Friday May 6, 2022 NFBC Webinar on Title VIII: Forestry
Kelli Case, Staff Attorney for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative led the ninth webinar in our Farm Bill series. Case presented on Title VIII of the Farm Bill, the forestry title. Keep reading for an overview of Title VIII, its importance to Indian Country, information about our next webinar, and the link to Case's presentation slides.
For recordings of last Friday's webinar, check out our Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter pages.
The 2002 Farm Bill created the first Forestry Title. The Agriculture Committees have jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, which is part of USDA, but the Department of the Interior has jurisdiction of most federal land and forestry programs. The Forestry Title is a small part of the Farm Bill, but other forestry programs appear in other titles, especially in the Conservation Title. While the Forestry Title is clearly not the oldest or largest title to the Farm Bill, it is important to many tribes whose lands and communities are interdependent with the Forest Service lands. Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service are sister agencies within the Environment and Natural Resources mission area of USDA.
Since it was established in 1976 as a nonprofit tribal consortium, the Intertribal Timber Council (ITC) has been at the forefront of forestry issues in Indian Country. ITC’s vision is that “Indigenous stewardship of natural resources supports thriving, fully empowered communities that share success in exercising sovereign decision-making, create sustainable economies and implement strategies that perpetuate forest health for generations to come.” They also state: “Forest resources are vital to the economic and social welfare of many Indian nations and [N]ative Alaskan Corporations. The management of these valuable and renewable natural resources not only provides income and employment opportunities for our people, but also affects our lives in many other ways. The harmony of man, trees, and other vegetation, soil, water and wildlife which collectively comprise the forest community influence our very emotional and spiritual well-being.”
Indian forests and woodlands comprise 18.6 million acres, or one third, of the total 57 million acres of Indian land held and managed in trust by the federal government. Forests are one of the principal renewable resources available to tribes, and more than 300 Indian tribes have forest resources. Across 96 the country, Indian forests provide more than $40 million in annual tribal governmental revenues, 19,000 jobs in and around tribal communities, as well as wildlife habitat and sources of food and medicine for Indian people. The proper health and management of Indian forests are crucial to rural economies across America. Many American Indian and Alaska Native tribes have long-standing and deeply spiritual relationships with the forests within which they lived for centuries. Their deep engagement with forests of North America was fundamentally changed upon European contact when the relationships they had with the land, including forests, became severed. The United States Forest Service now maintains National Forests that coexist within and among the boundaries of current and historic tribal homelands.
Many American Indian and Alaska Native tribes have long-standing and deeply spiritual relationships with the forests within which they lived for centuries. Their deep engagement with forests of North America was fundamentally changed upon European contact when the relationships they had with the land, including forests, became severed. The United States Forest Service now maintains National Forests that coexist within and among the boundaries of current and historic tribal homelands.
- Regaining our Future: An Assessment of Risks and Opportunities for Native Communities in the 2018 Farm Bill
Our next webinar covering Title IX of the Farm Bill, the energy title, will be livestreamed from our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages on Friday, June 3rd at 3 pm ET. We hope to see you there!