Your Input Sought on a Possible New Urban Forest Certification Standard

From David Sivyer, Urban and Community Forestry Program Manager for the Eastern Region of the U.S. Forest Service 

Greetings Urban and Community Forestry Program Managers and friends,

Urban and community forests are a significant resource in North America and are likely to continue to increase in significance based upon demographic, economic, and environmental trends. As such, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is hosting a webinar on June 9, 2020 from 1:00-3:00 PM eastern time to explore the potential value of collaborating to develop a customized urban forest certification standard. Input received from participants during the webinar will inform a task work group that is being convened to assess the need for the standard.

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Managing Forests in Cities

The past few months have highlighted the importance of parks and nature in cities. Urban natural areas are critical as refugia, protecting biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change all while contributing to the health and wellbeing of nearby residents.

However, natural areas are threatened by development as city populations grow, and are susceptible to invasive plants and fragmentation all of which can lead to a decline in forest health and the benefits they can provide.

In this webinar, Sarah Charlop-Powers and Dr. Clara Pregitzer of the Natural Areas Conservancy will introduce the challenges and opportunities of managing forests in cities, including 25 case studies from 12 cities across the U.S., and Forest Service research ecologist Dr. Rich Hallett will present a silvicultural framework for assessment and management of forests in cities, adapted from rural forest management practice. Together, the team will introduce viewers to a new collaborative network of cities and share successful strategies from across the nation.

2020 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant Program

The USDA Forest Service is requesting applications for the Fiscal Year 2020 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Grant Program. A fabulous USFS GLRI StoryMap highlights contributions of this grant program to Great Lakes restoration goals.

The U.S. Forest Service anticipates that up to $4.2 million in new funds will be available for competitive grants in four program areas:

  • Forest Insect and Disease Mitigation
  • Reduce Runoff from Degraded Sites through Green Infrastructure
  • Protect and Restore Coastal Wetlands through Healthy Tree Cover
  • Restore Resilient Riparian and Shoreline Forests

The FY 2020 GLRI Request for Applications (RFA) Instructions, agency-specific forms, and other resources are available on their GLRI RFA website.

Applications must be prepared and submitted through Grants.gov by 6 p.m. Eastern on June 26, 2020. The opportunity number in Grants.gov is USDA-FS-2020-GLRI.

The GLRI FY 2020 Informational Webinar is May 12, 10:00 am Eastern/9:00 am Central. Click to register and for more information!

They encourage all applicants to work with their State forestry agency to determine how their project fits into the goals and objectives of the State Forest Action Plan. If you have questions, please reach out to your Field Representative or Sheela Johnson (sheela.johnson@usda.gov or 224-999-1997).

New Career Pathways, Urban Wood Use Guides from Vibrant Cities Lab

Career Pathways Action Guide

Across the country, urban forestry employers face an unprecedented labor shortage. More than 7,000 positions are projected to open in tree maintenance and plant health care through 2026, not including another 95,000 positions in landscaping.

Who will fill these slots? Well, the right people may already be right around the corner from where more trees and tree maintenance are needed most. Learn more in the Career Pathways Action Guide, recently launched on the Vibrant Cities Lab!

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Vicki Christiansen Sworn in as Chief of U.S. Forest Service

USDA Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen

Significant funding for urban forestry at the state level comes from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS); see the role that the USFS plays with urban forests here. It’s important to get to know our national leadership, like newly sworn in USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen. 

Vicki Christiansen serves as Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service in Washington, D.C., after serving as Interim Chief since March 8, 2018. In her 36-year career in natural resource and wildland fire management, she brings a wealth of experiences and skills that demonstrate a commitment to the core values of the Forest Service. This includes conservation, service, interdependence, diversity, and safety. She works daily to live up to these values in every facet of her leadership and service. She demonstrates them as she leads a workforce of more than 25,000 permanent employees who steward 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands; support the world’s largest forestry research organization; and work with states, tribes and the public to sustain all forests so they can benefit all citizens, today and in the future.

Prior to serving as Chief, she worked as Deputy Chief for State and Private Forestry, where she oversaw Fire and Aviation Management, Tribal Relations, Forest Health Protection, Cooperative Forestry, Grey Towers National Historic Site, and Conservation Education. 

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