Forest Protection Advocacy


Together, we work to protect forests for people and the planet through education, advocacy, and collaboration.

Join us as we:

  • Raise awareness of the interconnectivity and interdependence of healthy forest ecosystems, healthy communities, healthy citizens, and economic prosperity.
  • Advocate for policies and legislation to protect and preserve Massachusetts’ trees and forests, and expand urban forests, based on the scientific principle that trees are more valuable alive than dead for averting catastrophic climate disruption, preventing biodiversity collapse, and protecting public health. Connect and integrate local, state, national, and international forest policies. Local policies have global consequences.


Jump to Comments to State and Federal Agencies, Letters to the Editor


Centerpieces of Sierra Club Forest Advocacy


Our current work:

Reserves for Old Growth: 

“We, {SC} work to protect mature and old-growth trees and forests from logging across Massachusetts' public lands as a cornerstone of MA climate policy.”

Preserving primary, mature forests is a priority Sierra Club goal at the national and state levels. Massachusetts has very little old growth forests, currently less than 0.1% is old growth. But much of our forest lands are mature and have the potential, if left alone to age for the next one- to two hundred years, to become old growth. Most of the public forests in Massachusetts are mature, having grown in abandoned agricultural land that was farmed seventy to eighty years ago. Because of the irreplaceable value of our mature public forests, Sierra Club is fighting to preserve all state forests. If our state forests are designated as reserves and given permanent legal protections, they will develop old-growth characteristics, providing maximum climate protection and ecosystem services.

Sierra Club joined the Primary Forest Alliance calling for a Moratorium on Industrial Activity in Primary Forests until 2050.

A picture containing text, tree, outdoor, plant

Photo from Wild Heritage video

"Primary forests (aka "old growth", "intact" or "virgin forests") are naturally regenerating forests of native tree species, whose structure, composition and dynamics are dominated by ecological and evolutionary processes—i.e. they have “ecosystem integrity.” Prior significant human intervention may have occurred, but long enough ago to have enabled an ecologically mature forest ecosystem to re-establish, including all of its native plant and animal species.
"Proforestation" is a forest management strategy that enables secondary and degraded forests to grow to ecological maturity, i.e. to reach their primary forest state." [Mackey et al 2020] [Moomaw et al. 2019] [Kormos et al. 2017]

Watch this excellent Wild Heritage video for a vision of what primary forests in MA could be like in 2050.

We know how and why to preserve forests. All we lack is the political will.

"Primary forests are truly irreplaceable ecosystems – irrecoverable by 2050 and essential to maintaining a habitable planet."

A Huge Win for Old-Growth Forests in Canada:

November, 2023. A Billion Dollar Nature Agreement between the British Colombia government and the First Nations Leadership Council is a massive win for old-growth ecosystems and wildlife in British Columbia. First Nations will develop and lead the conservation initiatives, endangered species recovery, and habitat restoration, in order to achieve a central mandate to reach the 30% by 2030 target for old-growth forests.




Action Items:

    Send letters to your legislators. Ask them to co-sponsor H.4150.

We are generating strong support for H.4150, which was a late-filed bill. Celeste Venolia provided oral testimony for Sierra Club at the hearing for H.4150 on November 29. H.4150 would give all Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) state-owned lands and watersheds permanent protection as reserves, similar to National Park protection. This is a companion bill to H.904; hearing held on October 11th. H.904 - An Act relative to increased protection of wildlife management areas - which would  mandate that 30% of all state-owned lands under the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) be given permanent reserve status If both H.4150 and H.904 are passed, 460,000 acres of state-owed lands would be permanently protected as parks and reserves.

Also, please send a letter to your legislators asking them to co-sponsor these two bills.

Fact Sheet for H.4150

Fact Sheet for H.904


   Stop the Hanscom Field Expansion

The proposed expansion of Hanscom private jet service would have disastrous climate effects in Massachusetts! 
Webinar: Private jet expansion at Hanscom airport
Tuesday, Nov. 28 from 6 - 7 p.m: Zoom link

Sign the online petition urging the Governor to stop the expansion.

More information at


   Protect October Mountain State Forest

At 16,500 acres, October Mountain is the largest state forest in Massachusetts, near Tanglewood. Should we be logging and managing this area? Or should it be protected like a National Park? 
Please sign our PETITION to permanently protect this forest from unnecessary and damaging human management. 
Our Action Page is here:

Protesters gather at October Mountain State Forest in Washington to stop a proposed
state logging operation
, Berkshire Eagle, 6/17/23
The invasive emerald ash borer has destroyed millions of trees – scientists aim to
control it with tiny parasitic wasps
, 8/3/21 



Comments to State and Federal Agencies 

  1. Sierra Club Testimony in support of two biomass bills:
S.2136 /H.3210 An Act to remove woody biomass from the greenhouse gas emissions standard for municipal lighting plants (Gomez, Ramos, et al.); and S.2137/H.3211 An Act limiting the eligibility of woody biomass as an alternative energy supply (Gomez, Ramos, et al.)

2. Celeste Venolia on behalf of the Massachusetts Chapter gave oral testimony on H.4150, 11/29/23

3. Lynne Man on behalf of the Forest Protection Team sent written comments on Forests as Climate Solutions, 9/11/15


Letters to the Editor and Newspaper Articles

Environmental group shares views on forest management in Montague, Greenfield Recorder, 8/22/23
Can we just stop cutting state forests? Chris Matera, Gazette, 11/29/23
How much ‘managing’ do public forests need, Bouricius, Gazette, 3/31
My Turn: Can we start by permanently protecting more state land?, Sinclair, Kellett, Recorder, 4/25/23
A History of old growth forest loss, Jim Thornley, Gazette
Management and logging in our public forests, Bouricious, Gazette 
Maine forests next on the chopping block for biomass, PFPI, 11/22


One last note...

The UN General Assembly had an unexpected visitor in 2022, Frankie the Dinosaur with a message for Humanity:

Don’t Choose Extinction

Frankie: "At least we had an asteroid. What’s your excuse?

Here’s my wild idea. Don’t choose extinction. Save your species before it’s too late. Stop making excuses and start making changes."

Watch video: Frankie has a message for Humanity