Published since 1946
USDA Forest Service Releases Resources Planning Act Assessment
In late July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service published a snapshot of forest and rangelands conditions as of 2020 in the U.S. as well as a projection of conditions over the next 50 years. The new Resources Planning Act Assessment is published every 10 years and uses a mixture of scientific, climate, and economic projections to identify drivers of change and trends on a variety of resources—including forests, rangelands, urban forests, forest products, carbon, fish and wildlife, biodiversity, outdoor recreation, water, and the effects of socioeconomic and climate change—across all land ownership in the country. The assessment can be used to drive land management decisions and inform policy decisions and documents growing threats including extended drought, natural disasters, and forest fragmentation.
“This assessment provides a critical window into the risks facing our forests, rangelands, and communities across the U.S. now and into the future. Socioeconomic changes and the effects of a changing climate are leading to shifts in disturbances, including wildfires, that strain our natural resources and leads to increasing challenges for land managers and owners,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Projections made years ago are now proving accurate, with forests in many states, particularly in the Intermountain West, slowly becoming net emitters of carbon. The Forest Service, boosted by extraordinary investments and grounded in the type of sound science this assessment provides, is working to tackle these issues through such efforts as implementing the wildfire crisis strategy, increasing reforestation, and working across ownership boundaries. This requires a national all-in effort today to mitigate the projected issues of tomorrow and in the future.”