Act 171 amended Vermont Planning Statutes to encourage and allow municipalities to address protection of forest blocks and habitat connectors while supporting the local forest products industry. Learn more about how to identify regionally and locally significant forest blocks and habitat connectors by reviewing the resources linked below.
Forests Matter Video Series
This video series is intended to support municipal and regional planning efforts for forest integrity by providing an overview of the planning process, highlighting tools and resources, and providing examples of successful planning at the local level.
- Introduction to Planning for Forest Integrity
- Step 1: Assess Forest Blocks and Habitat Connectors
- Step 2: Identify Community Values and Engage the Public
- Step 3: Identify Community Goals and Policies
- Step 4: Create your Future Land Use Map and Policy
- Step 5: Implementation and Action
- Drivers and Projections of Forest Fragmentation in Vermont – Regional Glance Sheets. This Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative project mapped forest cover, drivers of forest fragmentation, and potential risk of forest conversion for the entire state of Vermont; glance sheets to summarize the data regionally were created for each Regional Planning Commission.
- Planning: A Key Step Towards Protectng Forest and Wildlife Resources. Outlines a suggested process to help towns implement the requirements of Act 171. Released by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources in March 2018.
- The Municipal Plan: State Planning Manual Module 1. Guides towns to create plans that present clear and concise visions for their communities. Released by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development in April 2017.
- Municipal Plans: Tools for Improving the Planning Process. A five-step outline of how towns can make effective plans that matter. Released by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
- Community Strategies for Vermont's Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action. Proactive solutions to reduce forest fragmentation and parcelization in Vermont. Released by the Vermont Natural Resources Council in September 2013.
- Mapping Vermont's Natural Heritage: A Mapping and Conservation Guide for Municipal and Regional Planners in Vermont. Released by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department in 2019.
- BioFinder. ANR's database and mapping tool used to identify Vermont's lands and waters that support important ecosystems, natural communities, habitats, and species.
- VT Parcelization Website. Interactive data and research from the Vermont Natural Resources Council about recent decreasing trends in the acreage of large forest blocks in Vermont.
- Forest Types and Species Data. Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative project and datasets to map forest species mixes across Vermont.
- Forest Conservation Probability Data. Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative project to model the probability of change in forest cover between 2015 and 2060.
- Implementing Act 171: Land Use Planning to Address Forest Fragmentation. Presented by Jens Hilke (VT Fish & Wildlife), Clare Rock (Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, and Jamey Fidel (Vermont Natural Resources Council) in March 2018.
- Recorded Webinars from the Community Wildlife Program. Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s Community Wildlife Program archive of recordings of webinar topics for interested Vermonters, land-use planners, natural resources professionals, and ecological consultants.