Vermont Forest Roundtable

Conceived of and convened by VNRC in 2006, the Roundtable is a venue for the exchange of information relating to keeping Vermont’s forests as forests, with particular attention focused on addressing parcelization and forest fragmentation. The Roundtable has grown in participation and interest, with over 180 people now tracking its progress. Participants have included consulting foresters, professional planners, government officials, landowners, sportsmen, representatives from the forest products industry, conservation groups, biomass energy organizations, and public and private universities and colleges.VNRC’s goal as convener of the Roundtable has been to create an open forum to which people with a wide range of perspectives could exchange information and, where possible, develop recommendations for policy changes.Roundtable meetings have addressed multiple topics, including trends in Vermont’s real estate market and rising forestland values, property tax policy, land use and conservation planning, estate planning, landowner incentive programs such as the Current Use Program, and the long-term sustainability of the forest products industry. Click Here for a list of Vermont forest values and a score of
their importance and vulnerability
For more on the issue of Forest Fragmentation, click the image below to view VNRC’s Vermont Environmental Report that addressed the issue.Forest Roundtable Report 

Who should care about this report?

  • Anyone who cares about the future of forests in Vermont. Forests provide a multitude of values, from lumber and firewood, to wildlife habitat, to clean water and clean air, and even energy. There are hundreds of thousands of Vermonters who value forests for these and other important reasons. Those people include forestland owners, hunters, anglers, hikers, snowmobilers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, birdwatchers and many more. Forests define our state and drive important sectors of our economy. When people think Vermont, they think “forests.”

What makes this report different and unique?

  • This report represents the findings of one of the most diverse group of interests ever assembled on this issue. Among the participants are foresters, loggers, mill owners, municipal and regional planners, state government officials, as well as wildlife and rural development advocates. Roundtable participants came together, put aside differences, and hammered out specific recommendations to improve the long-term outlook for forests in Vermont.

Why are the recommendations in the Roundtable report timely and important?

  • Vermont’s forestland is being cut up and developed at an unprecedented rate. The broad-based Forest Roundtable identified this pattern as a major threat to Vermont’s way of life and has offered strategies to stem the trend.  More and more Vermonters are finding lands where they have skied, hunted or hiked for years, developed.
  • Recent research from the Governor’s Commission on Climate Change shows that halting or slowing the conversion of forestland into development is one of the most effective ways Vermont can reduce its contribution to climate change.

What are some of the key recommendations that came out of the report?

  • Improve the current use tax program to expand landowner enrollment and make it more efficient.
  • Help families understand how they can keep their land intact as it gets handed down from one generation to the next.
  • Integrate existing planning efforts at the local, regional and state level to reduce forest fragmentation.
  • Create a way to quantify, recognize and compensate landowners for the value of certain benefits —clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat — provided by forests.
  • Promote to architects and builders the importance of using Vermont wood in construction.
  • Boost the visibility of the contribution of a working forest to the state, including the economic, ecological and social benefits of forestland.

Contact: Jamey Fidel, Forest Program Director, 802/223-2328 x 117