SAF Supports Boost to Urban and Community Forestry Funding

November 19, 2019

SAF, through the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition, urged House and Senate Appropriations leaders to support increased funding for the Urban and Community Forestry Program at the US Forest Service. SAF is a member of SUFC, which is the nation’s only network of nonprofits, businesses, associations, foundations and others working together to advance sound, effective urban forest policy and practices.

"We are writing today to express our strong support for the Urban and Community Forestry (U&CF) Program at the U.S. Forest Service. As you negotiate a final Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Interior-Environment Appropriations Bill, we are aware that the House of Representatives and the Senate have included different funding levels for the U&CF program in their respective bills. As you work to resolve the differences in these bills, we urge you to support the higher $40M for the U&CF program included in the House-passed bill.

The Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition (SUFC) represents local and state-wide nonprofits, national associations, nursery and landscape professionals, urban planners, city managers, public works professionals, arborists, utility professionals, foresters, scientists, and community leaders from every state in the country. The collective value and benefits of community trees supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across every state in the country and generates tens of billions of dollars in economic activity.

The Urban and Community Forestry Program — the only federal program designed to provide funding for urban trees and the technical support to manage them — historically enjoys strong bipartisan support. Yet despite this support and the best efforts of city and states, urban areas continue to lose tens of millions of trees every year due to invasive pests and diseases, among other pressures. These invasive pests – such as the Emerald Ash Borer and Asian Longhorned Beetle – have devastated trees across the country and the federal government alone has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on containment, control and eradication. The programmatic increase in the House-passed bill is specifically to prevent and address outbreaks of these devastating pests, as explained in the report language, which will help reduce the loss of trees and forests in both urban and rural areas and associated costs to taxpayers and homeowners."

Click here to download the full letter.