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Governor, DNRC announce third successful year of forestry management

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News from the office of the Governor

MISSOULA — Governor Greg Gianforte announced on Feb. 27 the State of Montana reached its annual goal for acres placed under active forest management, the third consecutive year achieving this stewardship milestone.

Under the leadership of Director Amanda Kaster, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) placed over 36,000 forested acres under management in 2023.  

“The DNRC has demonstrated its commitment and capability to meet the ambitious forestry management targets we’ve set forth in Montana,” Gov. Gianforte said. “This achievement is a testament to our proactive approach and pursuit of strategies that safeguard our forests, communities, and natural resources.”

Since Governor Gianforte took office, the DNRC has shown a steady increase in the pace and scale of forest management. Today’s announcement marks a significant increase from approximately 11,000 acres in 2020, to 25,000 in 2021, and further to 31,000 acres in 2022.

Cross-boundary projects and agreements on federal, state, and private land have been instrumental in driving effective management to protect Montana communities and natural resources from an increased risk of wildfire and a variety of forest health issues. Management projects include mechanical treatments, such as thinning or logging, prescribed fire, and forest restoration.

“The benefits of active forest management are clear and extend far beyond just protecting our forests from wildfires and disease. It creates healthier habitats for wildlife, improves water quality, and supports good-paying jobs,” Gov. Gianforte added.

The state uses a variety of programs and authorities, including Good Neighbor Authority and state and private forestry funding to improve and expand forest management across Montana guided by the priorities outlined in the Forest Action Plan.

In 2023, Gov. Gianforte signed House Bill 883 into law to boost funding to increase DNRC’s capacity for forest management projects across the state.

“The additional funding provided by the legislature is empowering us to expand capacity and utilize every tool available to manage more acres,” said Director Kaster. “The results speak for themselves: healthier forests, safer communities, and a DNRC team that demonstrably rises to the occasion.”

Speaking to the importance of partnership to address the forest health crisis in Montana, representatives from conservation groups and the forest products industry joined the governor and director at the press conference to mark the milestone.

“I want to thank the governor and Director Kaster for all the work that they’ve done because they’ve been laser focused on not only forest health, but also the health of the forest products industry. We feel very optimistic about our future – the industry is thriving,” said Julia Woods, executive director of the Montana Wood Products Association.

 The governor concluded, “By ensuring the long-term health of our forests, we’re securing this vital economic engine for generations to come.”


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