Baltimore County signs forest pact

Area chosen as site for preservation project

November 09, 2005|BY A SUN REPORTER

Baltimore County signed an agreement yesterday with state and federal officials to preserve forests while meeting the needs of development and industry.

Along with rural areas in Michigan and Oregon, Baltimore County was selected as a pilot site for the U.S. Forest Service's Linking Communities to the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators Project, which calls for the county to review its forest-conservation efforts.

The goal is to achieve a "sustainable forest," said David A.C. Carroll, director of the county Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management. "Forests provide lots of benefits for lots of different groups - everything from water quality to habitat, clean air, aesthetics," Carroll said.

To achieve a sustainable forest, he said, the county must manage resources "in a way it can sustain all of those uses and still be around 50 years from now or 100 years from now."

The agreement, announced at a ceremony at Meadowood Regional Park in Lutherville-Timonium, was signed by Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and officials from the U.S. Forest Service, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the nonprofit American Forests.

As part of the project, the county will take an inventory of the more than 131,000 acres of forests in the county using the Montreal Process guidelines. The evaluation grew out of an international environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992.

Programs will include encouraging landowners to plant more trees, limiting development on land surrounding reservoirs and evaluating the impact of animals.

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