Coalition Letter: Simpson/Moran - Funding Support for Forest Inventory and Analysis Program (March 23, 2012)

Dear Chairman Simpson and Ranking Member Moran:

The undersigned organizations collectively believe in the importance and utility of up-to-date inventory and analysis on forests in the United States. The USDA Forest Service-Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program provides critical information that enables sound policy and forest management decisions. We fully recognize the difficult decisions that come with addressing reductions to the Federal budget and ask your support to fund FIA at no less than current FY12 levels (i.e. $69 million) to truly provide an accurate, up-to-date inventory of America's forests.

The FIA Program is the nation's oldest forest census-providing invaluable information about forests and informing forest policies for over 75 years. The Program collects data on everything from species composition and forest health to forest growth rates and forest products utilization. FIA data serves as the basis for determining trends in forest ownership; assessing fish and wildlife habitat; evaluating wildfire, insect, and disease risks; predicting the spread of invasive species; selecting locations for forest products facilities; and for identifying and responding to priorities identified in the State Forest Action Plans.

The Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998 (P.L. 105-85) mandated the USDA Forest Service to partner with the states and non-governmental interests to provide a nationally consistent, annual inventory program in all states, ensuring timely availability of data and developing state-level reports. The funding reductions proposed in the President's FY13 Budget Request will disrupt the inventory cycle length and significantly delay FIA's information delivery. In fact, the President proposes these reductions at a time when the program is called on to also address contemporary issues such as producing reliable, site-specific estimates of sustainable forest biomass supplies for domestic energy production and determining the timber supply available to support local mills and local jobs.

We urge Congress to support the FIA program in FY13 at no less than $69 million. Maintaining current funding levels delivered in the most efficient way can contribute towards the original goals of the program and provide policy makers, forest managers, private investors, and others with the timely and accurate information they need to make sound decisions regarding the nation's forests.

Alabama Forestry Association
Pennsylvania Forest Products Society
Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group, Inc.
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
American Forest & Paper Association
Sitka Conservation Society
American Forest Foundation
Siuslaw Institute
American Forests
Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Applegate Partnership and Watershed Council
Society of American Foresters
Biomass Thermal Energy Council
South Carolina Forestry Association
CarbonVerde, LLC
Southern Forest Products Association
Empire State Forest Products Association
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Sustainable Northwest
Forest Resources Association
Targeted Wood Council
Framing Our Community
Texas Forestry Association
GMO Renewable Resources, LLC
The American Chestnut Foundation
Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association
The Forest Products Society
Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association
The Nature Conservancy
Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association
The Wilderness Society
Kentucky Forest Industries Association
Virginia Forest Products Association
Louisiana Forestry Association
West Fraser - Seaboard NC Sawmill
Massachusetts Forest Landowners Association
Missouri Forest Products Association
National Alliance of Forest Owners
National Association of Conservation Districts
National Association of Forest Service Retirees
National Association of State Foresters
National Association of University Forest Resources Program
National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
National Woodland Owners Association
Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association
Ohio Forestry Association
Oregon Women in Timber

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