Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that more than $4.2 million in grants will go to 17 small businesses and community groups. These funds are targeted to help communities, entrepreneurs, and others turn residues into marketable forest products and green energy. The investments will help further the goal of conservation, management, and restoration of these natural treasures, which will reduce catastrophic fires, disease and pests that have all led to declining forest health in recent decades.
Uses of this woody biomass include renewable energy and new products that could be developed, which is consistent with the vision Secretary Vilsack outlined two weeks ago about the future of the nation's forests. Vilsack says these grants will help restore our forests by reducing hazardous fuels, handling insect and disease conditions, and treating forests impacted by catastrophic weather while creating markets for small-diameter material and low-valued trees removed from these areas.