Welcome to the U. S. Forest Service Planning Rule Revision!

Uinta National Forest Image by Teresa Prendusi

The 2012 planning rule for land management planning for the National Forest System was published in the Federal Register on April 9, 2012, and it became effective 30 days following the publication date on May 9, 2012. The complete planning rule, including the preamble and rule text, along with other informational materials, is listed in the News section below.

The final planning directives, effective January 30, 2015, are now available. These directives are the key set of agency guidance documents that direct implementation of the 2012 planning rule. In addition to the public comments, detailed recommendations from the Federal Advisory Committee (FACA Committee) chartered by the Secretary of Agriculture are reflected in the directives.

Please see the Collaboration and Public Involvement webpage for information on the collaborative efforts used during development of the rule. Links are also located in the left banner of this website providing information on the history of forest planning; the basics on what's involved in forest planning and why it's important; as well as answers to frequently answered questions (FAQs) about the rulemaking process.




USDA Forest Service finalizes amendment to the 2012 Planning Rule for National Forest System Land Management Planning.

On December 13, 2016, the Forest Service published a Federal Register notice of a final rule change to amend the 2012 Planning Rule. This amendment seeks to clarify procedural issues related to the forest planning process.


U.S. Forest Service and Planning Rule Advisory Committee Release Citizens’ and Government Guides on Forest Planning

The 2012 Planning Rule, supports significant advancement in citizen-based land management planning to benefit communities and protect national landscapes and resources. The Federal Advisory Committee assisting the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service with implementation of the 2012 Planning Rule, recently released two publications: A Citizens Guide to National Forest Planning (print version) and A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Governments (print version).

The Citizens’ Guide is intended to demystify the forest planning process and help citizens effectively engage in decisions that affect their communities. Similarly, the Guide for State, Local and Tribal governments is designed to increase intergovernmental participation in land management plans that meet the needs of each government.


USDA Forest Service Releases 2012 Planning Rule Final Directives for National Forest System Land Management Planning 

On January 30, 2015, the Forest Service released the final planning directives. Comments have been received from the public and edits have been made to the proposed planning directives to improve and support consistent approaches to achieving the broad goals of the 2012 Planning Rule.

  • A copy of the final directives can be found here: Final Directives Webpage. Copies can also be obtained at any regional Forest Service office or by calling (202) 205-1449.


USDA Announces Selection of Planning Rule Advisory Committee Members 

The Secretary of Agriculture selected 21 advisory committee members tasked with providing guidance and recommendations on Planning Rule implementation. The previous committee’s membership expired in June 2014. The new committee members were selected from the candidates who responded to the Secretary’s request for nominations.  The committee continues to embody the full range of public interests in management of National Forest System lands, consisting of members with diverse backgrounds that represent geographically diverse locations and communities.


Forest Service Releases Proposed Planning Rule Directives and Seeks Public Comment

On February 15, 2013, the Forest Service released proposed planning directives for public review and comment.

  • A copy of the proposal can be found on the Proposed Directives Webpage.
  • Copies can also be obtained at any regional Forest Service office or by calling (202) 205-1449.
  • The comment period closes 60 days after publication of a notice of availability in the Federal Register, estimated to be on or about February 20.


Planning Rule FACA Committee to Advise the Secretary and Chief on Implementation of the Planning Rule of 2012

The Secretary of Agriculture selected 21 members to serve on the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. This committee advises and gives recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service on implementation of the 2012 planning rule.

Visit the Planning Rule FACA webpage for further information on the committee.


USDA Announces Release of Final Planning Rule for National Forest System Land Management Planning


Eight National Forests Selected as First to Implement Planning Rule of 2012

National forests in Alaska, California, Idaho, New Mexico, and Puerto Rico were selected as the first to revise their land management plans using the new National Forest System Planning Rule. Click here to read the press release for more information.


Further Information

2012 Preferred Alternative and Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement
2011 Proposed Planning Rule
2011 Draft Environmental Impact Statement
2009 Notice of Intent
Public Collaboration and Involvement


Overview of Rulemaking Process


The process for developing the planning rule will go through several stages.  Select Overview of Rulemaking Process for more information; the  NEPA process is also discussed.

Draft Concepts for the Proposed Rule Content

Initial ideas on how to address a variety of topics in the proposed rule are located on our former blog; explore past posts from the public.