Nearly $50M in Grants Available to Strengthen Forest Products Economy
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is making nearly $50 million in grant funding available for projects that support crucial links between healthy forests, strong rural economies and jobs in the forestry sector.
Made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the funding will spark innovation, create new markets for wood products and renewable wood energy, expand processing capacity and help tackle the climate crisis.
“Our region relies on a strong forest products industry to improve forest resiliency and wildlife habitat, while supporting local economies and creating jobs, said Bob Lueckel, Deputy Regional Forester for the Eastern Region. “Through these grants, we are directly supporting the tribes, organizations and businesses that are finding innovative ways to grow markets for forest products, store carbon in our buildings and infrastructure and provide firewood to those who need it.”
The funding is through three key grant programs: Wood Innovations Grants, Community Wood Grants and Wood Products Infrastructure Assistance Grants. The Forest Service is seeking proposals that support innovative uses of wood in the construction of low-carbon buildings, as a renewable energy source and in manufacturing and processing products. These programs also provide direct support to expand and retrofit wood energy systems and wood products manufacturing facilities.
Eligible entities in the private, nonprofit and government sectors include tribes, local and state governments, businesses and for-profit entities and institutions of higher education, as well as public utility, fire, conservation and school districts, among others. Businesses that are engaged in or support the forest products economy are eligible to apply for funding to expand manufacturing capacity.
These investments will support forest management projects to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk across all land ownerships. Byproducts of these activities, like small-diameter timber and woody biomass, have historically been of little market value. Thanks in part to these Forest Service grant programs, funding is available to support the use of this often-unused material in many types of wood products.
Visit the Forest Service webpage for more information on these grant opportunities: https://www.fs.usda.gov/science-technology/energy-forest-products/wood-innovation
For more information on the Eastern Region’s Forest Markets program, visit the regional webpage: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r9/communityforests/?cid=fseprd1046844