No Net Loss of Forest initiative
The Montgomery County Planning Department launched its No Net Loss of Forest initiative in early November 2021. Planners developed recommendations based on five stakeholder working group meetings, which included non-profits, agency representatives, and the development community. The working group took a creative approach, considering both the need to increase forest planting and protection in the County and the increased cost of forest mitigation to developments that need to comply with the Forest Conservation Law. The group reviewed data, reports, other ‘no net loss of forest’ amendments, and analyzed impacts using real projects with Forest Conservation Plans.
Since 1993, projects subject to the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law have focused primarily on protection of pre-existing forest (both on-site and off-site) to meet requirements, resulting in permanent protection for over 12,500 acres of forest in Montgomery County. Additionally, the law has resulted in planting of over 2,500 acres of new forest in the county, which are also permanently protected. These planting and protection efforts intend to mitigate for the clearing of over 4,000 acres of forest by projects subject to the county law.
Ultimately, the Planning Department and stakeholders developed an amendment to the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law to achieve a more balanced approach to forest conservation in Montgomery County by ensuring an equal or greater area of forest is planted than forest removed on a county-wide level, by projects subject to the law. These updates ensure important developments like affordable housing and public transportation projects are balanced with forest conservation, while also meeting the environmental goals in the Climate Action Plan and Thrive Montgomery 2050.
The Montgomery County Council passed Bill 25-22 in March 2023, and the amendments became effective April 3, 2023.
To learn more about the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law, see our FAQs.