WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2023 – Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is investing $20 million to fund 30 research studies to develop new technologies and data that will increase restoration of degraded forests, grasslands, and watersheds. The funding, provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also supports shared efforts between agency scientists, tribes, states, academia, and non-government organizations.
The nation’s forests, grasslands and watersheds provide an array of highly valuable ecosystem services, including drinking water, recreation, habitat for fish and wildlife, and carbon storage to help mitigate climate change. These research studies will help focus on addressing threats to these ecosystems and the benefits they provide, all while developing strategies for protecting these lands. The research studies span the country and will support wide-ranging ecosystem functions and management actions.
“An important component of meeting the responsibility of improving forest health is to follow the science. It has never been more important to do so in an effort to protect communities from the risk of devastating wildfires,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “To mitigate the consequences of the climate crisis with resources from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, the Forest Service will follow the science in restoring the health of our forests.”
“The Forest Service is using all available tools, including the best available science, to enhance our ability to carry out the work funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The health of the nation’s lands is vital because thriving ecosystems contribute to the economic and social benefit of this nation and to the quality of life for people. By conducting research studies, we can add to our already in-depth scientific data and improve or build tools to better help land managers make the right decisions for the land and for people.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is part of the Biden-Harris Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom-up up by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving more than $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.
Investing in scientific discovery to better protect the nation’s natural resources is an ongoing effort. Earlier this year, the Forest Service dedicated funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to research studies in support of the 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy. These studies provide science-based information about when, where, and how to conduct projects to reduce the risk of wildfire and increase the safety and effectiveness of controlled burns. The wildfire research studies range from methods to build support for wildfire risk reduction to developing higher value products and markets for biomass being removed from forests.
The list of science projects in support of ecosystem restoration is available online.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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