Olympic National Forest Project featured at World Forestry Congress

Smokey Bear, Cecilia Clavet (Wilderness Society), Robin Stoddard (Olympic National Forest). World Forestry Congress.

This week, the Skokomish Watershed Action Team (SWAT) will be featured at the World Forestry Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Coordinated by The Wilderness Society, the SWAT works together to plan, fund, and implement projects aimed at healing Washington’s Skokomish watershed. Over the years, logging and roads have caused excess sediment to wash into the river, degrading fish habitat and clogging the river channel with gravel.

The Congress offers recommendations to governments, international organizations, scientists, and forester owners, among others, on environmentally responsible forestry practices at local, national, and global levels. This year’s Congress is expected to draw 6,000 attendees from 160 different countries.

The theme of the conference focuses on healthy forests’ role in a sustainable global community. Under the banner of this theme, the United States delegation is hosting an exhibit titled “People and Forests: Seeking the Balance.” The Skokomish Watershed Action Team is featured in this exhibit as an example of successful restoration projects in the United States.

“The work in the Skokomish watershed is an example of dynamic collaboration where people of diverse backgrounds and interests come together to restore a healthy, functioning ecosystem,” said Robin Stoddard, Forest Hydrologist for the Olympic National Forest who presented the SWAT’s work along with Keith Dublanica of the Mason Conservation District.

“We hope to bring this example of collaborative partnership to the international forestry community in Buenos Aires.”

The SWAT’s restoration work on the Skokomish River is one of three restoration case studies highlighted in the United States delegation’s exhibit.

The group is comprised of government agencies, local residents, conservation groups, private industry, and the Skokomish Tribe, and has been working for the past five years to restore the Skokomish River and its tributaries to a healthy, functioning ecosystem. The SWAT was chosen to be featured at the World Forestry Congress for its local partnership efforts.

The World Forestry Congress is a function of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The first meeting took place in 1926 in Rome, and the Congress has generally occurred every six years since. The purpose of the WFC is to act as a forum for members of governments, academia, civil society, and the private sector to share ideas and observations about the world’s forests and the science of forestry.

The theme of the conference is “Forests in Development: A Vital Balance,” which will focus the conference around discussions on the importance of healthy forests to a sustainable global community.

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photo: Smokey Bear, Cecilia Clavet (Wilderness Society), and Robin Stoddard (Olympic National Forest) at the World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires.