This Illinois Forestry Development Council was created back in 1983 upon passage of the Illinois Forestry Development Act (525 ILCS 15). The 29 members of the Council represent the following interests or groups: woodland owners, farmers, forest/wood products industry, urban forestry, environmental concerns, state and federal agencies, the General Assembly, and the Governor’s office. The Council’s charge is to identify and evaluate the social, economic, scientific, and educational value of Illinois’s forest lands and forest products industries.
In addition to the members of the Council, several Task Groups work on projects and issues related to private and public woodland ownership, forest resource analysis, forestry outreach and education, legislation, long-range planning, timber marketing and promotion, and urban planning.
The Council’s Mission / Function
The Council shall study and evaluate the forest resources and the forest industries of Illinois. Therefore, the Council is tasked with the following functions:
- Determine the magnitude, nature, and extent of the state’s forest resources;
- Determine current uses and project future demand for forest products, forestry services, and forest-based benefits;
- Determine and evaluate the ownership characteristics of the State’s forests, the motives for forest ownership, and the success of incentives necessary to stimulate development of forest resources;
- Determine the economic development and management opportunities that could result from improvements in local and regional forest product marketing and from the establishment of new or additional wood-related businesses in Illinois;
- Confer with and offer assistance to the Illinois Finance Authority relating to its implementation of forest industry assistance programs authorized by the Illinois Finance Authority Act;
- Determine the opportunities for increasing employment and economic growth through development of forest resources;
- Determine the effects of current governmental policies and regulations on the management of woodlands and the location of wood products markets;
- Determine the staffing and funding needs for forest and other conservation programs to support and enhance forest resources development;
- Determine the needs of forest education programs in this State;
- Confer with and offer assistance to the Department of Natural Resources relating to the implementation of urban forest assistance grants pursuant to the Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Act; and
- Determine soil and water conservation benefits and wildlife habitat enhancement opportunities that can be promoted through approved forest management plans.
The Council shall report its findings and recommendations for future State action and (ii) its evaluation of Urban/Community Forestry Assistance Grants to the General Assembly no later than July 1 of each year.