Draft 2017 Resource Planning Act forest assessment data available for review

The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 RPA, P.L. 93-378, 88 Stat. 475, as amended, directed the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare a Renewable Resources Assessment and update it periodically. Thus, the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory & Analysis Program currently provides updated forest assessment data every five years.

The U.S. Forest Service is currently seeking comments from interested individuals and organizations on draft tables for the 2017 Resources Planning Act Forest Resources of the United States. The tables present estimates of forest area, volume, mortality, growth, removals, and timber products output in various ways, such as by ownership, region, or state.

These draft tables, which include data for 1953, 1977, 1987, 1997, 2007, 2012, and 2017, and are available from the FIA website (under “2017 Preliminary RPA data available for review”) at https://www.fia.fs.fed.us/program-features/rpa/index.php.

The preface to the tables notes that “the draft tables presented here will form the basis for the 2020 RPA Assessment Update of the status and trends in the nation’s forests. Previous releases of these tables have been the basis of significant natural resource policy decisions. Therefore, it is deemed important to provide public notice of the opportunity for review and comment of these tables prior to their publication.”

The preface further notes that some of the changes in the current version of tables are ongoing revisions to forest area estimates to reflect a revised definition for “woodland,” affecting primarily interior western states, including Texas and Oklahoma.

Comments must be received by the U.S. Forest Service in writing on or before July 31, 2017 to be assured of consideration. Comments received after that date will be considered to the extent practicable. Comments may be submitted via fax to (865) 862-0262 or by email to Sonja Oswalt at soswalt@fs.fed.us.