Ecosystem Restoration Policy
AGENCY: Forest Service, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of final directive.
SUMMARY: The Forest Service is issuing a permanent Ecosystem
Restoration policy that replaces the Interim Directive, ``Ecological
Restoration and Resilience Policy,'' in Forest Service Manual (FSM)
2020. The policy provides broad guidance for restoring ecosystems on
National Forest System lands so that they are self-sustaining and, if
subject to disturbances or environmental change, have the ability to
reorganize and renew themselves. This policy recognizes the adaptive
capacity of restored ecosystems, the role of natural disturbances, and
uncertainty related to climate and other environmental factors.
DATES: This directive is in effect May 27, 2016.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Alegria, Forest Management Staff,
USDA Forest Service, Mailstop 1103, 1400 Independence Avenue SW.,
Washington, DC 20250; phone: 202-205-1787.To read the full notice, including the excerpt below
1. The Forest Service will emphasize ecosystem restoration across
the National Forest System and within its multiple use mandate.
2. The Forest Service land and resource management plans, project
plans, and other Forest Service activities may include goals or
objectives for restoration. The goals or objectives for ecosystem
restoration must be consistent to all applicable laws and regulations.
In development of restoration goals or objectives, the Forest Service
a. Factors such as the following:
(1) Public values and desires;
(2) the natural range of variation (NRV);
(3) ecological integrity;
(4) current and likely future ecological capabilities;
(5) a range of climate and other environmental change projections;
(6) the best available scientific information; and, (7) detrimental human uses.
b. technical and economic feasibility to achieve desired future
c. ecological, social, and economic sustainability.
d. the recovery, maintenance, and enhancement of carbon stocks.
e. opporunities to incorporate restoration objectives into resource
management projects to achieve complementary or synergistic results.
f. the concept that an ecological system is dynamic and follows an
g. the social, economic and ecological influences of restoration
activities at multiple scales. 3. The Forest Service may reestablish, maintain, or modify the
composition, structure, function, and connectivity of aquatic and
terrestrial ecosystems in order to sustain their resilience and
4. Activities with localized, short-term adverse effects may be
acceptable in order to achieve long-term restoration objectives.
5. The definitions for following terms in this policy are identical
to the definitions for the same terms in the National Forest System,
Land Management Planning Directive: adaptation, adaptive capacity,
adaptive management, disturbance, disturbance regime, ecological
integrity, ecosystem, ecosystem services, landscape, natural range of
variation (NRV), resilience, restoration-ecological, restoration-
functional, stressors, and sustainability. (FSH 1909.12, zero code,
6. When ecosystems have been altered to such an extent that
reestablishing key ecosystem characteristics within the NRV may not be
ecologically or economically possible, the restoration focus should be
to create functioning ecosystems.
7. Resource managers should consider ecological conditions across
ownerships and jurisdictions to develop and achieve landscape
restoration objectives by engaging the public, State and local
governments, and consultation with Indian Tribes.
8. Not all natural resource management activities are required to
include restoration, and not all National Forest System lands require