The Urban Forests Act of 2021 would enhance and maintain urban forests across the nation by creating a competitive matching grant program that leverages the success of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA Program and creating new jobs in urban areas focused on innovative new wood products and urban forest management.
The Urban Forests Act of 2021 also makes carbon sequestration a priority and increases funding for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, improves data collection on urban forests, and enhances urban forestry research by coordinating existing programs. Urban forests are important sources of carbon sequestration and sequestered nearly 130 million metric tons of carbon in 2018.
Section 2 of the bill proposes urban and community forestry assistance programs for urban wood utilization. They include:
- Pilot project for cooperative agreements for urban wood utilization through which the secretary of agriculture can enter into agreements with state and local governments, institutions of higher education, private or non-profit organizations, and other entities that support projects that create wood products from dead and fallen trees in urban and community areas.
- These cooperative agreements would put a priority on supporting local job creation; supporting typically underserved areas or areas with a low tree or environmental equity; develop new uses for dead and fallen trees; and improve urban forest health and resiliency.
- The secretary of agriculture may provide technical or financial assistance to entities that enter into a cooperative agreement to facilitate research on new uses for dead and fallen trees in urban and community areas; and market expansion opportunities for products made from dead and fallen trees in urban and community areas.