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Science and Innovations

Report: Forest Restoration Contributes to Jobs, Economy

Melissa Sevigny

A report from a nonprofit institute says forest restoration initiatives generated $150 million dollars for northern Arizona’s economy in 2017. The study was conducted to meet a Congressional requirement for monitoring the results of large-scale restoration projects. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

The study also found the Four Forest Restoration Initiative and the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project created more than 900 jobs in five Arizona countries. Evan Hjerpe, director of the Conservation Economics Institute, says restoration work affects more local industries than traditional logging.

He says, "One of the important findings from this research project is the importance of the Forest Service jobs in these rural communities… because they’re year-round, well-paying, sustainable jobs."

But Hjerpe says forest restoration has been slowed by the lack of profitable local markets for small-diameter ponderosa pine and woody chips. He says Arizonans need to find innovative and collaborative ways to fund the projects beyond selling the harvested wood.

Melissa joined KNAU's team in 2015 to report on science, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared nationally on NPR and been featured on Science Friday. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona, where she fell in love with the ecology and geology of the Sonoran desert.
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