Southern Arizona Forest Fund
Developed by the National Forest Foundation, the Southern Arizona Forest Fund (SAFF) provides an easy way for businesses and residents to invest in the landscapes that they live, work and play in, surrounding Tucson and in southern Arizona.
These public lands and unique Sky Island ecosystems significantly contribute to the greater Tucson economy and its overall quality of life. People flock to southern Arizona to visit the beautiful desert landscapes, seek out rare birds and wildlife, and experience its distinctive outdoor lifestyle. To sustain these qualities and resources, SAFF supports strategic, high-priority restoration projects on the Coronado National Forest in collaboration with local partners and non-profit organizations.
As part of the SAFF, the NFF is proud to launch the Earth Conservation Internship, a program that connects underserved high school students to the diverse Sonoran desert ecosystem, provides skills in restoration techniques, and builds outdoor leadership experiences – all on the Coronado National Forest.
With declining public lands health and tighter federal budgets, local partnerships and active stewardship are more critical than ever.
The SAFF’s projects aim to
- reduce wildfire risk,
- enhance wildlife habitat,
- remove invasive species
- restore native plants, and
- improve recreation opportunities.
The SAFF’s projects will also bolster jobs and provide volunteer opportunities through partnerships with local conservation and stewardship groups.
Whether you live in southern Arizona, operate a business, or will take a vacation, you benefit from the health and sustainability of public lands.
HOW IT WORKS
On a regular basis, funds will be deployed to complete high priority restoration projects on the Coronado National Forest.
Forest Thinning and Prescribed Burning – Restore natural fire to the forest ecosystem, mechanically thin small-diameter trees to reduce fuel loading, minimize insect infestation and impact, and improve understory and soil conditions
Invasive Species Removal – Improve native vegetative communities and protect habitat function, recurring treatment and manual removal of invasive species, and where appropriate, reestablish and replant native vegetation
Habitat Improvement and Re-vegetation Projects – Improve deserts, forests, grasslands, meadows and other important forest and woodland habitats
Trail and Recreation Infrastructure Improvement - Improve trail conditions to withstand heavy use and restore un-authorized trails harmful to the ecosystem.
Contributions to the SAFF will be collected by the National Forest Foundation and awarded to local non-profit stewardship organizations, local contractors, and the U.S. Forest Service to implement high priority projects on the Coronado National Forest.
The inaugural year of the Southern Arizona Forest Fund offers Arizona businesses, residents, and visitors the opportunity to invest in two critically important projects on the Coronado National Forest – collectively, the Sabino and Bear Canyon Buffelgrass Treatment Projects.
The Sabino and Bear Canyons Buffelgrass Treatment Projects encompass approximately 1200 acres of invasive species treatment in both canyon corridors, on the northeast side of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains. These are ongoing treatment blocks, and are vital to address the ongoing need to mitigate the threat from invasive species on the native ecosystem, as well as to protect the high recreation and visitor values they represent.
Eradicating invasive species like buffelgrass lowers the risk of high-severity wildfires, which can devastate desert landscape function and values for decades if not permanently. Implementing and maintaining this important work ultimately supports native ecosystem function, and improves the recreation values that drive economic vitality in the Tucson area.
SAFF projects aim to create defensible space around communities in the wildland urban interface, minimize wildfire risk, improve ecosystem function, protect critical communications infrastructure that serves the Tucson area, and restore native grasslands and forest ecosystems in the Sky Islands.