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Shaheen Introduces Bill to Promote Forest Conservation

(WASHINGTON, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen yesterday introduced the Forest Incentives Program Act of 2015 (S.1733) to promote conservation on privately-owned U.S. forests and increase the use of biological products, such as wood, in building construction.

“Forestland conservation is not only critical to preserving the environment for future generations, it also makes economic sense,” said Shaheen. “This bill will benefit our rural economies by creating and preserving jobs on American forests.”

The bill provides financial incentives to private forest owners to implement sustainable management practices. It directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (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. Another provision in the bill would create financial incentives for commercial building owners to use biological products, such as wood, as structural building materials instead of more energy-intensive materials.

"Senator Shaheen's Forest Carbon Incentives Program proposal will help forest owners keep their forests intact and implement active management practices that will capture even more carbon in forests and forest products," said Rita Hite, Executive Vice President, ATFS, Woodlands, and Policy at the American Forest Foundation. "As the largest ownership group of forestland, America's 22 million family forest owners are a key piece of the puzzle in our national climate response, and they can do even more to capture carbon and improve resiliency with the right policies and support in place."

"The U.S. forest sector is well positioned to leverage the natural capacity of forests to capture and store carbon emissions," said Jad Daley, Director of the Climate Conservation Program at The Trust for Public Land. "Senator Shaheen's innovative proposal will create financial incentives to advance this powerful carbon solution, bringing along all of the co-benefits well-managed private forests provide for our economy and environment. Currently, private forests offset more than 10 percent of U.S. annual carbon emissions.” 

The bill can be found here.