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. The State is also working to optimize plantings to realize multiple co-benefits including carbon sequestration, improved air and water quality, and reducing urban heat island effects.
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 emissions by 2030 relative to a 2006 baseline. An important component of this effort is the growth of the State’s natural carbon sinks, including through improved forest management, afforestation and reforestation, and urban tree planting. This work also builds 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), 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 state agencies:
Maryland Department of the Environment
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Agriculture
Implementation partners include but are not limited to:
Blue Water Baltimore
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chesapeake Bay Trust
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.