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Press Release, U.S. Forest Service, Nov. 16, 2001

The Nature Conservancy and USDA Forest Service Join Forces on Innovative Conservation Partnership

Conservancy and Forest Service to Expand Projects Aimed at Habitat and Watershed Restoration, Fire Management, and Combating Invasive Species

WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 16, 2001

The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Forest Service today have signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at enhancing cooperative partnerships and projects to inventory, monitor, protect and restore forest, grassland and aquatic habitat for fish, wildlife and plant resources in the United States and abroad.

Dale Bosworth, Chief of the Forest Service, and Steve McCormick, President of The Nature Conservancy signed the MOU at the Conservancy's worldwide office in Arlington, Virginia. Under the agreement, the Forest Service and Conservancy will continue and expand cooperative efforts between the two organizations to restore and maintain healthy forest and grassland-based ecosystems; use prescribed burning as a conservation tool to protect ecosystems, watersheds, and communities; partner in efforts to combat the spread of harmful aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, and work jointly to protect habitat for migratory bird species.

"The Nature Conservancy has long enjoyed an outstanding working relationship with our colleagues at the Forest Service, and I am confident that this agreement will move our partnership to a new level," said McCormick. "I salute Forest Service chief Dale Bosworth for his leadership and for his willingness to work with partners like the Conservancy to achieve conservation progress on landscape-wide scales."

Forest Service Chief Bosworth said, "The Nature Conservancy plays a critical role in facilitating the conservation of natural resources not only in the United States, but also around the world. Partnerships with conservation leaders like TNC are key to helping the Forest Service fulfill its natural resource legacy by working in a collaborative manner with all those who use and care about these precious resources."

Under the terms of the agreement, The Nature Conservancy and the Forest Service agree to cooperate on the following:

Inventory, assessments, surveys, and data management for biological diversity, wildlife, fish and plant resource information. Land-ownership adjustments or consolidations including land acquisition, donations and land exchanges. Terrestrial and aquatic habitat improvement, restoration, maintenance, or conservation, including the habitats of migratory birds.
Mitigation, restoration and rehabilitation activities. Assistance to and partnerships with foreign, state and tribal governments, private landowners, communities, and other non-governmental organizations. Demonstration of innovative management practices, including those that facilitate conservation of forests, parks, watersheds and protected
areas; prevention and control of invasive species, use of prescribed fire, sustainable forestry, grazing, recreation use, and eco-tourism. Community-based outreach, training, education and partnerships. McCormick said that the wide scope of the agreement fits well with Conservation By Design, The Nature Conservancy's systematic, science-based approach to identifying sites and landscapes for conservation action.

"We've learned that in order to really preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth, you can't just manage a number of nature preserves," McCormick said. "You have to reach out and partner with organizations like the Forest Service that share your interest in achieving ecosystem wide conservation progress. And you must do so in a way that respects people on the ground and their livelihoods."

McCormick said, "The Forest Service has similarly embraced a balanced approach of 'caring for the land and serving people.' Because of these shared values, the partnership between The Nature Conservancy's oak leaf symbol and the Forest Service's pine tree shield has tremendous potential in the years ahead."

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