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Simpson Receives Recognition for Reforestation Efforts

Simpson Receives Recognition for Reforestation Efforts

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today received recognition from American Forests conservation organization for his efforts to advance and champion the REPLANT Act, which safeguards the critical role that healthy forests play in providing clean air and water, reinvigorating ecosystems, protecting wildlife habitat, and creating outdoor recreation opportunities. 

“Our national forests are paying the price because of extreme wildfires raging through the West and ongoing droughts.  Ensuring that the Forest Service is adequately equipped to meet the growing demands of our national forests is vital in protecting the benefits that trees provide to our environment and our rural economies,” said Simpson. “The REPLANT Act addresses the growing backlog of federal reforestation projects and increases the resources needed to plant more trees in burn scarred areas.  This type of reforestation is needed to protect our environment and communities from mudslides that can result after a wildfire.”

To address the Forest Service’s reforestation backlog, the bill removes the current $30 million annual funding cap for the Reforestation Trust Fund, the primary source of funding for USFS’s replanting needs, making an average of $123 million annually available for reforestation in National Forests. In addition, the REPLANT Act will direct USFS to quantify the backlog of replanting needs, reduce delays by expanding stewardship contracting, and encourage state and Tribal partnerships. Among other associated activities, reforestation includes planting tree seedlings on forests that are unlikely to regenerate on their own in order to reestablish native plants and ensure the health of ecosystems and wildlife that depend on forests. Replanting forests is an effective way to create jobs in rural America, support natural ecosystems and improve natural carbon sequestration. Estimates show that the REPLANT Act would help plant 410,000 acres, or 123 million trees annually, for a total of 4.1 million acres (1.23 billion trees) over the next ten years.

“Idaho’s forests contribute $2 billion annually to the state’s economy and provide nearly 31,000 jobs,” said Simpson.  “The REPLANT Act is crucial in guaranteeing this important industry’s long-term sustainability.  I am proud to accept the 2022 Resilient Forest Champion Award and I thank American Forests for this recognition.”