Forest Service Organization
FOREST SERVICE ORGANIZATIONAL OVERVIEW - THE BIG PICTURE
The Forest Service is a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). We care for the Nation’s forest and grasslands. We are leaders in the conservation and wise use of the National Forest System lands. We serve the needs of the people who own them and, in short, we strengthen the Nation’s lands for future generations.
To accomplish this mission, we are organized into several areas, among them: the National Forest System, Research, and State and Private Forestry. We have organized into subject groups which include, land management planning, fire, wilderness, range, wildlife and fish, recreation and minerals to name a few.
We also assist State and local governments, forest industry and other private owners to manage, utilize and protect the forest and forest products.
We operate the world’s largest forest research system. We have several forest product laboratories and experiment stations throughout the nation. Through International Forestry, we exchange information with foreign counties for technology transfer.
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The Forest Service is what is known as a “decentralized agency.” Most decisions about our everyday work are made at places outside our central office. Our central office, otherwise known as “headquarters,” is located in Washington, DC.
The Washington Office supports the Chief of the Forest Service and assists the field offices. The Chief has an Associate Chief and five Deputy Chiefs, each of which have an area of responsibility.
In addition, the Chief is assisted by our Office of Communication Public Affairs Office (PAO) which has experts in public information and public involvement in Forest Service work.
The second level of our organization is made up of nine regions, each led by a Regional Forester. Ms. Leslie A. Weldon is the Regional Forester in the Northern Region. The country is divided into nine Regions which each have an assigned number. (See the illustration.) The Northern Region is Region 1, subsequently the Rocky Mountain Region is Region 2, Intermountain Region is Region 4 and so on. Please see the Washington Office web page for further information or review the map.
The third level contains the separate National Forests and their respective Supervisor’s Offices. The fourth level involves Ranger Districts of the various Forests. The number of employees grows in the summer with a large number of temporary hires and volunteers. Please see the “Forest and Grasslands Offices” link on each Northern Region web page for more information about our Forests and Districts.