Fifty groups have signed on to a letter asking appropriators to fund the Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) at $30 million (including $22 million for program work under the new budget structure) for fiscal year 2022.
FSP equips private forest landowners with the unbiased, science-based information they need to sustainably manage their forests now and into the future, helping to keep forests as forests. Sometimes this information is delivered to the landowner in the form of a Forest Stewardship plan; other times, it is provided through an in-person or virtual workshop or a one-on-one field consultation with a professional forester. In addition to delivering technical assistance directly to forestland owners, state Forest Stewardship programs are often gateways to other landowner cost-share assistance programming, like the USDA Environmental Quality Incentives Program, state programs, and partner programs, that can help landowners keep their forests working and intact.
Today there are nearly 24 million acres nationwide managed with Forest Stewardship plans. From 2019 to 2020, the total amount of acres covered by current Forest Stewardship plans increased by nearly half a million acres. State forestry agencies routinely provide technical assistance to upwards of300,000 private forestland owners annually. Forestland owners that have management plans are almost three times more likely to meet their management objectives compared to those without management plans. The FSP leads landowners to reach their management objectives while tying those objectives to the state’s Forest Action Plan.
Increased federal funding for FSP will allow state forestry agencies to ramp up outreach efforts and provide additional technical assistance to landowners to ensure that private forestland acres are maintained. Forest Stewardship plans provide guidance for family forest landowners to keep their land healthy and productive and often serve as management roadmaps for several generations.
Read the support letter in full by clicking the link below.