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Mike Fay, photo by Robert Ballard
"California revolutionized the world with the silicon chip, they could do the same with forest management."
- Mike Fay
National Geographic


Redwood Forest Foundation

Spring 2010 Newsletter

Redwood Futures: A Call to Action
by Art Harwood, Executive Director

Lindsey Holm and Mike Fay, photo by Robert Ballard
Lindsey Holm and Mike Fay
Photo by Robert Ballard

The 2000 mile redwood forest trek made by Michael Fay and Lindsey Holm on behalf of National Geographic Society is doing more than rekindling the world's fascination and intrigue with the tallest trees on earth. The journey has ignited a new initiative within the region, a collaborative effort to restore redwood forests and rebuild sustainable, resource-based economies.

Redwood Futures is a call to action - a gauntlet thrown down - challenging diverse interests and perspectives to come together to craft a strategy for action that will rebuild the health of forest ecosystems, protect species and legacy stands, sustain viable working forest landscapes and rebuild the social and economic well-being of communities located throughout the region.

Redwood Futures is critically important at this time due to a confluence of factors:

  1. worldwide attention is focused on the redwood region due to the recent National Geographic issue,

  2. a faltering timber industry due to current economic conditions, coupled with increasing costs to comply with regulatory paperwork and the continual buffeting by global competition, threatens our sweeping redwood landscapes with conversion to other uses,

  3. uncertain but potentially disastrous climate impacts as greenhouse gasses accumulate in our atmosphere, and

  4. the projected increase in California's population to 45 million by 2025 and the attendant impacts on our region's water, timber and other natural resources.

Redwood Futures has mobilized an unlikely coalition of foresters, planners, environmentalists, loggers, Native Americans, public agencies, biologists and all manner of others who see promise as well as peril in the current predicament of our redwood forests. Elements of this vision include:

  • A region with a shared identity and shared sense of ownership for its activities and a shared commitment to creating a future together.

  • A place that mobilizes and focuses its resources toward the future through sustainable practices and simultaneously takes into consideration the ecological, economic and social equity issues as they relate to forests and communities.

  • Forests that provide a variety of conservation values across the landscape.

  • A vibrant natural resources economy providing a broad range of employment and business opportunities for residents.

  • Managed forests that have mature forest characteristics providing high quality wood, high quality habitat for a diversity of species and fire resiliency.

Redwood Futures In early October, 2009, 170 community leaders gathered at Humboldt State University and began to outline a sweeping plan to revitalize the redwood forests and the ecological and human systems that rely on the health and productivity of those forests. Since then, large groups of community members have also convened in Ukiah and Redway to specifically identify forest-based strategies that build upon the initial work in October and put them into action.

Communities once convinced they needed to choose between jobs and the environment can now envision a new future, a future that embraces people and the environment - a global model for resource management. As Mike Fay puts the challenge:

revolutionized the world
with the silicon chip,
they could do the same
with forest management."

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Spring 2010 Newsletter
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