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Goal: Deliver Benefits to the Public Forest Resources of the United States, 2017

Cover of the publication
Cover of Forest Resources of the United States, 2017. (Forest Service photo by Teresa Jackson and Sonja Oswalt)

Introduction

Forest Resources of the United States, 2017 is part of a series of General Technical Reports that provide information to the Resources Planning Act (RPA) reporting process, as well as providing official statistics for the Global Forest Resources Assessment produced by the United Nations. The report summarizes Forest Inventory and Analysis data collected from all 50 States, as well as associated islands and territories. The report and associated data visualizations are available online, with new visualizations forthcoming.

Summary

The nation’s forest land area remains stable, but the composition and distribution of those forests is changing. The data supporting this assertion, along with other information on the status, condition, and trends in the nation’s forest resources, are available in the USDA Forest Service’s recently released report Forest Resources of the United States, 2017. The report is a supporting document to the upcoming 2020 Resources Plan Act (RPA) Assessment that is mandated by Congress every ten years.

“This report guides public and private investment dollars, whether through reforestation and forest health programs, recreation and tourism industries, or harvesting operations,” said Alexander Friend, USDA Forest Service Deputy Chief of Research and Development.

The Forest Resources report found that U.S. forest area – including lands covered by forest as well as the small woody species that grow in arid regions – has plateaued at 822.5 million acres. Together, forests and woodlands comprise over one-third of the national landscape. More than half of this acreage is privately owned. The source for these data comes from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program, operational in all 50 states as well as islands and associated territories.