NM Forest and Watershed Health Plan - a collaborative framework

Faced with the growing need to address the declining health of forests and watershed across the state, the Forestry Division, in 2003, convened a broadly representative stakeholder group to lead the planning process to create a Forest and Watershed Health Plan. Over the next year and a half, utilizing town hall meetings and direct outreach to garner public input, the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Health Plan was submitted and approved in March 2005. A state-led collaborative effort, involving numerous partners and stakeholders, is being used to implement the Plan.

The Forest and Watershed Health Plan:

Brief Background:

New Mexico’s ecosystems are in an unhealthy state due to conditions of over density of fuels, including invasive species and noxious weeds. This unhealthy condition is exacerbated by drought, which results in the unwanted conditions of susceptibility to wildfire and insect infestation, compromised watersheds, and decreasing biodiversity. These conditions are common throughout the West and are of the highest priority, as indicated by the National Fire Plan and the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

New Mexico’s forest condition is being addressed by the federal land management agencies, tribal, state and local governments, private landowners, public interest groups, and research institutions. These efforts have grown and will continue to do so in the coming years. By necessity, some coordination of effort and resources has evolved. However, as the conditions become more acute, the resulting problems will have an even more devastating effect on the landscape and on public health and welfare unless swift, effective action is taken.

The need to coordinate the variety of efforts of all these entities is imperative to an expedient remedy of forest and watershed health condition. Effective coordination, resource allocation, project prioritization and integrated communication are all vital, and the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Health Plan is the way to bring this into action.

This webpage is maintained on the NM EMNRD Forestry web (nmforestry.com)

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