Funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support sustainable forest management and the wood products economy, particularly in underserved and tribal communities.
Of the nearly $34 million investment, $29 million will be used to establish, reopen or improve businesses processing or purchasing forest byproducts from federally managed or tribal lands.
Small-diameter timber and woody biomass – two byproducts created by forest restoration – have historically been of little value. New innovations in wood products allow them to be processed in alternative ways to create market opportunities that incentivize sustainable forest management while simultaneously decreasing the risk of wildfires, insects and disease.
Two-thirds of funded proposals have been designated for disadvantaged communities as identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. Tribal communities expanding their manufacturing capacity will also be supported.
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An additional $4.7 million will be used to improve water crossings for heavy forestry equipment to protect streams, creeks and wetlands. The allocation will encourage the use of water crossings on all lands by implementing rental or cost-share programs.
“Healthy forests depend on a healthy forest products industry,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As the nation faces an ongoing wildfire crisis, it is more important than ever to invest in sustainable forest management across all lands.”
In addition to reducing wildfire risks, the investment will support existing jobs and economic opportunities, especially in rural areas dependent on forestry production, according to USDA.
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