WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2021) – The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a national conservation organization that works to deliver meaningful conservation impact through the empowerment of family forest owners, responds to the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
American Forest Foundation (AFF) Executive Vice President of Policy and External Relations, Rita Hite said:
“On behalf of the American Forest Foundation and our nation’s 21 million family forest owners, I am excited about the recognition that Congress and the Biden Administration has placed on forests, especially family-owned forests, as a critical component of our natural and economic infrastructure.
Healthy forests provide vital wildlife habitat, a natural clean water source, carbon sequestration and storage, wood supplies for our homes and everyday products, and good paying jobs for Americans. But our forests, like other aspects of our infrastructure, are under stress and in need of investment and restoration.
Family forest owners, who manage the largest portion of America’s forests at 39 percent, are a crucial demographic that must be included in this revitalization if we are to see the measurable, positive impacts on forest health that we desire. But family forest owners cannot tackle the overwhelming challenges in their forests alone; they need support and guidance to get the work done.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed by Congress and signed into law today by President Biden, will make great strides to support private and family landowners in wildfire risk reduction as well as restoration in the areas where wildfires have already resulted in damage. These efforts will help aid in creating healthy, more resilient forests and ensure we have forests for the future that can continue to supply all the benefits we count on.
The bill also includes a number of other provisions that will provide critical investment in America’s forests. The inclusion of the REPLANT Act will result in reforestation on National Forest lands with over one billion new trees, creating jobs and helping cement the role of these lands as a natural climate solution. Support for wood product market development will mean healthier forests and economic opportunities for rural Americans. And investment in voluntary restoration projects on both public and private lands will promote forest management practices across boundaries helping to ensure our forests are resilient, healthy, and productive for years to come.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a great start to keep our forests as forests, but to truly unlock the potential of America’s publicly and privately-owned forests, we need the Build Back Better Act to pass Congress as well. The additional investments in that bill for climate smart forestry, wildfire risk reduction, forest research, and more are essential to fighting climate change and ensuring that family forest owners can do the best possible conservation work on their lands.
We applaud Congress and President Biden on this tremendous achievement and urge the passage of the President’s Build Back Better agenda."
Contact: Elizabeth Greener; (202) 253-1096; firstname.lastname@example.org
About the American Forest Foundation
The American Forest Foundation (AFF), a forest conservation organization, works on the ground with families, partners, and elected officials to promote stewardship and keep our forests healthy. America's family forests are vital for producing clean water and air, wildlife habitat, and sustainable wood supplies. AFF's signature program, the American Tree Farm System® is the country's largest sustainable woodland program with a network of more than 70,000 family forest owners managing nearly 19 million acres of forestland. Learn more: www.forestfoundation.org
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