Investment in State & Private Forests

Implementing a Generational Investment in State and Private Forests

The Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 include historic investments in forestry, in particular through state forestry agencies, to implement a wide range of programs and priorities. 

SGSF policy efforts are focused on making sure these investments make the greatest impact on the ground for our regions forests and forest owners, while our communications help tell the stories of the meaningful impacts of these funds.

Learn how southern state forestry agencies are implementing these historic investments locally.

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Investment in State & Private Forests

Urban & Community Forestry

By working with state partners and community tree groups, the Urban & Community Forestry program invests from the ground up in communities, improving more than 140 million acres of urban and community forest across the United States.

State Accomplishments

Urban & Community Forestry in Action

Selma Tree Canopy Improvement and Tornado Relief

The Alabama Forestry Commission continues to support tree canopy improvement and storm recovery in Selma.

Free Tree Fridays

Through a new seedling giveaway program called “Free Tree Fridays,” the Arkansas Forestry Division distributed over 4,000 seedlings to residents across the state during 18 Arbor Day events.

Community Greening Youth Tree Team

The program employs local teens to improve their neighborhoods while teaching them about green jobs and the environment.

Georgia ReLeaf Grant Program

During the 22/23 planting season, more than 2,500 trees were planted or distributed within 16 Georgia communities.

Tree Week Celebration

Tree Week strives to foster a deeper appreciation and understanding of the important role of nature and trees in our quality of life.

Share The Fruit

Baton Rouge Green’s Share the Fruit program enhances community and neighborhood experiences over shared resources from “open-source” orchards.

Sub-grant & Sub-award Programs

The Mississippi Forestry Commission has provided over $250,000 in financial assistance over five years through the Urban & Community Forestry Program.

Sample Tree Inventory & Canopy Cover Assessment Program

North Carolina Forest Service’s Sample Tree Inventory and Canopy Cover Assessment Program provides readily available, high-quality urban forestry products to local municipalities.

Tree Canopy Assessments

Tree canopy assessments valuated the benefits from tree cover at $132 million in Tulsa and $150 million in Oklahoma City, annually.

Community Forestry Online Self-Assessment Tool

The new resource has so far assisted fifteen communities with mapping, goal setting for tree canopy, stormwater analysis and development of urban forest master plans.

Trees Count Mobile App

The Trees Count App has motivated action and awareness around tree risk, biodiversity and other important factors.

Preserving Our Trees, Saving Our Lives

A project driven by students and teachers to advocate for the understanding, and maintenance, of indigenous trees.

Virginia Heat Island Mitigation

A 2021 partnership has led to the largest heat island mapping study in the country, prompting over 900 volunteers to plant more than 2,300 trees in vulnerable areas.


Wildfire Protection

The Community Wildfire Defense Program (CWDG) is intended to help at-risk local communities and tribes plan for and reduce the risk of wildfire.

This program, which was authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, prioritizes at-risk communities in an area identified as having high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low-income, or have been impacted by a severe disaster that affects the risk of wildfire.

State Accomplishments

Wildfire Protection in Action

Rabun County, Georgia

Working together to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan



Reforesting in the right place, at the right time, with the right species, and at the appropriate scale promotes healthy, resilient forests. Reforestation can occur through natural regeneration or tree planting, and allows for the accelerated development of forested ecosystems following natural disturbance events such as wildfire, wind events, and insect and disease infestations. Landowners also conduct forest regeneration after planned timber harvests as part of their sustainable forest management strategy.

State Accomplishments

Reforestation in Action

Forest Regeneration Center Upgrades

Upgrades to Oklahoma Forestry Service’s Forest Regeneration Center

Longleaf Pine Seedlings

Improving services to underserved landowners in Georgia

Hardwood Seedlings

Georgia nursery to produce approximately 1 million hardwood seedlings


Forest Health

Forest insects account for 20% of the total negative growth impact on forest trees, while diseases account for 45%. Among significant non-native insects and diseases established in the South are the hemlock woolly adelgid, spongy moth, emerald ash borer, laurel wilt disease and Asian longhorned beetle. Monitoring and suppression are important tools for preventing and managing these pests.

State Accomplishments

Forest Health in Action

Ash Treatment Program

Protecting the next generation of ash trees in Virginia

Invasive Species Detection & Response

Developing an invasive species program in Virginia to detect and respond to non-native invasive plants

Reducing tree loss

Helping Georgia communities maintain tree canopy amid a growing population and increased development

Forest Health Awareness and Trapping

Promoting forest health awareness and EDRR trapping for emerald ash borer and spongy moth in Georgia


Climate-Smart Forestry

Approximately 86% of the South’s forestland is privately-owned, making it the nation’s stronghold for private forestland ownership.

  • Forests help maintain the carbon balance in the earth’s atmosphere. Increasing carbon storage, decreasing the use of fossil fuels and strengthening forest resilience is key to mitigating the negative effects of a changing climate. 
  • Among all forest types, private working forests are responsible for 75% of all carbon sequestered by forests in the United States annually, and actively absorb 17% of all CO2 emissions in the country.

State Accomplishments

Climate-Smart Forestry in Action

Mass Timber Documentary

Highlighting mass timber and the yellow pine resources in Texas