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.