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.
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.
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.