RPA Assessment of the Forest and
Rangeland Situation, 1989

The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (RPA) directed the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare a renewable resources assessment by the end of 1975, with an update in 1979 and each tenth year thereafter. This 1989 Assessment is the third done since 1974. It is composed of 14 supporting documents and this summary document, which presents an overview of the present situation and the outlook for the land base, outdoor recreation and wilderness, wildlife and fish, forest and range grazing, minerals, timber, and water.

Key Findings

1. Recycling of paper and paperboard will become more important as a source of fiber in the United States, just as it has already in Japan and part of Europe. We currently have a recycling rate of 25%, compared to 51% in Japan and 47% in European Economic Community. In this Assessment, we assume the U.S. recycling rate will reach 31% by 2040.

2. Consumption of water will lessen as irrigation for agriculture is reduced in the west, but demands for high quality water, such as for drinking, will continue to grow with the western population.

3. Annual per capita consumption of beef, veal, lamb and mutton is assumed to remain constant to the year 2040 at 110 pounds per capita. Productivity of private rangeland is assumed to increase because of the consensus view that landowners will implement currently available technologies.

4. Demands for outdoor recreation will generally continue to grow with population growth. An increasing share of the outdoor recreation demand will be accounted for by recreationists taking shorter trips closer to home.

5. The number of people participating in nonconsumptive wildlife recreation, fishing, and migratory bird hunting is expected to rise over the next 5 decades.

6. In general, domestic demand for metallic minerals and precious metals will continue to increase, but demand for any given metallic mineral is likely to be highly variable and dependent on technology and the evolution of end-use markets.

7. Changes in global climate can significantly affect the productivity, health, and diversity of forest and range ecosystems.

Timber Findings

Water Findings


Range Forage Findings

Outdoor Recreation Findings

Wilderness Findings

Wildlife and Fish Findings

Minerals Findings


USDA Forest Service. 1989. RPA Assessment of the Forest and Rangeland Situation, 1989. Forest Resource Report 26. Washington, D.C