Native forests and woodlands comprise 18.6 million acres, or one third, of the total 57 million acres of Native land held and managed in trust by the federal government.
In addition to the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service under the U.S. Department of Agriculture manages forests across Indian Country. The Farm Bill’s Forestry Title includes numerous programs that impact Tribes and Tribal citizens.
What does forestry look like in Indian Country, and why is this title important?
In 2017, 313 federally recognized Tribe managed forests. This ranges from 1 acre to more than 5 million, and roughly 8 million acres of Tribal forests are timberlands. Additionally, one third of the 57 million acres of Native land held in trust by the federal government are Native woodlands and forests. Forestry also supports 19,000 jobs and $40 million in Tribal government revenues annually.
Because so much of the U.S. Forest Service shares boundaries with Tribal lands — approximately 4,000 miles — management requires extensive cross-jurisdictional coordination between Tribes, states, public, and private partnerships.
The Forestry Title features one of two “638” programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, the second appearing within the Nutrition Title regarding the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
This is a living resources, and IFAI will update as new information arises.
Marker Bills Regarding Forestry
A bill to improve the process for awarding grants under certain programs of the Department of Agriculture to certain counties in which the majority of land is owned or managed by the Federal Government and to other units of local government and Tribal governments in those counties, and for other purposes.
This bill expands upon the Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access Program, created by the 2018 Farm Bill to support underserved producers. The bill would make grants to, and enter into cooperative agreements with, Tribal governments among others to strengthen land, capital, and market access for historically underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest owners and for producers operating in high-poverty areas.
This bill has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate.
This bill revises the Good Neighbor Authority program to modify the treatment of revenue from timber sale contracts under good neighbor agreements with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Interior. (The Good Neighbor Authority permits USDA and Interior to enter into cooperative agreements or contracts with states, counties, and Indian tribes to perform forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services on federal land managed by the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.)