The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. This site provides data and analysis describing current forest conditions as they relate to the ecological, social, and economic dimensions of forest sustainability. We use the Montréal Process Criteria and Indicators, an internationally agreed upon set of sustainability measures, to organize this information. Individual reports for each of the Montréal Process's 64 indicators are provided, covering topics ranging from biodiversity conservation to forest fires to the many benefits we derive from forests. Summaries and topical reports are also available for download, and the site also provides access to information about other forest sustainability efforts underway in the U.S. and elsewhere. Over 20 Forest Service scientists contributed to this effort.
Criteria and Indicators for Forest Sustainability
The Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators (MP C&I) characterize the essential components of sustainable forest management, and they provide a framework for describing the value and condition of forests. These internationally agreed-upon criteria and indicators were developed collaboratively with other Montreal Process member countries as a shared response to the pressing need for sustainable forest management. The current status for each of the 54 indicators of forest sustainability in the United States is presented in PDF format below on a rolling basis. New briefs will be posted to this page when they become available.
- Criterion 1: Conservation of Biological Diversity
Describes the types of forest found in the United States, the area they inhabit, and the diversity of plants and animals found within them. All documents in this criterion were last updated in 2011.
- Indicator 1.01: Area and percent of forest by type
- Indicator 1.02: Area and percent of forest in protected areas
- Indicator 1.03: Fragmentation of forests
- Indicator 1.04: Number of native forest-associated species
- Indicator 1.05: Number and status of native forest associated species at risk
- Indicator 1.06: Status of onsite and offsite efforts focused on conservation of species diversity
- Indicator 1.07: Number of forest associated species at risk of losing genetic variation
- Indicator 1.08: Population levels of selected representative forest-associated species to describe genetic diversity
- Indicator 1.09: Status of onsite and offsite efforts focused on conservation of genetic diversity
- Criterion 2: Maintenance of Productive Capacity of Forest Ecosystems
Describes the capacity of our forests to produce products that are valued by society. All documents in this criterion were last updated in 2021 unless otherwise noted.
- Indicator 2.10: Area and percent of forest land available for wood production
- Indicator 2.11: Total growing stock and annual increment available for wood production
- Indicator 2.12: Area, percent, and growing stock of plantations of native and exotic species
- Indicator 2.13: Annual harvest of wood products
- Indicator 2.14: Annual harvest of non-wood forest products (2011)
- Criterion 3: Maintenance of Ecosystem Health and Vitality
Describes the health or our forests and the various disturbance processes that occur in them. All documents in this criterion were last updated in 2020.
- Criterion 4: Conservation and Maintenance of Soil and Water Resources
Describes the condition of soil and water in our forests and the steps we are taking to sustain these resources. All documents in this criterion were last updated in 2020.
- Indicator 4.18: Management activities that meet best management practices to protect soils
- Indicator 4.19: Area and percent of forest land with significant soil degradation
- Criterion 5: Maintenance of Forest Contribution to Global Carbon Cycles
Measures the amount of carbon stored in our forests and in long-lasting wood products, and the amount of carbon emissions avoided through the use of wood for energy. All documents in this criterion were last updated in 2021.
- Criterion 6: Maintenance and Enhancement of Long-Term Multiple Socioeconomic Benefits to Meet the Needs of Societies
Describes the various social and economic aspects of forests in the United States, including (1) production and consumption of forest outputs; (2) investments in forests and the forest sector; (3) employment and forest communities; (4) recreation and tourism; and (5) the cultural and spiritual values associated with forests. Most documents in this criterion are from 2011 unless otherwise indicated.
Production and Consumption
- Indicator 6.25: Value and volume of wood and wood products production
- Indicator 6.26: Value of nonwood forest products produced or collected
- Indicator 6.27: Revenue from forest-based environmental services (Last updated - 2021)
- Indicator 6.28: Total and per capita consumption of wood and wood products
- Indicator 6.29: Total and per capita consumption of nonwood forest products
- Indicator 6.30: Value and volume of exports and imports of wood products
- Indicator 6.31: Value of exports and imports of nonwood products
- Indicator 6.32: Exports and imports of wood products as a share of production and consumption
- Indicator 6.33: Recovery or recycling of forest products
Investment in the Forest Sector
- Indicator 6.34: Capital investment in forest management, forest-based industries
- Indicator 6.35: Annual expenditure in forest-related research, extension, and education
Employment and Community Needs
- Indicator 6.36: Employment in forest products sector
- Indicator 6.37: Average wage and injury rates in major forest employment categories
- Indicator 6.38: The resilience of forest-dependent communities (Last updated - 2021)
- Indicator 6.39: Area and percent of forests used for subsistence purposes
- Indicator 6.40: Distribution of revenues derived from forest management
Recreation and Tourism
- Indicator 6.41: Area and percent of forests available and managed for public recreation and tourism (Last updated - 2021)
- Indicator 6.42: Number of visits attributed to recreation and tourism and related to facilities available (Last updated - 2021)
Cultural, Social and Spiritual Needs and Values
- Criterion 7: Legal, Institutional, and Economic Framework for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management
Describes the laws, policies and institutions that help determine forest management in the United States. Please note that these indicators have been revised and reduced since the 2010 report. All documents in this criterion were updated in 2018.
- Indicator 7.45: Legislation and policies supporting the sustainable management of forests
- Indicator 7.46: Cross-sectoral policy and program coordination
- Indicator 7.47: Taxation and other economic strategies that affect the sustainable management of forests
- Indicator 7.48: Clarity and security of land and resource tenure and property rights
- Indicator 7.49: Enforcement of laws related to forests
- Indicator 7.50: Programs, services, and other resources supporting the sustainable management of forests
- Indicator 7.51: Development and application of research and technologies for the sustainable management of forests
- Indicator 7.52: Partnerships to support the sustainable management of forests
- Indicator 7.53: Public participation and conflict resolution in forest-related decision making
- National Report on Sustainable Forests - 2010
- National Report on Sustainable Forests - 2003
- Assessing the Sustainability of Agricultural and Urban Forests in the United States - 2016
- Assessing Forest Sustainability in the Tropical Islands of the United States - 2017
- Legal, Institutional, and Economic Indicators of Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management in the United States - 2020
- Disturbance and Sustainability in Forests of the Western United States - 2021