State and Private Forestry

The Institute has a long tradition of information exchange with government agencies, universities, and local communities in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Through the State and Private Forestry Program (S&PF), the Institute provides professional, technical, and financial assistance to local communities and private landowners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John). Through focused technical and financial assistance and conservation education, Federal resources are leveraged to protect and support sustainable management of the islands’ forests and ecosystems to produce goods and services that are important to many communities. This assistance is focused on cooperative forestry, cooperative fire protection, forest health, urban and community forestry, and landowner and legacy assistance programs. Key issues addressed by this program include: rapid urbanization and residential development and its sprawl into natural areas; ecological restoration of natural and built-up areas; water quality (including storm water runoff, and restoration of natural areas); soil protection and watershed management; sustainable urban forestry programs at the local level; damage of reefs and over-fishing of key species; and sustainable tourism development in small communities.

State and Private Forestry programs provide technical assistance to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The primary partners are the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) in Puerto Rico and the Department of Agriculture in the US Virgin Islands.

State and Private Forestry manages about 33 active grants involving $1.2 million cooperators' funds and $1.4 million Forest Service funds. These agreements focus on technical assistance, technology transfer and training. The Programs implemented in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands can be divided into the following categories: