WASHINGTON — President Trump proclaimed this week, Oct. 20-26, 2019, as National Forest Products Week, when we celebrate how forests contribute to our national economy and recognize the need to keep them healthy and strong. Oct. 22 was Timber Innovation Day, a day to recognize and highlight new and innovative uses for wood, such as mass timber, in building construction.
In celebration of Timber Innovation Day, USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen announced the Forest Service will invest up to $8 million in grants for projects designed to expand wood products and wood energy markets that support sustainable forest management, particularly in areas of high wildfire risk. The grants are available through the agency’s Wood Innovations Program.
“Growing markets for wood products and wood energy creates new uses for wood that would otherwise fuel wildfire in our nation’s forests,” said Chief Christiansen. “By investing in wood innovation projects, we also invest in the health and safety of rural communities. The grants are beneficial to local economies, too.”
In 2020, the program will invest up to $8 million in projects designed to have a long-term impact on both Forest Service and other forest lands. Funding is available to support a diverse range of activities, such as supporting engineering designs or code review for commercial construction projects using wood as a primary building material; completing cost analyses and permitting necessary in the later stages of wood energy project development to secure financing; and showcasing quantifiable environmental and economic benefits of using wood as a sustainable building material in a commercial building.
Since 2005, over 360 grants have been awarded to small businesses, non-profits, institutions of higher education, tribes, states, and local governments to promote the economic and environmental health of communities. Since 2013, this funding has also helped establish 12 Statewide Wood Utilization Teams and 22 Statewide Wood Energy Teams that collectively expand and support wood products and wood energy markets.
The deadline for submitting grant applications is Jan. 15, 2020. Information on how to apply is available on the Wood Innovations homepage.
The mission of the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains world-renowned forestry research and wildland fire management organizations. National forests and grasslands contribute more than $30 billion to the American economy annually and support nearly 360,000 jobs. These lands also provide 30 percent of the nation’s surface drinking water to cities and rural communities; approximately 60 million Americans rely on drinking water that originated from the National Forest System.
–USDA Forest Service
For more articles concerning forestry, click here.