State forestry agencies welcome $250M in new funding for urban and community forestry

WASHINGTON, D.C.—State Foresters welcomed today’s announcement from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that nearly $250M will be provided to state forestry agencies under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for the expansion of Urban and Community Forestry programs. This remarkable funding opportunity demonstrates the USDA’s confidence in state foresters and local communities as custodians of the nation’s urban forests.
Nationwide, trees in towns and cities help reduce the urban heat island effect, maximize the lifetime of grey infrastructure like stormwater systems, and are proven to bolster local economies, sustain green jobs, improve human health and bring communities closer together. Put simply, community forests are a fundamental asset to sustainable society. While state forestry agencies have long helped to manage roughly two-thirds of the nation’s forests, today’s announcement marks a significant increase in funding allotted to states for such purposes.
“The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) welcomes this significant investment in urban and community forestry. More than just an investment in trees and forest health, it is an investment in people and human health. While partnership opportunities and the needs of underserved populations are different in every state, every state has unrealized opportunities and unmet needs. State forestry agencies have the capacity and local expertise needed to put this money to work in a way that addresses unique state conditions while maximizing public benefits on a national scale,” said Kacey KC, NASF President and Nevada State Forester. 
The unprecedented funding from the IRA will complement funding made available in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)/Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for State Forest Action Plan Implementation, which states focused toward Urban and Community Forestry projects. These new funds will be strategically employed to address the gaps in BIL/IIJA funding, prioritizing equity and engagement with underserved communities. With this funding, states are adding much needed capacity to further develop existing Urban and Community Forestry programs to reach more communities in need of this vital support.

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