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
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.
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.
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.
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.