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Natural Resources

The health of our nation depends, in many ways, on the vitality of our nation’s forests and grasslands. These natural resources contribute a variety of essential elements to our well-being, including clean air, water and soil. Shades of Green is one in a series of videos that how the Tongass National Forest protects natural resources. 


Minerals & Geology

The Minerals and Geology Management (MGM) program administers mineral and geologic resources. Minerals and Geology program staff oversee mineral exploration, development and reclamation activities related to federal (government owned) and non-federal (privately-owned) mineral estates according to specific authorities, legislation, rules, and regulations.


Water is one of the most important commodities on Forest Service lands, and the cleanest water flows from healthy, forested watersheds. The most effective way to approach ecological issues is to consider them at a watershed level.


Air, like water, is inseparable from the health of natural resources. Poor air quality decreases visibility, acidifies or disrupts the nutrient balance in lakes and streams, injures plant and animal communities and harms human health. Air pollutants on agency lands are categorized as:

  • Primary, or those that come from sources such as industrial facilities, automobiles and forest fires; and
  • Secondary, or when primary pollutants undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Those pollutants in the air can come from long distances.

Related air topics:

The ways the agency works to ensure good air quality is to:

  • Monitor the effects of pollution
  • Monitors forest activities that could affect air quality, such as prescribed burns, ski areas and oil and gas development.
  • Follows guidelines set out by law and policy


Healthy soil absorbs water and makes it available for plants, cycle nutrients and filter pollutants. Soil also controls water flow and stores and cycles nutrients. Soil is the basis of our ecosystem and controls living things above and below the surface.