USDA, Miss. sign historic agreement to improve forest conditions on public, private lands

USDA, Miss. sign historic agreement to improve forest conditions on public, private lands
Mississippi State Forester Russell Bozeman signs a Shared Stewardship agreement between the USDA and Mississippi during a virtual ceremony. (Source: Mississippi Forestry Commission)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture James Hubbard and Mississippi State Forester Russell Bozeman signed an agreement to improve the magnolia state’s public and private lands.

Signed during a virtual ceremony Wednesday, the agreement creates a framework for federal and state agencies to focus on accomplishing mutual goals and effectively respond to the increasing ecological challenges and natural resource concerns in Mississippi.

“Working together, we can better decide where to make the investments needed,” Hubbard said.

This new agreement focuses on USDA’s commitment to work with states and other partners to use the best available science to identify high-priority forests that need treatment and to ensure the long-term sustainability of public and private lands.

“As an important resource and industry in our state, our trees and forests touch all Mississippian’s lives in one way or another,” said Bozeman. “Healthy trees produce healthy lives.”

Specific work involves projects that manage and reduce threats to forest and ecosystem health, assist communities in planning for and reducing wildfire risk, improve air and water quality, conserve and enhance fish and wildlife habitat and connect people to trees, forests, and other natural resources.

Mississippi became the eighth state in the South to sign the agreement.

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