USDA Forest Service makes historic investments for equitable access to trees and nature in the Northeast, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic

Release Date: Sep 15, 2023

Contact(s): Eastern Region Press Desk

Milwaukee, Wisc. (September 15, 2023) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service announced today a $409 million investment supporting Urban and Community Forestry projects in the Eastern Region, increasing access to trees and the critical social, health and economic benefits that they provide.

Nationwide, over $1 billion will go to support nearly 400 projects led by community-based organizations, tribes, municipal and state governments, nonprofit partners and universities.  These investments will plant and maintain trees in disadvantaged communities, tackle the climate crisis and support local jobs. The funding, made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a historic $1.5 billion investment in the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. 

“These investments arrive as cities across the country experience record-breaking heatwaves that have grave impacts on public health, energy consumption and overall well-being,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are supporting communities in becoming more resilient to climate change and combatting extreme heat with the cooling effects of increased urban tree canopy, while also supporting employment opportunities and professional training that will strengthen local economies.”

“More than 80% of the population in the Northeast and Midwest states live in urban areas,” said Gina Owens, Forest Service Eastern Regional Forester. “With the help of our partners and the people who live in these urban and underserved areas and communities, these projects demonstrate our commitment to finding nature-based solutions for climate and environmental justice, increasing tree cover, better managing forests in urban and underserved areas and creating green jobs.”

The Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and lack access to trees and nature.

The Forest Service supports vibrant and healthy communities through investments in urban and community forests and the organizations that grow and care for them. More information about the funded proposals, as well as announcements about the grant program, is available on the Forest Service website.

Urban and Community Forestry Grants Investments help maintain over 141 million acres of trees and forests in our cities, while adding trees in more communities to grow the urban canopy.


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