The U.S. Forest Service recently announced grants totaling $52.2 million for 18 conservation and working lands projects across the U.S. this year. The landscapes are some of the country’s most beautiful spaces and will now be protected for future generations to enjoy.
Since 1990, the Forest Legacy Program has protected more than 2.2 million acres through public-private partnership using federal and leveraged funds of more than $562 million. We work with private landowners, states and conservation groups to promote sustainable, working forests.
Intact forest lands supply clean water, wood products, wildlife habitat, erosion control and, not least, beautiful scenery. However, as these areas are fragmented and disappear, so do the benefits they provide. Roughly 57 percent of the nation’s forests are privately owned yet the country has lost 15 million acres of private working forests in the last 10 years. An additional 22 million acres are projected to be at risk from development, wildfire and other threats in the next decade.
The Forest Legacy Program uses a nationally competitive process to strategically select ecologically and socially important projects facing the greatest threat of conversion to other land uses. Projects that protect clean air and water, provide recreation, protect wildlife habitat, support large-scale land conservation partnerships and provide forest-related rural jobs receive strong consideration.