Federal Budget Cuts Proposed for Private Forest Stewardship
The proposed 2009 Federal budget would include major cuts in private forest stewardship and protection programs. These programs are of great interest to family forest owners. They fund the development of forest stewardship plans by professional foresters, cost sharing, and education.
The magnitude of the cuts varies by program, but will have a broad impact. According to the Portland (Maine) Press Herald, funding for state and private forest programs would drop more than $100 million, about 58 percent.
Cuts in the Forest Legacy program are even greater, estimated at about 85% according to National Woodlands magazine.
About these programs:
The Forest Stewardship Program provides technical assistance, through State forestry agency partners, to nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) owners to encourage and enable active long-term forest management (source). In Minnesota, well over a million acres of private woodlands have a written Forest Stewardship plan.
Forest Legacy protects “working forests:” those that protect water quality, provide habitat, forest products, opportunities for recreation and other public benefits (source).
Both of these programs are administered as partnerships between state and federal agencies. The National Association of State Foresters, whose members administer most of these programs, has denounced the proposed cuts.
Many MyMinnesotaWoods.org readers have benefited from these programs. If you have a Forest Stewardship plan, you’re one of them. Likewise if you’ve ever attended a Woodland Advisor class.
You can learn more about the proposed budget cuts in news articles from the New Hampshire UnionLeader, the Portland (Maine) News Herald, the Environment News Service, and National Woodlands Magazine (see page 7).
How has the Forest Stewardship program affected you and your land? Share your story in the comments.