Washington, DC (December 11, 2006)- The outlook for the FY 2008 budget for Urban and Community Forestry is expected to be poor. State and Private Forestry programs are thought likely to receive sharp cuts in the FY 2008 budget, which the President will officially release in early February.
Cooperative programs including Forest Stewardship, Forest Legacy, and Urban and Community Forestry may receive significant budget reductions. While it is still too early to say how sharp the cuts may be, state agencies are preparing for the worst. Last year, the President’s budget request for the FY 2007 U&CF Program was $26.8 million.
With record fire-fighting costs in recent years, the Forest Service is especially challenged in its ability to fund discretionary programs. Programs that are not focused on federal land management (such as U&CF) are also challenged to explain the need for a continued federal role in state programs.
Advocates Prepare for Congressional Outreach
Advocates should prepare for an active season of outreach to Congress members to ensure that federal cooperative program budgets are restored in the FY 2008 House and Senate budgets.
The Forest Service supports urban forests in two budget areas: The Urban and Community Forestry Program within State and Private Forestry and urban forest research conducted by the agency’s Research section. The Urban and Community Forestry Program is delivered nationwide in cooperation with all states and U.S. territories.
The Alliance for Community Trees recommends that the Forest Service provide $36 million to support the Urban and Community Forestry Program, establish a $12 million competitive metropolitan areas canopy restoration initiative, and double its research investments that focus on urban forests.
This is consistent with the FY 2007 recommendation supported by the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition, which includes many national trade, professional, and conservation organizations.
For more information, read the Sustainable Urban Forests Coalition FY2007 Talking Points.