The White House recently announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing more than $43 million to expand innovative uses of wood, including as a construction material in commercial buildings, as an energy source, and in manufacturing and processing input for wood products used in framing homes, making paper products and more.
The funding is made possible in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
The monies will be invested in 123 projects nationwide through Community Wood Grants and Wood Innovations Grants – longstanding Forest Service grant programs that promote innovation in wood products and renewable wood energy economies. Since 2015, the Wood Innovations and Community Wood Grant programs have provided more than $93 million to 381 recipients to support wood products and wood energy projects.
“With crucial funding through the Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the wood products and wood energy economies that are the lifeblood of so many people, especially for tribal and disadvantaged rural communities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Funded proposals under these grant programs expand and retrofit wood energy systems and wood products manufacturing facilities and develop markets for innovative uses of mass timber and renewable wood energy. Projects also help to restore healthy forests and reduce wildfire risk, protecting communities, infrastructure and resources while curbing climate change. Grant recipients include for-profit entities, state and local governments, tribes, school districts, community-based non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education and special purpose districts.
The investments directly support the Forest Service’s 10-year strategy to address the wildfire crisis in the places where it poses the most immediate threats to communities. The Forest Service is investing in projects that source wood from activities that reduce risks to communities, like fuels treatments and mechanical thinning.