Forest Health

Forest health has been defined by the production of forest conditions which directly satisfy human needs and by resilience, recurrence, persistence, and biophysical processes which lead to sustainable ecological conditions. Our definitions and understanding of forest health are also dependent on spatial scale.

The health of national forests and grasslands is paramount to our mission of caring for the land and serving people. The Forest Service works to maintain, enhance, and restore healthy forest conditions on the national forests and grasslands. We partner with landowners and provide forest insect, disease, and invasive plant survey and monitoring information, and technical and financial assistance to prevent, suppress and control outbreaks threatening forest resources. We also conduct cutting-edge research and develops tools to help land managers better understand and manage forest health.

Forest Health Protection

Forest Health Protection, a part of State and Private Forestry, has over 250 specialists in the areas of forest entomology, forest pathology, invasive plants, pesticide use, survey and monitoring, suppression and control, assessment, and applied sciences. FHP provides forest health-related services to protect the forests from insects, disease, and invasive species; develop, promote, and implement integrated pest management; and, monitor the status, changes, and trends in indicators of forest health.

Southern pine beetle damage
Southern pine beetle damage on the Snoopy Plantation, Indian Mounds Wilderness Field. Photo by Ronald F. Billings, Texas A&M Forest Service.

Research and Development

Forest Service Research and Development works at the forefront of science to improve the health and use of our Nation's forests and grasslands. Research has been part of the Forest Service mission since the agency's inception in 1905.

Forest Service researchers work in a range of biological, physical, and social science fields to promote sustainable management of the Nation's diverse forests and rangelands. Their research covers a lot of territory, with programs in all 50 States, U.S. territories, and commonwealths.

Forest Service research soil scientist Randy Kolka inside one of the SPRUCE testing chambers
Forest Service research soil scientist Randy Kolka inside one of the SPRUCE testing chambers. Credit: USDA Forest Service.