Pledge by State of Maryland
State of Maryland - Growing Five Million Trees by 2030Total Trees Pledged: 5,000,000
Supporting actions: Sustainable Forestry, Avoided Deforestation, Nursery Development, Data and Technological Tools, Science and Technical Assistance, Tree Protection through Management, Forest Product Markets and Innovation, Workforce Development, Environmental Education, Conservation Finance,
In 2021, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in support of planting and maintaining 5 million native trees in the State by 2031. A key focus of this effort is supporting tree equity through targeted native tree planting in underserved urban communities. In 2022, Maryland released its final “Plan for Growing 5 Million Trees in Maryland” with the support of the state’s Commission for the Innovation and Advancement of Carbon Markets and Sustainable Tree Plantings.
Specifically, Maryland’s 5 Million Trees Plan promotes:
- New forms of technical and financial assistance in rural and urban communities
- Strategies for increasing the state nursery’s seedling stock
- Outreach and engagement strategies for riparian forest buffer plantings
- A new Urban Trees Grant program and plans to scale capacity-building
- Understanding of existing tree loss mitigation policy and current best practices
- Progress tracking in the development of new web and map-based tools
- Alignment of tree tracking with existing accounting frameworks for carbon and nutrients
- State engagement with the carbon market to clarify avenues for participation
- Models for long-term tree maintenance and management
- New and existing partnerships to connect communities-of-practice and amplify impact
This pledge directly supports the State’s ambitious climate mitigation goals, where the 2030 Maryland Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan lays out a pathway for achieving a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 relative to a 2006 baseline. Maryland is now developing an updated Climate Action Plan that charts a pathway to achieve new GHG targets in the state, including a 60% reduction in GHG emissions by 2031 and net zero by 2045. An important component of these efforts is the growth of the State’s natural carbon sinks, including through improved forest management, afforestation and reforestation, and urban tree planting. In 2022, Maryland became the first state in the nation to adopt a remote sensing based forest carbon monitoring system and has funded ongoing research to more readily capture small scale and individual tree planting efforts advanced through this pledge. These investments also build from Maryland’s leadership in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA), as well as ongoing restoration work through the Chesapeake Bay Program.
Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), with support from Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), and Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT), is coordinating the tracking and implementation of this tree planting goal. The State is also partnering with a range of community-based organizations, not-for-profit organizations, and local governments to ensure the long-term success of all tree planting, growing, and monitoring efforts.
Lead agencies and organizations:
Maryland Department of the Environment
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Maryland Department of Transportation
Chesapeake Bay Trust
Implementation partners include but are not limited to:
Blue Water Baltimore
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Maryland Association of Counties
Maryland Chapter of the Nature Conservancy
Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities
Maryland Farm Bureau
Maryland Forestry Foundation
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Maryland Municipal League
Maryland State Treasurer
Patapsco Heritage Greenway
University of Maryland College Park
Sustainable Forestry Management
The 2030 GGRA goals for managing Maryland Forests are to provide sustainable forest management on 38,000 acres of private land and 1,600 acres of public land annually, ensure greater than 50% of state-owned forest lands will continue to be third-party certified as sustainably managed, support forest markets that keep land in forest use, and provide sustainable management for multiple benefits on other state lands where possible.
The 2030 GGRA plan estimates that 800 acres per year of forest conversion will be avoided as part of the State’s implementation of the Forest Conservation Act.
In support of this goal, Maryland is innovating state nursery capabilities, including the potential expansion of existing facilities and support for new partnerships that expand high-quality, voluntary seed collection.
Data and Technological Tools
With university partners, the state is leading the development of high-resolution, remote-sensing based tools that can support identification of priority restoration areas as well as ongoing monitoring. These tools can be leveraged within a broader tracking system to support assessment of nutrient reduction benefits and carbon sequestration.
Science and Technical Assistance
Ongoing partnerships, including with the University of Maryland, University of Vermont, and Chesapeake Conservancy, will ensure the best science is being used to analyze tree cover change and related forest carbon mapping, modeling, and monitoring. As part of Maryland’s Forest Action Plan, the State will also evaluate ongoing climate trends and goals for resistance, resilience, and transition of forest systems during species selection and planting design.
Tree Protection through Management
Forest owners are encouraged to manage their forest land in return for a reduced and/or frozen property tax assessment. Landowners partner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to develop and execute a Forest Management Plan.
Forest Product Markets and Innovation
Under the 2021 Maryland Forestry Economic Adjustment Strategy, the state is focused on improving short-term project support and long-term infrastructure to enable sustainable forest sourcing from the state’s forest products industry. This strategy includes encouraging innovation in emerging sectors and enhancing local and international market opportunities through brand development and zero waste programing.
To support long-term stewardship of planted trees, the State is committed to building a community of tree care utilizing both volunteers and paid staff support. Workforce development and training includes nursery expansion, technical assistance in planting and maintenance, and ongoing invasive species management.
Educational and technical assistance will be provided through the Maryland Forest Service in support of strategic, healthy, and climate-smart tree plantings. This capacity will be expanded through additional contracted staff positions, training local and volunteer networks, and ongoing collaboration with University of Maryland Extension and other NGO partners.
The State endeavors to develop and support a forest carbon tracking and monitoring system that could be leveraged in the context of a carbon market to expand access to financing options for landowners.
All implementation partners commit to furthering ecologically appropriate and climate-informed forestry with technical support and assistance from the State. Through grant program design and other financing opportunities, all landowners will also work with the State to ensure, as appropriate, the long-term stewardship of planted trees. With the state’s focus on tree equity, urban tree programs will also focus on engaging local communities in the identification of appropriate and desirable tree planting locations.