The Bipartisan REPLANT Act- Does Everyone Agree?

Forest Service crew plants trees. Michael Giagio, Colorado Springs Gazette

Thanks to NAFSR for their post about this. Does everyone think this proposed legislation is a good thing?
Off the top of my head, I can only think that the folks who are currently collecting the monies (if there are any such people) might not like it. Or perhaps that the difference currently goes into the Treasury which does need the funds. Still, it doesn’t seem like a lot of money, relatively speaking (a billion here and a billion there..).

Here are the introducers of the bill: Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), Congresswoman Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA), and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) introduced the Repairing Existing Public Land by Adding Necessary Trees Act or the REPLANT Act, legislation to expand funding for the U.S. I don’t know if it’s going anywhere but…

Repairing Existing Public Lands by Adding Necessary Trees
The REPLANT Act would:
• Remove the cap on the reforestation trust fund, so that the Forest Service would receive all the monies generated from imported wood products and lumber tariffs.
o The Forest Service currently receives $30 million/year for the Reforestation Trust Fund. The yearly authorization for the Reforestation Trust Fund has not increased since it was established 40 years ago.
o Monies are generated from imported wood products and lumber tariffs. The 10-year annual average amount of tariffs collected on those products is nearly $124 million per year ($309 million in 2019).
o The Reforestation Trust fund provides most of the funding for post-disturbance reforestation on national forests. Reforestation needs caused by wildfire, insects and disease, and weather events have increased and collectively account for 85% of reforestation needs on national forests.
o To address our current and anticipated reforestation needs over the next 10 years, it is estimated to cost approximately 1.8 billion, or $183 million annually.
o Raising or eliminating the cap on the reforestation trust fund would help to close the funding gap and enable the Agency to more fully address reforestation and stand improvement needs across the national forests.
• Require the Chief to work with the Regional Foresters to create a list of priority reforestation projects to promote effective reforestation following unplanned events;
• Emphasize using Stewardship contracting and Good Neighbor Agreement authorities to conduct reforestation activities and directs the Forest Service to quantify the backlog of
replanting needs; and
• Require an annual report to Congress on progress and number of acres in need of reforestation.

To read the full version of the Bill, click on this link

14 thoughts on “The Bipartisan REPLANT Act- Does Everyone Agree?”

    • I’m with Norm on that’s what an ID team is for. Is there going to be natural regeneration? Does it work for all desired tree species or do some need extra help to increase species diversity?
      Do some wildlife species need additional habitat of some kind? How do the watershed folks feel about trees and shading streams and fish bios? Conceivably if it’s bad to remove trees near streams, it’s also good to have them, over not having them. I don’t know if these $ are OK to plant wildlife/stream species as well as timber species, but that would be good to know.

    • Mulching isn’t a tree planting technique, as far as I know. The point would be to keep the soil (such as it is in this area) from washing away and to perhaps conserve water in the soil in areas to be planted.

      • Mulching is used in tree planting to a minor extent, it is usually a paper or cardboard mat that is placed around each tree to reduce competition particularly from grasses. The mulching shown in the photo was probably a fuels reduction effort rather than to enhance tree survival.

        • I think it’s for watershed protection/soil stabilization in this case. These “soils” are like lots of tiny round pieces of gravel that unravel at the least opportunity.

          Here’s a handy write-up from RMRS Moscow.

  1. Yes, this is an important bill. These funds are important to be able to plant in fire areas, in most cases there is not enough return from any salvage sales to pay for planting. There is a growing backlog of acres that have been burned needing to be planted but have not been planted due to lack of funds. The funds that do not go to the Forest service for reforestation go into the treasury, so they become washed in with the rest of the overall Fed budget.

  2. Just an observation before I review the details of the act —
    IMHO, not every acre should be reforested!
    I used to listen to district wildlife bio on eastside of Mt. Hood NF say this planning area has a deficit of browse for ungulates; lack of early seral habitat. Then the silviculturist would say, we need to replant this recent burn area with conifers.
    Hello ???? Maybe plant or seed with site suitable browse species and delay replanting the trees?
    IF the FS is really about managing landscape for a variety of benefits then browse and early seral habitat are suitable management objectives.
    Why rush to replace trees that burned? The fire created an opportunity for early seral habitat! Let’s manage to prolong that benefit.
    Doesn’t make sense from a holistic view of ecosystems and landscape.

    • Sounds like a good idea to me. I would be amazed if it would be possible to replant all areas that needed reforestation. So I don’t think we have to worry about replanting to much.
      I would think in some areas it is already to late to replant because of the competition from the early seral habitat.
      I would hope that most of the funds would be spent on trees and planting. Maybe the FS could even reopen a tree nursery or two.
      Seems to me I remember many years back that the money from the lumber tariffs with Canada went to the companies most affected by Canadian lumber.

      • Bob, I’m not an expert on this but there was much money from the 2006 settlement agreement that went to a group called the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities, who do all kinds of interesting and useful things with the money.

        Here’s a link to their site:

        “Our History: The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. is a not-for-profit public charity. It was established September 21, 2006, at the request of the governments of the United States and Canada in accordance with the terms of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement between the two countries.”

        Given that that was the settlement agreement from 2006, I don’t know where the $ from current tariffs on wood products go. Perhaps someone else knows.

  3. Deciding what goes where is an interdisciplinary exercise, one size does not fit all. If the ranger was letting the staff duke it out without direction, that is a problem with management. Eastside forests tend to be drier and present difficulties with planted tree survival when there is a lot of grass, exponentially increasing the cost of regeneration.

    • Yes, that is a problem with management. Tough to get past when the Ranger/Supervisor/Regional Forester is a manager well versed in, say, recreation, but knows little about natural resources.

  4. It seems like carbon sequestration ought to be part of this discussion (since it’s part of so many others, and everyone wants to talk about tree planting). I suppose extending the early seral period might be a consideration for a particular at-risk species somewhere, but huntable species would not be one of them. On the other hand, associated salvage logging (or mulching) would be a different discussion.

    • The Trillion Tree Campaign is about carbon sequestration. And the funds from the REPLANT Act would certainly help facilitate increased tree planting on NFS lands that could go towards carbon sequestration.

      There are lots of areas that have become brush fields because the FS does not have the budget to replant all of the deforested acres. And it will be very expensive to get trees re-established on those sites. And while natural regeneration does occur, it is definitely not occurring in many places, especially where you have 3 high severity fires in 15 years, and we are seeing more of that. The Hayman Fire is frequently used to show the lack of natural regeneration. Increased aridity, changes in cone crop frequency, etc. have a big impact on the lack of natural regeneration. In California, the FS does not manage steeper ground – so they generally don’t plant anything that has more than about a 40% slope. Many areas that burn have very poor access, so not much planting in those places either.

      • Additionally, some burned areas in California that haven’t been salvaged have too much fuel on the ground to make reforestation worthwhile. Chances are, that piece of land will burn again in the next 20-40 years, resulting in a devastating re-burn. Maybe after such areas re-burn, the fuels will be reduced enough to ensure that the planted trees will survive the next inevitable wildfire.


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