Federal and state land managers have signed an agreement to cooperate on caring for vast forest lands in Illinois.
The agreement signed this past week was between the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service.
It establishes a system for the two agencies to collaborate on forest management and mutual goals in tackling challenges facing communities, landscapes and natural resources.
IDNR Director Colleen Callahan and Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen said land managers in Illinois face multiple challenges. They include managing catastrophic storms, droughts, flooding, insect and disease outbreaks, invasive species and increasing public use.
The two agencies plan to address them with actions including restoring fire-adapted ecosystems to reduce the risk of wildfire, building a model for sustainable use to account for future public use and developing economic development strategies that keep forests productive.