Washington, DC (June 1, 2009)- This year, the annual budget offered few surprises as the administration focused on the economic stimulus. The President’s 2010 request was $29,327,000, which is a very slight decrease from last year’s enacted budget, but is a great improvement from administration budgets of recent years. Nearly $40 million in urban forestry-related projects will receive funding through the ARRA as part of the Forest Service’s fuels reduction and ecosystem restoration work. The president’s annual budget for FY 2010 provided relief to forestry programs formerly slated for deep cuts under the previous administration. The president’s budget calls for the creation of a separate $282 million contingency fund for combating forest fires, which will reduce or eliminate the practice of borrowing money from other programs to pay for emergency fire suppression.
Congress reviewing the President’s proposed budget
The Urban and Community Forestry Program received $29.3 million, which is slightly less than the previous year’s budget. One exception to the level-funding trend is Forest Legacy, which increased 84% to $91.1 million, reflecting the popularity and growing reach of this land purchase program. The Forest Service plans to pilot the delivery of the new Community Forests and Open Space Conservation program using $1 million from Forest Legacy funds.
Forest Service Research is increasing its leadership commitment to urban forests via the creation of Urban Long Term Research Areas (ULTRAS) – up to 16 projects will be selected by the National Science Foundation for $4.8 million to support interdisciplinary research about the dynamic interactions between people and natural ecosystems in urban settings. The program is a joint partnership of NSF and USFS Research.
Alliance for Community Trees and other members of the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition have advocated for $50 million for the U&CF program in recent years. In the future, we believe a $100 million appropriation for this high-impact program is advisable, allowing for the doubling of core state programs, resources for regional scale projects, and focus funds for key issues. ACT’s top priorities in the FY 2010 budget are the Urban and Community Forestry Program, which funds state and local technical and financial assistance in urban forestry nationwide, and Forest Service Research and Development, which supports urban forest research at several key research stations.
ACT has been working with local government advocates like the US Conference of Mayors to adopt official policy in support of a significant expansion of the U&CF Program. Working in partnership with members of the national Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition, ACT believes the time is ripe for increased advocacy in support of the U&CF Program.
On behalf of its members, Alliance for Community Trees submitted testimony regarding the Forest Service budget for FY 2010. ACT advocates for a $100 million budget for an expanded program of research, inventory and action for America’s city forests.
Ask your U.S. congressman and senators to support $100 million for the Urban and Community Forestry Program within the FY 2010 US Forest Service Budget.
FY 2010 Forest Service Budget Request
ARRA Projects Funded by the Forest Service
ACT Testimony for Forest Service FY2010 Budget
US Conference of Mayors Resolution Supporting Urban and Community Forestry
Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program
Forest Service Research and Development
Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition