Forest Protection: What We Do

Logging on state lands

Routine commercial logging is conducted by several state government agencies (mainly the Departments of Conservation and Recreation [DCR] and Fish and Wildlife [DFW]), but also the Department of Energy Resources [DOER]). Large scale logging projects are often framed in environmental terms, such as to promote “forest health,” “successional habitat,” and “increase rate of carbon sequestration.” All these rationales are problematic for a variety of reasons that we frequently discuss in meetings, and for which we maintain references.


  • We have lobbied heavily to support bills that protect public lands from commercial logging. This includes testifying at hearings, writing letters, making calls and visiting legislators, campaigns to increase public engagement, etc.
  • We are currently planning a communication strategy with state regulatory agencies that routinely log to try to find a path towards forest preservation, rather than destruction

Development in urban areas

Trees and small forested areas in cities are often threatened due to commercial and residential development, open space “improvements,” and nuisance factors (infections, pests). Removing municipal trees increases urban heat islands, reduces air and water filtration and quality. It also impacts physical and mental health. These issues are often controversial, take place in environmental justice communities and do not lend themselves to easy solutions, as legitimate, but opposing issues are often present.


  • We help various groups advocate for preserving trees in their neighborhoods, parks and communities by showing up and speaking at town/city meetings, writing letters of support for neighborhood/community advocacy coalitions, circulating action alerts, and providing expertise from our members re: legal issues, zoning laws, public health consequences, etc.
  • We work with local coalitions, and advocate for local issues, particularly in environmental justice communities
  • We have advocated for two bills to help preserve trees in municipal open space, one of which is still pending in the current “informal” legislative session. We will support similar bills in the next session.

Renewable energy project siting

Increasingly, forest land is sacrificed for renewable energy project siting, (mostly solar, but this could also be wind), because it is easier, cheaper and more profitable to clearcut a forest for a renewable project than it is to use already disturbed and degraded landscapes, such as parking lots, rooftops, highway medians, landfills, utility easements, etc. This contributes to the worsening climate crisis and biodiversity collapse.


  • We have begun researching ways in which we can promote renewable energy projects on disturbed landscapes. Early data collection includes studying appropriate projects that have been completed, looking at land requirements to meet energy needs, identifying challenges and barriers as well as potential solutions and more.
  • We will strategize to develop a campaign or introduce legislation to incentivize a more nature-friendly way of ramping up renewable energy.


Every year, forests are lost to harvesting in order to support burning “woody biomass” to produce heat and energy. This practice is subsidized (and therefore incentivized) by our state government. Not only does this destroy our forests, but it pollutes more than coal and often compromises environmental justice communities. Fortunately, burning woody biomass in large energy plants was just removed from tax subsidies; however, smaller plants for heat still qualify for tax breaks.


  • Continue to follow and advocate for any new legislation that further limits burning woody biomass, including in public facilities (i.e., DCR parks). This includes letter-writing campaigns, making phone calls, testifying at hearings, and updating the website to promote the public’s knowledge and action.

Public Education

Keeping the public informed of both the issues threatening forests as well as actions that can be taken is of critical importance. Our Education team works on all of the above issues and is key in maintaining a common thread throughout.


  • Our web page is a dynamic work in progress, which provides up-to-date information to the public on all the above topics including links to resources
  • We are currently working on developing educational media (i.e., videos), arranging for speakers/interviews and other means of public outreach

Outings (coming soon!)

“Adventures with a cause” - helps people connect with the outdoors, appreciate nature, and learn about the precarious place we are and how we can help.


  • This program was shut down due to the pandemic. A new grant-funded hire will help to reboot the program in which we hope to promote further interest in forest and trees through experiential learning. This will include visiting natural destinations in MA, educating about the threats to our ecosystems and providing real-time and real-world opportunities for public engagement.