By Parker Jones
The Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC), a coalition of over 30 groups of urban planners, educators, arborists, and diverse nonprofits, is engaging in the 2018 Farm Bill with innovative ideas to improve green infrastructure and maintain healthy urban forests.
As one of the 30 organizations in the SUFC, NASF supports the notion of improving our urban and community forests for the purpose of job creation, creating vibrant local economies, healthy watersheds, improved air quality, and increased public health benefits. The next Farm Bill has the potential to be one of the most valued piece of forestry legislation in the last decade for the nation’s urban and community forests.
The SUFC 2018 Farm Bill Recommendations include:
- Maintain existing authorities relating to the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program AND support USDA Forest Service research with a high priority on developing best management practices for urban and community forestry.
- Ensure existing authorities within Urban and Community Forestry Assistance apply to technical and financial assistance for:
- Analysis and planning services to local governments, in coordination with state forestry agencies to target areas identified in State Forest Action Plans as “at risk of conversion to other land uses” and to promote better use of existing forest resource data in land use planning.
- Emergency responses to natural disasters and catastrophic events.
- Innovative strategies and activities to promote urban wood utilization and markets.
- Codify the Landscape Scale Restoration program, highlighting the importance of state Forest Action Plans and focusing funding on the highest national priorities in those plans, including urban and community priorities.
- Continue and improve efforts to monitor urban forest health, and to prevent threats from invasive insects and disease that can spread beyond urban boundaries