The 2016 National Association of State Foresters (NASF) Survey, “State Foresters by the Numbers,” shows that even as the funding for Urban and Community Forestry through state agencies has declined, the number of communities served has gone up.
In 2016, overall funding support for state forestry agency programs came from state government (65 percent), state forestry agency revenues (17 percent), federal government (7 percent), and county and municipal government (11 percent). These percentages varied slightly by region.
All 51 survey respondents showed their state forestry agency with the lead role in administering the Urban & Community Forestry program in their respective states. In New York State, the state forestry agency is NYSDEC, with the Urban Forestry program headed up by Mary Kramarchyk.
Spending on Urban & Community Forestry nationwide decreased 1 percent, or $0.4 million in 2016 compared to 2014. This follows sizeable declines in each of the last three survey cycles (2010, 2012, and 2014). However, communities receiving state forestry agency technical assistance for this program increased in 2016 to 8,831, with the majority of these in the Northeast (see table below).
The following graph shows the decrease in federal funding for UCF to the state forestry agencies from 2014 to 2016. Unfortunately, this trend is poised to continue in FY 2018, even though the impact of UCF by state forestry agencies is significant and has benefited ever more communities.
For FY 2018, NASF recommended to Congress that state agencies be collectively funded at the FY 2012 level of $31 million. The fact sheet and “ask” for UCF is below. Unfortunately it is feared that even this FY 2012 level of funding is in jeopardy. Calls to your senators and congresspeople in support of full funding for urban and community forestry are needed on an ongoing basis. Even if the amount is settled for FY 2018, advocacy for 2019 is underway.
It is a bit confusing, however the USDA Forest Service is funded through Interior Appropriations, rather than Agriculture. The message to Congress should reference Interior appropriations when referring to the Forest Service budget for Urban and Community Forestry.
Thank you for taking the time to keep up with the state of UCF in New York and nationwide, and for making calls and writing letters so that your representatives (federal, state, and local) know that UCF funding is important to you.