On Jan. 3, the Healey-Driscoll administration’s Climate Forestry Committee released a report of recommendations regarding climate-oriented forest management practices.

The report, part of the “Forests as Climate Solutions” initiative launched last June, was developed by a 12-member committee created to examine the role of forests in mitigating dangerous climate change consequences.

The committee of scientific experts emphasized the importance of keeping forests intact by enlarging forest reserves, increasing permanent conservation efforts, and reducing the conversion of forests to other uses. Recommendations include strategies to maximize carbon storage, updating management best practices, and encouraging the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to implement its healthy soils action plan.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs is allocating $50 million to help cities and towns conserve forest and land, and to support forest-based businesses and local economies. The office plans to invest the funding in forest conservation, as well as initiatives that encourage municipal and private landowners to adopt climate-oriented management approaches.

The forest efforts are intended to help Massachusetts meet the climate goals set forth by the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, which requires 40% of the state’s natural and working lands to be conserved by 2050.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs plans to launch an online dashboard this year to highlight forest carbon metrics and trends and to provide a framework that explains the essential role of forests and carbon in fighting climate change. The office will also seek public input on the Climate Forestry Committee’s recommendations.

Visit the Forests as Climate Solutions website for more information.