Intermountain Forest Association
Here’s a list of new and hot topics in the forest and timber industries. Click on the links below to read more.
Implementation of 2014 Farm Bill
The 2014 Farm Bill contained several important forestry provisions, including:
- Permanent stewardship contracting authority
- A requirement for new fire liability provisions in stewardship contracts
- Repeal of the Appeals Reform Act
- Authority for Designation by Description (DxD) and Designation by Prescription (DxP) for Forest Service timber sale projects
- Expanded HFRA authority for areas with insect and disease threats, including a 3,000 acre categorical exclusion
- Authorization of $200 million to implement the expanded HFRA authority
- A prohibition on EPA permits for forest roads
- Expansion of Good Neighbor Authority to all national forest or BLM lands
IFA is monitoring the Forest Service’s implementation of those provisions. Click here to read the Forestry Provisions from the 2014 Farm Bill.
For the last 20 years, the Forest Service’s fire suppression costs have been increasing. As a result, the Forest Service has had to periodically “transfer” funds from other programs to pay for fire costs. Further, the Forest Service has had to budget for higher fire costs at the expense of funding for other programs, including proactive forest management, which would help reduce the potential for catastrophic fires in the national forests. This year, momentum is building in Congress for a new fire funding model.
- November 5, 2013 Hearing in Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry and Natural Resources. Shortchanging Our Forests: How Tight Budgets and Management Decisions Can Increase the Risk of Wildfire.
- Senator Tim Johnson’s March 13, 2014 column in the Rapid City Journal, “Funding Wildfire Response.”
- February 10, 2014 Letter to Congress from Partner Caucus on Fire Suppression Funding Solutions.
- March 24, 2014 Public Lands News Article.
- S. 1875, “The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act” (companion bill is H.R. 3992).
The Forest Service has recently published maps that display Insect and Disease Risk and Wildland Fire potential. These maps reinforce the seriousness of the forest health problems in our national forests, and the importance of ramping-up proactive forest management.
- The Forest Health Protection Team has completed the 2013 – 2027 National Insect and Disease Risk Map; a nationwide strategic assessment and geospatial database of the potential hazard for tree mortality due to major forest insects and diseases. With more than 120 online and downloadable maps representing 43 agents acting on over 60 tree species, the map provides a unique window into the future and affords an opportunity to prioritize investment for areas where hazard is significant and effective treatments can be efficiently implemented.
- The Assessment predicts that, without remediation, 25% or more of standing live basal area will die on 71.7 million forested acres over the next 15 years due to insects and disease. The Executive Summary and maps on pages ii – v of the Assessment are a good overview.
- The wildland fire potential (WFP) map is produced by the USDA Forest Service, Fire Modeling Institute for long-term strategic planning and fuels management at regional and national scales. This map provides valuable information for discussing regional and national strategies, forest planning, the National Restoration Strategy, funding, and so on.
In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service published GTR-WO-91, “Forest Resources of the United States, 2012,” with a wealth of statistics and other information about forests across the United States.
The graph below is compiled from data in GTR-WO-91 showing trends in forest growth, harvest, and mortality on National Forest Timberlands over the past 59 years. Note the sharp reduction in harvest since 1986, the sharp increase in mortality since 1976, and the reduction in net growth since 2006.
Click the link to download the graph below with additional information: 2016 NFS Growth, Removal, Mortality, 1952-2011