You Can Help Preserve Massachusetts Forests and Trees on Oct 11 and beyond!

Urgent action needed to support Forest and Tree Protection Legislation: HD.4430, H.894, H.904, H.869, S.452, and H.895.

There are powerful interests working to oppose these bills. Corporations and others that want to “maximize the economic value” of land and forests, and to make way for “development”. We need your voice to counteract their money, access, and influence!


Forests allowed to grow old, uncut and wild, are the #1 solution to removing harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere as trees breathe in climate warming gases and store them in their bodies and soils, and in the wetlands they help create for free.

Forests and trees cool the temperature on land, acting like natural air conditioners, both in rural and urban areas.  

Forests and trees create balanced and clean fresh water distribution and storage on land (producing normal rainfall, wetlands, underground aquifers and natural rivers). Forests slow down wind and absorb rainfall. Large tracts of forests left undisturbed can significantly reduce hurricanes, tornados, and flooding through the global water cycles they create.

Natural forests and trees provide the best habitat for wildlife biodiversity, and promote human health and happiness.

80% of wildlife species on land depend on uncut natural forests for their habitats!

Although forests provide all these critical climate healing and life promoting services, less than 2% of the forest land in our state has permanent protection, and urban/suburban trees have virtually no protection.  

Several bills have been submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature this session that urgently need your support to help protect forests and trees. These actions would help Massachusetts to do its part to help slow and reverse climate change and protect natural wildlife habitats.

Several of these bills have a hearing on October 11, 2023 from 1 – 5 PM, when citizens can testify in person and request that the legislature support and vote on these important bills. Written testimony can be given for the hearing or for a short time afterwards. Please also contact your state senator and representative and ask them to support and co-sponsor these bills.


How Can you help?

Sign up to testify in person or virtually at the hearing here:

Please pre-register by 12PM on Monday October 9, 2023. Once registered, you will receive an invitation to join the hearing one day prior to the hearing if providing oral testimony virtually. Please note there is a time limit of 3 minutes per person for both in-person and virtual oral testimony. You can find an example of testimony HERE that you can adapt to put into your own words.

Send written testimony to the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources at this address:

HERE is an example of written testimony that you can modify and put into your own words.

Urge your legislator to co-sponsor these bills!

Use our letter writing tool here, to contact your state senator and state representative. Urge them to take proactive action to co-sponsor and actively support there important bills. This is especially important for HD.4430 which will come before a separate hearing later this year.

The Bills under consideration at the Oct 11 hearing:

Bill H.894 would temporarily protect 615,000 acres under the care and control of the Division of Conservation and Recreation, preventing these forests from cutting and destruction until studies and policies for permanent protection can be implemented. (Download a Fact Sheet)

Bill H.904 would permanently protect 30% of the land owned by Fish and Wildlife, about 51,000 acres, by 2030. These state agencies have a small amount of land in reserves where intact ecosystems are influenced primarily by natural processes. These bills request more reserves than we now have, and give them legal protection that they do not currently have. (Download a Fact Sheet)

Bill (H.869/S.452) The Municipal Reforestation Act, would provide greater financial and structural support for municipalities to expand and maintain their tree canopy cover prioritizing environmental justice areas and municipalities with less than twenty percent canopy coverage.

Bill H.895, would require separate measurement and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from, and carbon sequestration (breathing in and storing greenhouse carbon gases) by agricultural lands, managed forests, and protected forests rather than lumping them together as Natural and Working Lands. This would allow us to assess the differences and provide a basis in fact for developing the best policies and practices to reach the state’s greenhouse gas emissions goal of Net Zero by 2050, without first using carbon gains on protected lands to offset carbon losses on working lands. This bill would also prevent carbon gains on Massachusetts lands that are sold to offset fossil fuel use outside of the state from being counted towards meeting the net-zero goal. (Download a Fact Sheet)

One critical bill, HD.4430, will not be heard at the Oct. 11 hearing:

Please, be sure to write your legislators urging them to support and cosponsor this critical bill that will permanently save the largest amount of forest land most quickly.  It is not scheduled to be heard at the Oct 11 hearing although you can mention it. It will have a future hearing date.

Bill HD.4430 would designate 412,000 acres of forest and watershed lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation as parks and reserves. We would permanently conserve intact ecosystems that are influenced primarily by natural processes in our forests and parks — a level of protection that now exists for only 1% of the state’s land base. (Download a Fact Sheet)

There are powerful interests working to oppose these bills. Corporations and others that want to “maximize the economic value” of land and forests, and to make way for “development”. We need your voice to counteract their money, access, and influence!


The Trees As A Public Good Network & The ORMA Climate Crisis Working Group


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