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U.S. Department of Agricultureawards $25 millionto accelerate theClimate-Smart Wood Economy

Sustainable Northwest wins significant funding on a proposal to build the Climate Smart Wood Economy. We are excited to join a group of nonprofit and tribal partners in the Pacific Northwest on this effort.

On September 14, a proposal led by Sustainable Northwest and partners was awarded a more than $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a project titled “Building the Climate-Smart Wood Economy.”

The grant, Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities, will bring together tribal, small family forest, and nonprofit wood producers with data scientists and the design and construction industry to manage and restore tens of thousands of acres with an initial focus in Oregon, Washington, and northern California. The project will quantify the positive impacts of climate-smart management on carbon sequestration, wildfire intensity, and cultural values. It will also develop new resources for leaders in the architecture, engineering, and construction communities to understand the importance of climate-smart forestry and to find sources of climate-smart wood through pre-design, design, and construction phases of development.

This grant was made possible through a collaborative effort among application partners, which include Sustainable Northwest, Ecotrust, the Climate Smart Wood Group, Northwest Natural Resource Group, Trout Mountain Forestry, Washington Environmental Council, and Vibrant Planet.

“It’s exciting to see how the collaborative and inclusive partnerships are celebrated through this award,” Stephanie Gutierrez, Forests and Community Program Director, says. “I feel honored to be trusted by our tribal partners to continue this work partnering with and supporting Indigenous forest stewardship.”

As a partner on the proposed project, Ecotrust is particularly excited to build on long-standing relationships we have with several northwestern tribes and intertribal organizations and to spotlight the exceptional examples that tribal forests in our region offer.

Left image: Wood recently harvested and prepared to be milled for the Hoopa Tribe. (Image credit: Sean Gutierrez)

“Tribes and intertribal organizations in our region are leaders in climate-smart forestry,” Olivia Rebanal, Ecotrust Interim Co-Executive Director and Chief Impact Officer, says. “With the support of this new grant, we are excited to apply our strengths in co-producing actionable data science to build more awareness, market recognition, and economic opportunity for these tribal forest managers and practices.”

Around $4.4 million of the grant will be dedicated to Ecotrust’s Forestry and Ecosystem Services Team, for work such as:

  • Leading applied research to monitor and report forest carbon stocks and timber output, using publicly available data in a transparent and credible way to enable green builders to identify climate-smart timber producers and inform targeted wood procurement strategies.
  • Supporting tribes in the Pacific Northwest to do “deep dive” analyses quantifying the carbon and other observable impacts associated with their forest management.
  • Collaborating with partners at Vibrant Planet to ensure that the monitoring data and reporting systems we launch are updated annually into the future using new satellite imagery and economic activity data.

“This work advances several of the goals in Ecotrust’s Strategic Plan, such as enabling business and policy actions that support climate resilience, building intergenerational wealth with new market connections and direct payments to tribes and other forest owners, and most notably by catalyzing changes to the stewardship of lands that are ecologically, culturally, and economically just,” says David Diaz, Director of Forestry Technology & Analytics.

For more information on this project and on Sustainable Northwest, please see their press release and website. For more information on the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant and additional awarded projects, please visit the USDA website.

Top image: Hoopa tribal forest (Image credit Sean Gutierrez).