National Forest Management Act and Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act
Official Citation
16 U.S.C. §§472a, 1600-1606, 1607-1614
ELR Citation
Download Outline >>
Statute Outline

Timber sales on National Forest System lands

The NFMA establishes the procedures by which the Secretary of Agriculture may conduct sales of national forest timber.

Renewable Resource Assessment

The Secretary shall prepare and maintain a Renewable Resource Assessment analyzing uses and demand for renewable resources; maintaining an inventory of renewable resources and an evaluation of opportunities for improving their yield; describing Forest Service research and management programs; and discussing important policy considerations, laws, and regulations affecting land use and management. [NFMA §3(a)]

The Assessment shall report on the additional fiber potential in the National Forest System, the potential for increased use of forest and wood product wastes, and possibilities for improved wood fiber product fabrication technology to use harvested trees and reduce wasted wood fibers. [NFMA §3(b)]

In developing the Assessment, the Secretary shall provide for public comment. [NFMA §3(c)]

It is the policy of Congress that Forest System lands be maintained with appropriate stocking, rate of growth, and condition to secure maximum benefits of multiple-use sustained-yield management. [NFMA §3(d)(1)]

The NFMA and the FRRRPA establish the procedures by which funds for necessary reforestation and treatment of trees not growing at their best potential rate may be appropriated. [16 U.S.C. §1606a]

Renewable Resource Program

The Secretary shall prepare and maintain a Renewable Resource Program for the protection, management, and development of the National Forest System. The program shall be developed in accordance with the principles of the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. [NFMA §4]

The Program shall include recommendations that recognize the need to protect the quality of soil, water, and air resources. [NFMA §4(5)(C)]

National Forest System land and resource management plans

As part of the Renewable Resource Program, the Secretary shall develop and maintain land and resource management plans for units of the National Forest System. [NFMA §6(a)] The Secretary shall use a systematic interdisciplinary approach to achieve integrated consideration of physical, biological, economic, and other sciences. [NFMA §6(b)]

The Secretary shall provide for public participation in the development, review, and revision of land management plans. [NFMA §6(d)]

Management plans shall provide for multiple use and sustained yield of products and services, and in particular coordinate outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and fish, and wilderness. [NFMA §6(e)(1)]

The plans shall also determine forest management systems, harvesting levels, and procedures in light of multiple-use sustained-yield principles and the availability of lands and their suitability for resource management. [NFMA §6(e)(2)]

The Secretary shall establish procedures, under the principles of the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act, for the development and revision of management plans. These regulations shall establish guidelines that ensure consideration of the environment, provide for plant and animal diversity, and limit the use of intensified management practices to increase harvest levels. The guidelines shall also ensure that watershed conditions will not be irreversibly damaged, that harvested lands can be restored within five years, and that water resources will be protected. The guidelines shall also restrict clear-cutting and other even-aged management practices. A harvesting system is not to be selected primarily because it will give the greatest dollar return or greatest output of timber. [NFMA §6(g)]

The Secretary shall establish standards to ensure that before harvest stands of trees have generally reached the culmination of mean annual increment of growth. [NFMA §6(m)(1)]

Multiple-use sustained-yield concepts

The Secretary shall take such action as to ensure that the development and administration of the renewable resources of the National Forest System are in full accord with the concepts for multiple use and sustained yield of products and services, as set forth in the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act. [NFMA §9]

Lands in the National Forest System

No land reserved or withdrawn from the public domain as national forest land shall be returned to the public domain except by act of Congress. [NFMA §11(a)]


Installation of a system of transportation for the National Forest System shall be carried forward on an economical and environmentally sound basis. [NFMA §10(a)]

Roads constructed in connection with a timber contract (or other permit or lease) shall be designed for the reestablishment of vegetative cover within 10 years following the termination of the contract. [NFMA §10(b)]

Construction standards for roads shall consider safety, cost of transportation, and impacts on land and resources. [NFMA §10(c)]

Limitations on removal of timber

The Secretary shall, subject to certain exceptions, limit the sale of timber from each national forest to a quantity equal to or less than a quantity that can be removed from such forest annually in perpetuity on a sustained-yield basis. [NFMA §13(a)]

Public participation

The Secretary shall establish procedures to give federal, state, and local governments and the public adequate notice and an opportunity to comment on the formulation of Forest Service standards, criteria, and guidelines. [NFMA §14(a)]

The Secretary shall establish advisory boards as deemed necessary to obtain advice on implementation of the Secretary’s responsibilities. Membership on the advisory boards shall include a cross section of National Forest System user groups. [NFMA §14(b)]