Photo of sunrise coming through trees in Sequoia National Forest.
Starburst through the Sequoias Photo captured while taking an early morning walk among these giants in Sequoia National Forest. © Nina Ritchie/TNC Photo Contest

Policy

America's Forests

Benefiting the nation's water, communities, wildlife and climate.

America’s forests are home to the world’s tallest, biggest and oldest trees but need sensible investments in stewardship and forestry to continue delivering the benefits they provide.

American forests are critical to the economy, public health and the environment. The nation's forests:

Store and filter more than half of the nation’s water supply.

  • Provide jobs to more than 1 million forest product workers.
  • Offer 1 million square miles to sportsmen and families for outdoor recreation.
  • Generate $13.6 billion in recreation-based economic activity from national forests alone.
  • Are habitat for thousands of forest-dependent wildlife and plant species.
  • Are a major carbon sink that sequesters 15 percent of all fossil fuel emissions in the United States.

Climate change is exacerbating conditions such as megafires, pests and drought, all of which are decimating forests. An area larger than Oregon is in need of restoration to maintain services for people, water and wildlife, and that is on national forest lands alone.

At the same time, these forests have the potential to deliver significant natural climate solutions if the capacity of these forest lands to sequester and store additional carbon is enhanced, with the added benefit of reducing emissions from wildfire.

Supporting strong investments in forest resilience will help protect the climate while also benefiting wildlife and biodiversity, water security, public safety and rural economies.

Congress made a down payment on wildfire risk reduction and forest health through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including on new initiatives such as post-fire burned area rehabilitation. Annual appropriations can provide such investments with continuity. TNC recommends Congress reinvest savings back into agency programs that would increase the pace and scale of restoration and reduce wildfire risk.

Based on the modern budgeting practices undertaken by USFS, TNC's FY23 requests represent increases to key forest and wildfire programs that would begin to address the breadth of restoration and wildfire risk reduction treatment needed on national forests. It also recommends increased salaries and expenses proportional to any program increases. 

A chart showing TNC U.S. forest funding recommendations for FY23.
Forest Funding Recommendations Highlights of The Nature Conservancy's federal funding recommendations for FY23.

TNC's U.S. forest funding recommendations for FY23.