The Forest Service is working to advance public awareness of ecosystem services and exploring opportunities for market-based conservation on private and community lands. We are engaging individuals, organizations, businesses, and our partners in our efforts to connect people to the ecosystem services that forests and grasslands provide. Learn about some of the things the Forest Service is doing…
The USDA Forest Service Forests to Faucets project uses GIS to model and map the continental United States land areas most important to surface drinking water, the role forests play in protecting these areas, and the extent to which these forests are threatened by development, insects and disease, and wildland fire.
Forest Service research scientists carry out basic and applied research to study biological, physical, and social sciences related to diverse forests and rangelands. Our research contributes to the advancement of science and the conservation of natural resources. Research on ecosystem services is focused on valuing ecosystem services, measuring and monitoring ecosystem service indicators, and mapping changes in supply across a landscape. Research scientists are also studying key drivers of ecosystem change and the loss of services, including climate change, fire and forest health issues, and land use change resulting in loss of open space.
The Forest Service manages and protects 193 million acres of public forests and grasslands throughout the country, known collectively as the National Forest System. These lands provide a host of ecosystem services to the public: 28 million acres of wild turkey habitat; 200,000 miles of fishable streams; 60 percent of the nation’s downhill skiing; and, on average, 173 trillion gallons of drinking water annually. The national forests also serve as a natural learning laboratory for forest management and all aspects of forest research. Demonstration projects can help inform private landowners about management approaches for ecosystem services and the implementation of market-based mechanisms.
The Forest Service cooperates with State and local governments, forest products industries, forest landowners, and forest users in managing, protecting, and enhancing forest land across a mixed public/private landscape. Private forests constitute nearly 60 percent of the Nation’s forest land and are critical to the delivery of ecosystem services. Our State and Private Forestry programs and partnerships bring forest management assistance to a diversity of landowners and promote healthy forests and livable communities throughout the United States.
The Forest Service Open Space Conservation Strategy (PDF, 1.3 MB) provides a focused framework for strengthening conservation efforts across the agency. The strategy highlights the need for market-based approaches to conservation and the enhancement of ecosystem services. Learn more about our open space conservation effort »
The Forest Service promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation across the globe. Our International Programs staff helps to address critical forestry issues and concerns by providing technical assistance to other countries and engaging in global forestry dialogues. In Vietnam and the Greater Mekong region, we are working with Winrock International and other partners to provide technical assistance and training on markets and payments for ecosystem services.
The Forest Service recognizes the value of incorporating environmental stewardship into its daily business operations. Measuring, managing, and reducing individual and collective consumption of energy and materials will help the agency reduce its ecological impact. The Forest Service is undergoing an assessment of its energy and water consumption, vehicle emissions, recycling and waste prevention activities, and green purchasing in an effort to quantify its resource use. Establishing a baseline ecological footprint will help the agency in adopting new measures to reduce consumption.
United States policy requires federal agencies to reduce consumption and implement efficient and sustainable practices. This includes Executive Order 13423 (January 2007) and the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Updated: January 26, 2012 3:27 PM