The Year in Review: A Clearer Vision 2020

2020 Annual Report Highlights a Year of Success and a Glimpse into the Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 1, 2021)

Greenville, S.C. – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) officially announced the release of its 2020 annual report today. The report, titled “A Clearer Vision 2020,” is a vivid illustration of what the Endowment has done over the past year and demonstrates a vibrant path forward.

“We are excited to issue this annual report,” said Endowment President and CEO Pete Madden. “The Endowment partners with amazing organizations and works on so many worthwhile projects each year. This is our chance to showcase the Endowment’s work to the world and provide a look at where we’re headed in the future.”

Some of the highlights from this year include the introduction of new programs, including the utilization of blockchain technology to combat illegal logging, while also giving an update on some of the Endowment’s most noteworthy programs, like the Sustainable Forestry and the African American Land Retention Program (SFLR) and the continued work of Restoration Fuels to turn low-value biomass into an environmentally-friendly, renewable alternative to coal.  

This is the first annual report produced after the Endowment’s historic leadership transition from founding President and CEO Carlton Owen to current President and CEO Pete Madden.

“We are fortunate to be in the prime position that we are in,” said Madden. “Carlton’s stewardship of the Endowment since its founding is a testament to his leadership. We thank him for everything he has done to make the Endowment the success it is and look forward to the journey ahead.”

“This year has been filled with numerous challenges, many of which were brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Endowment was able to continue to find paths to success with its programs. In the end, the Endowment was able to not only maintain, but to thrive,” said Mark Emmerson, Endowment Chair and Chairman of California-based Sierra-Pacific Industries. “This annual report gives us an opportunity to reflect on the Endowment’s 2020 successes while also showing our clear vision for what’s next.”

To view the report, please click here.

For more information contact: Brandon Walters, Communications and Administrative Coordinator, 864.233.7646, brandon@usendowment.org

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. www.usendowment.org

New Tool Aims to Help Forest Owners with Fire Management

Beta Version of Southeast FireMap Available for Testing and Comment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (March 31, 2021)

Greenville, SC – Forest owners and natural resource agencies now have a new tool at their disposal to improve forest health through prescribed burns and by helping manage wildfire risk has been released in its beta version.

The SE FireMap is the first large-scale attempt to map fire history on private lands, which account for nearly 80 percent of land ownership in the southeast, and provides coverage for public lands as well. This innovative tool uses remote sensing to map all detectable fires over the past two decades and aims to improve future fire management in urban and rural communities. It will track both prescribed fires and wildfires in portions of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas – prioritizing coverage of the historic longleaf pine range.

Through a user-friendly format, this historical data will enable land managers to better target future prescribed burns, helping ensure a more comprehensive, landscape-level approach to forest health.

This beta version of the SE FireMap was developed by Tall Timbers Research, Inc., with support from The Longleaf Alliance and a technical oversight team representing federal and state agencies, non-profit conservation groups, the Longleaf Partnership Council, and the Southeast Partnership for Planning and Sustainability. North Carolina State University helped build the portal that houses the SE FireMap. NRCS provided key funding for the project through an agreement with the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment).

“Equipping forest owners with the latest technology to improve forest health will benefit their financial bottom line and provide benefits to society, including reduced wildfire risk,” said Pete Madden, the Endowment’s President and CEO. “We commend NRCS, Tall Timbers, The Longleaf Alliance, and all the partners who contributed to this initial effort. As landowners and partners test and ground-truth the beta version of the Southeast FireMap, an improved tool will emerge that will be available for wider use.”

The SE FireMap version 1.0 is presented as a Google Earth Engine product and data sharing is available for conservation and community planning purposes. To see the mapping products or request data sharing, please visit the Wildland Fire portal at landscapepartnership.org. New users will be required to register on the portal to access the web map.

To provide an optimum user experience for the tool, partners are encouraged to use the SE FireMap and provide feedback on its benefits and limitations. SE FireMap version 2 is anticipated in 2022

The Southern Fire Exchange is hosting an informational webinar April 16, 2021 to give an introduction for this program and give a demonstration. To register, click here.

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For more information about the SE FireMap, please contact Peter Stangel, Chief Operating Officer 864.233.7646, peter@usendowment.org

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic, transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities. www.usendowment.org

Recently, the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) hosted a forum with the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission Coalition titled “Building Resilience: Wealth Creation and Regional Readiness for a Federal Commission in the South.” More than 200 participants joined the webinar to engage in an early discussion on how the SCRC could assist and build communities, transitioning them from distressed to resilient, if the Commission were to begin operations.

Speakers for the event included eight community, academic, policy, and government leaders from the southeast, including Alton Perry from the Roanoke Electric Cooperative, representing a Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Network (SFLR) site.

The SCRC recently received a federal appropriation of $1 million—higher than awarded in previous years. However, the Commission lacks a Federal Co-Chair, which is needed for it to begin and conduct its work. The Coalition recently wrote, and more than 100 partners signed, a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he make this crucial appointment.

“One of the Endowment’s primary charges is community building,” said Alicia Cramer, Senior Vice President at the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities. “This Commission seeks to replicate the success of other regional commissions and authorities, like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, that have sought to provide economic opportunities in the areas they serve, and we support this effort.”

“Many people are working tirelessly to promote meaningful impact in the lives of those individuals and families who reside in the areas this Commission was created to serve,” said Ava Gabrielle-Wise of the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission Coalition. “This forum was a needed step to have essential dialogue and continue the forward progress we, as a Coalition, are currently seeing. We will continue to work with policymakers to activate this Commission so that we can bring overall, long term economic prosperity for the citizens it will serve.”

Areas covered by the SCRC are in the following states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia.

To view a recording of the forum, please click here. For more information about the Southeast Crescent Regional Commission Coalition, please visit their website at https://scrcc.org/.

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