Northwest Forest Plan

Background & Mission

The Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) is an overall vision for the Pacific Northwest that would produce timber products while protecting and managing impacted species.

The mission of the NWFP is to adopt coordinated management direction for the lands administered by the USDA Forest Service and the USDI Bureau of Land Management and to adopt complimentary approaches by other Federal agencies within the range of the northern spotted owl. The management of these public lands must meet dual needs: the need for forest habitat and the need for forest products.


In 1993, a comprehensive NWFP was initiated to end the impasse over management of Federal forest lands in the Pacific Northwest within the range of the Northern spotted owl. With the signing of the Northwest Forest Plan Record of Decision in 1994, a framework and system of Standards and Guidelines were established, using a new ecosystem approach to address resource management.

To support this framework, Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding which established and maintains an interagency framework to achieve two distinct goals:

  • Cooperative planning, improved decision making, and coordinated implementation of the forest ecosystem management component of the NWFP on Federal lands within the range of the northern spotted owl.

  • Improved coordination and collaboration with State, Tribal, and local governments as they seek to implement management approaches that support or complement the goals of the NWFP.

Fulfillment of both of these goals is integral to the Administration’s commitment to provide an ecosystem management approach that is scientifically sound, ecologically credible, and legally responsible.

Impacted Lands

Area covered by the NFP is shown in green on the leftThe NWFP covers 24.5 million acres in Oregon, Washington, and northern California that are managed by a variety of Federal agencies. The green area on the graphic to the left illustrates the general area affected by the plan. This land is Federally managed by:

Ownership Acres Percentage
19 National Forests 19,400,000 79
7 BLM Districts 2,700,000 11
6 National Parks 2,200,000 9
National Wildlife Refuges & Department of Defense Lands 165,000 <1%
Land use

There are seven types of land allocations (as described in the NWFP Record of Decision and Standards and Guidelines):

Land Allocation Acres Percentage
Congressionally Reserved Areas 7,320,600 30
Late-Successional Reserves 7,430,800 30
Managed Late-Successional Areas 102,200 <1
Adaptive Management Areas 1,521,800 6
Administrative Withdrawn Areas 1,477,100 6
Riparian Reserves 2,627,500 11
Matrix 3,975,300 16
Federal Partners

Federal partners include various land management, regulatory, research, and other relevant agencies located in Northern California, Western Oregon, and Western Washington. These agencies are part of the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC). RIEC agencies include:

  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Bureau of Land Management (USDI)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (USDI)
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Environmental Protection Agency, Western Ecology Research Division
  • Fish & Wildlife Service (USDI)
  • Forest Service (USDA)
  • Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station (USDA)
  • Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station (USDA)
  • Geological Survey, Western Research Region (USDI)
  • National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), Northwest Region
  • National Park Service (USDI)
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA)