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Meet the Forest Service

What is the Forest Service?

  • We are a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages 193 million acres of land, roughly the size of Texas.
  • We manage public lands in the form of national forests and grasslands, provide technical and financial assistance to state, private, and tribal forestry agencies and make up the largest forestry research organization in the world.

When and why was the Forest Service established?

  • Congress established the Forest Service in 1905 to provide quality water and timber for the nation’s benefit.
  • Congress later directed the Forest Service to broaden its management scope for additional multiple uses and benefits and for the sustained yield of renewable resources such as water, forage, wildlife, wood, and recreation.

What does the Forest Service do?

  • We help people share and enjoy the forest, while conserving the environment for generations to come. Some activities are compatible. Some are not.
  • You, as a concerned citizen, can play a key role by expressing your views to Forest Service managers to help us strike a balance and make decisions in the best interest of the public lands and the public.

What is the Forest Service mission?

  • The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

What is the Forest Service motto?

The Forest Service motto, “Caring for the Land and Serving People,” captures the spirit of our mission, which we accomplish through five main activities:

  • Protection and management of natural resources on lands we manage.
  • Research on all aspects of forestry, rangeland management, and forest resource utilization.
  • Community assistance and cooperation with State and local governments, forest industries, and private landowners to help protect and manage non-Federal forest and associated range and watershed lands to improve conditions in rural areas.
  • Achievement and support of an effective workforce that reflects the diversity of the American people.
  • International assistance to formulate policy and coordinate U.S. support for the protection and sound management of the world's forest resources.