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Meridian Institute

Tongass Transition Collaborative

External Project Site: www.merid.org/tongassimplementation
Related: Environment and Natural Resources

The Tongass Transition Collaborative (TTC) is a diverse group of stakeholders concerned with management of the Tongass National Forest who have come together to give communities, stakeholders, other landowners, and partners a way to work constructively with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). Their aim is to speed the transition away from old growth timber harvesting toward a forest industry that utilizes second growth in a way that preserves a viable timber industry and provides jobs and economic opportunities for residents of southeast Alaska.

In December 2015, the Tongass Advisory Committee (TAC) achieved consensus on a comprehensive package of recommendations regarding an amendment to the Tongass National Forest Land & Resource Management Plan and implementation strategies to make the transition from old growth to primarily young growth timber management in a way that is ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable.

Following this agreement, several TAC members, as well as additional individuals, formed the TTC to track progress toward implementation of the recommendations. The group accomplishes this by working closely with USFS leadership at the national, regional, Forest, and District levels to: identify opportunities for collaborative approaches to problem-solving, such as coordination and partnerships between landowners, creative approaches to contracting, and new funding opportunities; define and monitor indicators of success for the transition; promote a more inclusive and transparent USFS culture; and advocate for the investments necessary for achieving transition goals.

In December 2017, the TTC met with leadership from across the state and region to discuss progress on a range of important initiatives related to the TAC recommendations. The meeting allowed for open dialogue regarding successes and challenges, enabled the TTC to provide support to leadership and vice versa, and addressed specific on-the-ground challenges. Following that meeting, in February 2018, the TTC met with U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and then-Chief of the USFS Tony Tooke to discuss the original intent of the TAC recommendations, progress toward implementation of them, and opportunities and challenges associated with future management on the Tongass. In the past, the TTC has hosted similar meetings and events, including field trips to discuss on-the-ground management challenges and opportunities. 

Meridian provides coordination for the TTC, including planning, agenda development, facilitation, logistics, and documentation of meetings and events; external communications, such as media releases and website maintenance; and financial management and fundraising. 

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