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Sustainable Forests


FUNDING LEVEL: Annual budget allocation; $82 million through March 2017
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS: Cities, counties, qualifying districts, or nonprofit organizations

Program Description

The Sustainable Forests Program funds forest restoration and reforestation projects statewide and implements urban forestry projects to increase carbon sequestration and provide benefits to disadvantaged communities. The Sustainable Forests Program is comprised of two subprograms: Forest Health and Urban and Community Forestry.

The Forest Health Program funds and implements projects to proactively restore forest health to reduce GHG emissions, protect upper watersheds where the State’s water supply originates, promote the long-term storage of carbon in forests trees and soils and contribute to the overall forest health. The Forest Health Program is comprised of five project activities: reforestation, pest management, fuels reduction, forest conservation and biomass utilization.

The Urban and Community Forestry Program funds several project types that support urban tree site improvement, tree planting and maintenance, urban wood and biomass use and improved long-term urban forest management. GHG benefits are based on estimated carbon sequestration of planted trees, building energy savings from tree shade, carbon stored long-term in wood products and avoided emissions from renewable energy generation. One hundred percent of these projects must be located in disadvantaged communities, defined as a majority of the trees planted to be publicly accessible in a disadvantaged community.

Visit the CAL FIRE Urban and Community Forest web page to learn more.

Successful Project Outcomes

  • Increased carbon sequestration
  • Reduced energy usage
  • Environmental benefits including removing carbon from the atmosphere, improving air quality, moderating storm water flows, protecting water quality and providing habitat for wildlife
  • Increased investment in community development and improvement

Funded Projects

Imperial Valley (2016-17) - The Imperial Valley Urban Forest Project will use its $665,028 grant to plant 1,400 trees in five partnering cities led by El Centro and including Calexico, Holtville, Imperial and Brawley. This tree canopy expansion program will also include job training, community involvement and young tree care.

El Dorado County (2015) – The county received $1.9 million for the King Fire Rehabilitation and Reforestation Project. This project will plant approximately 390,000 trees and sequester nearly 170,000 tons of GHGs over the next 60 years.

San Bernardino County (2016-17) - The Route 66 Veterans Memorial Corridor,  a $1 million project proposed by the San Bernardino County Incredible Edible Community Garden (IECG), will plant 3,000 trees; provide shade at rest stops along the route; convert vacant lots into pocket parks to help revitalize communities; mitigate storm water run‐off including bio‐swales and rain gardens; and instill pride and ownership of trees in disadvantaged communities by honoring each veteran in these communities with a tree and marker.

Statewide (2016-17) – The Britton Fund received $750,000 for its program, California Urban Wood Pathways. Through the project, the cities of Ontario, Placentia, Stockton, Sacramento and San Jose will use trees that must be removed for a valid reason (pests, disease, damage, etc.) for economic development and job creation. The project will process at least 6,000 logs during the grant period and will result in market development, establishment of regional urban wood hub-sand education and outreach.

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