WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah’s freshman Rep. Blake Moore, R-District 1, introduced legislation in Congress on Wednesday to create a five-year pilot program to study and accelerate the integration of advanced technologies into reforestation efforts.
Moore said that the goal of his “Forest TECH Improvement Act” is to increase the effectiveness of ongoing reforestation initiatives through the use of innovative technologies.
“Forests are our best resource for removing carbon from the atmosphere,” Moore explained. “It is imperative that we utilize advanced technologies to quickly plant more trees, accurately track growth rates and effectively manage our forests.”
Moore introduced the “Forest TECH Improvement Act” in his role as a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources and as vice-ranking member of that panel’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Moore’s legislative proposal is co-sponsored by several of his Republican colleagues, including Representatives Bruce Westerman (R-AR), the ranking GOP member of the Natural Resources Committee; Dan Newhouse (R-WA), the chairman of the House Western Caucus; Mike Simpson (R-ID); Garret Graves (R-LA); and fellow Utahn Burgess Owens (R-District 4).
Moore added that the use of innovative technology – including drones, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing applications – could also help the U.S. meet its national goals under the Trillion Trees Initiative.
The Trillion Trees Initiative is an international reforestation effort that began as a cooperative venture by the Birdlife International, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Federation. Its goal is to plant a trillion new trees worldwide by 2030.
Former president Donald Trump committed the United States to planting 885 million trees by the end of this decade.
According to a study published in Science Magazine, a trillion new trees would significantly mitigate worldwide climate change by sequestering more than 200 gigatons of carbon, which represents about two-thirds of all manmade emissions in today’s atmosphere.
Geographic information systems (GIS) are computer applications that can gather, manage, and analyze data. Given that capability, GIS can transform seemingly unrelated data into patterns, relationships and situations that can help climatologists and forest managers make smarter decisions.
Data that is fed into a GIS application is often compiled by remote sensing technologies.
Remote sensing is the process of detecting and monitoring the physical characteristics of an area by measuring its reflected and emitted radiation from a distance. Those measurements are typical made by satellites or specially equipped aircraft.
Moore’s proposed “Forest TECH Improvement Act” also enjoys the support of several environmental groups including the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, the National Wildlife Federation, the American Forest Resource Council, the Federal Forest Resource Coalition and the American Conservation Coalition.