The Forest Service Master Agreement, also known as the FMA, is an agreement between the United States Forest Service and states, tribes, and local governments to manage and protect national forests. The agreement provides for cooperative forest management, resource protection, and conservation. The FMA is re-negotiated every 10 years, and in September 2019, a new agreement was reached.
The 2019 FMA is a significant improvement over the previous agreement. It acknowledges the importance of forest management for carbon storage and climate change mitigation. The agreement also recognizes the vital role that state and local governments play in managing national forests and provides more flexibility for them to implement their own management strategies.
One of the critical changes in the new agreement is the increased emphasis on reducing wildfire risks. With the rise in wildfires across the country, the Forest Service has made it a priority to improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The new FMA provides for increased collaboration between the Forest Service and state and local governments to achieve this goal.
The FMA also includes provisions for sustainable timber harvesting. The agreement provides for more flexibility in timber harvesting, which allows for a more sustainable approach that supports the local economy while protecting the environment. Additionally, the new agreement encourages the use of wood as a building material, which can be a more sustainable option than traditional building materials like steel and concrete.
Another critical component of the 2019 FMA is the increased focus on recreation and outdoor activities. The agreement recognizes the importance of outdoor recreation to local economies and provides for increased collaboration between the Forest Service and state and local governments to promote recreational opportunities. This includes expanding access to trails, promoting camping and other outdoor activities, and developing new areas for outdoor recreation.
In conclusion, the 2019 Forest Service Master Agreement is a significant improvement over the previous agreement. It acknowledges the importance of forest management for carbon storage and climate change mitigation, provides for more collaboration between the Forest Service and state and local governments, and includes provisions for sustainable timber harvesting and outdoor recreation. The new FMA represents an important step forward in protecting our nation`s forest resources and ensuring their long-term health and sustainability.