Forest products and related industries employ more than 1.6 million people and contribute $231.5 billion to our nation’s economy. Forests also provide enjoyment to millions of hikers, campers, hunters, anglers, and other recreational users, in the process contributing tens of billions of dollars more economic activity. Perhaps most importantly, our forests – urban, suburban, rural, and wild – are part of the core foundation of our national heritage, providing beauty and shade to our homes, and are integral to the American spirit. The well-being of our forests is inextricably bound to the well-being of our citizens.
We join together as non-profit organizations, for-profit corporations, government agencies, landowners, and academic scholars to improve our nation’s efforts to address this critical threat to our forests. The Continental Dialogue will create real and lasting change, by seeking out those areas where we have unique leverage, credibility, and opportunities. Organized efforts will revolve around programs to prevent non-native insects and diseases from arriving, surviving and thriving on the continent. We see the Continental Dialogue as an important way to move toward our larger vision. We look forward to a time when its formation will be seen as a pivotal moment in the history of conserving American forests.