Below are the conclusions..
As these two case studies demonstrate, well over half of the value of federal investments in forest restoration and maintenance activities are being lost due to leakage out of local forest communities. Along with those dollars is the lost potential for that money to circulate and “multiply” in the local economy. So what can rural forest communities do to better leverage federal investments in forest management and restoration on public lands?
New programs and authorities are in place providing an opportunity for land management agencies and communities to work together to increase the utilization of local businesses. The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), established in 2009 has made job creation in local communities an explicit objective. Through 10 years of dedicated investments in restoration combined with active monitoring, the program hopes to increase the economic benefits of restoration activities accruing to local communities. Nonetheless, research by McIver (2013; 2016) and others (Moseley and Toth, 2004; Charnley et al., 2008) has shown that legislative intent alone is not enough to change the procurement contracting trends on the ground. As stated previously, government agencies need specific authorities that allow greater consideration of local contractors when awarding procurement contracts.
In 2012, Congress implemented such an authority. The fiscal year 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act included language providing the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior authority to consider the benefit to local communities in the awarding of contracts for forest hazardous fuels reduction and other forest and watershed restoration activities. The authority has been extended through FY17. Finally, as Abrams et al. (2015) and Pensky (1993) point out, the engagement of non-federal entities, such as community-based organizations or other non-profits, are critical for implementing import substitution programs due to their in-depth knowledge of a place, experience securing financial resources, and their ability to leverage networks to support their efforts. Careful analysis of federal contracting trends combined with local knowledge can create the foundation for a public-private effort to leveraging federal investments in forest maintenance and restoration to create wealth and build capacity in rural forest communities.