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Anchorage Urban Forest Management Plan and Survey

(Anchorage, AK) - The Alaska Division of Forestry, Community Forestry Program and the Municipality of Anchorage invite the public to complete a short online survey on how they use and what they value in forested parks in Anchorage. Responses will be used to develop a management plan that will help maximize benefits and services from undeveloped forest land.

The plan will identify how much of Anchorage is covered by trees through an urban tree canopy analysis, the first study of its kind in Alaska. Urban tree canopy is important because the greater the canopy coverage, the greater the benefits provided. Through mapping and analyzing data about the distribution and condition of the forest the municipality will be better able to identify and reduce threats from fire, insects, disease, and other destructive agents. The plan will also identify priority areas for conservation and cost effective methods to manage forest lands.

"Forests are among the most effective and least costly elements of city infrastructure," said Stephen Nickel, Community Assistance Forester with the Alaska Division of Forestry, Community Forestry Program. "They improve air and water quality, reduce and treat storm water, store carbon, counter the effects of climate change, help conserve energy, increase property values, provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, and make our city a healthier place to live."

The management plan will be written by the Davey Resource Group under a state contract and with funding from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service. The final draft will be completed in August 2010 and will go through a public review process.

The survey is available through Thursday, July 1, 2010 at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Anchorage_Forest_Land . The survey can also be found at the Alaska Division of Forestry, Community Forestry Program's website http://forestry.alaska.gov/community/news.htm

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