The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) announced actions to foster forest conservation, enhance forest resilience to climate change, and inform policymaking on ensuring healthy forests on federally managed lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
USDA and DOI worked together to develop several reports, as directed by President Biden’s Executive Order on Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies (E.O. 14072), which he signed on Earth Day 2022. The Executive Order calls for inventorying mature and old-growth forests, setting reforestation targets on federally managed lands, and analyzing reforestation opportunities on state, Tribal and private lands.
In addition, the Forest Service is releasing a new tool that illustrates the risks and vulnerabilities of climate change across the landscape along with a call for public input on how national forests and grasslands should be managed for climate resilience.
The Mature and Old-Growth Forest report defines what mature and old-growth forests are, establishes the first-ever initial inventory of those forests, and shows their distribution across lands managed by the USDA Forest Service and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.
The initial inventory identified more than 32 million acres of old-growth and around 80 million acres of mature forest across 200 types of forests. The initial inventory found that old-growth forest represents 18% and mature forest another 45% of all forested land managed by the two agencies.