Increasing Threats to Tribal Forests Call for Immediate Action

Increasing Threats to Tribal Forests Call for Immediate Action

Independent, national review makes critical, timely recommendations to the federal government.

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 3, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Intertribal Timber Council (ITC) announces the fourth independent report on the status of Indian forests and forestry, which found that these forests continue to receive only a fraction of the funding provided to public and private forests. The Indian Forest Management Assessment Team Report (IFMAT) is required by Congress and the White House every 10 years under the National Indian Forest Resources Management Act.

“The continuing failure of the United States to meet its fiduciary trust responsibilities for stewardship of these renewable resources is placing Tribal forests in jeopardy with the risk of catastrophic loss from insects, disease, and wildfire,” said Cody Desautel, President of the Intertribal Timber Council.

Healthy forests are critical to the cultural and economic well-being of not only Tribal communities across the country—forests are central to all Americans’ quality of life. Tribal forests are part of a national network of forests that provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, climate change solutions, and rural jobs.

IFMAT highlights

  • An annual increase of $96 million is needed to reach per-acre parity with National Forest and Bureau of Land Management funding.
  • Despite funding declining by almost 36% on Tribal lands, compared with other federal agencies over the last decade, Tribal Foresters continue to innovate using Indigenous Knowledge and enhancing forest stewardship.
  • Annual timber harvests are only 50% of allowable levels, resulting in up to a $40 million lost opportunity in annual Tribal income.
  • Tribal economies are adversely affected by declining wood-processing infrastructure and market competition.
  • Significant investments are needed for transportation systems, facilities, and enforcement.
  • Major forest stand improvement treatments are needed to improve climate change resiliency.
  • Need to reduce barriers to using prescribed fire to reduce catastrophic wildfire.

“A lack of sustainable management is the most pressing forest health issue facing many Indian forests. Lack of funding is seriously jeopardizing responsible Tribal forest stewardship,” said Dr. John Sessions, IFMAT co-chair and Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Oregon State University.

About the Intertribal Timber Council (ITC)

Established in 1976, the ITC is a nationwide nonprofit consortium of Indian Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and individuals dedicated to improving the management of natural resources of importance to Native American communities. The ITC facilitated the IFMAT report.

SOURCE Intertribal Timber Council (ITC)

ITC

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/increasing-threats-to-tribal-forests-call-for-immediate-action-301891960.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

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