The U.S. Forest Service announced availability of final planning directives, a key set of agency guidance documents that directs land managers’ implementation of the 2012 planning rule. A product of significant public input, this new framework guides development of land management plans that ensure sustainable ecosystems and promote vibrant communities.
Public input into both the proposed planning directives and 2012 planning rule played a critical role in helping the agency design an approach to planning that is adaptive and effective. The agency sought public comment on proposed planning directives in February, 2013. Over 16,000 comments representing diverse communities and interests from across the country shaped the final planning directives. In addition to the public comments, detailed recommendations from the Federal Advisory Committee (FACA Committee) formed by the Secretary of Agriculture are reflected in the directives.
“I extend my gratitude to the FACA Committee, whose input and recommendations are strongly reflected in the final planning directives,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “I also thank the many thousands of citizens who provided comment and are working locally with Forests to implement the 2012 Planning Rule. This was a true collaborative endeavor.”
Forest Service land management plans guide management activities on the 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in the National Forest System. The 2012 Planning Rule provides a collaborative and science-based framework for creating land management plans which will support ecological sustainability and contribute to rural economies.
There are 19 national forests that have begun to revise their land management plans under the 2012 Planning Rule. The agency has considered and incorporated feedback from these forests based on their recent experiences with the plan revision process.
The final Planning Directives, along with background information, can be accessed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/planningrule, at any regional Forest Service office or by calling (202) 205-1449. A Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register next week. A news release from the FACA committee regarding the Final Directives can be accessed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/planningrule/committee.
Announcement by the U.S. Forest Service.