The Biden administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2022 budget proposal includes welcome funding increases for priority forestry programs vital to America’s forest sector.
WASHINGTON—The National Association of State Foresters is pleased with the Biden administration’s proposed budget increases for USDA Forest Service programs that provide, among other benefits, technical support to forestland owners, equipment and training for wildland fire managers, and science-based management to forests in need. While the association’s recommended FY22 funding levels were not met in all cases, state foresters were heartened by this administration’s proposal and the Forest Service’s thoughtful budget justification.
“The president’s budget, for the first time in years, recommends an overdue boost to the State and Private Forestry Mission Area of the Forest Service. This mission area’s programs are foundational to conserving, protecting, and enhancing the majority of America’s forests, which are owned by private landowners and state and local governments,” said Joe Fox, NASF president and Arkansas state forester. “Notably, none of state forestry’s priority programs would see funding cuts under this proposal—a welcome departure from the last administration’s budget proposals—and three programs would actually realize small increases.”
The administration’s FY22 budget recommends $19 million in additional program funding over FY21 enacted levels; specifically, a $7 million increase to Landscape Scale Restoration, a $6 million increase to Forest Health on Cooperative Lands, and a $6 million increase to the Forest Stewardship Program.
“Increasing State and Private Forestry program funding by $19 million would directly further priorities identified within each state’s Forest Action Plan,” Fox continued. “Forest Action Plans offer practical and comprehensive roadmaps for investing federal, state, local, and private resources where they can be most effective in achieving national conservation goals. While these plans are state-defined solutions, their success depends on partnerships among private landowners and businesses, state agencies, federal and tribal landowners, and NGOs, as well as support from Congress through State and Private Forestry programs.”
Now more than ever, it is critical that America’s forested landscapes and community tree canopies are appropriately managed to support the health, prosperity, security, and well-being of all Americans. Well-managed private woodlands offer a number of public benefits, including wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities, watershed protection, and timber production. State foresters believe this budget proposal would go a long way in promoting active forest management nationwide and securing the many benefits of trees for generations to come.
State Forester Priority Program Appropriations Summary Table (in millions)
|FY19 Enacted||FY20 Enacted||FY21 Enacted (New Budget Structure)*||FY22 NASF Recommendation (New Budget Structure)*||FY22 President’s Budget Proposal (New Budget Structure)*|
|State and Private Forestry Programs||$335.49||$346.99||$267.20||N/A||$304.60 ($11.4 in salaries)|
|Urban and Community Forestry||$29.50||$32.00||$31.91||$31.91||$31.91|
|Forest Health on Cooperative Lands||$42.00||$44.00||$30.75||$39.43||$36.75|
|Landscape Scale Restoration||$14.00||$14.00||$14.00||$20.00||$21.00|
|State Fire Assistance||$81.00||$82.00||$73.43||$79.00||$73.43|
|Volunteer Fire Assistance||$17.00||$18.00||$19.00||$20.00||$19.00|
|Forest Inventory and Analysis***||$77.00||$77.00||$17.62||$32.40||$17.62|
* FY21 enacted levels reflect the new USDA Forest Service budget structure. Salaries and expenses, as well as Forest Service “operations account” expenses are separated from program dollars.
**Per the Great American Outdoors Act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is permanently and fully funded. Forest Legacy funding is no longer part of the State and Private Forestry discretionary budget account.
***The Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program is not housed under the USDA Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Mission Area, but it is a priority program for state forestry agencies.
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