Washington, D.C. – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI) praised Congress for passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which provides funding for climate-smart forestry activities that promote forest health and resilience and increase carbon sequestration.
“The Act recognizes the important role of sustainably managed forests in advancing climate solutions,” said Nadine Block, SFI Senior VP, Community and Government Relations. “The important investments included in the Inflation Reduction Act will benefit forest health on both private and public lands. It will help ensure our forests are resilient to wildfire and contribute to solving our climate crisis,” Block said.
The bill, which passed the Senate on August 7 and the House on August 12, includes numerous provisions intended to address climate change. Key provisions for managing forests and natural resources on private and state forestlands include:
- Forest conservation: $700 Million for the US Forest Service’s (USFS) Forest Legacy Program, which encourages the protection of privately owned forest lands through conservation easements or land purchases.
- Climate-smart forestry: $450 million to the USFS for providing forest-carbon grants to private landowners.
- Conservation programs: $18 billion for “Climate-Smart Agriculture” via Natural Resources Conservation Service programs that often include tree and forest-related practices.
- Urban forests: $1.5 billion for grants to cities and non-profits via the USFS’s Urban and Community Forestry division, with a particular focus on benefitting underserved populations and areas.
- Wood products : $100 million for the Wood Innovation Grant Program of the USFS State and Private Forestry division.
The bill also would provide more than $2 billion directly to the USFS for work on National Forest System lands, including for hazardous fuels reduction projects within wildland-urban interface zones and for vegetation management projects carried out in accordance with the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003.
Many of these forest-related provisions will complement the work being done through the SFI® Forest Management Standard. The SFI Standard includes a climate-smart forestry objective that has the potential to transform best practices across SFI’s 350-million-acre/140-million-hectare footprint to make our forests more effective in mitigating the impacts of climate change. The climate-smart forestry objective requires SFI-certified organizations to identify and address climate change risks, develop adaptation objectives and strategies to address those risks, and identify and address mitigation opportunities in forest operations.
SFI participates in several coalitions that have sent letters in support of the bill, including the Forest Climate Working Group and the Sustainable Urban Forest Coalition.