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Regulations and Policies

A history of conservation

The Forest Service was born with the first conservation movement more than a century ago. Like nature, the agency continues to evolve and adapt. People are part of the ecosystem and have been so for thousands of years. The agency seeks to meet the diverse needs of many people, now and into the future.

A photo of the video The 1911 Weeks Act and impact on southern & eastern National Forest lands.

Forest Service directives

Mount Bailey Roadless AreaThe agency’s directives consist of the Forest Service Manual and Handbooks, which organizes the agency's policy, practice, and procedure. The system serves as the primary basis for the internal management and control of all programs and the primary source of administrative direction to employees.


Laws and regulations

Smokey Bear face and hat

Federal agencies operate under the U.S. Code and the Code of Federal Regulations. These laws help form our directives and policies on how we manage national forests and grasslands, Even Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, Forest Service symbols of wildfire prevention and conservation, are protected by law.

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