Pesticide-Use Management & Coordination

Forest Service employee on the Eldorado National Forest spraying herbicide using a backpack sprayer, targeting yellow starthistle seedlings in the spring.  The herbicide is visible as a purple mist due to the colorant added to the mixture.  In an older ponderosa pine plantation, on a hillside.  The employee is wearing coveralls, a hardhat, goggles, and gloves as part of the required personal protective equipment for this type of work.

The Forest Health Protection staff of the USDA Forest Service has the responsibility of managing and coordinating the proper use of pesticides within the National Forest System (NFS). It is also responsible for providing technical advice and support, and for conducting training to maintain technical expertise. In order to achieve this function, the Forest Service maintains a cadre of Pesticide Use Coordinators and specialists located at Regional Offices and at some Forest Supervisors Offices. Service policy and direction on pesticide use is outlined under the Forest Service Manual Chapter 2150 and a Region 5 Supplement to 2150.

 A pesticide can be defined as any substance or mixture of substances intended for:

  1. Preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest; or 
  2. Use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant 

(Abbreviated definition from 7 U.S.C. 136(u)).

As such, the term ‘pesticide’ includes many particular types, broadly classified by the type of pest they are designed to control. As examples:

Herbicides are intended to kill plants
Insecticides are intended to kill insects
Fungicides are intended to kill fungi
Rodenticides are intended to kill rodents

Pesticides are used on NFS lands for a number of management operations that include:

  • Thinning or control of vegetation to promote growth of desirable species. 
  • Thinning or control of vegetation to reduce fire fuel. 
  • Controlling vegetation to prepare a site for planting of trees. 
  • Control of vegetation on highways, utility, and railroad rights-of-way in forests. 
  • Control of vegetation in forest nurseries. 
  • Suppression of injurious insects and diseases. 
  • Management of invasive terrestrial or aquatic plants. 
  • Maintaining public health (e.g., reducing risk of plague transmission)
  • Reducing animal damage to planted tree seedlings

The land area treated with pesticides is typically very small. On an annual basis, total pesticide use represents approximately one tenth of one percent of the total forest and rangeland area within the National Forest lands in California.

Information on recent and future pesticide usage may be obtained from the Regional Pesticide Use Coordinator.

Pesticide-Use Policy


Contact Information:

Pesticide Use Coordinator
1323 Club Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
Phone: (707) 562-8916
Cell: (707) 980-9010
Fax: (707) 562-9054