A coalition of 29 forestry and conservation organizations from across the country sent a letter urging the House Ways and Means Committee to act on the Forest Recovery Act, introduced by Rep. Carter (GA-1). The FRA would allow a tax deduction for the fair market value of timber destroyed from natural disasters, providing much needed economic stability to forest landowners.
The letter states “The House passed emergency disaster appropriations bill provides needed relief for agriculture crops and farmers but does not provide economic relief for forest landowners that have lost their timber crops. The Forest Recovery Act is not a subsidy or transfer of funds program. It simply allows landowners to deduct the fair market value of timber lost to natural disasters.”
Planting forest land requires a 25-40-year investment to see the trees fully mature to market. All the while during this growth period, the landowner is paying taxes annually and expenses for the management of their forests, numerous environmental benefits are being provided at no expense to the tax-payer. According to the letter, forests are providing “30 percent of filtered fresh water supply, providing habitat for 60 percent of at-risk species, and capturing enough carbon to offset 10-15 percent of U.S. industrial carbon emissions annually.”
The coalition is calling for a hearing on FRA, stating that, “this common-sense policy would provide forest owners the security of knowing their 25 to 40-year investment in growing healthy forests will not be a complete economic loss if a natural disaster strikes; incentivizing keeping land in forest use for environmental benefits for both rural and urban communities.