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Sustainability in the U.S. Forest Service goes beyond managing healthy, resilient forests. It’s about investing in our natural infrastructure to protect clean air, healthy soils, and drinking water. Sustainability is about our commitment to reduce agency greenhouse gas emissions through innovation. We foster sustainability leadership while reducing daily consumption and costs in water, energy, fleet, waste, and purchasing.

Wood is Good

No matter where we live, forests play an important role in our lives. Healthy forests reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, thus combating climate change. Sequestered carbon is stored in trees, soil, the wood debris on the forest floor, and in long-lasting products made from harvested wood. Read more about long-lasting products on the Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory website.

Volkswagen Settlement Mitigation and Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Forest Service is exploring the possibility of submitting proposals in response to the Volkswagen Settlement. Volkswagen settled allegations that it violated the Clean Air Act by installing “defeat devices” on roughly 500,000 diesel vehicles from 2009-2015.  Read more about Volkswagen Settlement.

Operational Initiatives

Vehicle Idling Practice

A picture of a white USDA Forest Service vehicle with the USDA Forest Service insignia on the door. The U.S. Forest Service aims to save money, improve human and environmental health through the elimination of unnecessary vehicle idling and associated emissions. This practice reduces per-mile greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle fuel and maintenance costs.  Learn more about it by watching our Vehicle Idling Myth video.

Net Zero

A graphic that states Net Zero is a goal to reach the point where our business operations are in balance with our environment. Net Zero is a goal to reach the point where our daily operations are in balance with our environment. When we achieve Net Zero, our ecological footprint is neutral. Working towards balance between people and planet is essential to ensuring sufficient resources for future generations. People have an impact on the environment in many ways. The Forest Service focuses Net Zero efforts on energy, fleet, waste, and water. Learn more about Net Zero