The Department of Agriculture is investing nearly $10 million in forest nursery and seed partnerships for reforestation. The department hopes the initiative can help areas affected by forest fires. File Photo by Peter DaSilva/UPI
Feb. 24 (UPI) — The United States Department of Agriculture is investing almost $10 million in forest nursery and seed partnerships for reforestation.
“These investments help build capacity across public and private lands to meet mounting reforestation demands,” the department said in a press release Friday announcing the funding, which will be allocated under the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Out of the funds, $4.5 million is going to 29 facilities throughout states, territories, and commonwealths to upgrade forest nurseries, and $5.3 million will be used to support native seed collection and plant availability to restore ecosystems.
“According to The Nature Conservancy’s Reforestation Hub, it’s estimated that up to 146 million acres of land in the U.S. could benefit from reforestation. This translates to a need for more than 75 billion trees,” the department said.
Agriculture Department officials emphasized the environmental fallout threatened by deforestation.
“As forests across the nation are confronted by the climate crisis, wildfire, natural disasters, and insect and disease outbreaks, it is critical to support nurseries and help them meet the demand for seedlings to restore healthy, resilient forests,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
The department hopes the initiative will help restore areas that have been affected by forest fires because “in post-forest fire landscapes, restoration requires a variety of native grasses, flowers and shrubs.”