The reauthorization of a national tree-planting program would generate an estimated economic impact of $741 million during the next five years according to a recent study. The report was released May 13 by Alan Hodges of the University of Florida and Charles Hall and Marco Palma at Texas A&M University.
The program would create a total employment impact of more than 6,000 jobs during those five years, generating more than $87 million in revenue for federal, state and local governments at a time when municipal greening budgets continue to be cut.
The Small Business Environmental Stewardship Assistance Act (SBESA) is currently being considered in both chambers of the U.S. Congress.
The SBESA Act reauthorizes the SBA National Tree Planting Program at $50 million annually between fiscal years 2011 and 2015. The money supports planting trees around retail storefronts, rental housing unit and other public areas. This program also requires a 25 percent match for any grant under the program, including in-kind contributions such as the cost or value of providing care and maintenance for a period of three years after planting. This match ensures that both private and community investments are made for the installation and care of trees funded by this program. Between 1991 and 1994, more than 18,000 green industry firms were employed to plant more than 23 million trees across the country through the SBA program.
ANLA has launched a new Web-based, grassroots campaign in support of the SBESA Act. The full report, as well as more information on H.R. 4509 and S. 3279, can be found at www.treesmeanjobs.com.