John Lee (right), a University of Maine research associate who manages the Howland Research Forest, at the top of its main research tower with Maine Public's Susan Sharon. Credit: Kris Bridges / Maine Public

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding a major push to try to store more carbon in New England’s forests.

The agency said Wednesday that the New England Climate-Smart Forest Partnership Project will include large commercial producers as well as small woodlot owners with a goal of storing more carbon in forests. The project could receive as much as $30 million.

The USDA said the project will seek to “build markets for climate-smart forest products to store carbon in wood products and substitute wood products for fossil fuel-based materials.” The New England Forestry Foundation is serving as the lead partner on the project.

Other partners on the project include Robbins Lumber, the University of Maine and the Mass Tree Farm Program.

The funding is part of up to $2.8 billion the USDA is providing to dozens of projects around the country as part of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. The partnership takes proposals seeking funding from $5 million to $100 million.