Arizona’s Forest Action Plan
The diversity of Arizona forests range from riparian gallery forest in the low elevation deserts to sub-alpine and montane forests above 9000 feet in elevation. Forest cover approximately 27% of the State and are mostly managed by Federal, Tribal, and State entities. Arizona’s Forest Action Plan is a collaborative analysis of forest related conditions, trends, threats, and opportunities. In developing the plan, Arizona organized the state’s critical forest resource issues into seven major categories: People and Forests, Ecosystem Health, Water and Air, Fire, Economics, Climate Change, and Culture. As each of these seven categories was developed, GIS data was utilized to identify forest resource focus areas. The plan further refines these issues to provide 20 collaborative goals with specific actions, performance measures, stakeholders, and programs.
Preserve and enhance the economic values of working forest lands
Reduce threats to resources and communities
Enhance the economic, environmental, and social benefits from trees and forests
Arizona presently has inadequate wood-processing infrastructure and markets to support an economically feasible, large scale forest restoration effort. A major goal in Arizona’s Strategy is to develop policies, plans, and incentives to encourage the development and perpetuation of forest products businesses that will diversify the economy and facilitate forest restoration activities.
High intensity wildfires are a prevailing threat to Arizona's communities, infrastructure and ecosytems. Recent trends show increasing size and severity of wildland fire occurrence and the increasing costs in fighting and managing these fires. Goals in Arizona’s Strategy include restoring fire regimes, developing fire adapted communities, enhancing firefighting response capabilities, and educating the public and government leadership about fire management issues.
Water is arguably Arizona’s most precious resource. Because forested watersheds produce a large proportion of the state’s water supply, proper forest management is essential to protect the quantity and quality of municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supplies, as well as protecting endangered riparian ecosystems. Arizona’s Strategy provides 19 recommended actions to improve water quality and quantity, increase resiliency of forested aquatic systems, and educate the public of the importance of forests to water.