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LEAFS: Leaders of

Environmental Action for

Forest Sustainability

Shirley Xia, Theshani W., Jonathan Yao, Razna Ahmed

APES B DAY 2nd Period

Table of Contents

● Position Pg. 3

● History of the problem Pg. 3-4

○ How the problem was discovered Pg. 5

○ Other Parties and Relevant Laws Pg. 5

● Causes of the problem Pg. 6-8

● Consequences of the problem Pg. 8-9

○ Present

○ Future

● Proposed solution(s) to the problem Pg. 9

● The position of those who oppose you Pg. 10

○ Rebuttal to opposing position

● Work Cited Pg. 11-12


The Leaders of Environmental Action for Forest Stability (LEAFS) are committed

towards preservation and replenishment of the New York State’s forest biome by raising

awareness of the importance of forests and state laws regarding them for the future of our

planet.Deforestation and destruction, along with pest control, are major problems that New York

Wildlife Preserves face.

History of the Problem

Over the past century, forest in south america as depicted here has decreased so

dramatically that there is practically non left. Especially from 1940 to the twenty first century,

the rate at which the depletion of forest increased due to new methods and more efficient

machine systems.

The same trend also happened in the New York as shown in this graph from the New York

Center for Forestry Research & Development, SUNY ESF and Empire State Forest Products

Association that shows a decrease in forest land area from nearly 30 million acres to

approximately 6 million acres in the late 1800s. Forest land area then began a continuous

increase to 18.6 million acres in 2000. Current data is still being evaluated.

During the 19th century, forest were seen as a obstacle of settlers who wanted to build

townships. Forests were cleared out for development and this continued until the 20th century.

During that century, it was discovered that if trends continue then timber in New York “would

run out of timber within 50 years” (Department of Forest Conservation). The problem mainly

developed because of timber companies that were causing deforestation and leaving dusty eroded

land in their wake.

How was the problem discovered

The New York Forest, Fish and Game Conservation Commission warned the state of the

developing problem. New York was quick to start planting and encourage a plan for “ long-term

productivity rather than short term profitabilit​y”​. Gifford Pinchot, founder of the U.S. Forest

Service, led the commission that planted the first trees in Catskills.

Some of the fist seedlings on reforestation areas

However, New York State is one of the most infested states in USA and in Mohonk

Preserve, scientists found evidence of the emerald ash borer living underneath the bark in ash

trees, which is an insect that kills that species of trees. Other pests found in other counties of

NYS include European bark beetle, gypsy moth, and hemlock woolly adelgid. In addition to

insects, pathogens such as beech bark disease also contribute to the pest problem of NYS.

People have forgotten the major benefits of forests and there currently exists no way plan

to care for the health of trees. Many years ago, people realized the negative effects of their

behavior and acted immediately to address them positively. In fact, New York was one of the

first places to start reforestation; we became a leader in this effort. We must go back to our past

and adopt those skills again to address the problems of the future.

Other Parties and Relevant Laws

New York State Department of Conservation have already taken multiple steps to solve

issues pertaining forest preservation. The first steps were establishing forest preserves in the

Adirondacks and Catskills. Then ​more than 80 years ago, New York state passed its first Forest

Tax Law. Then came the creation of the State Forest system, which today contains 776,00 acres

of well managed, "green certified" public forest land over 75 years ago; More than 60 years have

passed since the State legislature passed the Forest Practice Act (FPA) to encourage sustainable

forest practices on private forest lands. However, progress of restoration and preservation have

slowly declined.

Causes of the problem

One of the unapparent reasons for deforestation and pest infections in our forests is very

simply that people don’t appreciate the forest. Therefore, they are less inclined to support actions

that preserve forests or to advocate to government against harmful legislations. In fact David

Nowak of the Forest Service explains “People understand the tangible benefits — aesthetics,

wildlife, and air temperatures.” According to him, “not only do trees cool the temperature of

cities, they mitigate rainfall runoff and combat climate change by taking carbon out of the

atmosphere. The study estimates the loss of these benefits — including carbon storage, pollution

reduction and altered energy use in buildings — at $96 million a year.” Their unawareness of

these benefits prevent them from practicing habits that help combat global warming, a prime

factor in the spread of pests in our forests.

New York forests employ 60 thousand people and earn 1.9 billion dollars in tourism; yet,

the government is unmotivated to maintain the forests because people in New York don’t value

them. Government action is crucial for our forests because as of now there are no maintenance

plans for New York forests. No plan means pests such as asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash

borer, pine shoot beetle overrun the forest. These are some invasive species that pose the most

problem and are thus, being quarinted. The New York Times reported the following on a survey

looking for invasive species:

“Invasive species were indeed found in 56 percent of the areas in the survey, but

they were less prevalent in the older forests. It was the younger forests that

troubled Ms. Charlop-Powers [Executive Producer of Natural Areas

Conservancy], especially in what foresters call the midstory and understory

layers, the lower levels of the tree canopy.”

