WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) today reintroduced the Forest Incentives Program Act to help landowners make forest management more affordable, and provide them with sustainable options to preserve their land.

With financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), private forest owners would be encouraged to employ environmentally conscious forest management techniques. Additionally, non-residential building owners would be incentivized to use less-energy intensive products, such as wood, for structural building materials.

“West Virginia is known to be wild and wonderful, in part, due to its vast mountainous forests,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation helps maintain that natural beauty by making environmentally friendly forest conservation more affordable for private landowners, by incentivizing the employment of new techniques to better maintain their forests and reduce our carbon footprint. Conservation efforts such as this are critical for ensuring that our forests remain strong and vibrant for generations to come. I am proud to once again join Senator Shaheen in introducing this legislation, which will help support private forest owners and promote long lasting forest sustainability.”

“New Hampshire’s private forests preserve our natural resources and are a staple of our rural economy,” Senator Shaheen said. “I’m proud to lead this bipartisan legislation to recognize the climate benefits of forests and help landowners and building owners make decisions with an eye toward sustainability. This is a common-sense step to make forest management more affordable, empowering forest owners to invest in their financial security while supporting healthy environments. I’ll continue to work in good faith with Senators across the aisle to stimulate healthy local economies through sustainable forest management.”

Specifically, the bill would direct the USDA to establish an incentive program that allows eligible forest landowners to enter into a long-term contract to adopt conservation practices that have been proven to deliver emissions reductions. The bill would also create financial incentives for commercial building owners to use biological products, such as wood, as structural building materials instead of more energy-intensive materials.

The Forest Incentives Program Act has been endorsed by numerous local and national organizations, including: American Forest Foundation, American Forests, Appalachian Mountain Club, Forest Landowners Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Audubon Society, New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association, Northland Forest Products, Pinchot Institute for Conservation, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, The Lyme Timber Company and The Trust for Public Land.

Full text of the legislation is available here.

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