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Growth of Community Forests

Community forests are spreading across the U.S., as more cities and counties seek to rein in development and excessive logging by taking control of the woods themselves, reports the Wall Street Journal.

In many cases, the communities allow limited logging to continue to help raise money to offset the costs of managing the forest as well as beef up municipal coffers. Arcata, for example, spends about $200,000 annually to manage its forests, but gets $500,000 to $700,000 in revenue from logging them.

The trend started in earnest little more than a decade ago, but more than 3,000 cities in 43 states now own and manage forests totaling 4.5 million acres. The numbers are likely to keep growing, too, because Congress included a community-forest program in the 2008 Farm Bill. Environmental groups are lobbying lawmakers to allocate $75 million to the so-far unfunded program. With that much money, as many as one million more acres of forest a year could be put under control of local governments, the groups say.

TPL’s work on community forests is featured in the article.

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