On February 12, 2020, Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced the Trillion Trees Act as part of the Republicans’ approach to boost America’s sequestration of carbon and other greenhouse gases. Here is what you need to know about the bill.
As Stated in Congressman Westerman’s Press Release, the Bill has Three Parts
- Plant more trees in urban areas and on marginal agriculture land domestically while offering technical support and assistance for other countries to maximize forest growth internationally and reverse deforestation.
- Grow more wood in existing forests and make them more resilient to insects, diseases, and catastrophic wildfires.
- Store more carbon by incentivizing innovative building practices with a sustainable building tax credit.
The Trillion Trees Act Would
- Demonstrate how Congress may lend support to the United Nations Trillion Tree Campaign
- Provide a tax credit for using wood building materials in residential and commercial buildings
- Direct the Secretary of Agriculture to set a domestic wood growth target to increase the amount of carbon captured by forests in the US
- Incorporate carbon sequestration goals into several existing federal forest management programs, such as the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and the National Forest Foundation
- Prioritize reforestation on national forests that have been affected by natural disturbances
- Establish an international foundation open to private donations which will support reforestation and avoided deforestation in other countries
Funding to Support Programs in the Bill
- Boosts the annual appropriations for the Reforestation Trust Fund, from $30 million to $60 million
- Adds an additional $25 million for carbon sequestration activities under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act
FLA’s Engagement on the Bill
FLA has met with and continues to communicate with Congressman Westerman and his staff on the Trillion Trees Act. As with all newly introduced legislation, this bill is neither comprehensive nor final. Its introduction marks the beginning of a conversation that invites feedback, which we are providing.
As the only forester in Congress, Westerman has been a close partner with FLA, and we look forward to continuing to work with him and other stakeholders on this and all legislation addressing the potential for working forests to provide carbon benefits.
Supporting Forests by Supporting Forest Landowners
FLA supports policies that recognize the carbon benefits forests provide while avoiding the placement of new regulations or burdens that may impede the ownership of working forests.
As a community of forest landowners, we plant more trees than we harvest every year. But effectively utilizing forests as a tool to absorb greenhouse gases and combat climate change will be far more complex than planting more trees. The importance of markets and regulatory certainty cannot be understated when it comes to supporting forest landowners and forest management. Healthy, well-managed forests have the potential to provide the greatest environmental and economic benefits to society, and healthy markets enable landowners to manage healthy forests.
No one in Congress understands this better than Congressman Westerman; and we applaud him and his colleagues for advancing markets, trees, and wood as a natural carbon solution.