Save Massachusetts Forests
Save Massachusetts Forests


 “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”  - Henry David Thoreau

Protecting our forests in this time of climate crisis and biodiversity collapse is recognized as an important way to protect our environment and our future health and well-being. Two bills have been submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature this session. One would permanently protect 412,000 acres under the care and control of the Division of Conservation and Recreation. The other would permanently protect 30% of the land owned by Fish and Wildlife, about 51,000 acres,  by 2030. These state agencies already have land in reserves where intact ecosystems are influenced primarily by natural processes. These bills request more reserves than we now have, and give them legal protection that they do not currently have. Together these actions would help Massachusetts to do its part to help mitigate climate change and protect our native natural heritage. 

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                          Save Massachusetts Forests is a project of  RESTORE: The North Woods. 


                   MASSACHUSETTS FOREST PROTECTION BILLS                                                    And Actions You Can Take


We are happy to announce a number of bills that were submitted this legislative session.The goals of these bills is for forest protection for climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection, and the many benefits of natural forests for the public.
Hearing dates and sign on letters of support are below. 
Please call or e-mail your legislators and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. You can find your legislator here: 

1. H.4150 — An Act Relative to forest protection, sponsored by Representative Carmine Gentile


Hearing date is Wednesday November 29th - It will be posted here:

This bill is resubmitted from the last legislative session. It would update century-old public land policies written before we recognized the climate crisis and global loss of biodiversity. This bill would help address these concerns by designating 412,000 acres of forest and watershed lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation as parks and reserves. We would permanently conserve intact ecosystems thatare influenced primarily by natural processes in our forests and parks — a level of protection that now exists for only 1% of the state’s land base.

Background and fact sheet for H.4150
H.4150 Act relative to forest protection[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [191.8 KB]
2. H904 - An Act relative to increased protection of wildlife management areas, sponsored by Representative Danillo Sena  
This bill is resubmitted from the last legislative session. It would expand the system of nature reserves on public Wildlife Management Areas under the control of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and make them permanent. The bill would direct the designation of at least 30% of the agency’s lands as reserves by 2030, consistent with the latest biological and climate science. A Wildlife Management Area Nature Reserves Council would oversee and administer all activities related to the reserves, defined as areas where to the greatest degree possible, forests are left to evolve with little to no human intervention. ( more information attached) 
H904 Background and Fact Sheet
H.904 background 20230314.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [188.3 KB]

3. H894 - An Act relative to forest management and practices guidelines  Sponsored by Representatives Lindsay Sabadosa and Aaron Saunders 


This bill includes a call for the creation of an independent Advisory Council to oversee an evaluation of Massachusetts publicly owned forest lands with goals that include:

• reducing climate change impacts for all Massachusetts residents;
• safeguarding biodiversity;
• enhancing public health benefits provided by forests; and
• mitigating the effects of climate change on our forests.
H894 Background and Fact Sheet
H.894 background 20230314.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [181.8 KB]

4. H895 -  An Act to Require Separate Carbon Accounting for Working Lands and Natural Lands and to Eliminate from Massachusetts Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Goal any Carbon Offsets Sold to Entities Outside of the Commonwealth, sponsored by Representative Lindsay Sabadosa


This bill would modify the Global Warming Solutions Act (Chapter 21N) as amended by the climate roadmap bill signed into law by Gov. Baker (Chapter 8 of the Acts of 2021: An act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy) by clarifying some carbon accounting issues in the existing law.


One of the goals of the Roadmap bill is to measure and report on the degree to which natural and working lands help mitigate climate disruption by removing carbon from the air. Existing law as written could lead to misleading assessments of net carbon accumulation in managed forests, forests in reserves, farmlands, and other lands. HD.3907 would ensure that these lands are clearly and separately analyzed in order to provide a sound foundation in fact for developing policies and practices to enhance their contribution to meeting our net-zero carbon emissions goals. This bill would also ensure that land-based carbon accumulation in Massachusetts is not counted twice, here and somewhere else. This would prevent "double dipping" and provide an accurate picture of the extent to which Massachusetts lands balance Massachusetts carbon emissions.


Find the bill here:

H895 Background and Fact Sheet
H.895 Fact Sheet Revised 4-29-2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [31.1 KB]
                                          SIMPLE ACTION TO TAKE
Sign-on Letter for two forest protection bills to increase reserves areas on state land
H.1450 would give all Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) state-owned lands and watersheds permanent protection as reserves, similar to National Park protection.
H.904 will mandate that 30% of all state-owned lands under the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) are given the same permanent reserve status.  
 Individual Sign-on Letter: 
• Organization Sign-on Letter: 
                    Send a letter to your legislators asking them to co-sponsor these bills.
• Letters to Your Legislators: 

                               More important bills 

5. S1319/H2082  An Act Regarding Municipal Zoning Powers, sponsored by Representative Paul McMurtry and Senator Jacob Oliveira 
Hearing Date: Tuesday November 14th - Will be posted here:
This bill simply strikes language from the zoning actSection 3 of Chapter 40A of the General Laws would be amended by striking the following language: "No zoning ordinance or bylaw shall prohibit or unreasonably regulate the installation of solar energy systems or the building of structures that facilitate the collection of solar energy, except where necessary to protect the pubic health, safety or welfare." This sentence was added to the law in 1985, when the thought of acres and acres of solar panels was unimaginable. 
This bill would make sure that municipalities can pass and enforce reasonable regulations for solar just as they are allowed to do for any other development. This bill does not encourage or discourage solar development. It protects citizens and municipalities who are often losing court cases while trying to uphold their zoning bylaws. The antiquated section of the law is used by solar developers to bypass local bylaws to put solar where they want to. This bill protects the longstanding tradition and value of local control in Massachusetts, and would potentially protect tens of thousands of acres of forests, wetlands and farmlands from large solar projects are deemed locally as inappropriate. 
S1319/H2082 Background and Fact Sheet
_Solar Fact Sheet.March 16 2023.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [160.3 KB]


                                                     and protect our forests


                                                See the ACTION - MA Biomass Subsidies page 


In the news- Massachusetts state land logging moratorium petition                                delivered to Governor Charlie Baker  



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                  Pre-eminent Biologist E.O. Wilson Supported Our Bills

                              to Protect State- Owned Land 


"I strongly support this bill, which would permanently protect 13 percent of the Massachusetts land area, reaching from the Berkshires to the Atlantic Coast. This is the single most important action the people of thestate can take to preserve our natural heritage. As it has many times in the past, Massachusetts can provide leadership on this issue, inspiring other states across the country to take similar bold  action." 

With best wishes,     

Edward O. Wilson

E.O. Wilson Letter of Support for the Forest Protection Bill - February 19, 2019
E.O. Wilson In support of HD.3500 (10).p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [137.1 KB]

                                                                                                        July 6, 2019

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