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Report: Forests on Indian reservations underfunded

Published On: Jun 13 2013 05:14:42 PM CDT

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -

A panel of experts says forests held in trust for Indian tribes across the nation are woefully underfunded by the federal government.

The congressionally mandated report for the Intertribal Timber Council was released Thursday at the group's annual meeting on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin.

It found that tribal forests receive about a half of the funding per acre provided national forests for wildfire prevention, and a third of the rate for forest management. That leaves tribal forests understaffed as they deal with increasing threats of wildfire related to global warming.

Council President Phil Rigdon says the lack of funding makes managing tribal forests a struggle as many tribes take over operations from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The bureau did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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