While efforts have recently been made to plant trees throughout the city area and the state as a

whole, the fact that no management plan exists for these new trees planted not only affect the

health of the forest but negate efforts to grow the forests. In fact, according to the Cary Institute,

“New york is a significant port of entry for international trade that is responsible for the spread

of the pests”. Meaning that New York forest reserves are more at risk because of the

international status of the area. Furthermore, the Institute explains that the forest “are

diverse….many of the state’s trees are related to species in Europe and Asia. So like other

immigrants who have come through New York City, the bugs have not had to go far to find

places where the food is familiar.” Therefore, it’s more important for our government to protect

Consequences of the problem

Present: A loss of a very important resource that provides economical, aesthetic,

and ecological value.

Forests are like pieces of a puzzle, without them the whole puzzle will be incomplete. Forest are

crucial to the world by giving decent living condition to all living organism on earth. About

every year 30 million acres of forest land are lost due to deforestation. This devastated

biodiversity and natural habitat as the forest is home to over 70% of animals, plants and

organism. A prime example would be the honey bee as they play a big role in producing fruit and

vegetables that we grow and consume. But in recent decades their population have dwindled by

the billion due to habitat lost. Deforestation also degrades natural resources. In a world where

there are about 1.6 billion people that depend on forest for their everyday needs such as food and

livelihood, the short term benefit of logging and clearing land for farm is out weighted by the

real economic value of the forest. As it is, forests provide unnoticed economical advantages

through its biological systems, like regulating CO2 levels and reducing temperatures by at least 9

percent. They also provide money by attracting tourism. However, not only would deforestation

and unhealthy forests lead to unhappy communities, it would have major ramifications for the

world as a whole over time.

Future: Contribution to Global Warming through continued deforestation.

If we continue the practice of deforestation, our problem with global warming will become to a

point of crisis and biodiversity near collapse. A staggering 20% of global warming is caused by

deforestation. Forest contain trees which have the ability to cool atmospheric temperature as well

as store greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment.

We are risking the life of future generations by gamble with the stability of climate, threaten the

existence of other species, and undermine the valuable services provided by biological diversity,

through deforestation.

Proposed solution(s) to the problem

The first step to fixing this problem is to make people more aware of the benefits of

forests to the city, to the New York State ecosystem, and to the biosphere. Informing them about

the importance of forest will inspire them to take actions against laws that favor deforestation.

One thing that needs immediate attention is advocacy for installment of a maintenance plan to

deal with the problem of pests, including invasive species, and diseases. Such a plan is crucial

for the health of already planted trees and all newly planted trees. However, a small way for

people to combat pest problems is to practice habits that have low effects on global warming.

The warming of the planet is a major factor to the increase in spreading of pests.

Action: We will participate in the World Environment Day with the New York City

Naturalist Club in Central Park to fulfil our goal of raising awareness of the problems and the

solutions. At the event we will be gathered with many people to discuss the issue and also walk

around the forest to see the problem firsthand. More importantly, we will get the benefit from the

mental and emotional values that a forest can provide.

The position of those who oppose you

According to Cornell University, the forest industry is important to our economy because

it provides jobs to over sixty thousand people and contributes $4.6 billion annually to the state’s

economy (Department of Environmental Conservation). The state’s forest generates up to 488

million board feet of logs and 2.1 million green tons of pulpwood and wood chips (Department

of Environmental Conservation). Products made from forest contribute about $14 million to the

states economy.

Rebuttal to opposing position

Forests are important to us because they cover about 31% of Earth’s land and is home to

300 million people around the world and to add on, over 1.6 billion people depend on it as their

source of income. Forests are not only our homes, but also are the homes to many species of

animals and insects and they “house 80% [of] our terrestrial biodiversity” (Department of

Environmental Conservation). Furthermore, rainforests produces over 40% of our oxygen supply

and in addition to that, 25% of our medicine is derived from tropical forest plants. However,

each year we lose forests the size of NYS. This can be from unsustainable way of life or from

pests, but the lost of forests “accounts for 12 to 20% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that

contribute to global warming” (Department of Environmental Conservation). Forest is an

important biome and we can start by protecting the forests in New York State.

Works Cited Page

“Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).” ​Freshwater Wetlands Program​, NYS Dept. of

Environmental Conservation, ​​.

Barron, James. “A Plan for New York City's Forests. Yes, Forests.” ​The New York Times​, The

New York Times, 15 Apr. 2018,




Davis, Skip. “A List of Animals Native to New York.” ​Sciencing​, 24 Apr. 2017,

“Deforestation and Its Effect on the Planet.” ​National Geographic​, 25 July 2017,​.

Ferro, John. “New York Is a Hotbed for Damaging Forest Pests.” ​Cary Institute of Ecosystem

Studies​, Poughkeepsie Journal, 31 May 2014,​.

“Forests.” ​Freshwater Wetlands Program ​, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation,​.

“History Of State Forest Program.” ​Freshwater Wetlands Program - NYS Dept. of

Environmental Conservation​,

Makki, Shiva. “Deforestation: Disastrous Consequences for the Climate and for Food Security.”

Governance for Development​, 25 Aug. 2009,


“New York Forest Action Plan.” ​Freshwater Wetlands Program - NYS Dept. of Environmental

Conservation​, Department of Environmental Conservation,

“New York Protected Areas Database.” ​NYPAD​, ​​.

“We Work across NYC to Restore Forests, Wetlands, and Grasslands.” ​Natural Areas