Program:  Forest stewardship grants

Appropriation:

All from Federal Funds:

$625,000

 

Total:

$625,000[14]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the forest stewardship grant.  As with the “Private Forest Development” program, above, this program helps private landowners develop plans for long-term protection of private forest resources.

Recommendation Action:

This program should be eliminated.  Private conservation groups exist for conservation efforts such as this.  Indeed, such groups already are granted special, “nonprofit” tax status.  There is no reason to think that these institutions could not fund 100 percent of their own worthy efforts, without this small grant from state government.  Savings:  $625,000.

Program:  Urban forestry grants

Appropriation:

All from Federal Funds:

$400,000

 

Total:

$400,000[15]

Program Description:

This appropriation funds Urban Forestry Grants.  This program provides information and technical assistance to local governments and volunteer groups conducting urban forest activities such as tree inventories and planting.

Recommended Action:

This program should be eliminated.  Local governments and nonprofit or volunteer groups — such as The National Arbor Day Foundation — should be responsible for their own urban forest activities.  Indeed, The National Arbor Day Foundation runs its own conservation programs that give advice on such matters.[16]

The Detroit-based nonprofit corporation, The Greening of Detroit is another institution from which private citizens can obtain information about urban forestry.  The group has planted 25,000 trees since its inception in 1989.  It should be noted that 3 to 5 percent of the group’s annual $1.3 million budget comes from federal and state grants — including the line item above.  But that does not mean it could not thrive without government assistance.  The other 95 percent of its funds are raised through donations, rather than through state and federal taxes.  It seems unlikely that removing this line item from state government would doom the Greening of Detroit, or dim its enthusiasm for urban forestry.  Another private, nonprofit group that citizens interested in urban forestry could turn to is the Global ReLeaf Foundation (GRF) of Michigan.  The foundation works to plant trees in communities throughout the state.  It raises 99 percent of its revenue privately.  Savings:  $400,000.