(a) Establishment

The Secretary of Agriculture (hereafter referred to in this section as the “Secretary”) shall establish a competitive forestry, natural resources, and environmental grant program to award grants for the conduct of research or forest restoration as described in subsection (c).

(b) Eligible entities

Terms Used In 16 USC 582a-8

  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • forestry research: as used in this subchapter shall include investigations relating to: (1) Reforestation and management of land for the production of crops of timber and other related products of the forest. See 16 USC 582a-6
  • State: as used in this subchapter shall include Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. See 16 USC 582a-7

To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a), an entity shall–

(1) be a State agricultural experiment station, a college or university, a research institution or organization, a Federal agency, a private organization, or a corporation that has a demonstrable capacity to conduct forestry, natural resources, and environmental research as determined by the Secretary; and

(2) prepare and submit to the Secretary, an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary shall require, including the proposed use of the amounts that may be received under a grant.

(c) Priorities

(1) Research

In awarding the initial grants under subsection (a) the Secretary shall give priority to applicants who will use such grants for research concerning–

(A) the biology of forest organisms, including physiology, genetic mechanisms, and biotechnology;

(B) ecosystem function and management, including forest ecosystem research, biodiversity, forest productivity, pest management, water resources, and alternative silvicultural systems;

(C) wood as a raw material, including forest products and harvesting;

(D) human forest interactions, including outdoor recreation, public policy formulation, economics, sociology, and administrative behavior;

(E) international trade, competition, and cooperation related to forest products;

(F) alternative native crops, products, and services that can be produced from renewable natural resources associated with privately held forest lands;

(G) viable economic production and marketing systems for alternative natural resource products and services;

(H) economic and environmental benefits of various conservation practices on forest lands;

(I) genetic tree improvement; and

(J) market expansion.

(2) Forest restoration

Grants may be used to support programs that restore forest tree species native to American forests that may have suffered severe levels of mortality caused by non-native insects, plant pathogens, or others pests.

(A) Required component of forest restoration strategy

To receive a grant under this subsection, an eligible institution shall demonstrate that it offers a program with a forest restoration strategy that incorporates not less than one of the following components:

(i) Collection and conservation of native tree genetic material.

(ii) Production of propagules of native trees in numbers large enough for landscape scale restoration.

(iii) Site preparation of former of native tree habitat.

(iv) Planting of native tree seedlings.

(v) Post-planting maintenance of native trees.

(B) Award of grants

The Secretary shall award competitive grants under this subsection based on the degree to which the applicant addresses the following criteria:

(i) Risk posed to the forests of that State by non-native pests, as measured by such factors as the number of such pests present in the State.

(ii) The proportion of the State’s forest composed of species vulnerable to non-native pests present in the United States.

(iii) The pests’ rate of spread via natural or human-assisted means.

(d) Facilities and equipment

(1) Authority

Grants made under this section may be used to update research facilities and equipment available to facilitate the conduct of state-of-the-art research in forestry, natural resources, and the environment.

(2) Priorities and criteria

The Secretary, in consultation with the Cooperative Forestry Research Council appointed under section 582a-4(b) of this title, may develop criteria and priorities for the awarding of grants for use under paragraph (1).

(e) Recommendations

The Secretary shall request the Cooperative Forestry Research Council referred to in subsection (d)(2) to provide recommendations regarding grant priorities.

(f) Term

The Secretary may make grants under this section for periods of not to exceed 5 years.

(g) Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.