Tongass Advisory Committee
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the Tongass National Forest Federal Advisory Committee (the TAC) in 2014 to advise the Secretary and Chief of the USDA on how to transition the Tongass National Forest from old growth to primarily young growth-based forest management. Members represented a broad and diverse range of viewpoints and expertise, geographically diverse communities in and outside of Alaska, and people committed to working collaboratively to achieve sustainable management on their land.
The Committee had four charges:
- Identify key elements of consideration for a potential Forest Plan modification, assuming young growth is the focus of future vegetation management, while balancing other important resource values;
- Offer recommendations on the suitable, available land base for an ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable forest management program with an emphasis on young growth management;
- Advise on how to speed the shift from predominately old growth management to predominately young growth management in a way that is economically viable for the existing industry; and
- Advise on opportunities to work cooperatively with other landowners on an all lands young growth forest management strategy.
After 18 months of deliberation, the TAC developed a consensus package of recommendations for making the transition, which the U.S. Forest Service adopted and is implementing today through the 2016 Tongass Land & Resource Management Plan. In addition to the recommendations included in the Tongass Plan, the TAC also developed a list of recommendations for implementation, monitoring, and funding changes needed for a successful transition to young growth management. Meridian established a new multi-stakeholder coalition, the Tongass Transition Collaborative, to assure citizen involvement in implementation of these recommendations.