Greater support for state forestry agencies and their work to sustain, enhance, and protect America’s forests is needed now more than ever.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an ailing national economy, and a substantial backlog in federal forest management and rural infrastructure maintenance, the nation’s state foresters have put forth a policy platform designed to bolster the forestry supply chain in the United States.
The platform is divided into three sections. The first articulates how Congress can “meet immediate state forestry needs” by providing an additional $500 million (with added spending flexibility) to state forestry agencies for federal State and Private Forestry program implementation.
The second section of the platform relays how Congress can “drive economic recovery nationwide” with a loan program for loggers and timber haulers, sustainable building tax credits to support forest product manufacturers, and investments in rural roads and bridges, among other recommendations.
The third and final section lists legislative options that can help America’s forest landowners recover from natural disasters, put Americans back to work restoring natural resources, and sustain rural schools and communities dependent on timber revenues.
Click the links at the bottom of this page to learn more about NASF’s COVID-19 stimulus platform.
State Forestry Response & Needed Relief
Many state forestry agencies have supported COVID-19 response efforts alongside state emergency managers, health departments, and the National Guard since early March. Some of these state forestry agencies were fighting wildfires at the same time they were assisting with COVID emergency response and creating new firefighting safety protocols. Learn how a federal stimulus package can supplement state-coordinated emergency response given impending state budget cuts.
From training and recertifications, to public evacuation plans, to feeding, sheltering, and transporting firefighters: nearly every aspect of wildfire suppression operations require adjustment in order to avoid COVID-19 exposure and outbreaks. In every state, COVID protocols for wildland firefighting are continuously being improved as state forestry agencies learn what is working and what is not through after-action reviews. Learn more about state forestry agencies’ COVID wildfire fighting protocols.
NASF continues to champion emergency supplemental funding for two programs—the State and Volunteer Fire Assistance programs (SFA and VFA)—to ensure state, local, and volunteer firefighters’ receive the PPE (personal protective equipment) they need to keep themselves, their families, and the general public safe. Given the intergovernmental nature of wildland fire response, the federal government has a unique responsibility to ensure a sufficient supply of PPE to all wildfire crews. Learn more about the need for wildland firefighter PPE.
Increasing federal funding to state forestry agencies would help to bolster state and private forestry work in support of the United States forestry sector. Given impending state budget cuts and the importance of the forestry sector to rural economies, it is essential to the nation’s economic recovery that future COVID-19 stimulus legislation includes additional resources for state forestry. Learn more about how a federal stimulus package can improve the health, productivity, and resilience of the nation’s forests.
NASF News Releases
[May 15, 2020] NASF, Murkowski urge uptick in PPE for wildland firefighters