The National Association of State Foresters was among more than 50 signatories on a letter sent to Congress today in support of the federal Forest Stewardship Program.
Over 50% of U.S. forestland is owned and managed by more than 10 million private owners, most of which are families and individuals. These landowners represent a diverse group of people who have many reasons for owning their forest land and represent a key constituency in helping address issues of forest sustainability and conservation. However, private landowners face barriers – including unforeseen costs and insufficient technical assistance – that can prevent them from taking necessary management action. As population growth and urbanization increase nationwide, private forest lands are threatened by land use conversion and development. Now more than ever, it is critical that we maintain our privately owned forest lands in a condition that supports the health, prosperity, security, and well-being of all Americans.
The Forest Stewardship Program (FSP), administered by the USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) and delivered in partnership with state forestry agencies, cooperative extension services, certified foresters, conservation districts, and other partners, is the primary federal mechanism for supporting those landowners in making sustainable management decisions. Regardless of who provides the assistance, the end goal is the same: to help landowners achieve healthy, resilient, and productive forests. Well-managed private forests and woodlands offer a number of public benefits, including enhanced wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities, watershed protection, and timber production. With this in mind, the undersigned organizations recommend funding the Forest Stewardship Program for fiscal year 2023 at $22 million.
Read the letter in full by clicking the link below.