Farm Bill Should Include Investments in Science-Based Forest Restoration Program

Forest Restoration
A young ponderosa pine tree grows in an area destroyed by 2013’s Rim Fire, near Groveland, California, July 2014. AP/Rich Pedroncelli

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)—October 17, 2017


As massive wildfires continue to wreak havoc across the West, a new report from the Center for American Progress says the next farm bill in Congress should include investments in a science-based forest restoration program that helps create new jobs and reduce the risk of fires to communities and natural resources.

Studies show that decades of widespread clearcutting and fire suppression have made forests more vulnerable to severe wildfires. The CAP report says a better approach is to adopt a science-based strategy that actually improves forest health.

If the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) were to double the rate of restoration by adding about 2 million more acres a year, it would create up to 42,000 jobs—mainly in rural communities—while protecting drinking water, enhancing wildlife habitat, and cutting the risk of wildfires, according to the report.

Forest reforestation includes replanting native trees and plants, mechanical thinning and prescribed burning, and repairing degraded streams and floodplains. This would return forests to a more natural and resilient state, lowering fire risk and improving the natural resources forests provide. The report urges Congress to use the 2018 farm bill to leverage the job-creating potential of forest conservation and restoration. These policies include:

  • Fixing funding streams so that fighting wildfires does not decimate the USFS budget for proactive science-based forest management that would reduce fire hazard and risk
  • Encouraging partnerships with states, utilities, and businesses to grow investments in national forests
  • Expanding innovation grants and collaborations that empower local communities and businesses

Read “Restoring Our Investment in America’s Forests: How the 2018 Farm Bill Can Create New Jobs for Rural America” by Ryan Richards

Source: www.americanprogress.org