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D'Amato, Clark to Help Advance New York Reforestation Plan

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) has invited two NE CASC researchers, Principal Investigator Anthony D’Amato and Postdoctoral Fellow Peter Clark, to contribute to the state’s new Reforestation Plan and lead its Reforestation and Regeneration components. In this capacity, they will play a key role in guiding implementation of the state's reforestation initiative, which Governor Kathy Hochul will formally unveil in the coming months. An ambitious program that uses trees as a natural solution to mitigate climate change impacts, the plan calls for the planting of 25 million trees and the development of 1.7 million acres of new forest by 2033. The plan is one facet of New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates a 40% statewide reduction in fossil fuel emissions by 2030 and an 85% reduction by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).   

As part of the team being led by the NY DEC, D’Amato and Clark will contribute recommendations and best practices to ensure that the initiative can meet its quantitative tree-planting goals while also establishing and expanding forests that are adapted for future climate conditions, genetically diverse, and aligned with restoration and conservation goals.  These efforts will build on findings from their 2023 Bioscience publication, which revealed that forest nurseries in northern states may serve as a bottleneck in the pursuit of large-scale federal, state, and local tree-planting initiatives. Surveying over 600 nurseries, their study illustrated that these entities must improve the volume and type of seedlings they grow if the objectives of government-sponsored tree-planting programs–such as New York’s Reforestation Plan–are to be met. 

“Pete and I are thrilled to be part of a well thought out community of practice that seeks to address challenges related to establishing and sustaining forests in a climate-smart manner,” D’Amato said. “We look forward to working with a wide range of partners to help realize the admirable goals of the New York Reforestation Plan.”