Home > Uncategorized > Forestry Task Force Urged To Support a Moratorium On Logging Pending Climate Reforms

Forestry Task Force Urged To Support a Moratorium On Logging Pending Climate Reforms

“Paradigm Shift” Must Prioritize Climate Emergency In Forest Management Policy

Group Urged To Prioritize Forest Preservation Over “Active Management”


Almost 4 months after its creation, yesterday, the climate workgroup of NJ Senate Environment Committee Chairman Bob Smith’s legislative Forestry Task Force held its first working meeting.

The workgroup is huge, with more than 125 people. There is no official charge or structured issue agenda and no firm deadlines (Senator Smith requested consensus recommendations by the end of the year).

This is not an official Legislative Task Force that is subject to formal rules. Instead, it is an ad hoc creation of Senator Smith that is essentially making up rules of engagement as it goes along, including policies based on private off the record political consultations with Senator Smith.

Before yesterday’s kickoff working meeting, I introduced and distributed the below formal Motion for a consensus vote.

Basically, the Motion recommends 3 things:

1) a policy of “first, do not harm”  by calling upon DEP Commissioner  LaTourette to issue an Administrative Moratorium on further development or implementation of DEP forest management policy, including logging projects on public lands pending adoption of reforms;

2) adoption of a policy hierarchy to prioritize competing and conflicting goals, objectives, and management strategies; and

3) adoption of a policy of “proforestation“.

Here is the Motion – in a subsequent post, we’ll let you know how the workgroup responded:

Dear Climate Workgroup members and Co-Chairs: (apologies to those removed randomly, my email limited to 100)

I write to make a point of order and introduced a formal motion for your consideration and vote of approval prior to commencement of deliberations.

Approval of this motion is a precondition for continued participation in the work of the Workgroup.

The motion has 2 elements: 1) procedural; and 2) substantive, as follows:

1) Procedural


a) the climate emergency, which formed the primary scientific and policy basis of Senator Smith’s formation of and charge to the Task Force; and

b) Senator Smith set a deadline for the end of the calendar year for recommendations from the Task Force; and

c) any policy or legislative recommendations of the Task Force would take at least 18 months to be implemented via reform legislation and/or DEP regulation; and

d) DEP is developing and implementing a myriad of “forest stewardship” policies, plans, programs, and site specific projects which will create long term or irreversible impacts on forest values;

Therefore, DEP Commissioner LaTourette must issue an Administrative Order imposing a moratorium on any further DEP forest management initiatives and projects, pending passage of reform legislation and adoption of DEP implementing regulations.

2. Substantive

Whereas, given the climate emergency and as a result of the current lack of an enforceable priority framework or hierarchy for managing conflicting or competing forest values, goals, and objectives – as well as the unacceptable very real possibility that current laws, policies and DEP regulations could even be weakened as a result of this legislative process over which members have no control – there is a need for adoption of  minimum guardrails to provide a concrete assurance of good faith support for progressive reforms, as follows:

a) The Task Force shall be bound by a policy hierarchy that elevates the climate emergency over all other conflicting or competing goals and objectives.

For an example of the concept of an existing policy hierarch, I offer the solid waste policy hierarchy adopted by Governor Florio’s Executive Order #8


Gov. Florio’s EO #8 established a policy and planning hierarchy of source reduction, composing, recycling, landfilling and incineration as an “option of last resort”.

EO#8 also established a 120 day administrative moratorium, as proposed in element #1 above.

b) Recommendations of the Task Force shall be bound be a forest management policy known as “proforestation”.

Here is a link to and the abstract from a paper that provides the scientific and policy rationale for preserving existing forests, a strategy deemed “proforestation”:

“Climate change and loss of biodiversity are widely recognized as the foremost environmental challenges of our time. Forests annually sequester large quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), and store carbon above and below ground for long periods of time. Intact forests—largely free from human intervention except primarily for trails and hazard removals—are the most carbon-dense and biodiverse terrestrial ecosystems, with additional benefits to society and the economy. Internationally, focus has been on preventing loss of tropical forests, yet U.S. temperate and boreal forests remove sufficient atmospheric CO2 to reduce national annual net emissions by 11%. U.S. forests have the potential for much more rapid atmospheric CO2 removal rates and biological carbon sequestration by intact and/or older forests. The recent 1.5 Degree Warming Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change identifies reforestation and afforestation as important strategies to increase negative emissions, but they face significant challenges: afforestation requires an enormous amount of additional land, and neither strategy can remove sufficient carbon by growing young trees during the critical next decade(s). In contrast, growing existing forests intact to their ecological potential—termed proforestation—is a more effective, immediate, and low-cost approach that could be mobilized across suitable forests of all types. Proforestation serves the greatest public good by maximizing co-benefits such as nature-based biological carbon sequestration and unparalleled ecosystem services such as biodiversity enhancement, water and air quality, flood and erosion control, public health benefits, low impact recreation, and scenic beauty.”

I look forward to your endorsement, support, and adoption of this motion.


[Update: After a strategy call about 2 weeks ago with several NJ environmental folks, it was agreed to propose the above and I was asked to draft it.

Curious, but I just now got an “Action Alert” from the Highlands Coalition requesting support of a petition to Gov. Murphy – not the Forestry Task Force – to support a moratorium on logging, sans the priority on climate and proforestation.

I’m done even trying to work with folks in NJ.

The HiCo petition mentions the need for DEP stewardship regulations for public lands.

You better be careful what you ask for – the Forestry Task Force, which is controlled by DEP, NJ Audubon, and NJ Foresters, will recommend that DEP adopt “forest stewardship” rules that are even worse than the current crap.

For example, DEP staff let the cat out of the bag yesterday that they were exploring: 1) expanding local forest products production (justified by a sham claim of  lower lifecycle carbon emissions and sequestration of carbon in wood products); 2) joining the California, RGGI, and private carbon markets in credits for forest sequestration; and 3) continuing to promote ecological justifications for logging.

They are now going to call this the climate forestry plan.

You think Elliott, Julia and the HiCo are going to do jack shit about any of that?

Did anyone actually listen to what the DEP “experts” actually said?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.