Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced $150 million to help underserved and small acreage forest landowners connect to emerging voluntary climate markets.
The markets can provide economic opportunities for landowners and incentivize improved forest health and management. The Forest Service Funding comes from the Inflation Reduction Act. Vilsack announced the funding opportunity at the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Conference. Forests are powerful tools in the fight against climate change, according to USDA, and emerging voluntary private-sector markets are now creating economic incentives to keep forests healthy and productive.
However, high acreage requirements and prohibitive start-up costs have caused many small-acreage and underserved private forest owners to be left behind. Without financial incentives, these landowners may not have the resources to manage forests for long-term health and resilience. Without proper management, forests are more susceptible to wildfire, loss of habitat, and reduced water quality.
The Forest Service anticipates future funding opportunities, including one specifically targeted to engage tribal nations.