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Open space is vital to our health, economy and well-being. Public and private lands, including wilderness and working land, provide public benefits and ecosystem services we all need and enjoy, including:
- Clean water
- Natural flood control
- Wildlife habitat and biodiversity
- Recreation and relaxation
- Timber and other forest products
In 2007 the Forest Service has developed an Open Space Conservation Strategy to identify how the agency can best help conserve open space, with an emphasis on partnerships and collaborative approaches. The agency is interested in addressing the effects of the loss of open space on private forests; on National Forests and Grasslands and the surrounding landscape; and on forests in cities, suburbs, and towns.
The Forest Service recognizes that it is not the only contributor to open space conservation; it is only one among many. The Forest Service also acknowledges that the agency’s role in open space conservation is not to regulate development or land use, but is to provide expertise, resources, information, and programs.