FOREST HEALTH STRATEGY WORK GROUP
Since 2004, the Forest Health Strategy Work Group investigated and reported on opportunities and barriers for improving forest health conditions. The Work Group consisted of individuals selected on the basis of their knowledge of forests, forest ecology, or forest health issues. Members were appointed by the Commissioner of Public Lands.
They met three times in 2006 and held eight public meetings statewide, published reports to the Legislature, and drafted legislation to address Washington’s forest health crisis. They recommended new legal incentives and additional funding to reduce tree crowding and fuel loads on public and private forests.
The Work Group agreed that well-managed forests are the first line of defense against insect and disease outbreaks and are the best way to prevent uncharacteristic wildfires. Washington’s new forest health law passed by the 2007 Legislature is based on recommendations made by the Forest Health Strategy Work Group for reducing the risk of forest damage from insects, diseases, wind, and wildfire. With the new legislation in place, the Work Group has been dissolved.