This letter, and a list of all signatories, will be sent to all Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee, and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee in February 2017.
This Petition is now closed and all signatures were submitted to the House and Senate Committees.
Forest Conservation Act Amendments
Senate Bill 365, and House Bill 599
Dear Members of House Environment and Transportation Committee and Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee:
As a person of faith who respects the sanctity of the Earth and the whole web of life, I am writing to ask for your support for the Forest Conservation Act amendments, SB 365 and HB 599.
There is an old saying that a farmer does not plant an olive orchard for himself, but for his grandchildren…for trees take time to grow and bear fruit.
Forests once covered 95% of Maryland and provided important habitat to countless species of animals, many of which have since left our state. Forests play a crucial role in stabilizing soil and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. Today, only 39% of Maryland is covered by trees and most of this cover does not contain the diversity of plant life and habitat found in Maryland’s original mature old growth forests. Moreover, the deteriorated health of the Bay can be linked to the depletion of forest cover.
The Forest Conservation Act amendments will help protect future generations from the loss of tree canopy. It is altogether logical that when a natural area is transformed into a development, an area of the same size should be restored. The current law of requiring only a 1:4 ratio of replacing tree canopy will not ensure there will be forests around for future generations. A 1:1 ratio is needed, and these amendments require that. Forests take many years to develop their beauty and ecological maturity. A short-term economic advantage should not outweigh long-term ecological damage.
Over the past three years, thousands of people of faith have planted over 13,000 trees at their churches, synagogues, and temples through a program called Trees for Sacred Places. These are not just landscaping trees planted here and there. These are intentional efforts to convert grass back over to forest. In some cases, congregations planted over 100 trees on their property – a clear example of “walking the talk”.
Developers should not take more from society than they replenish in return. The loss of tree canopy is felt by the general public and future generations, while developers profit from transforming land away from its natural state.
We must recognize the impacts of our actions on the Earth and ensure that future generations can also enjoy the fruits of this beautiful Creation.
Please vote in support of the Forest Conservation Act amendments.