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USDA Forest Service
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Air Resource Management Mission Statement

Air is inseparable from all other resources. It is the key component linking virtually all living and non-living components of the earth. The Forest Service works to protect air quality by working with industry and regulators, monitoring air and the resources affected by air pollution, and by providing the public with information about air quality. Poor air quality decreases visibility, acidifies or disrupts the nutrient balance in lakes and streams, injures plant and animal communities, and harms human health.

Progress has been made toward improving air quality across the United States since the enactment of the Clean Air Act in 1977. But air quality on Forest lands and even wilderness areas is far from pristine. As the human population with its resulting urbanization and industrialization continues to grow, the Forest Service Air Program must understand how air quality affects resources in order to work cooperatively with industry, state and federal groups to prevent and reduce air pollution and its effects to natural resources and human health.

The Forest Service monitors the effects of pollution that may impair visibility, harm human health, injure trees and other plants, acidify or cause unnatural fertilization of streams and lakes, leach nutrients from soils, and degrade cultural resources, like archeological sites and historical buildings. Forest activities that can affect air quality such as prescribed burning, ski areas, and oil and gas development are also monitored to ensure compliance with air regulations for human health and to monitor possible impacts to natural resources.

The Air Program envisions a healthy environment for current and future generations where natural processes can occur. We believe that:

  • The health of humans and ecosystems are inseparable
  • Clean air is essential
  • Science is a foundation for taking action

Our People

The ARM Program hosts a network of technical and policy-orientated specialists with backgrounds in biology, engineering, physics, ecology, botany, hydrology, soil science, and forestry. We are fluent in the language and concept of air emission inventories from natural and industrial sources and have longstanding working relationships with federal, state, and local air quality regulators and policy makers. We have an exemplary relationship with Forest Service Research stations and atmospheric scientists outside the agency. We are known for our ability to interpret research findings in a way meaningful to policy, regulatory input, and forest management strategies.

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The Air Resources Management team
The Air Resources Management team. Photo taken early summer 2012.