SAF Develops New Reforestation Position Statement

January 30, 2023

SAF’s Board of Directors recently approved a new position statement titled “Regenerating America’s Forests,” which was developed by SAF’s Committee on Forest Policy. The statement acknowledges the increasing pressure on the profession for reforestation and afforestation efforts across the country. The statement supports expanded research and development that prioritizes forest regeneration issues, as well as policies and programs that address current and emerging reforestation and afforestation challenges.

Demand for trees and forest cover is growing given combined societal needs for renewable wood products, bioenergy, and the array of other ecosystem services provided by trees and forests: clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation, carbon sequestration, and climate adaptation. Traditional post-harvest reforestation activities have unfortunately failed to keep up with needs over the last several decades, particularly on federal lands, and we now have expansive stand-replacing wildfire and other natural disturbances across Western forestlands driving large reforestation needs.

Projections consistently show that recent trends in climate change and associated disturbances are likely to expand (and further hinder) regeneration efforts. Additionally, global and national climate mitigation and carbon sequestration initiatives are calling for more forest cover, beyond active forest conservation programs, that could double the existing demand for reforestation and afforestation within the US alone.

Reforestation and afforestation concepts apply within larger challenges of sustainable, climate-informed forest management and global markets. These challenges are, therefore, more complex than simply planting more trees; they require active research and development that can inform prudent policy.

We would like to thank John Bailey of the Committee on Forest Policy for his work as lead author on this position statement. We’d also like to thank the entire Committee on Forest Policy, the Forest Science and Technology Board, SAF Working Group members, and the Board of Directors for their contributions. Finally, we’d like to thank Rich Guldin for his thought leadership on this issue and his initial work on the development of this statement.

In addition to the position statement, SAF developed a shareable briefer that summarizes the statement and social media graphics to educate decision makers and the public. Members are welcome to share these resources with their networks.

Download the briefer and the graphics here: 
Visit the policy webpage to explore all of SAF’s National Position Statements.