Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says 78 projects in 30 States and the District of Columbia will receive a total of $89 million to address problems caused by fire, insects, invasive species and disease. These projects are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for forest health protection projects. The Secretary emphasized that - proper forest management helps protect our forests for the benefit of current and future generations by restoring the vitality and productivity of the land.
Among the projects will be efforts to thin understory trees and control spread of pests, which will reduce the risk of massive forest die-offs. Epidemic insect outbreaks, such as hemlock woody adelgid, Asian longhorn beetle and bark beetles have killed large expanses of forests and threaten to kill more. Additionally, workers will undertake efforts to control the spread of invasive plants by hand and with machinery, thus protecting and restoring healthy ecosystems.
The funds will also help provide technical and financial assistance for care of lands owned by States, local governments, private organizations, and private individuals.