AUGUSTA — Maine residents are being asked to participate in a new online survey by the Maine Forest Service for the Bureau of Parks and Lands‘ latest assessment of the state’s forests.

The survey, which can be found at www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/mfs/state_assessment/index.html, will highlight public concerns about state forest lands.

Additionally, it will be used in the bureau’s planning process, and it helps make the forest service eligible for federal funding, according to a Wednesday report.

“The 2008 Farm Bill requires states to complete state forest assessments and resource strategies as a condition of receiving federal funds to support state forestry programs,” Alec Giffen,  MFS director, said Wednesday morning.

“The public’s input can help us identify the critical issues we need to focus the assessment on.”

Giffen said the survey consists of 20 questions and should take about five minutes to complete.

The state forest assessment will identify the current situation, trends and desired future conditions of a range of values in Maine’s forests.

It will also identify important forest areas where federal, state and other resources can have the greatest positive impact, the report stated.

Additionally, it will address the following national themes identified by the U. S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service:

• Conserving and managing working forest landscapes for multiple values and uses.

• Protecting forests from threats, including fire, catastrophic storms, flooding, insect or disease outbreaks, and invasive species.

• Enhancing public benefits from trees and forests, including air and water quality, soil conservation, biological diversity, carbon storage, and forest products, forestry-related jobs, production of renewable energy, and wildlife.

“We’ve created our list of issues over the last few years, but we’d like to make sure that we’ve captured the issues of concern to Maine people through this survey,” Giffen said. “We encourage people to take just a few minutes to complete the survey.”

The survey can only be taken once. People who already have completed the Statewide Forest Assessment and Strategy Survey in the past month or so do not have to fill it out again. Those responses have already been recorded.

The survey will remain open until Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.

At the end of the survey, people desiring to keep up-to-date on forestry issues and events, can subscribe to the Maine Forest Service’s e-mail newsletter “Woods Wise Wire.”

The free newsletter is e-mailed every Tuesday.

“Our ‘Woods Wise Wire’ newsletter covers all aspects of the Maine forest and gives a dynamic picture of what’s happening in the woods,” Giffen said. Readers can learn about upcoming workshops, the availability of new resources, forest health concerns, forest management information, and forest protection activities throughout Maine.

People who want to skip the survey and get the newsletter may e-mail Greg Lord at [email protected] and ask to be placed on the Woods Wise Wire mailing list.

For more information about the survey and/or newsletter, call the Maine Forest Service at 1-800-367-0223; contact Don Mansius, MFS Forest Policy and Management director, at (207) 287-4906 or e-mail [email protected], or visit the Maine Forest Service Web site at http://www.maine.gov/doc/mfs/.

[email protected]


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