United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 04, 2023
Findings and purpose
Congress finds the following:
Forests and rangeland, and the resources of forests and rangeland, are of strategic economic and ecological importance to the United States, and the Federal Government has an important and substantial role in ensuring the continued health, productivity, and sustainability of the forests and rangeland of the United States.
Over 75 percent of the productive commercial forest land in the United States is privately owned, with some 60 percent owned by small nonindustrial private owners. These 10,000,000 nonindustrial private owners are critical to providing both commodity and noncommodity values to the citizens of the United States.
The National Forest System manages only 17 percent of the commercial timberland of the United States, with over half of the standing softwoods inventory located on that land. Dramatic changes in Federal agency policy during the early 1990’s have significantly curtailed the management of this vast timber resource, causing abrupt shifts in the supply of timber from public to private ownership. As a result of these shifts in supply, some 60 percent of total wood production in the United States is now coming from private forest land in the southern United States.
At the same time that pressures are building for the removal of even more land from commercial production, the Federal Government is significantly reducing its commitment to productivity-related research regarding forests and rangeland, which is critically needed by the private sector for the sustained management of remaining available timber and forage resources for the benefit of all species.
Uncertainty over the availability of the United States timber supply, increasing regulatory burdens, and the lack of Federal Government support for research is causing domestic wood and paper producers to move outside the United States to find reliable sources of wood supplies, which in turn results in a worsening of the United States trade balance, the loss of employment and infrastructure investments, and an increased risk of infestations of exotic pests and diseases from imported wood products.
Wood and paper producers in the United States are being challenged not only by shifts in Federal Government policy, but also by international competition from tropical countries where growth rates of trees far exceed those in the United States. Wood production per acre will need to quadruple from 1996 levels for the United States forestry sector to remain internationally competitive on an ever decreasing forest land base.
Better and more frequent forest inventorying and analysis is necessary to identify productivity-related forestry research needs and to provide forest managers with the current data necessary to make timely and effective management decisions.
Relationship to other law
This subchapter shall be deemed to complement the policies and direction set forth in the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 [16 U.S.C. 1600 et seq.].
It is the purpose of this subchapter to authorize the Secretary to expand research activities to encompass international forestry and natural resource issues on a global scale.
(Pub. L. 95–307, § 2,
June 30, 1978, 92 Stat. 353; Pub. L. 101–513, title VI, § 611(a)(1), formerly § 607(a)(1), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 2072, renumbered § 611(a)(1), Pub. L. 102–574, § 2(a)(1), Oct. 29, 1992, 106 Stat. 4593; Pub. L. 105–185, title II, § 253(a), June 23, 1998, 112 Stat. 558.)
cite as: 16 USC 1641