Family Forest Blog

IRA Funding Paves Way for Underserved Landowners to Conserve American Forests

Katie Taylor, Communications Manager

August 22, 2023

AFF A road running through dense natural forests

New IRA Funding Paves Way for Underserved and Small-Acreage Landowners to Conserve American Forests  

A historic move by the USDA opens the door to the voluntary carbon market for more family forest owners 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 22, 2023) -  On Tuesday, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service announced a notice of funding opportunity for $150 million of the proposed $450 million in Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) funds through the Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Program. The LSR program provides funding for underserved and small-acreage forest landowners to access emerging private markets - like the voluntary carbon market - for climate mitigation and forest resilience.  

Forests are the U.S.’s largest terrestrial carbon sink, covering more than 750 million acres of land and sequestering 866 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, or nearly 16% of the country’s total annual emissions. Nearly 40% of U.S. forests are owned by rural families who have faced barriers to accessing carbon markets that provide annual income to help with land stewardship. The newly opened IRA funds target and help remove these and other barriers. 

“For the first time in U.S. forestry policy history, there is a clear pathway to substantially unlock access to emerging markets for underserved and rural American family forest owners,” said Rita Hite, President and CEO of the American Forest Foundation. “We applaud the Forest Service’s remarkable accomplishment that breaks down barriers to financing forest stewardship efforts for rural landowners, helping them care for their land, and in turn, advance climate mitigation.”   

On the heels of Biden’s climate goals, the IRA funds create options for climate-resilient forestry among non-federal landowners, providing the resources many landowners need to care for their land. By supporting family forest owners' access to private markets, like the voluntary carbon market, this opportunity also unlocks the potential to leverage public-private investments in rural America that support our nation's climate mitigation goals. A key element of the funding focuses specifically on underserved landowners and Tribal communities who have traditionally been left out of past funding opportunities. 

“We are working to build generational wealth and tell the story of Black land ownership,” said Renee Moore Williams, Black landowner and manager of the 154-years-old Moore Family Century Farm in Tennessee. “The challenges we are facing while making this dream a reality include access to resources and the plethora of private and government announcements and regulations to access relevant resources for our heir’s property. I have hope that these NOFA funds will bring the solutions I have dreamed about while on this journey.”  

Please see the Notice of Funding Opportunities (NOFO) for details on eligibility, deadlines, and proposal requirements.   


About The American Forest Foundation 

The American Forest Foundation is a national conservation organization that works with a broad coalition of partners to empower family forest owners to make a meaningful conservation impact around carbon sequestration, wildfire reduction, wildlife habitat, clean water, sustainable wood supplies and support for rural communities.  To learn more about the Family Forest Carbon Program, visit

CONTACT: Katie Taylor, Communications Manager,

Katie Taylor, Communications Manager

August 22, 2023

Related Articles


May 17, 2023

Farm Bill Must Include Solutions for Family Forest Owners

Forests in the Farm Bill (FIFB), a coalition of more than 70 forestry and conservation organizations, released today a set of recommendations focused on improving the forest-related sections of the upcoming Farm Bill.

Read More

Sarah Hall, National Director of Forestry for the Family Forest Carbon Program, and landowner Louise Hartman, who enrolled her Northumberland County forest in the program in the fall of 2020. Credit: Kara Holsopple / The Allegheny Front.

July 25, 2023

Helping the Planet Heal: PA Landowner on Local NPR

“I’m contributing to helping the planet heal, to helping our species to be able to survive.” Louise Hartman's family works with FFCP to manage their lands.

Read More

Whether you’re a landowner, forester, or corporation, understanding carbon terms is critical to taking advantage of the market’s opportunities and ensuring your participation in high-quality programs.

August 8, 2023

Your Carbon Cheat Sheet: The Fundamentals

Forestry, Climate Change, Natural Climate Solutions, and the Voluntary Carbon Market is an evolving world with new best practices, scientific findings, and innovations.

Read More