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Preserving forests, one community at a time

Shelley Yen-Ewert (right) and her daughter, Zaia, 8, felt the texture of the bark at the Boston Nature Center in Boston on a visit last month.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

It’s no secret New England’s forests are critical to capturing the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to rising sea levels and extreme weather. Dharna Noor’s recent piece as part of the Globe’s ongoing Into the Red series (“New England’s forests are an underused tool in the climate fight, study says,” Nov. 8) highlights research findings from Harvard University, Highstead Foundation, and KKM Environmental Consulting that underscore just how effective they can be.

The article shines needed light on a range of strategies to boost the region’s abundant but highly threatened forests’ ability to be a carbon sponge. However, communities of all sizes and locations need to see, and drive, conservation that’s working for them day to day and open the way for people to connect with the outdoors.


Nonprofit, municipal, and locally managed community forests, including many that the Trust for Public Land has catalyzed from Connecticut to Downeast Maine, are cropping up across New England and the nation as intersectional, community-designed public land. Some of these spaces are managed by members of Indigenous tribes. Through timber production, recreation, outdoor education, and wildland and wildlife protection, community forests meet the daily needs of local communities while quietly delivering a carbon storage superpower.

By meeting and improving a wide range of everyday needs, community forests are helping to ensure a lasting constituency for one of nature’s best climate strategies.

Shelby Semmes

Vice President, New England region

Trust for Public Land

Warren Village, Vt.