“The loss of African American-owned farm and forestland is a continuing drain of assets of Black families and their communities,” says U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) President Carlton Owen. “We believe improved practices of sustainable forest management will increase income and assets and thereby encourage land retention.”
The Endowment today announced a pilot program to support Black landowners in the Southeast. The program is designed to aid landowners in retaining and better utilizing their forests. The Endowment has allocated $1 million to the 30-month pilot project with the expectation that at least an additional $1 million will be generated through partnerships and matching funds. Two multi-county regions will be chosen for the pilots through an open Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The RFP includes two-steps beginning with submission of a pre-proposal survey by August 31, 2012. The RFP can be found here and pre-proposal survey can be found here. Interested participants should send their pre-proposal survey via email to email@example.com.
“Land is a critical asset for many rural families” says Endowment Chairman Mack Hogans. “The forests owned and managed by African Americans can be better used to increase wealth for families and communities.”
Nonprofit agencies selected to lead the regional pilots will receive grants from the Endowment to advance forestry practices by building and coordinating comprehensive “systems of support” for Black landowners. Flexible networks of nonprofits, academic institutions, for-profit service companies, and government agencies working under contractual or through collaborative relationships with the lead agency will target services such as implementing forest management plans, dealing with heirs’ property, assistance with loan and grant applications, and financial management and business education.
The pilots will work closely with and complement current U.S. Department of Agriculture outreach programs for limited resource and minority land owners, including programs of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Forest Service, and Rural Development.