With funding from the USDA Forest Service and matching support from Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, First Nations’ Community Forest Program Tribal Outreach project provides support and resources to tribal entities in the Northern Great Plains and Southwest regions that are seeking to acquire or establish community forests.
Through this project, First Nations is hosting informational webinars and developing resources to help tribal entities interested in applying for funding through the USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program (CFP).
Through this program, the USDA Forest Service will fund up to 50% of allowable project costs (including the reviewed and approved yellow book appraised land value) for tribes. 50% of project costs must be covered by nonfederal matching funding.
Through forest acquisition, Native communities can:
- Increase land base for cultural purposes
- Protect sensitive cultural sites and areas through public exclusion zones
- Increase access for harvesting traditional foods, which strengthens tribal food sovereignty
- Generate products from harvestable resources, such as art and value-added foods
- Provide educational opportunities and demonstrations for youth
- Improve economy from tourism, including agritourism, cultural tours, educational offerings, and public lodging areas
- Create outdoor recreation
The CFP funding opportunity is open to federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Native corporations, qualified nonprofit organizations focused on conservation, and local governments. The proposed land must be:
- Forest land – This land must be at least 5 acres, suitable for sustaining natural vegetation, and at least 75% forested (defined by presence of trees and absence of non-forest uses)
- Private forest land – This includes land that is threatened by conversion to non-forest uses, is not held in trust by the U.S., and can provide community benefits and public access
- Full fee purchase land (also known as fee simple or fee acquisition land) – This is land that the purchaser must acquire all rights, title and interest to from a seller or owner
Get technical assistance from First Nations
To provide support in applying for this program during the 2021/2022 funding year, First Nations is offering technical assistance to tribes and Native-led conservation organizations. This technical assistance may include application guidance and review and help in identifying matching funding. Interested groups are encouraged to connect with First Nations and explore this important opportunity to increase their tribal assets. Email Emilie Ellis, Senior Program Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
- Learn more about the USDA Forest Service’s Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program.
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- Scroll down for information on the Community Forest Program Webinar Series.