When you think of forest products, lumber and firewood may come to mind. Forest products include sawlogs, pulpwood, biomass, other round wood products, and firewood as well as “special forest products” such as medicinal herbs, fungi, and edible fruits and nuts. In some cases, forest products are a byproduct of restoration treatments.
Forest Products Modernization
Forests across the nation are facing serious challenges. Insects, disease, drought, and wildfire all threaten forest health and productivity. There are an estimated 65 to 82 million acres of forest and grassland in need of restoration to lower fire risk and insect and disease impacts. In many situations, some vegetation management treatments, such as timber harvest, other mechanical treatments, and prescribed fire, can reduce these stresses. Having sustainable, healthy, resilient forests in the future depends on our ability to increase work on the ground today. Improving forest product delivery efficiency is critical to getting more work done on the ground. Learn more
Need for Change
Our systems and processes that have served us well in the past need to continue to evolve to keep up with the best available science, changes in authorities, technology, markets, and stewardship ideals. We need to:
- Support rural and urban communities and economies in a way that leverages or increases our forest improvement treatments.
- Fully use, across the agency, new authorities, such as the 2014 Farm Bill and its authorization of stewardship contracting and Good Neighbor Authority that provide more flexibility.
- Find better methods to increase vegetation restoration treatment. Even with our projected increase in treatment to 3.5 million acres per year, it will take more than 20 years to address vegetation treatment needs.
- Examine how we train our employees, reform Forest Service policy, increase the use of technology, and adjust processes to improve efficiency.
- Align our practices, policies, and guidance to be more agile, flexible, and adaptable to better meet current and future forest improvement goals.
- Improve forest conditions, meet forest restoration needs, create sustainable landscapes, and increase the amount of forest products coming from National Forest System lands. This effort will help us become more efficient and be the strongest forest products program in the country.
- Identify actions that make restoration harvest work easier and develop an aggressive schedule for their implementation over the short term. In addition, we will complete a shared, long-term, national approach to modernizing the delivery of forest products by winter 2019.
How Modernizing Forest Products Delivery Helps Forests
Forest products provide a host of benefits to the American people. Beyond the material for construction and other uses, forest products create jobs, support economies and, especially in rural communities, support an entire way of life.
Timber harvest is a tool in the sustainable management of forest ecosystems. Strategically delivering forest products through harvest can be used to address the growing issues of wildfire, invasive species, insects and disease. Timber harvest and other types of vegetation treatments are instrumental in the careful management of forest landscapes to ensure their resiliency and sustainability.
By creatively examining how we harvest timber and deliver forest products, not only can we speed-up restoration efforts, we can also encourage economic growth and job creation, especially in the many rural communities we serve.
The Forest Product Modernization effort is working to collect ideas from Forest Service employees, partners, and members of the public to see what is currently working well, what is not working well, or needs improvement. We want to identify innovations and ideas that are working well around the country and apply these best practices more broadly across the 193 million acres that we manage, while we work to make restoration harvest work easier over the long-term.
We Value Your Input
Share your ideas for modernization by emailing the Forest Products Modernization team.