Last week, the NACD Forestry Resource Policy Group (RPG) held its annual summer meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The group was joined by federal partners representing the U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Association of State Foresters, National Agroforestry Center and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as agency partners from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The RPG heard from  Magaly Figueroa  on how the Forest Service has implemented State and Private programs such as Forest Legacy, Urban and Community Forestry, Forest Stewardship and the Community Forest Program on the islands. The Forest Service is also helping to provide native plant materials for post-hurricane reforestation efforts.

Dr. Nora Álvarez-Berríos  of the Caribbean Climate Hub touched on tools for sustainable agriculture and forestry. Resistant trees are part of the recovery, but species choices are limited because native tree stock is not readily available. Ivan Llerandi, Habitat Restoration Program Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, described how his agency has worked with more than 70 landowners to help restore more than 4,000 acres and 60 miles of riparian buffers.

“Our group was thrilled with the partnership engagement at this meeting,” Forestry RPG  Chairman Steve Hedstrom  said. “I think they found value in the presentations and the opportunity to share ideas and network with one another.”