This is Dave King of the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station wishing the Kestrel Land Trust a happy 50th anniversary.
Conserved land has always been important to the American people for recreation and wildlife conservation, but we are increasingly aware that conserved forests—either forest preserves or working forests—are critical infrastructure that benefits society the same as schools, roads, and the electrical grid. Forests act as sponges that control flooding and contribute to sustained water yield, and filters that purify water for our use. A single tree can contribute to cooling residential and urban areas valued in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and have other important health benefits as well. Studies show even a mural of a forest or natural area can hasten recovery from medical procedures, and populations with access to natural areas are healthier in a myriad of ways.
These benefits will only become more pronounced as climate change advances and human populations increase, and it is great we can rely on organizations like Kestrel Land Trust to ensure future generations will share the benefits forests confer to society.