro-forestation” Approach in Connecticut

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

On October 21, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined conservation partners to submit a letter to the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) regarding the draft report from the Forests Sub-Group. Both procedurally and substantively speaking, the draft report is void of important forest management and wildlife considerations and relies on unproven scientific methods. Since Connecticut already has minimal forest management occurring on private and public lands, the letter emphasized the need to manage forests for habitat diversity to support wildlife and forest resiliency.

Specifically, the Forests Sub-Group was missing key stakeholders, having no private landowners, members of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Division of Forestry/ Division of Wildlife, or sportsmen’s organizations. The report recognizes the significant financial value that sportsmen and women provide, stating, “The vast majority of the funding to manage these lands comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program,” though the Forests Sub-Group is completely void of representation by any sportsmen’s groups. Therefore, procedural suggestions that the sign-on letter provided were for a reconstitution of the Forests Sub-Group “to include representation from the forestry and wildlife communities” and an extension of the Sub-Group’s timeline “to finalize the report to ensure that input from forestry and wildlife stakeholders is included.” Moreover, the report did not reflect a consensus of the Sub-Groups members, as there were several in dissent.

Additionally, the sign-on letter raised several counterpoints to the Forests Sub-Group’s reliance on “pro-forestation” – a flawed method that is not an accepted forestry and wildlife management practice – in its plans to establish Core Forest Natural Area Preserves. CSF and its partner signatories provided numerous recommendations to the Forests Sub-Group, specifically highlighting how active management can increase forest resiliency, the drawbacks to passive management, the overlooked costs for establishing “hands-off” management areas, the low amount of early successional forests in the state, and the need to manage forests to support wildlife that rely on varying stages of forest succession.

For more information on the GC3, please follow this link. CSF will continue to provide updates as they are made available.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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