Each National Forest is governed by a management plan in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). These plans set management, protection and use goals and guidelines. Monitoring conditions on a forest ensures projects follow plan direction and determines effects, which might require management change.
Planning involves reviewing project documents and monitoring conditions to ensure projects are done in accordance with plan direction and to determine any effects that might require a change in management.
The Tongass National Forest provides a broad range of benefits society receives from the Forest, from recreation opportunities to salmon to wood products. In order to ensure that today’s activities on the forest do not impact these benefits over the long run, managers follow the guidance of the Forest Plan, most recently approved in 2008. The Forest gathered feedback from the public on whether the plan is working as promised, or whether some changes are neededm, from January to July 2013. Based on conditions on the land and demands of the public, the U.S. Forest Service has determined that it will begin a public process with the intent of modifying the Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan). Among other things, the modification is expected to focus on identifying the timber base suitable to support a transistion to young-growth management, in a way that supports the continued viability of the forest industry in Southeast Alaska, per the direction of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vislack.
Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan)
The 2008 amended Forest Plan for the Tongass National Forest - Tongass National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan - establishes the overall management direction for the Tongass National Forest, providing an integrated framework for what we do and how we do it. It describes resource management practices, levels of resource production and management, the availability and suitability of lands for different kinds of resource management, and defines the area of land specific to which management direction is applied. This approved (January 23, 2008) Forest Plan amends the 1997 Tongass Land Management Plan, and incorporates the 2003 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Roadless Area Evaluation for Wilderness Recommendations and 26 non-significant amendments. It entirely replaces the 1997 Forest Plan.
The following section provides a link to the Record of Decision (ROD), 2008 Amended Forest Plan, Final EIS, and related information.
The Integrated 5-Year Vegetation Plan: 2010-2014
2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan and LUD Map
2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan FEIS and ROD
2008 FEIS Alternative Maps
Other Forest Plan Maps
Héen Latinee 2009 ROD
Endicott Ridge Communication Site
U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Communication Site, Duffield Peninsula, Baranof Island
Big Thorne Small OGR Adjustement
2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan Amendments
2008 Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan Errata
Finger Mountain Communicatin Site
Forest-wide Standards and Guidelines for Wildlife in Remote Recreaton LUD
Mapping Correctin in VCU 7470 Small Old Growth Reserve
Monitoring and Evaluation Program
The Monitoring and Evaluation Program is primarily intended to aid in the continued development and convey analysis and evaluation of the Tongass National Forest as required by the National Forest Management Act. Monitoring and information needs are directly associated with adaptive management strategy in the Forest Plan. Ongoing and proposed monitoring and information gathering activities are addressed in the monitoring reports and Information Needs sections-that are intended to help prioritize and identify investment opportunities in new information.
Monitoring and evaluation is a quality control process for implementation and provides evaluation of the effectiveness of the Forest Plan. It provides the public, the Forest Service, and other concerned resource agencies with information on the progress and results of plan implementation. Monitoring and evaluation comprise an essential feedback mechanism within an adaptive management framework to keep the Plan dynamic and responsive to changing conditions. The evaluation process provides feedback that can trigger corrective action, adjustment of plans and budgets, or both, to facilitate feasible and meaningful action on the ground.
The Forest Plan Annual Monitoring Report includes access to the latest monitoring data. Monitoring reports are completed on annual & five year time frames. The annual report supplies an overview and reports on specific time-critical monitoring whereas the five year report is a comprehensive review of the data and the evaluation. These reports provide the Forest Service, other agencies, and the public with essential feedback on the progress of implementing the Forest Plan.
The Information Needs includes a listing of inventory and monitoring evaluation needs relative to the Tongass National Forest and Southeast Alaska. Interaction by the Forest Service with other State and Federal agencies and interested partners is reflected in the information needs.
Each of the resource program areas has a continuing need to learn more about the Tongass National Forest and Southeast Alaska. These needs transcend beyond the Forest Service and the Pacific Northwest Station branch of its research unit to other State and Federal agencies, academia, partners, and stakeholders. The identified needs outline projects identified by the Forest as opportunities to align and/or coordinate investments. Coordination and/or alignment across the program monitoring along with Forest Plan monitoring will better serve all participants in the monitoring and information programs.
Prioritization Process - Appendix B of the Forest Plan provides a framework for prioritization of information needs. This information has helped guide the prioritization process into a basic spreadsheet format and is intended to promote consistency within each resource program area, as well as between resource program areas.
2010 Monitoring Report
2009 Monitoring Report
2008 Monitoring Report
Best Management Practices Policy (BMPs)
On May 24, 2011, the Alaska District Court vacated the Tongass exemption and reinstated the 2001 Roadless Rule on the Tongass National Forest (Organized Village of Kake, et al. v. USDA, et al.). At this time, the Tongass National Forest is subject to the provisions of the 2001 Roadless Rule.
The following link to the Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation website provides the most current roadless information: