WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 2, 2010) – The U.S. Senate is poised to eliminate funding for the U.S. Forest Service Office of International Programs (FSIP) within the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution. The program, which represents less than one-tenth of one percent of the federal budget, protects U.S. timber markets from the flow of illegal logging abroad and works with China and Russia to address such invasive species as Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Gypsy moth, both of which threaten millions of forest acres in the United States. In effect, FSIP’s work abroad is protecting U.S. jobs at home.

John Calvelli, Wildlife Conservation Society’s Executive Vice President for Public Affairs, said, “Any effort to eliminate funding for the U.S. Forest Service International Programs (FSIP) is short-sighted and would have a negative effect on America’s national security and economic security. FSIP provides technical assistance in forest management in some of the world’s most unstable regions. This allows vital natural resources to be managed more effectively which reduces the chances of conflict. The benefits of this work far outweigh the costs and protect U.S. economic interests both domestically and internationally.”

Funding for FSIP is at risk in the Senate because it was not enumerated in the president’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request, which is being used as a basis for negotiating details of the FY11 Continuing Resolution. However, the savings from eliminating the program would make almost no impact on the federal deficit.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society stands firmly against harmful cuts to beneficial programs like the Forest Service International Programs that serve to provide positive impacts to Americans with their work abroad,” said Calvelli.

Chip Weiskotten: (202-624-8172; cweiskotten@wcs.org)
Mary Dixon: (347-840-1242; mdixon@wcs.org)

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.