Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Vilsack plans reforestation on 4 million acres

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack began a swing through the West this week by announcing plans to address a reforestation backlog of 4 million acres on national forests and plant more than 1 billion trees over the next decade.

 In a project funded by Congress, the U.S. Forest Service also plans to develop the infrastructure, such as nurseries, to keep up with increasing needs.

The Forest Service has spent more than $100 million on reforestation this year – more than three times the investment in previous years – thanks to the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees (REPLANT) Act enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

Before the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and REPLANT, the Forest Service could only address about 6% of its post-wildfire reforestation needs, the USDA explained in a release. The REPLANT Act removes a cap of $30 million and will provide the agency significantly more resources every year to plant trees.

Timber groups criticized the infrastructure bill for not authorizing more logging to thin stands that have become overgrown from years of suppressing fires...MORE

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