News Release

Forest Service Updates Assessment of the Trends Affecting US Forests and Rangelands

December 4, 2007 -

A recent Forest Service determination finds climate change could affect the distribution and diversity of plants and animals in the United States. In an update of the 2000 Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment (US Forest Service 2001) conducted by the Forest Service, 15 key findings have emerged since the publication of the original assessment. on the status and trends of natural resources of U.S. forests and rangelands.

"Knowing the current conditions of our forests and rangelands helps land managers and private property owners make informed decisions about how to best manage their land," said Ann Bartuska, Deputy Chief of Research and Development for the Forest Service. "This year's assessment update provides an understanding of how outside influences are affecting forests and rangelands."

U.S. Forests can also play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Use of wood products in place of alternative products can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Growing shade trees around buildings can reduce energy use. Large scale cellulosic ethanol production from wood may become an economically viable option for offsetting fossil fuel emissions.

An assessment of U.S. forests and rangelands is mandated every 10 years by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act (RPA) of 1974. The last RPA Assessment was released in 2001. The Forest Services releases an interim update during the 10 year cycle. In addition to providing information on forest and rangeland conditions, the assessment identifies factors that affect natural resource conditions. The Interim Update of the 2000 Renewable Resources Planning Act Assessment and related information can be found at