Agreement works toward restoring forests in N. Arizona

More than 20 organizations are included in a memorandum of understanding between the Four Forest Restoration Initiative Collaborative Stakeholder Group and the four national forests that would work toward restoring ponderosa pine forests in northern Arizona.

Conservationists, scientists, industry representatives, community leaders and the U.S. Forest Service signed the agreement that would impact the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Tonto national forests.

The agreement is designed to accelerate large-scale restoration across the Mogollon Rim to support resilient, diverse stands that sustain native biodiversity; safely re-establish natural fire regimes; reduce fire threats to communities; create sustainable forest industries that strengthen local economies while conserving natural resources and aesthetic values; and engage the public through increased public outreach, education and support for this initiative.

Northern Arizona University President John Haeger said the vision of the agreement aligns with the university’s goals of cultivating partnerships to advance renewable resources, sustainable practices and environmental responsibility.

“Northern Arizona University’s environmental and social research regarding these regional landscapes will continue to contribute to this ambitious effort,” Haeger said. “As wildfires grow in magnitude and intensity, the need for restorative action on a level that matches the size of our southwestern fires is urgent.”

The memorandum of understanding calls for the Forest Service and members of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative to work together through the process of framing the issues, developing a range of treatments, analyzing impacts and identifying preferred actions.

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