This week, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) released a report titled, From Accelerating Restoration to Creating and Maintaining Resilient Landscapes and Communities Across the Nation, highlighting forest restoration progress over the past three years. According to the report, the USFS has completed over 4.6 million acres of restoration treatments; an increase of nearly 400,000 acres (9 percent) compared to 2011.
Despite the progress, challenges remain, including extreme drought conditions, larger more catastrophic wildfires, and the increasing percentage of the USFS budget being spent on fire suppression.
“The Forest Service has made tremendous progress in conducting restoration work to keep our forests healthy and resilient," said Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. "However, because of the growing cost of fighting more frequent and dangerous wildfires, much of the work that supports healthy forests is being starved."
The report emphasizes key partnerships and collaboration efforts that are helping the USFS increase the pace, scale, and impact of restoration work, and the expansion of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.
RCRC independently, and jointly through its work with the California Forest Watershed Alliance (CAFWA), continues to advocate for a federal effort to change the way forest management is funded.
The full USFS report can be accessed here.