Commissioner Franz Signs Order Directing DNR to Partner With Ukraine on Forestry
News Date: 
April 19, 2024

Commissioner Franz and Director General Yurii Bolokhovets discussed ways that Washington State and Ukraine can partner to share knowledge and expertise on sustainable forestry, recreation, and wildfire prevention 

Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz today met with a delegation from Ukraine (led by State Specialized Forest Enterprise "Forests of Ukraine" Director General Yurii Bolokhovets) to discuss best practices for sustainable forestry as well wildfire response and mitigation strategies. 
Ukrainian officials requested a meeting with Commissioner Franz and DNR staff to develop and strengthen bilateral cooperation in sustainable forestry. Washington’s high standards in forest management make the agency a global leader in sustainable harvest, conservation, and preservation. 
“In Washington, how we protect, manage, and fight for our forests is the measure of our state’s strength and values,” said Commissioner Franz. “We’re eager to share best practices because forests are critical to solving the climate crisis and powering economies.  
“Our forests everywhere face great threats from development to disease to, sadly, war. All of us, here in Washington and across the globe, must unite to defend our forests. That is why we are proud to stand with Ukraine and offer any assistance we can in their struggle to defend their people and lands.” 
Forests are critical to solving the climate crisis and powering economies. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s forests are in danger. The State Forest Resources Agency estimated that nearly 30% of Ukraine’s forests have suffered some kind of damage in the last three years. Russia reportedly has been actively destroying and harvesting Ukrainian forests, depleting the country’s natural resources, inflicting over $2 trillion in environmental costs, and causing long-term ecological damage – lowering groundwater level, reducing biodiversity, polluting the air, and increasing wildfires.  
Commissioner Franz is eager to share expertise with Ukraine and learn lessons from them. The Commissioner believes that how we protect, manage, and fight for our forests is the measure of our state’s strength and values. Washington state is a recognized leader on sustainable forestry.   
In 2017, DNR created the state’s first ever Forest Health Strategic Plan – a 20-year, $250 million investment in treating and protecting our forests through a comprehensive system of forest restoration, wildfire suppression, and economic development.  
To date the state has completed more than 600,000 acres of forest health treatments on federal, state, tribal and private forest lands in just over six years. With continued investment, Washington is on track to complete over one million treatment acres in the first 10 years of our 20-Year plan.  
In addition to improving the health of our forests, Washington is also building sustainability and climate resilience by taking what’s left behind from our forest recovery treatments and putting it to good use – generating renewable agricultural products like biochar and sustainable wood products like cross-laminated timber.  
While DNR is a leader on sustainable forestry, Commissioner Franz understands the importance of partnership and collaboration. That’s why, over the past few years the agency has formed valuable partnerships with British Columbia, as well as countries like Iceland and Finland. The Commissioner is thrilled to add Ukraine to this list of distinguished international partners. 
“The people of Ukraine and people of Washington State stand united not only in our commitment to defend freedom and democracy, but we also want to combine efforts to safeguard our shared values protecting nature with its ecosystem for the generations yet to come,” said Honorary Consul of Ukraine, Valeriy Goloborodko.
Michael Kelly 
Communications Director 
Cell: 360-878-4217