State foresters respond to Trump administration’s FY21 budget proposal

President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 budget request shows some support for active forest management, but more investment is needed.

WASHINGTON—While the Trump administration’s FY 2021 proposed budget would support some active forest management, it would also significantly cut funding to critically important state and private forestry programs. In response, the National Association of State Foresters’ (NASF) reiterates its position: forest management needs and wildland fire threats cross ownership and jurisdictional boundaries. More federal investment is needed to manage and protect all of the nation’s forests.

The administration’s FY 2021 budget proposal would fund some state and private forestry programs—like the Forest Stewardship, Landscape Scale Restoration, and  State and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs—at levels closer  to or at FY 2020 enacted levels.

Unfortunately, this budget proposal would also see the Forest Legacy and Urban and Community Forestry programs zeroed out, and other important state and private forestry programs cut by an additional $12.48 million compared to FY 2020 enacted levels.

“It is clear this administration is focused on accelerating active forest management on federal lands, however, its approach continues to leave out adequate funding for active management on state and private lands, which constitute nearly two-thirds of the nation’s forestland,” said Greg Josten, NASF president and South Dakota state forester. “Given the boundary-less nature of forest pests, disease, and wildfire, additional investments in state and private forests are needed in order for all forests to be healthy, resilient, and productive across all boundaries.”

The administration’s FY 2021 budget calls for just a handful of cuts to the USDA Forest Service’s full budget—an improvement over past years’ recommendations—but nearly all of those proposed cuts would be made to state and private forestry programs.

“To be frank, state foresters’ appropriations recommendations for state and private forestry programs are minuscule relative to the Forest Service’s overall budget and other agricultural programs. It just doesn’t make good sense to slash the program funds that support most of the nation’s forests, particularly when state forestry agencies leverage federal funds at exceedingly high rates,” said Jay Farrell, NASF executive director. “We have appreciated this administration’s support for active forest management and hope future budget proposals fully reflect its stated commitment to healthy forests, jobs, and shared stewardship.”

State Forester Priority Program Appropriations Summary Table

FY18 Enacted FY19 Enacted FY20 Enacted  FY21 NASF Recommendation FY21 Administration Budget
State and Private Forestry Programs $335.53 $335.49 $346.99 N/A $217.44
Forest Stewardship* $20.50 $20.50 $21.00 $30.00 $20.66
Urban and Community Forestry $28.50 $29.50 $32.00 $35.00 $0.00
Forest Health on Cooperative Lands $41.00 $42.00 $44.00 $51.00 $33.76
Forest Legacy $67.00 $63.99 $63.99 $64.00 $0.00
Landscape Scale Restoration $14.00 $14.00 $14.00 $20.00 $14.00
State Fire Assistance* $80.00 $81.00 $82.00 $87.00 $81.10
Volunteer Fire Assistance* $16.00 $17.00 $18.00 $19.00 $17.00

*The FY21 Administration Budget proposes renaming Forest Stewardship to “Working Forest Lands,” State Fire Assistance to “National Fire Capacity,” and Volunteer Fire Assistance to “Rural Fire Capacity.”

Media Contact: Whitney Forman-Cook  at or 202-624-5417

** A previous version of this press release included an incorrect reference to the Forest Legacy program and FY 2021 proposed funding.

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