The National Forest Management Act
The National Forest Management Act (NFMA) of 1976 is a federal law that reorganized, expanded and amended the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974, which called for the management of renewable resources on national forest lands. The National Forest Management Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to assess forest lands, develop a management program based on multiple-use, sustained-yield principles, and implement a resource management plan for each unit of the National Forest System.
It is the primary statute governing the administration of national forests. The NFMA had a particular focus on regulating when, where, and how much timber could be harvested and in requiring public involvement in preparing and revising the plans. In 1982 the NFMA published the Planning Regulations, a process that planned to integrate the many interests concerning the forests. There are ten major steps to this process.
Identify issues, concerns, and opportunities (ICOs); Develop planning criteria; Collect data and information necessary to address ICOs; Analyze the management situation (AMS); Formulate a broad range of alternatives including a ‘no action, alternative; Estimate the effects of each alternative on the environment, the economy, and society; Evaluate alternatives by comparing how well each resolves the ICOs; Select a preferred alternative; Implement the plan by updating all uses of the forest into conformity of the forest plan; and monitor and evaluate the plan by comparing the actual biological effects of the plan to the projections.
The NFMA has started many legal suits regarding the degree of involvement required by both the forest service and the public, but the most famous was the Ohio Forestry Association v. Sierra Club. The Sierra Club claimed that the logging practices allowed in the Wayne National Forest in Southeast Ohio were unlawful under NFMA because the Act requires ongoing input and management from the Forest Service.
The Court rejected the claims of the Sierra Club and stated the Forest Service is not an agency required to perform ongoing action or involvement in the forest plans.
- Pegg, J. r. “Bush Converts National Forest Management to Corporate Model. ” Environment News Service. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. ;http://www. ens-newswire. com/ens/dec2004/2004-12-23-10. html
- “National Forest Management Act of 1976. ” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. ;http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/National_Forest_Management_Act_of_1976.