About the Action Plans

The Forest Action Plans collectively represent the first-ever strategic plan for the nation's forests. The impetus for this historic effort grew out of landmark changes in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill), when Congress tasked the states and territories to craft assessments of the forests within their boundaries and develop strategies to address threats and improve forest health. The resulting Statewide Forest Resource Assessments and Strategies, or Forest Action Plans, provide an analysis of forest conditions and trends and delineate priority forest landscape areas. They offer practical, long-term plans for investing state, federal, and other resources where they can be most effective in achieving national conservation goals.

Developing the Plans
Assessing forest resources and engaging in strategic planning for those resources are not new for many states and territories. For others, the 2008 Farm Bill presented an opportunity to revise their usual agency planning process. The approach for developing these plans varied widely among the states and territories, reflecting differences in the management styles, the number of existing resources, the priorities of states, and the differences in the challenges that face them.

Some engaged in a wide-ranging stakeholder involvement process that, in some cases, included meetings, polls, surveys, and other outreach efforts to ascertain the priorities facing both the forests and the stakeholders of the forest—including state agencies, private landowners, tribes and indigenous peoples, and other user groups. Some largely consulted existing resources and included many existing plans and assessments in their plans as appendices. Some examples of other reports that are incorporated into the Forest Action Plans include:

  • Community Wildfire Protection Plans
  • State Wildlife Action Plans
  • Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans
  • State Forest Stewardship Plan/State Forest Land and Resource Management Plans
  • Urban and Community Forest Plans
  • State Environmental Literacy Plans
  • Forest Legacy Program
  • Management Guidelines/Species Conservation Plans
  • National Forest Land and Resource Management Plans