WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Association of State Foresters applauds three major funding announcements by USDA this week: Forest Legacy Program, Wood Innovations Grants and Community Wildfire Defense Grants. Taken together, these federal investments will accelerate much needed work to enhance forest management, protection and conservation across the nation.

The announcement reflected a sum of $478 million in federal funding allocated for these initiatives. This unprecedented level of investment in forests recognizes the connection between markets, wildfire risk, conservation and the environmental benefits of America’s greatest renewable natural resource.

For more than a century, State Foresters have collaborated with the USDA Forest Service to align and leverage national, state and local efforts. “State Foresters work across rural and urban ecosystems as diverse as the communities they serve, delivering a variety of programs and services on both public and private land,” shared Scott Phillips, South Carolina State Forester and President of the National Association of State Foresters. “While most of the nation’s forestland is privately owned, the vast majority of the Forest Service budget focuses on National Forests. Through the Forest Service’s State, Private and Tribal Forestry mission area, State Foresters have a long history of leveraging federal funding with state resources and partnerships to get more work done across all lands.”

This week’s funding announcements supplement core federal agency budgets at a critical time for America’s forests:


The Forest Service is awarding $154 million to 26 Forest Legacy projects that will conserve approximately 168,000 acres of private forestlands across the United States, ensuring vital resources will endure for the communities that rely on them. The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is a key conservation initiative administered in partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and State agencies to encourage the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases. Protection of private forests through FLP maintains a multitude of public benefits, from recreational opportunities to clean air and water, plant and wildlife and a myriad timber-based byproducts.

Read the full Forest Service announcement and learn more about the awarded Forest Legacy projects here.


Earlier today, the Deputy Secretary of Agriculture announced nearly $74 million in federal funding for 171 projects under the Wood Innovations, Community Wood and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance grant programs. The programs stimulate, expand and maintain the U.S. wood products and wood energy markets to support the long-term management of our nation’s forest lands. The agency is investing in 171 project proposals from state and local governments, Tribes communities as well as for and non-profit organizations and related partners. The list includes 77 projects which will directly support disadvantaged communities and ten allocated for Tribes or Tribal partner projects. Fortifying markets for innovative new wood products in turn supports sustainable forest management, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and putting rural America at the forefront of an emerging industry.

Read the full Forest Service announcement and learn more the awarded Wood Innovation projects here.


Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Xochitl Torres Small announced $250 million to help at-risk communities protect themselves from catastrophic wildfire. Per the official announcement, the funds will address 158 projects to “help commu  nities in 31 States, two Territories and 11 Tribes develop Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) and remove overgrown vegetation that can fuel fires that threaten lives, livelihoods, and resources.”

109 of these awards focus on CWPPs, community-driven plans which outline local priorities and protocols for wildfire risk mitigation to ensure emergency work is focused where it can be most effective.

While $250 million was made available, $975 million was requested for proposed projects. Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in addressing a much larger demand and national need.

Read the full Forest Service release and learn more about the USDA Community Wildfire Defense Program and related projects here.

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