United States Forestry Service

Ubin Jung, Bridget Kessler, Thomas Randall, Neema Sobhi

Purpose of the agency

  • responsible for managing public lands in the nation’s 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands that cover more than 193 million acres of public land
  • oversees 80 experimental forests and ranges, five research and development stations, and 18 job corps centers
  • delegates control to regional and district managers who carry out USFS policies to allow for flexibility and response to local needs

management of land & services

The USFS maintains and cultivates these lands for public use and national interests through various activities ranging from scientific research and development to firefighting, recreation maintenance, wilderness and wildlife protection, ecosystem management, and timber production.

practices for land use

  • timber industry
  • fire management policy
  • logging practices
  • environmental and watershed protection practices
  • road building
  • wilderness and wildlife policies
  • state/county ownership disputes

Sustainable practices

Through implementation of land and resource management plans, the agency ensures sustainable ecosystems by restoring and maintaining species diversity and ecological productivity that helps provide recreation, water, timber, minerals, fish, wildlife, wilderness, and aesthetic values for current and future generations of people. The Forest Service practices resource extraction, resource protection and provides recreation.

Criticisms about their practices

When the USFS was first created in the early 20th century, its purpose was to safely meet the timber needs of the fastly growing economy. Today, some critics argue that the primary mission has become corrupted by politics and its purpose became unclear. In 2011, the USFS presented a reform that favored the environmentalist causing controversy between the foresters and the environmentalist.

Goals of Service provided

The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations

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human interaction goals

The USFS promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation. They partner with public and private agencies to plant trees, improve trails, educate the public, and improve conditions in wildland/urban interfaces and rural areas. They hope to educate the public to be aware of the importance of forest conservation.

how much land they oversee

  • 154 national forests
  • 20 grasslands

Laws & policies

  • Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act of 1937:

    Authorized the government to acquire damaged land and rehabilitate them for various purposes

  • Clean Air Act of 1970:Regulates air quality levels and sources of air pollution

  • Clean Water Act of 1972:Regulates discharges of pollutants into US waters

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980:Assigns liability to anyone involved in improper waste disposal and provides funds for cleanup
  • National Environmental Policy Act of 1969:Promotes enhancement of the environment, established the President's Council on Environmental Quality, known as the "environmental Magna Carta"
  • National Forestry Management Act of 1976:Requires the development of management plans which are open to public review
  • National Historic Preservation Act of 1966:secures protection of archaeological resources and sites on public and Indian lands

where these services are located

The USFS maintains our 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands that make up for approximately 25% of all federally owned land. The largest of which is the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

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This map shows USFS lands as a percentage of total land area in each state

how the service fits in the U.N. international categories

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization is currently a partner of the United States Forestry Service.