Wisconsin Tree Farm Committee
Sunday, 08 July 2018 11:42

Cooperative Forestry Act Celebrates 40 Years of Helping Private Forest Owners

(Posted by El Kouarti, Office of Communication, USDA Forest Service in Forestry June 28, 2018)

When most people think of forested lands in our country what comes to mind are public wild lands like the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon or the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  But the reality is most forests in America, nearly sixty percent, are owned by private landowners who very much rely on these lands for income that helps to fuel the economic health of rural communities.

So because forests continue to be threatened by wildfire, attacks by insects and disease and conversion to non-forest uses, forty years ago, on July 1 Congress passed the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978.  The Act was Designed to mitigate these threats by empowering the USDA Forest Service to partner with state forestry agencies, which typically match federal investments 2 to 1, to provide technical forest management assistance to landowners.

(More on the next page)

Cooperative Forestry Act

Today the Forest Service Cooperative Forestry programs, created through the Act, help individual and family forest owners balance timber management with the conservation of water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, wildlife management, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. One of these programs is the Forest Stewardship Program which each year helps connect more than 400,00 landowners with information and tools they need to manage their woodlands for timber, fuel wood, wildlife habitat, water protection, and recreation.

Cooperative Forestry Act 2

Another example is the Forest Legacy Program, which offers economic incentives to permanently conserve private working forests that support strong markets for forest products.  The program recently helped provate forest landowners in Georgia conserve 26,000 acres of well-stocked long-leaf pine forests that are now actively managed for timber, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection with new areas opened up for hunting, hiking, and mountain biking.

Cooperative Forestry Act 3

And the Landscape Restoration Program coordinates multiple programs to more efficiently deliver services across landscape boundaries. For example a new imitative of the program, in North Carolina, leverages the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape program to promote working forests with land uses that are compatible with military priorities.

Last but not least, cities benefit from Cooperative Forestry programs, too.  The Urban and Community Forestry program serves more than 8,200 communities,  including more than 2,300 small, rural towns, by delivering best available science, tools, and financial resources to maintain and improve community forests. In fact, the program funds and trains Urban Forest Strike Teams that  help communities rebuild after disasters.

So this July, take a moment to appreciate the visionaries of 1978 who passed the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act that's helping individuals and communities keep forests healthy and productive 40 years later.

Last modified on Tuesday, 29 October 2019 15:39