ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced on Wednesday that $450,000 is now available in the first round of the State’s new ‘Regenerate NY‘ Forestry Cost Share Grant Program. The grant program will help private landowners grow the next generation of forests.
The regeneration of forests are crucial for mitigating climate change, providing wildlife habitat, protecting air and water quality, and supplying an important renewable resource.
The regeneration of New York’s forests is dependent on the successful establishment and survival of tree seedlings. Over the past several decades, the ability of New York’s forests to regenerate has been diminished due to widespread damage caused by white-tailed deer, excessive competition from native and non-native vegetation, and the impacts of climate change.
“Nearly 75% of New York’s 18.7 million acres of forestland is privately owned,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Each year, New York’s private forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a rate equal to the emissions from two million gasoline-powered automobiles, underscoring the importance of partnering with landowners to sustain our forests and fight against climate change. The Regenerate NY grant program supports the renewal of our forests and will help New York State meet our ambitious carbon-reduction goals, and I encourage interested landowners to take advantage of this new program.”
“The benefits of forests continue after they are harvested, as well,” said New York State Forester Robert Davies. “Products made from wood require significantly less energy to make than their CO2 intense counterparts like aluminum and plastic, and solid wood products continue to store carbon well beyond a tree’s lifetime. Supporting regeneration efforts on private lands will help build this vital resource during a time when the benefits of forests are more valuable than ever.”
Grant funds are available through New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and managed by DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests. Private landowners who own between 10 and 1,000 acres of forest land in New York State may apply for grant awards ranging from a minimum of $3,000 to a maximum of $50,000, with a required 25% match. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, planting trees, soil scarification, removing competing vegetation that would interfere with seedling establishment and growth, and installation of deer fence.
Applicants must work with a private forester to develop their project. Up to two applications may be submitted per applicant, provided the applications are for separate properties.