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TWS and SAF lead push to protect USFS R&D funding
The Wildlife Society and the Society of American Foresters, along with other professional societies and conservation, forestry, and sportsmen and women’s organizations sent letters to Congress urging lawmakers to ensure the U.S. Forest Service has sufficient funding to support research and development efforts.
The letter requests a minimum of $307 million for fiscal year 2019, including necessary increases to the Forest Inventory and Analysis program, which tracks trends in forests across the country to evaluate management and adjust practices to prepare for the future, and at least $224 million for other Forest and Rangeland Research programs, including wildlife research.
“Forest Service R&D programs inform policy and land-management decisions that improve health and use of the nation’s forests and rangelands, including aquatic systems,” the letter says. “Funding for these important activities is critical to sustaining the nation’s natural resources.”
The president’s proposed a 13 percent reduction for Forest Service R&D from 2017 — from $288.5 million to $261 million. However, the final appropriations omnibus bill for fiscal year 2018 funded R&D at $297 million, with $77 million specified for the FIA program.
USFS research efforts illustrate the value American forests provide and help the Forest Service, state agencies and private landowners better care for natural resources. USFS R&D programs include drought management, species at risk, fire management, air and water quality, invasive species, economic impacts and aquatic species management.