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Smith Announces Formation of Forest Stewardship Task Force

Trenton – Senator Bob Smith announced the formation of the Forest Stewardship Task Force during today’s Senate Environment and Energy Committee hearing.

“Forests are critical to the environmental welfare of our State,” said Senator Smith (D Middlesex/Somerset), Chair of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. “They can play a major role in mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon dioxide; providing habitats for endangered wildlife; helping clean and protect drinking water sources; and stabilizing soils. Proper management of forests is also necessary for preventing wildfires which are becoming more frequent and intense.”

The purpose of the task force will be to study and identify ways in which the State can best manage its forests in order to fight climate change, prevent forest fires, improve ecosystems, and protect soil and water quality, among other things. The task force will take feedback from interested parties and then compile a report on consensus and non-consensus issues with respect to forest stewardship for submission to the Committee.

“For decades, we have been debating what proper management of the State’s forests should look like, and what the State’s policies for forest stewardship should be,” said Senator Smith. “We’ve assembled this task force in order to identify and debate the major issues and ultimately develop consensus solutions which could form the basis for future legislation.”

The task force will be led by the following four co-chairs:

  • Eileen Murphy, Vice President of Government Relations, NJ Audubon
  • Andy Bennett, Board Member, NJ Forestry Association
  • Tom Gilbert, Co-Executive Director, NJ Conservation Foundation
  • Anjuli Ramos, Chapter Director, NJ Sierra Club

Individuals interested in participating on, or contributing to, the task force should reach out to