Forest Policy Initiatives (Stewardship Act 2024)

Proposed Forest Stewardship Act of 2024

Objectives: The Proposed Forest Stewardship Act of 2024 aims to encourage responsible forest management practices, promote ecological services, and mitigate carbon emissions through a range of initiatives targeting landowners and local communities.

Landowner Commitment to Ecological Services:

Landowners will be required to link their forest conservation plans and forest stewardship plans to a 15-year commitment to providing ecological services. This commitment will prioritize the preservation and enhancement of ecosystem health, biodiversity, and sustainability.

Financial Measures:

Landowners will receive incentives to establish forest mitigation banks for Forest Conservation Areas (FCA). Additional financial rewards will be granted for effective carbon sequestration efforts.

The act will establish a comprehensive statewide forest mitigation trading system. This system will allow for the offsetting of forest cover deficits at the county level. Counties that expand forest cover and contribute to a net-zero loss will benefit from this trading system.

Taxation: A taxation mechanism will be implemented, requiring landowners to contribute $1,000 per acre over a specified period. This tax will serve as a funding source to support the preservation and responsible management of forests.

Rationale: The Proposed Forest Stewardship Act of 2024 recognizes the vital role forests play in mitigating climate change, enhancing biodiversity, and providing crucial ecological services. By incentivizing landowners to actively engage in responsible forest management and carbon sequestration, and by implementing taxation to fund these efforts, this act seeks to ensure the long-term sustainability of Maryland's forests while contributing to broader environmental goals.

Group of young people students while walking autumn park
Asian female botanist is at the forest to survey and collect information about botanical plants. Concept field research outdoor.